“These are the beginnings.”
The Torah is foundational to the entire Bible, and in the first part of Genesis
we can see the roots of major Biblical themes. In today’s portion, we first see
God’s character represented by His Holy Name, then the creation of man, his
dwelling place, his fall, and origins of the ordinances of circumcision and
God’s Holy Name
(See God’s Holy Name)
“Elohim” refers to the creator
who judges His creation – He saw that it was very good. “Yahweh” refers to the
Eternal who is gracious. Here we first see “Yahweh Elohim” (v.2:4, commonly
translated “the Lord God”), the Eternal who is gracious with His creation that
He judges. “Yahweh” is His memorial name for all generations (Exodus 3:15). It
also indicates God’s attribute of being eternal – (Hayah, Hoveh, V’yih-yeh) He
was, He is, and He will be – and His attributes of omnipresence, omnipotence,
Here is modern rabbinic teaching
concerning the Name Yahweh: “This is also the proper name of God. In respect
for its intense holiness, it is not pronounced as it is spelled. In prayer or
when reciting a complete verse of the Torah, it is pronounce Adonoy (Lord).
Otherwise it is referred to as HaShem (the Name)” [The Chumash on Genesis
In Scripture, God’s memorial
Name is used approximately 7,000 times, far more than any other proper noun, and
by all kinds of speakers. The command to use it is the most repeated command in
the Bible, though it is not enumerated with the 613 as compiled by modern
rabbinic sources. We are repeatedly commanded to “Praise the Name Yahweh”
(Psalm 7:17, Joel 2:26, Isaiah 42:8), but “Not use His name in vain”
(Exodus 20:7). We are to use it only with utmost respect and honor, not as a
common word. [I have a hard time seeing justification for replacing the Name,
when reading Scripture or blessing God, with a common word such as “Lord” or
While God did not indicate this
name to man until Moses (Exodus 3:15), some 2500 years after Adam was created,
yet Moses used it in writing the Torah, from this account of God’s original
dealings with man. From Adam, through Moses, to the present, the Eternal God has
dealt with man by grace. He does not change (1 Samuel 15:29, Malachi 3:6).
Creation of Man
Though God created trees and
vegetation on the third day (v.1:11), they did not grow above ground before the
end of the sixth day – when man was created: “Now
no shrub of the field was yet in the earth, and no plant of the field had yet
sprouted, for Yahweh Elohim had not sent rain upon the earth; and there was no
man to cultivate the ground”
(v.2:5). The sages say that crops did not come to fruition until there was man
to bless His Name for them.
God took Adam’s body and
breathed into it the spirit of life, and Adam became a living soul (v.2:7). The
body without the spirit is dead (James 2:26). “Soul” is commonly used with
feelings that require the spirit to be with the body – as when a soul desires
food. It seems to represent the combination of the other two.
God did not finish creating
until the end of the sixth day, “Friday” (He rested from creating on the Holy
Sabbath): His final creation was man – male and female (Gen 1:27, 31).
On the sixth day, God created
Adam, and then placed him in the garden with instructions forbidding the Tree of
Knowledge (v.2:15-17), and finally created Eve (v.2:22). Some may like to call
Eve the crowning achievement of creation. Eve (Heva) means living
(v.3:20). Adam called her “ishah” (woman), because she was taken from “ish”
(See Eden / Paradise)
The Hebrew “Gan Edan” is
usually translated into English as “Garden of Eden;” in the Greek Septuagint, it
is translated “Paradisos,” which is subsequently translated into English
as “Paradise.” As Yahweh placed the Garden of Eden for man on the ancient earth,
so on the renewed earth God will establish Paradise – Eden. The same items found
in the original Eden (Genesis 2) are to be found in the future Eden (Revelation
2 & 22). These include: the river flowing out from Eden (Gen 2:10 / Rev 22:1),
the tree of life (Gen 2:9 / Rev 2:7 & 22:2), and God walking with man (Gen 3:8 /
Man was charged with keeping
Eden’s garden, and was not to seek to be like God (Genesis 3:5).
- Man’ s Fall
While Torah means to point or
aim – Messiah is the goal of the Torah (Romans 10:4), sin (Heb. chattat)
means to miss the mark – to fall short of the goal.
God said to Adam, “Because
you listened to the voice of your wife . . .” (v.3:17); so we see that Adam
chose between pleasing God and pleasing the one who was offering a momentary
enticement. How often do we do this? Adam was graciously given Eve, then pointed
to her for an excuse for his sin (v.3:12). Eve pointed to the serpent for an
excuse (v.3:13). God faulted all three. Interestingly, Adam replied (literal
translation of v.12 Heb. v’ochel – future tense), “I ate and will eat
again”! This seems to be an admission that he would likely do the same again
in similar circumstances.
Adam died spiritually the day he
sinned (shown by his hiding from God), and he died physically on the same
millennial day (he lived to 930 years, short of one millennium).
Though Eve sinned before Adam,
it was through Adam that a sin nature was inherited by all mankind (Romans
5:12). Therefore, Yeshua, “the seed of the woman”, did not inherit sin, having
no earthly father.
Some would say that ha-satan
(satan) was created before this week of creation. Some rabbinic sources teach
that angels were created on the second day of creation. God says that all
things, in heaven and earth, were created in these six days (Exodus 20:11). See
In this portion, we see the
promise of a redeemer: satan would bruise the heel (indicating temporary
hurt/crucifixion) of the seed-of-the-woman (Messiah), then Messiah would crush
the head (indicating ultimately destruction) of the serpent (satan).
Adam and Eve glowed with the
glory of God (see Eden/Paradise). Trees of the garden did not glow. When Adam
and Eve sinned, they lost their glow; and perceiving their “unclothed” state,
covered themselves with leaves and hid among the trees of the garden (v.3:7-8).
They tried to look like trees, which did not glow.
A Promised Redeemer
This week’s portion includes Gen 3:15, “Yahweh
Elohim said to the serpent. . . , ‘I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, when you shall
bruise His heel.’
Let us consider Yeshua,
with no earthly father, called the Seed of the woman (see Gal 3:16). He is “the
prophet like Moses” (Deut 18:15; Acts 3:22, 7:37), leading the church through
the wilderness (Acts 7:38). Marching a straight line, He plants His foot on the
earth (2000 years ago), and a little viper snake (haSatan) bites His heel
(crucifixion). He takes a step backwards and steps on the snake, crushing its
head (destroying its power by His resurrection). The flock is temporarily
scattered (Matt 26:31), but the snake no longer poses a danger to it – the
church will never be swallowed up by death (Matt 16:18), but will march on to an
ultimate glorious life!
Then God clothed them with skin
(v.3:21). We often hear that this was animal skin, indicating a slain animal;
but the text does not say so. Having lost their covering of light, they may have
been, for the first time, covered with human skin. Some rabbinical sources
suggest that they were “uncircumcised”, given foreskin and hymen (circumcision,
prescribed on the eighth day for a man and at marital consummation for a woman,
being seen as our return to the original holy state). The latter two ideas may
coincide. In any case, it was God who provided the atonement (covering).
We know that circumcision is an
ordinance of God – of that category of commandments where men are to perform
some physical act to display spiritual truth. We know that circumcision
indicates partaking in God’s Covenant – to be of His people. Here we may see
that it represents going back to the original state, before the fall, which is
the ultimate purpose of God’s covenant.
(See Mikvah / Baptism)
The portion about the river
(v.2:10-14) seems to be a parenthetical clause – its relationship to the rest of
the chapter is not obvious. We see this river again in Revelation 22:1-3. The
Talmud teaches that all the water in this world had as its source this river
from Eden. The Mikvah Mayim (baptismal water) is our primary contact with
the Garden of Eden: when we immerse in it, we are born again – symbolically from
the Mem for Mayim, picturing our spiritual birth by the Word of
Today, many Christian groups
take the “New Testament” (a misnomer) to replace the “Old Testament”, and take
baptism to be something new started by John the Baptist. It is commonly taken to
be a “public” act, often performed at the front of a church sanctuary.
Immersion in a mikvah is
an ordinance of the Torah. An ordinance is a symbolic act to demonstrate
spiritual truth. Baptism is not a public act: clothing is not an option. John
would not have baptized men in the Jordan when women were present. “The baptism
of repentance for the remission of sins” (Mark 1:4, Luke 3:3) is an ordinance
performed during the forty days preceding Yom haKippurim / the Day of the
We know that baptism pictures
burial and resurrection. When we are baptized, we are to rise in newness of
life, to serve God. Ultimately, we are to physically rise from the dead to the
original sinless state – in Eden.
Torah for All from Beginning
Yahweh, the Gracious One, gave
Torah (instruction) to Adam. Adam should have acted in love towards God and Eve,
but Adam disobeyed, ultimately hurting himself and others.
Adam was created at the end of
the sixth day, and the Holy Sabbath was made next. Yeshua said “the Sabbath
was made for man” (Mark 2:27) – it was made initially for Adam.
The Ten Commandments were given
through Moses, the first five to show us how to love Yahweh, the last five to
show us how to love our neighbor. The Fourth Commandment is to “remember the
Sabbath, to keep it holy” – as it was established in the beginning.
The Commandments were “added
because of transgressions” (Galatians 3:19) – to show people that they were
fallen far from the original instructions. They were not some monumental change
The Torah was not only for one
group of people. After God chose Israel to be “a light to the world”
(Isaiah 42:6, 49:6, 60:3) – to take God’s instruction to everyone, He took the
priesthood from the firstborn (since Adam) and gave it to the Levites (Numbers
The title, “These are the
beginnings”, indicates that this portion of Genesis is foundational to the
whole of history.
"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King
of the Universe,
Who chose us from among all peoples by
giving us Your Torah.
Blessed are You, Yahweh, giver of the
Elleh toldot hashamaim
v’ha-aretz b’hi-baram b’yom asot Yahweh Elohim eretz v’shamaim.
Reader 1* Amen
These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created,
in the day that Yahweh Elohim
made earth and heavens. 5 Now no shrub of the field was yet in the
earth, and no plant of the field had yet sprouted, for
had not sent rain upon the earth; and there was no man to cultivate the ground.
6 But a mist used to rise from the earth and water the whole surface
of the ground.
Reader 2* Amen
Then Yahweh Elohim formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his
nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. 8 And
Yahweh Elohim planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the
man whom He had formed. 9 And out of the ground Yahweh Elohim caused
to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of
life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and
Reader 3* Amen
Now a river flowed out of Eden to water the garden; and from there it divided
and became four rivers. 11 The name of the first is Pishon; it flows
around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. 12 And the
gold of that land is good; the bdellium and the onyx stone are there. 13
And the name of the second river is Gihon; it flows around the whole land of
Cush. 14 And the name of the third river is Tigris; it flows east of
Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.
Reader 4* Amen
Then Yahweh Elohim took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate
it and keep it. 16 And Yahweh Elohim commanded the man, saying, "From
any tree of the garden you may eat freely; 17 but from the tree of
the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat
from it you shall surely die."
Reader 5* Amen
Then Yahweh Elohim said, "It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make
him a helper suitable for him." 19 And out of the ground Yahweh
Elohim formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought
them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a
living creature, that was its name. 20 And the man gave names to all
the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field, but
for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him. 21 So Yahweh
Elohim caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one
of his ribs, and closed up the flesh at that place. 22 And Yahweh
Elohim fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and
brought her to the man. 23 And the man said, "This is now bone of my
bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken
out of Man." 24 For this cause a man shall leave his father and his
mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. 25
And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.
Reader 6* Amen
Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which Yahweh Elohim
had made. And he said to the woman, "Indeed, has God said, 'You shall not eat
from any tree of the garden '?" 2 And the woman said to the serpent,
"From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; 3 but from the
fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, 'You shall
not eat from it or touch it, lest you die.'" 4 And the serpent said
to the woman, "You surely shall not die! 5 "For God knows that in the
day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing
good and evil." 6 When the woman saw that the tree was good for food,
and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make
one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with
her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and
they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made
themselves loin coverings. 8 And they heard the sound of Yahweh
Elohim walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife
hid themselves from the presence of Yahweh Elohim among the trees of the garden.
Reader 7* Amen
Then Yahweh Elohim called to the man, and said to him, "Where are you?" 10
And he said, "I heard the sound of Thee in the garden, and I was afraid because
I was naked; so I hid myself." 11 And He said, "Who told you that you
were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?"
12 And the man said, "The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave
me from the tree, and I ate." 13 Then Yahweh Elohim said to the
woman, "What is this you have done?" And the woman said, "The serpent deceived
me, and I ate." 14 And Yahweh Elohim said to the serpent, "Because
you have done this, cursed are you more than all cattle, and more than every
beast of the field; on your belly shall you go, and dust shall you eat all the
days of your life; 15 And I will put enmity between you and the
woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and
you shall bruise him on the heel." 16 To the woman He said, "I will
greatly multiply your pain in childbirth, in pain you shall bring forth
children; yet your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over
you." 17 Then to Adam He said, "Because you have listened to the
voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you,
saying, 'You shall not eat from it'; cursed is the ground because of you; in
toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. 18 "Both thorns
and thistles it shall grow for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field;
19 by the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to
the ground, because from it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you
shall return." 20 Now the man called his wife's name Heva (Eve),
because she was the mother of all the living. 21 And Yahweh Elohim
made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them.
"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King
of the Universe,
Who in giving us Yeshua, the Living
Torah, has planted everlasting life in our midst.
Blessed are You, Yahweh, giver of the
"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King
of the Universe,
Who selected good prophets, delighting
in their words which were spoken truthfully.
Blessed are You, Yahweh, Who chose the
Torah, Your servant Moses, Your people Israel,
and the prophets of truth and
Reader 8* Amen
Again the word of Yahweh came to me saying, 12 "Son of man, take up a
lamentation over the king of Tyre, and say to him, 'Thus says Yahweh Elohim,
"You had the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. 13
"You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering:
the ruby, the topaz, and the diamond; the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper; the
lapis lazuli, the turquoise, and the emerald; and the gold, the workmanship of
your settings and sockets, was in you. On the day that you were created they
were prepared. 14 "You were the anointed cherub who covers, and I
placed you there. You were on the holy mountain of God; you walked in the midst
of the stones of fire. 15 "You were blameless in your ways from the
day you were created, until unrighteousness was found in you. 16 "By
the abundance of your trade you were internally filled with violence, and you
sinned; therefore I have cast you as profane from the mountain of God. And I
have destroyed you, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire.
17 "Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; you corrupted
your wisdom by reason of your splendor. I cast you to the ground; I put you
before kings, that they may see you. 18 "By the multitude of your
iniquities, in the unrighteousness of your trade, you profaned your sanctuaries.
Reader 9* Amen
Therefore I have brought fire
from the midst of you; it has consumed you, and I have turned you to ashes on
the earth In the eyes of all who see you. 19 "All who know you among
the peoples are appalled at you; you have become terrified, and you will be no
more."'" 20 And the word of Yahweh came to me saying, 21
"Son of man, set your face toward Sidon, prophesy against her, 22 and
say, 'Thus says the Lord God, "Behold, I am against you, O Sidon, and I shall be
glorified in your midst. Then they will know that I am Yahweh, when I execute
judgments in her, and I shall manifest My holiness in her. 23 For I
shall send pestilence to her and blood to her streets, and the wounded will fall
in her midst by the sword upon her on every side; then they will know that I am
Yahweh. 24 "And there will be no more for the house of Israel a
prickling brier or a painful thorn from any round about them who scorned them;
then they will know that I am Yahweh Elohim." 25 'Thus says Yahweh
Elohim, "When I gather the house of Israel from the peoples among whom they are
scattered, and shall manifest My holiness in them in the sight of the nations,
then they will live in their land which I gave to My servant Jacob. 26
"And they will live in it securely; and they will build houses, plant vineyards,
and live securely, when I execute judgments upon all who scorn them round about
them. Then they will know that I am Yahweh their Elohim."'"
(to be sung)
Why are the nations in an uproar, and the peoples devising a vain thing? 2
The kings of the earth take their stand, and the rulers take counsel together
against Yahweh and against His Anointed: 3 "Let us tear their fetters
apart, and cast away their cords from us!" 4 He who sits in the
heavens laughs, Yahweh scoffs at them. 5 Then He will speak to them
in His anger and terrify them in His fury: 6 "But as for Me, I have
installed My King upon Zion, My holy mountain. 7 I will surely tell
of the decree of Yahweh: He said to Me, 'You are My Son, today I have begotten
You. 8 Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your
inheritance, and the very ends of the earth as Your possession. 9 You
shall break them with a rod of iron, thou shalt shatter them like earthenware.'
" 10 Now therefore, O kings, show discernment; take warning, O judges
of the earth. 11 Worship Yahweh with reverence, and rejoice with
trembling. 12 Do homage to the Son, lest He become angry, and you
perish in the way, for His wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are all who
take refuge in Him!
Reader 10* Amen
Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through
sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned-- 13 for
until the Law sin was in the world; but sin is not imputed when there is no law.
14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those
who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him
who was to come. 15 But the free gift is not like the transgression.
For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of
God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Yeshua the Messiah, abound to the
many. 16 And the gift is not like that which came through the one who
sinned; for on the one hand the judgment arose from one transgression resulting
in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift arose from many
transgressions resulting in justification.
Reader 11* Amen
For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more
those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will
reign in life through the One, Yeshua the Messiah. 18 So then as
through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so
through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all
men. 19 For as through the one man's disobedience the many were made
sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made
righteous. 20 And the Law came
in that the transgression might increase; but where sin increased, grace
abounded all the more, 21 that, as sin reigned in death, even so
grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Yeshua the
Messiah our Lord.
"Blessed are You, Yahweh
our God, King of the Universe,
Rock of Ages, righteous
throughout all generations.
You are the faithful God,
promising and then performing, speaking and then fulfilling,
for all Your words are true
Faithful are You, Yahweh
our God, and faithful are Your words,
for no word of Yours shall
You are a faithful and
merciful God and King.
Blessed are You, Yahweh our
God, Who are faithful in fulfilling all Your words."