We are at the beginning of a new Torah Cycle – Simchat Torah. I love this time of year, I get to start over fresh reading scripture and hopefully on track. Each year I read the Torah portion from a different translation. The more radical or different the translation, the better… not because I’m radical, but because it forces me to research and look up words, which I love to do. So I have to tell you, the version I’m using this year already has me digging deep into the Hebrew Lexicon to research the words. Which means it is FANTASTIC for me. But does not necessarily mean you will love it. I am reading the Gutnick edition of the Chumash. (You can click the name of the Scriptures to go directly to it on Amazon). If you don’t have a Hebrew Lexicon, my favorite is Gesenius. You will see me use his definitions regularly!
So let’s get back to our Torah portion – Bereshit – where we return to the beginning of the Bible… Genesis. Of course, in the beginning we have the creation of the world. Like I mentioned above, the Gutnick translation is already making me do a lot of research and you will see why. Of course, the story begins with the world’s creation in six days and G-d resting on the seventh day. This translation really is beautiful but I’ll give you heads up on the commentary… it is straight out of Talmud. I love reading it. I love seeing what makes Judaism think or do some of the things they do and reading the Jewish commentary helps. But if you have not been reading the Torah portion for many years, don’t start with this one. You need a pretty firm foundation of reading Torah before you dive into commentary (in my opinion).
If you are just joining me, please give me a moment to first tell you who I am and why I write… but more importantly, let me start with who I am not. I am not a Bible scholar. I am a Bible student. I am a Berean. I love to dissect scripture and really study the words… but I am a baby and novice. I have been studying Torah for almost a decade… but that still makes me a babe! So, I highly recommend you study the Torah portion and read it in whatever version you are reading from this year and see if my understanding lines up with the Word. We should NEVER listen to anyone and not test it!! Second, I guess you have already guessed by the name of the website, I am a Messianic Mom. I write because it helps me remember what I’ve gleaned this Torah cycle. I always start each year with the best of intentions. But inevitably I get behind in typing up my thoughts and I miss typing out my thoughts on many of the Torah Portions. So if you are looking for a complete study, I won’t even be close. Just wanted you to know up front. I will do my best to actually cover them all this year… but we will see. Third, I write about what strikes me within the portion. So I’m not writing about what each portion means. Fourth, I’m going to ask you lots of questions and won’t necessarily answer them from my perspective. I want to challenge you to dig into the Word yourself. Fifth, I want to hear what you think too! Please leave me comments and let’s discuss (midrash) about the portion.
I guess that is enough forewarnings for now… on to the study.
Genesis 1:1 – 2:4
I love how this translation starts:
In the beginning of God’s creation of the heavens and the earth when the earth was astoundingly desolate, darkness was on the surface of the deep….
- The First Day is the separation of light and darkness, but what is that? It is not setting the moon and sun and stars, that happens later on the Fourth Day. Notice that scriptures say it was evening and it became morning – the first day. This is why Jewish and Messianic believers start counting the beginning of the day in the evening instead of the morning.
- The Second Day is the Separation of Waters.
- The Third Day is the creation of Land and Vegetation.
- The Fourth Day is the creation of the Sun, Moon and Stars. What purpose were they created for? Don’t assume, go read scripture!!
- The Fifth Day is the creation of Small Creatures, Fish and Birds.
- The Sixth Day Animals and Man. I love how scripture says G-d blessed them saying:
Be fruitful and multiply…
Having children is a blessing!! Another thing I notice here is that trees that have seed-bearing fruit are for food for man and for animal.
- The Seventh Day is Shabbat… G-d rests from His work. He blesses the seventh day and He sanctifies it.
Genesis 2:5 – 3:3
In this section, Scripture circles back around and gives more details to the creation account. In Genesis 2:5, we see that Man was meant to work from the beginning. Before I really started reading Torah, I always thought Adam and Eve had given up a life of ease (with no work) when they sinned. Go back and read Genesis 2:5 and see if you see what I mean. And then read Genesis 2:15. As an aside, do you think we will have “jobs” in Heaven?
I believe Adam’s sin was bigger than just eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. I believe he failed to guard the Garden of Eden and to protect Eve. I looked up the word cultivate (H5647) and the definition is to work; but also serve others. Is that confirmation that he failed to protect Eve? I don’t know… Leave me a comment below and tell me if you agree.
Did you catch that Adam was not made out of dirt from the Garden of Eden? Is that important to know? I assume so, since it is in Scripture, right? Read Genesis 2:8 for confirmation.
Remember in the Gutnick, it also has a great deal of Talmud and the Sages of Judaism for commentary. This one made me laugh.
Deep belly laughs.
Almost out of breath kind of laughing!
Seriously… while I laughed, I was busy texting my husband with it.
Why was woman created “opposite” man? Rashi: If he is worthy, she will be a helpmate. If he is not worthy, she will be against him, to fight him.
He actually had a fantastic comeback! He said…
I never liked Rashi, I bet he was single!
Genesis 3:4 – 3:23
One thing I always notice here is that Eve expands the limitation that G-d gave Adam. What does she say that is not actually what G-d said? Leave me a comment below.
Did you notice that there is not one mention of apple here?
I have a theory about Genesis 3:22 that just occurred to me on this reading. Knowing is often referred to as intimacy (See Genesis 4:25. Strongs H3045). I think here it is not the head knowledge of just Knowing Good and Evil but, the act of knowing, good and evil. An intimate relationship with evil. Doing it. Read the passages and let me know if you agree.
here is another one of those revelation moments this year reading this chapter. What did Cain and Abel offer to the Lord? I have read this section for ten years and have read firstborn so many times … but tonight, it just occurred to me that the firstborn is always set aside for G-d. I think that is why Abel’s offering was more pleasing to G-d. If you are unfamiliar with the firstborn being set aside for G-d’s purposes, read Numbers 3:12-13.
If I point out funny things in Scripture, I sincerely hope you don’t consider me irreverent!! Because I will point them out when I see them. Here is one I’ll share from this Torah portion. In Genesis 4:19 we have Lemech taking two wives. One is named Adah and the other Tzilah. I always look up the meaning of names. Adah’s name means….
Adah’s name means ornament! Have you ever heard of a trophy wife? Or Arm Candy? Well… it appears Adah was an ornament for Lemech’s arm! See, there is nothing new happening today! 🙂 I’m sure that will make you wonder about what Tzilah’s name means… But, I’m not doing all the work for you… look it up 🙂
Genealogies can be so hard to read, but they are important. So don’t skip them! One thing I want to point out right off the bat… did you notice that Adam and Eve had more children after Seth? Many don’t realize that he fathered additional sons and daughters… yet it is right there in verse 4 of Chapter 5. If you missed it, go back and reread it.
My interpretation of this part of the first Torah Portion may not line up with what you believe. But I encourage you to go reread it from multiple translations and look up the words. I think the sons of Gods does not mean angels … I think it means nobility and/or well known men. Men of a higher status taking common girls to marry them. Maybe even without consent. What do you think?
Haftarah and Brit Sections
I will not write about the Haftarah and the NT readings this year. But I want to list them here so you can read them for yourself.
Haftarah for this Torah Portion is Isaiah 42:5 – 21.
The Brit Hadasha reading (the New Testament reading) is: John 8:51-58.\
Additional Questions / Thoughts to ponder:
- In Genesis 1:26, G-d uses the term “us”… who is He referring to?
- G-d asks questions several times in this Torah Portion. Do they answer honestly? Does G-d already know the answers? Why does He ask the questions?
Don’t forget to leave me comments below to answer some of the questions, to learn from each other, and just to discuss the portion. I look forward to chatting with you and learning together this year!