with commentary by Rabbi Tuly Weisz


Sefer Bereishitthe Book of Genesis, is the first of the Five Books of Moshe.  Sefer Bereishit begins with a detailed description of the creation of the world, and continues with a brief account of the generations from Adam through Avraham.  The remainder of the book focuses on the lives of the matriarchs and patriarchs, culminating with the story of the departure of the family of Yaakov from the land of Israel and their descent to Egypt.


Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki, the famed medieval commentator known by his acronym Rashi, asks a compelling question.  If the Torah is essentially a book of law, why did God choose to start it with the stories of creation?  Would it not have made more sense to begin with the first commandment given to the Jewish people?  Quoting the verse from Sefer Tehillim (111:6), “He revealed to His people His powerful works, in giving them the heritage of nations,.” Rashi explains that the Lord began His Torah with the account of the creation of the world in order to give the people of Israel a response to anyone who would accuse them of stealing the Land of Israel: Since Hashem is the Creator of the world, it is His prerogative to give it to whomever He chooses.  Though He initially gave it to the seven nations of Canaan, when they were no longer worthy He chose to take it from them and to give it to the Children of Israel.


This theme of choice and choosing is present throughout the book.  Sefer Bereishit is known as the book of creation.  Most obviously, this refers to the description of the creation of the world, but beyond that it is about the creation of a people, the nation chosen by Hashem to be His representatives in the world and to carry out His mission of being a light unto the nations.  In every generation described in Sefer Bereishit, there is a person or a group that stands out from the rest, and is chosen by God due to their morality and recognition of God.  Once a person is chosen, the continuation of the narrative focuses on him and his offspring, often emphasizing their positive qualities.  Thus, Seth is the chosen son of Adam, Noah is chosen to survive his entire generation, and the Bible then focuses on the descendants of Noah’s son Shem.  Ultimately, Hashem chooses Avraham, his son Yitzchak and Yitzchak’s son Yaakov.  With Yaakov, the process of choosing is complete and a nation is born.


As Rashi implies, the Torah is much more than a book of laws; it is the legacy of the Jewish people.  It tells of the creation of a nation, chosen by God to be His emissaries of kindness, justice, goodness and recognition of the one true Creator.  It starts with the creation of the world so that there would be no question that Eretz Yisrael belongs to them.  From the very beginning of the world, Hashem intended for the People of Israel to be holy, to do His holy work in the holy Land of Israel, and from there, for their light to emanate to the entire world.  May our study of Sefer Bereishit strengthen the chosenness within each of us and our appreciation for Eretz Yisrael.

Rabbi Tuly Weisz

About Rabbi Tuly Weisz

  • Experience :
  • Courses Submitted :
  • Specialist in :
Rabbi Naphtali “Tuly” Weisz served as a rabbi for five years at the Beth Jacob Congregation in Columbus, Ohio before moving to Israel with his family. He attended Yeshiva University (BA), Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (Rabbinic Ordination) and the Benjamin Cardozo School of Law (JD). He is the founder of Israel365, an organization that promotes the significance of the Land of Israel through a variety of innovative platforms. Rabbi Weisz is the editor of The Israel Bible.


Know More

Comments ( 38 )

The comments below do not necessarily reflect the beliefs and opinions of The Israel Bible™.

Post a Reply

Comments must adhere to our guidelines or they may be removed.

  • Glennis Rogerson

    I am training to be a Methodist Preacher and found this site. I am glad I did because it has helped me so far to understand Jewish teachings better. This is what is needed education. Thank you.

    • G

      Lul read the talmud goy

      • Charles

        Your stupid response is uncalled for and only ignites the curse of anti-semitism.
        I really believe you must be a white supremacist anti Semite.

        • Joe

          There is no offense in that comment.

          • Robert Boatwright

            Goy can be used in a derogatory manner.

      • Olive Weitzel

        Why are you giving such a nasty answer?
        As a true believer in the G'D of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob you definetely should know better – shame on you!

      • Robert Boatwright

        Goy can be used in a derogatory manner.

  • Valerie McAlister

    As A Christian I see so vividly God's Word being as alive. Life is very complicated without Gods direction. I am still reading the Book . Blessed to be able to.

    • Rollen nolasco

      Shatan was able to enter the Gan Adamah freely. Where are the guards of the territory? He outsmart the Creator of the Garden and turned human lives into the wilderness. What a great story or is it?

  • Albert Nygren

    One of the things that I have thought about in Genesis is the so called Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Satan wanted Adam and Eve to eat of the fruit of that tree after God forbid it. Now we know that God is all goodness and only makes commandments because they are for our best interests. We also know that Satan is the Father of lies, hates God and hates all humans. It is Satan's desire that all souls go to hell. Because of that I think that the fruit of that tree does not give actual knowledge of good and evil but instead gives whoever eats the fruit of that tree the illusion that by thinking, humans can tell what is Good or evil and so not have to obey God's Commandments. Satan told Eve that she would be like the Gods knowing good and evil, but the fact is that the human mind can not tell what is good or evil because we can never know what all the consequences of an action are down through Eternity. We hear the same lie and the same illusion now all the time. "I don't have to obey that commandment. It makes no sense in modern times, maybe it was ok thousands of years ago but we should not have to obey it today."

    • Valerie McAlister

      I know this sounds a little crazy what I am about to write but take time to read this . In the garden man did not have death it was not there it still to this very day no death dwells there.
      It the center of the Garden where death does not dwell is the tree of Knowledge of good and evil. With in every human is the heart it also dwells in the center. Spiritually, this very tree was like a realm a doorway a place that separated goodness (purity) and death. like a doorway sealed.

      Men (humans) now dwell in the shadow of death not in death as it fully is.Recall the story Eve was in the realm of this everlasting eternal spiritual garden ( A place with in the Kingdom Of God.) There she, Adam along with the Spiritual beings dwelled. God spoke to Adam instructing him not to ever go near this center tree, not to eat of it for in that very day he would die, Eve was knowledgeable of this law also but Satan was bond by this tree he called out to her. Santan was at one time an angel yet he too fell from God's eternal Glory because of his own greed to rise above God. Eve listened to this light like being falling under a deception taking the fruit and biting the fruit. In that very moment Death engulfed her ! She was thrown out to darkness, she saw Adam through the veil because of the brightness of light this place called Eden. Seeing Adam who was probably seeking her company, she cried out to him convincing him to the deception. The very moment he also partook in the fruit he was thrown into death with Eve. The reason it say's the hid from God as he came seeking Adam and Eve where dead ( death is separation from God with out HIS Life there isn't any life) God is separated from Death. Adam and Eve where both in darkness dead !God knew before they told him what happened so God summoned them to speak through the veil. Then he spoke his Judgement making the promise of restoration through the bloodline of the Hebrew Nation.God then Placed Us (humans) on a physical journey . Adam and Eve's records are quite interesting when one reads the Forgotten books of Adam And Eve.Earth is centered between life and death. Every man (human) has The Laws Of God With In their hearts. Every human has a choice to listen to the instruction from the True creator and desire to please him or turn to the desires of death. We at this point of time have been given free will to learn by grace we are alive by grace we may know The creator of all things. By his unconditional love we can find our pathway home . As it was in the beginning so shall be in the end.
      Ecclesiastes 1;99 What has been will be again,
      what has been done will be done again;
      there is nothing new under the sun.

      • Rollen nolasco

        Shatan was able to enter the Gan Adamah freely. Where are the guards of the territory? He outsmart the Creator of the Garden and turned human lives into the wilderness. What a great story or is it?

    • Albert Nygren

      If you do a search on Bing for that book there are numbers of booksellers that have it for a reasonable price and there is also a website that you can read it or download it for free,

    • Anthony McCabe

      You can both download from Online or listen to the Audio Version on YouTube for Free.
      Shalom and blessings to you Sister

  • Twila Dry

    So right, science is constantly changing and correcting its hypothesis to fit new interpretations of their observations. God's Word is constant and the only absolute truth. Given enough time science will catch up. New truths are found almost daily through archeologists. The Bible was written to help us learn Who God is.

    • Albert Nygren

      I respectfully disagree about the necessity of science catching up with Hashem if they are given enough time. That is because the human mind does not have even 1 billionth of the capability of God's mind. Also, the Atheist scientists keep lying about how things are. The idea of species changing into other species ( an amoeba eventually evolved into a chicken, a cow, a Giraffe, an elephant. and finally into a human; all by accident. This idea is so preposterous according to the laws of science that it has to be a conscious fiction perpetrated by Atheist scientists to try to prove that Hashem neither created the world nor all the species of life on Earth.

      • Yechiel Shlipshon

        I have the same situation with those who say that all matter has always been here.
        OK; we reverse the time, and see all matter go back to the origins.
        Then, nothing.
        All existence is to come. Question;
        the very first particle of all. Where did it come from?
        Some how, some way, it came into being. How?
        We do not know, but it did. And all matter after, as more atoms, then matter, then all the physical everything we have.
        There still had to be a start. So it is with species. there had to be the first one, Created. Then something happens, and a variation comes into being. Conditions change, and motivate other life changes.
        And more; it had to be.
        HaShem's plan.
        I am "finite". i can really only understand the Finite.
        HaShem is "Infinite". Beyond my our any one's ability to understand. He did as He plan/plans. As Hillel would say – "The rest is commentary; go forth and learn.

    • Anthony McCabe

      Unfortunately (atheists) Scientists will Never catch up as their Soul purpose is to “try” and prove that there’s no God BUT Science itself IS catching up making Science more and more God’s friend with both Archaeology and Science proving both God and His Word more and more correct, truthful and reliable.

      Shalom and blessings to you

  • BoanergesOKC

    We should never bend the word to fit with science. Gods thoughts and ways are so much higher than ours.

  • BoanergesOKC

    So grateful for Genesis. In todays world where atheist and evolutionist force their beliefs on us and our children it is nice to find communities of believers in the word of God. The earth is not millions or billions of years old. Everything we are taught of space and even dinosaurs is to contridict the Bible and create doubt. The same gimmick the serpent used to trick Eve. He got here to doubt the word of God. The world also tries to trick us that there are not real consequence for sin… You will not surely die? Oh thank you Lord for your beautiful word to guide us and lead us into all truth.

    • Albert Nygren

      Yes, Genesis is so important as are all the scriptures. And Atheist and evolutionist do force their views on us and our children. I am 73 y/o and went to public schools. But evolution was taught as a Theory and not as a fact. I love the scientific method because of it's logic but evolution is neither logical nor even grossly possible. It is certainly a devilish tool that is an attempt to in effect say that there is no God!

      • Marla

        Hey Albert, Been reading your comments and I agree! And that's rare:) Clearly The Almighty has fulfilled His Word of Joel 2 and poured out His Spirit upon ALL flesh; for true wisdom can ONLY come from ElElyon,The Most High
        G-d! Eternal blessings to you and all those you love.

  • DannyLee ben Israel

    "Since God is the creator of the world, it is His to give it to whomever he chooses. Though He initially gave it to the seven nations of Canaan, when they were no longer worthy He chose to take it from them and give it to the Children of Israel."
    I agree with this statement with the exception of one small perception. Certainly, it's Elohim's right to give the land to whomever He chooses. Yet, saying He first gave it to the "seven nations of Canaan" gives the perception this was Hashem's "Plan A", When they didn't measure up to His standards, He went to "Plan B" and gave it to Israel. In my understanding of Torah, Elohim doesn't have back-up plans. I don't understand His reasoning because He doesn't always confide in me. However, I believe Torah teaches Avraham was "Plan A" from the beginning.
    Also, there is this misconception that the total Land grant to Avraham was the little strip of land we know as Israel today. The actual Land grant is enormously greater–from the Nile to the Euphrates and everything in between.

    • Albert Nygren

      Very true! In fact I was just reading within the past 2 days that God took the land away from the Canaanites because of their terrible sinfulness and that was why Hashem gave it to the 12 tribes of Israel. Even though I am not Jewish but Christian, it was reading the Tanach and seeing the relationship between G-d and His people Israel that I came to love all of Israel and Hashem Himself. Israel was so human and yet had such great souls as Moses and others and G-d was and is so loving and so patient, yet His patience had limits. Even so, He has never deserted Israel and never will, and this gives me hope that He will never desert me either. Baruch Hashem.

    • Herman Arentsen

      I don't think that HaShem has a plan A and plan B. He is the Creator of Heaven and earth. It is , in my opinion an example of Greek thinking. We Hebrew think concentric in a repeating mode. Would the Creator not have known that He should choose His people ? Showing HIS impartiality HE let other peoples have a try out. Then His people showed HE was in the right.

  • SueJean Heinz

    When I read the question posed by the Rabbi below, I had to pause and take a deep breath. Do we interpret the Scriptures from our modern perspective looking backward or within the historical context that they were written?

    "Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki, the famed medieval commentator known by his acronym Rashi, asks a compelling question. If the Torah is essentially a book of law, why did God choose to start it with the stories of creation? Would it not have made more sense to begin with the first law commanded to the Jewish people?"

    When the Torah was written, there were no Jewish people………Judaism simply isn't that old. Hmm….
    Baruch Hashem.

    • Cathy Hunnicutt

      God did give Adam and Eve the only LAW they needed at the time. "Do not take of the tree of knowledge."
      Jesus also ask one commandment "Love they neighbor as thy self which covers all the Ten commandments"

      • Yechiel Shlipshon

        A little history on the "Golden Rule">
        There is a negative Golden Rule, and a positive Golden Rule.
        Manuscripts of the first century shows that the mind was not made up for a while, as to whom should have which. Then, one of those "councils" and it was decided which party shall which version.
        That simple.

  • Antony Varghese Kanappilly

    I have several editions of Holy Bible! And I had bought a new Hebrew-English edition from Israel while my last visit. But this experience is entirely different, that getting a GREAT edition of Holy Bible at fingertips.

    Thank you so much for making me to read it everyday. And congratulations for your effort!

  • Joshua Michael

    I have just downloaded the Israel Bible and am looking forward to doing studies through it. The Irony is is that I have just finished reading the Book of Genesis and started studying Altars, Sacrifices and Name changes that God did with the early Fathers.

  • Israel Yoon

    Thank you very much for your learning tool(Tanakh).
    But it is very difficult for me because my english level is very law.
    So I do study diligent.

Skip to toolbar