75 words for 75 years of Israel – Beriah/Creation

In honor of Israel’s 75th birthday, Israel365 is excited to launch a new series of essays that will unlock the secrets of the Hebrew Bible!

Excerpted from Rabbi Akiva Gersh’s forthcoming book, 75 Hebrew Words You Need to Understand the Bible (available soon!) these essays illuminate the connection between related Hebrew words, revealing Biblical secrets only accessible through Hebrew.

Enjoy the series – and happy 75th birthday to the State of Israel!





“In the beginning God created heaven and earth.” (Genesis 1:1)

בראשית ברא אלהים את השמים ואת הארץ.

“I form light and create darkness, I make peace and create evil, I, Hashem, do all these things.” (Isaiah 45:7)

יוצר אור ובורא חשך עשה שלום ובורא רע אני יהוה עשה כל אלה.

Beriah, Hebrew for “creation,” appears in its verb form (barah) as the second word in the Bible. “In the beginning God created heaven and earth.”

Many Hebrew words are used to describe the making of something, but beriah is the only word that connotes creating something ex nihilo, from nothing. This form of creation occurred only one time in the history of the world, when God created the universe, creating something in a place where there was previously nothing.

According to Jewish thought, all things that came into being after this first creation of “something from nothing” were contained in this very first creation, much like a tree’s DNA is contained in a tiny seed.

The word boreh, “Who creates,” appears very often in Jewish blessings, specifically the blessings recited before eating food. When we eat vegetables, fruits, grains or wine we thank God for “creating” these foods so that we have the sustenance we need in order to survive. The word boreh is in the present tense, acknowledging that creation was not a one-time act of God, but rather the beginning of an ongoing process of providing for His world.

Bari, the Hebrew word for “healthy,” contains the same Hebrew letters as the word beriah, creation. This teaches us that health and wellness is the intended and ideal state of all created things and that any experience of sickness is a temporary deviation from God’s natural order. 

The Israel Bible Team


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