The Generations of the Heavens and of the Earth

By Rabbi Dr. Hillel ben David (Greg Killian)

 


Introduction

 

Sefer Bereshit, the Book of Genesis, is a foundational book which forms the pattern of history. Nowhere is this more clear than in the toledot, the genealogies. In this study, I would like to examine the structure of Bereshit and the Messianic significance of the toledot.

 

Most folks skip quickly over the toledot found in Torah. They say that these toledot are boring and devoid of meaning. I believe that HaShem did this intentionally to hide the truth from the foolish so that He could make it available to the wise.

 

In Sefer Bereshit, the toledot form the framework of this book. Before every major person, and their contribution, we have a toledot, a genealogy. As we shall see, these toledot form the framework that will reveal the secrets of this book.

 

Let’s start by examining what this word, toledot, means. Strong’s defines it as:

 

8435 towledah, to-led-aw'; or toledah, to-led-aw'; from 3205; (plur. only) descent, i.e. family; (fig.) history:-birth, generations.

----------------- Dictionary Trace ---------------

3205 yalad, yaw-lad'; a prim. root; to bear young; causat. to beget; med. To act as midwife; spec. to show lineage:-bear, beget, birth ([-day]), born, (make to) bring forth (children, young), bring up, calve, child, come, be delivered (of a child), time of delivery, gender, hatch, labour, (do the office of a) midwife, declare pedigrees, be the son of,  (woman in, woman that) travail (-eth, -ing woman).

 

Toledah is the singular, toledot is the plural. Strong’s indicates that we never find the singular in Torah, only the plural – toledot. Further, we see that this word is derived from vlad, which is a child. Toledot, therefore, means  ‘children of …’.

 

The Structure of Bereshit

 

HaShem Deals With Man

Genesis

Chapter

Topic

1:1 – 2:3

The story of the seven days of creation.

2:4

The toldot of the heaven and the earth.

2:4 – 3:15

The Garden of Eden. The first Adam.

3:16 – 4:26

Man sins and is expelled from the Garden of Eden.

 

 

5:1

toldot Adam

5:1-31

The generations from Adam to Noach.

5:32 – 6:8

Man sins and is to be expelled from the earth.

 

 

6:9

toldot Noach

6:9 – 8:14

The flood expels wickedness from the earth.

8:15 – 9:17

The story of man after the flood – the rainbow covenant with Man.

9:18-29

The sin of Ham and the blessing of Shem.

 

 

10:1-32

toldot Sons of Noach – The seventy nations.

11:1-4

Sixty-nine nations sin at the tower of Bavel. Man makes a name for himself.

11:5-9

Man is expelled from Bavel by the confusion of language. The family of Shem does not have their language confused.

 

This section ends with the scattering of all the people who rebelled against HaShem. As we shall see, HaShem will gather the ones He loves.

 

 



HaShem Deals With a Family

Genesis

Chapter

Topic

11:10-26

toldot Shem (Name) – The big picture – Man calls on the name of HaShem (The Name).

11:27-32

toldot Terach – The picture focuses on Abraham

12:1- 18:33

Abraham.

19::1-38

Lot

20:1 – 23:20

Abraham

24:1-67

Rebecca and Yitzchak

25:1-11

Abraham

 

 

25:12-18

toldot Ishmael

25:19 – 35:29

toldot Yitzchak – the story of Yitzchak and Yaakov

36:1-43

toldot Esau

 

 

37:1

Yaakov

37:2 – 50:26

toldot Yaakov – Joseph. The life of Joseph.

 

 

Exodus 1

The descendants of Yaakov.

 

From this point on, all of Torah concerns itself with the family of Yaakov, the Sons of Israel. Human history will culminate in the salvation of the Sons of Israel and the second Adam – His Majesty King Yeshua.

 

This structure also contain many other poignant points. We notice that whenever the Torah lists just the names without their story, that HaShem is not intervening in their history. We also can see that HaShem is rejecting them. It is well known that when we elaborate on the story of a person’s life, that we are fond of that person. So, too, with HaShem. He demonstrates His love for these folks by telling their stories.

 

In The Beginning

 

The first place in Torah that we find this word, toledot, is in:

 

Bereshit (Genesis) 2:4 These [are] the generations (toledot) of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that HaShem God made the earth and the heavens,

 

In this introductory verse, we see that the first things which are going to have children, are the heavens and the earth. How strange! How do the heavens and the earth bear children? The Torah gives us the answer:

 

Bereshit (Genesis) 2:7 And HaShem God formed man [of] the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

 

So, from the earth, HaShem created Adam HaRishon. the first Adam.

 

Notice also that Adam was physically formed from the earth, and then HaShem took a part of heaven and breathed it into the physical in order to create a living (earth) soul (heaven).

 

In the End of Days

 

Well, now we know how the earth could have toledot, but, how can heaven have toledot? Again the Torah provides us with an answer:

 

Yochanan (John) 3:13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, [even] the Son of man which is in heaven.

 

From the above verse we can see that the Son of Man, the last Adam, came from Heaven. If this is correct, then we would expect that the Son of Man would also be introduced with a toledot that connects Him with Adam. Yeshua’s toledot begins in:

 

Luqas (Luke) 3:23 And Yeshua himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was [the son] of Heli,

 

Yeshua’s toledot finishes with these words:

 

Luqas (Luke) 3:38 Which was [the son] of Enos, which was [the son] of Seth, which was [the son] of Adam, which was [the son] of God.

 

From this toledot, we span from the first Adam to the last Adam. This last Adam was also the product of the earth:

 

Luqas (Luke) 1 30-35 But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Yeshua. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, And he will reign over the house of Yaakov forever; his kingdom will never end." "How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?" The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.

 

From these verses we can see that this heavenly soul was put into a body formed from the earth.

 

The heavenly nature of Yeshua is also illustrated in the His second toldot found in Matthew 1:1-17. This passage gives the toledot between Abraham and Yeshua. This immediately connects Yeshua with the family of Abraham which had previously been chosen as the family which would be the chosen nation.

 

The Nazarean Codicil then puts the picture together for us:

 

1 Corinthians 15:45-49 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul;

the last Adam [was made] a quickening spirit. Howbeit that [was] not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man [is] of the earth, earthy: the second man [is] the Lord from heaven. As [is] the earthy, such [are] they also that are earthy: and as [is] the heavenly, such [are] they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.

 

From this we can see that the first Adam came from the earth and represents a living soul. The last Adam came from heaven and represents a quickening spirit.

 

Just as the kingdoms of this earth came through the first Adam, so the kingdom of heaven will come through the last Adam.

 

Shemot – Names

 

The book of Shemot (Names), Exodus, begins with the names of the chosen people:

 

Shemot (Exodus) 1:1-5 These are the names of the sons of Israel who went to Egypt with Yaakov, each with his family:

Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Judah;

Issachar, Zebulun and Benjamin;

Dan and Naphtali; Gad and Asher.

The descendants of Yaakov numbered seventy in all; Joseph was already in Egypt.

 

This toldot connects us back to Genesis 48:8 where the “names” of those who went down to Egypt are mentioned. Shemot, then, is a continuation of Bereshit. In this book we see that the family of Yaakov has become the Sons of Israel.

 

Toledot and the Midrash

 

Midrash Rabbah - Genesis XII:6 GENERATIONS (TOLEDOTH). All toledot found in Scripture are defective, except two, viz. These are the toledot (generations) of Perez (Ruth IV, 18), and the present instance. And why are they defective? R. Judan said in R. Abun's name: The six [which they lack][1] corresponds to the six things which were taken away from Adam, viz., his lustre, his immortality [lit. ‘life’], his height, the fruit of the earth, the fruit of trees, and the luminaries.[2] Whence do we know this of his lustre?--Thou changest his countenance, and sendest him away (Job XIV, 20). His immortality?--For dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return (Gen. III, 19). His height? --For it says, And the man and his wife hid themselves (ib. 8).5 R. Aibu said: His height was cut down and reduced to one hundred cubits. The fruit of the earth and the fruit of the tree?-Cursed is the ground for thy sake, etc.  (ib. 17). Luminaries?--R. Simeon b. Judah said: Though the luminaries were cursed on the eve of the Sabbath, they were not smitten until the termination of the Sabbath. This agrees with the Rabbis but not with R. Assi, who maintained: Adam did not retain his glory for a night. What is the proof? But Adam passeth not the night in glory (Ps. XLIX, 13). The Rabbis maintain: He passed the night in his glory, but at the termination of the Sabbath He deprived him of his splendour and expelled him from the Garden of Eden, as it is written, ’Thou changest his countenance, and sendest Him away’ (Job XIV, 20). As soon as the sun set on the night of the Sabbath, the Holy One, blessed be He, wished to hide the light, but He showed honour to the Sabbath; hence it is written, And God blessed the seventh day, etc. (Gen. II, 3): wherewith did He bless it? with light. When the sun set on the night of the Sabbath, the light continued to function, whereupon all began praising, as it is written, Under the whole heaven they shine praises to Him (Job XXXVII, 3); wherefore? Because His light [reaches] unto the ends of the earth (ib.). R. Levi said in the name of the son of Nezirah: That light functioned thirty-six hours, twelve on the eve of the Sabbath [i.e. Friday], twelve during the night of the Sabbath, and twelve on the Sabbath [day]. When the sun sank at the termination of the Sabbath, darkness began to set in. Adam was terrified, [thinking,] Surely indeed the darkness shall bruise [E.V. ’envelop’] me (Ps. CXXXIX, 11): shall he of whom it was written, He shall bruise thy head (Gen. III, 15) now come to attack me! What did the Lord do for him? He made him find two flints which he struck against each other; light came forth and he uttered a blessing over it; hence it is written, But the night was light about me-ba'adeni (Ps. loc. cit.), i.e. the night was light in my Eden  (be-’edni). This agrees with Samuel, for Samuel said: Why do we recite a blessing over a lamp [fire] at the termination of the Sabbath? Because it was then created for the first time. R. Huna in Rab's name, and R. Abbahu in R. Johanan's name said: At the termination of the Day of Atonement, too, we recite a blessing over it, because the fire rested the whole day.1 R. Berekiah said in the name of R. Samuel b. Nahman: Though these things were created in their fullness,[3] yet when Adam sinned they were spoiled, and they will not again return to their perfection until the son of Perez [viz. Messiah] comes; [for in the verse] ’These are the toledot (generations) of Perez ‘, toledot is spelled fully, with a vav.

 

Midrash Rabbah - Genesis XIV:6 [THEN THE LORD God FORMED] THE MAN: for the sake of Abraham.[4] R. Levi said: It is written, The greatest man among the Anakim (Josh. XlV, 15): ‘man ' means Abraham, and why is he called the greatest man? Because he was worthy of being created before Adam,[5] but the Holy One, blessed be He, reasoned: ‘He may sin and there will be none to set it right. Hence I will create Adam first, so that if he sins, Abraham may come and set things right.’ R. Abba b. Kahana said: In general practice, when a man joints a pair of beams [so that they meet] at a slope,[6] where does he place them? Surely in the middle of the chamber, so that they may support the beams in front and behind. Even so, why did the Lord create Abraham in the middle of generations? In order that he might bear the generations before and after him. R. Levi said: You bring a virtuous woman into the house of a corrupt one,[7] but you do not bring a corrupt woman into the house of a virtuous one.

 

Midrash Rabbah - Exodus XXX:3 … On the other hand we read: Now these are (we-eleh) the generations of Ishmael, Abraham's son (ib. XXV, 12), thus adding to those that preceded. Who are these?[8]- Those mentioned just before: And she bore him Zimran, and Jokshan  (ib. 2).[9] So here too: ' Now these are (we-eleh) the generations of Ishmael, Abraham's son’... the firstborn of Ishmael, Nebaioth (ib. 12 f)-they were wicked like the others. Similarly, Now these are (we-eleh) the generations of Yitzchak, Abraham's son  (ib. 19), also adds to those which preceded, namely the children of Ishmael. Who were these?[10]-Esau, [and his sons,] who was the son of Yitzchak. This being so, one might perhaps say that since it says ’And these are (we-eleh) the generations’ that it would include also Yaakov with Esau in the ’generations of Yitzchak ‘?[11] But you will find, with the exception of two places-’ These are the generations of the heaven and the earth’  (Gen. II, 4) and Now these are the generations of Perez  (Ruth IV, 18)- the word ’ toledot ' whenever it occurs in the Bible is spelt defectively,[12] and for a very significant reason. Thus the word is spelt fully [with a waw] in the case of ’ These are the generations of the heaven and the earth’, because when HaShem created His world, there was no Angel of Death in the world, and on this account is it spelt fully[13]; but as soon as Adam and Eve sinned, HaShem made defective all the ’toledot’ mentioned in the Bible.[14] But when Perez arose, his ’generations’ were spelt fully again, because from him Messiah would arise, and in his days God would cause death to be swallowed up, as it says, He will swallow up death for ever  (Isa.XXV, 8); on this account is the ‘toledot’ of ’ The heaven and the earth’ and of Perez spelt fully. For a similar reason the ’toledot’ of Yitzchak is spelt defectively, to exclude Yaakov from the category of the wicked.[15]Another example: These are (eleh) the generations of Yaakov (Gen. XXXVII, 2)-to disqualify the princes of Esau; whereas, And these are (we-eleh) the names of the sons of Israel  (Ex. I, 1) adds to those preceding. Who are those recorded previously?-The sons of Reuben and Simeon.[16] Another example: Now these are (we-eleh) the generations of Aaron  (Num. III, 1) adding to those that preceded. Who are they? Those mentioned before: These are those that were numbered which Moses and Aaron numbered  (ib. I, 44). Just as the first were righteous, so were these righteous. Likewise in our case, Now “these are (we-eleh) the ordinances” adds to those that preceded, viz to what is written above: There He made for them a statute and an ordinance  (Ex. XV, 25).[17]

 

* * *

 

The mabul (the Flood) and Migdal Bavel (the Tower of Babel) are undoubtedly the two primary stories in this week's Parsha. However, each is preceded by a list of genealogies which appear to be rather irrelevant. Why does Sefer Bereshit dedicate so much attention to "sifrei toladot" (list of genealogies)?

     

This shiur explains how the "sifrei toladot" of Sefer Bereshit help to form its structure and to develop its theme.

 

 INTRODUCTION

      

The following table, which shows the flow of parshiot from the end of Parshat Bereshit until the end of Parshat Noach, will help clarify our opening question.

     

Note how the major stories are 'introduced' by toladot:

 


 

PSUKIM

TOPIC

 

 

5:1-32

toldot Adam - The genealogy from Adam until Noach

6:1-9:29

ha'mabul - The story of the Flood

10:1-32

toldot Bnei Noach - The genealogy of Shem, Cham & Yefet

11:1-9

Migdal Bavel - The story of the Tower of Babel

11:10-27

toldot Shem - The genealogy from Shem until Terach

11:27-12:3    

HaShem's choice of Avraham Avinu

 


Clearly, Torah must tell us about the Mabul, Migdal, Bavel, and Avraham Avinu, for these events change the course of history. Why, however, must Torah list the genealogies which appear to have little prophetic significance?

 

 THE STRUCTURE of SEFER BERESHIT

     

To answer the above question, we must first explain the overall structure of Sefer Bereshit.

     

Although it is rarely noticed, the sifrei toldot actually create the framework of Sefer Bereshit! The toladot introduce every story in the sefer from cover to cover. Let's explain:

      

"toladot" is derived from the Hebrew word "vlad", child. Therefore, "ayleh toldot" should be translated "these are the children of".

     

For example: "eyleh toldot Adam" (5:1) means - "these are the children of Adam" - and thus introduces the story of Adam's children, i.e. Shet, Enosh, Keinan, etc. Similarly, "eyleh toldot Noach" introduces the story of Noach's children - Shem, Cham, and Yefet.[18]

     

Some of the "toldot" in Sefer Bereshit are very short; they simply state that the person lived, married, had children and died (e.g. the generations from Adam to Noach). Other "toldot" are very detailed, e.g. those of Noach, Terach, Yitzchak, and Yaakov. However, every story in Sefer Bereshit is an integral part of someone's "toldot".

     

Let's use a table, once again, to show how all the stories of Sefer Bereshit are introduced by sifrei toladot. They form the 'skeleton' of Bereshit, linking its various sections together:

 


 

PEREK

toldot

THE ENSUING STORY

 

 

 

 1

(none)

The creation of shamayim V'aretz

 2-4

shamayim V'aretz

Adam (Man) in Gan Eden & his banishment

 5

Adam

The generations from Adam until Noach

 6-9

Noach

Noach's family saved from the mabul

 10

Bnei Noach

Migdal Bavel/ dispersing into 70 nations

 11

Shem

The generations from Shem until Terach

 11-25

Terach

Life of Avraham, Haran (Lot), and Nachor

 25

Yishmael

The children of Yishmael

 25-35

Yitzchak

Yaakov and Esau (their rivalry)

 36

ESAV

The children of Esau

 37-50

YAAKOV

The story of Yosef and his brothers

 


The first "toldot" of Sefer Bereshit - toldot shamayim v'aretz - is interesting and meaningful.

     

Recall that the first chapter of Bereshit explains that God created shamayim v'aretz (heavens and earth). In the next chapter, we find the first use of "eyleh toldot: "eyleh toldot ha'shamayim v'ha'aretz b'hibaram..." (2:4)

 

What are the toladot of shamayim and aretz - what are the children of heaven and earth? If we follow the progressive pattern of Sefer Bereshit, as shown by the above table, then "toldot shamayim v'aretz" Must be referring to Adam HaRishon. In other words, even though there appears to be a clear division between shamayim and aretz in the first six days of Creation [better known as "Rakia", see 1:6], it seems as though man in Gan Eden reflects the ability to connect between them. This interpretation could help explain the significance of the pasuk which describes man's creation in perek bet:

     

"And HaShem Elohim took formed man from the dust of the earth and blew into his nostrils nishmat chayim- the breath of life." (2:7) This second ingredient may reflect the aspect of man which comes from (or at least returns to) heaven.

 

The next set of toladot are the children of Adam until Noach, followed by the toladot of Noach, etc. This pattern continues until the very end of Sefer Bereshit.

 

These "sifrei toladot" do more than 'keep the sefer together'; they also help develop the theme of Sefer Bereshit. The simple (short) toladot, which mention the person's name and that he had children, reflect the natural development of mankind, while the detailed (and usually lengthy) stories within these toladot explain HaShem’s intervention in the history of mankind. This is an important Biblical theme, for it teaches us that we are to find the hand of HaShem in the development of civilization, especially with regard to important events.

 

 THE TWO SECTIONS OF SEFER BERESHIT

     

Despite this successive nature of the toladot in Sefer Bereshit, they are clearly divided into two distinct sections.

 

Section one (chapters 1-11), deals with mankind as a whole, (sort of a universalistic approach), for no special nation has yet to be chosen.  We do find special detail about Noach, however; it is not because he is designated to become a special nation. Rather, it is because through him mankind will be preserved. Furthermore, the seventy nations (chapter 10), representing all of mankind, evolve from his children.

     

We do find that Shem and Yefet receive special blessings, but the concept of a special nation is not mentioned.

 

Section two (chapters 11-50), begins the story of am Yisrael, HaShem's special nation. In this section, Sefer Bereshit is no longer universalistic, rather it becomes particularistic, for it focuses on HaShem's choice of a special nation.

     

Chapter 11, toldot Shem, introduces Avraham Avinu, whom HaShem chooses in chapter 12 to become the forefather of His special nation. The remainder of Sefer Bereshit explains which of Avraham's offspring are chosen [=bchira, e.g Yitzchak and Yaakov], and which are rejected [=DCHIYA, e.g Yishmael and Esau].

     

This section concludes when this bchira process is completed, i.e. all twelve sons of Yaakov are chosen. They are to become the twelve tribes of Israel; none of their children can be rejected.

 

The following table summarizes (and compares) these two sections of Sefer Bereshit:

 


 

I. universalistic (1-11)

II. particularistic (11-50)

 

 

toldot:

toldot:

 

 

shamayim va'aretz

      [Adam in Gan Eden]

Shem to Terach

            Terach (3 sons)

Adam to Noach

      Noach, three sons

      [the mabul]

[Avraham chosen]

Children of Bnei Noach

      [the 70 nations]

[Yishmael rejected]

Migdal Bavel

      the 70 nations disperse

Yitzchak chosen

 

[Esau rejected]

 

Yaakov chosen

 

Yosef and his brothers

       70 "nefesh" go down to Egypt

 


This sequence of "toldot" continues until this "bchira" & "dchiya" process ends. Thus, the last "ayleh toldot..." found in Sefer Bereshit is that of Yaakov Avinu (37:2), as all twelve of his sons are chosen and none are rejected. [This may be the significance of his name change to Yisrael, iy"h, we will deal with this concept in later shiurim.]

 

WHY IS Avraham Avinu chosen?

     

What is the thematic significance of these two sections? Why does Sefer Bereshit suddenly change its focus from all mankind to one special nation? To answer this question, we must look for a connection between the last story of the first section - Migdal Bavel, and the first story of the second section - bchirat Avraham. We can safely assume that a careful analysis of the story of Migdal Bavel should help us explain the reason for this transition, and HaShem's choice of Avraham Avinu.

 

 Migdal Bavel

     

When reading the first four psukim of the story of "migdal Bavel", it is hard to pinpoint one specific sin: [Note, however, the significant usage of the first person plural.]

 

"Everyone on earth had the same language and the same words.  And as they traveled from the east, they came upon a valley in the land of Shinar and settled there. They said to one another: Come, let us make bricks and burn them hard.  Brick became their stone, and bitumen their mortar.  And they said, “Come let us build us a city and a tower with its top in the sky, and we will make a name for ourselves, lest we shall be scattered all over the world.”  (11:1-4)

 

From a cursory reading, it is not clear exactly what was so terrible about this generation.  After all, is not achieving 'achdut' (unity) a positive goal?  Likewise, the use of human ingenuity to initiate an industrial revolution, developing man-made building materials, i.e bricks from clay etc., seems to be a positive advancement of society.  Furthermore, there appears to be nothing wrong with simply building a city and a tower.  Why was HaShem so angered that He decided to stop this construction and disperse mankind? Chazal focus their criticism of this generation on their antagonistic attitude towards HaShem (see Rashi 11:1).  One key phrase in the Torah's explanation of the purpose for the tower reflects the egocentric nature of this generation:

     

"v'naase lanu Shem" [we shall make a name for ourselves] (11:4)[19]

 

Instead of devoting themselves to the name of HaShem, this generation removes Him from the picture altogether.  The builders of the tower united for the sake of an unholy end.  Their undertaking emphasized man's dominion and strength.

     

Although this generation appears to be better behaved than dor ha'mabul, HaShem was still disappointed, for they established an anthropocentric society instead of a theocentric one.  Their primary aim was self-aggrandizement, to 'make a name' for themselves.

     

Migdal Bavel should not be seen as just another story about mankind, nor simply as the history of the development of language.  This story sets the stage for God's choice of Avraham Avinu.

     

It is the destiny of Avraham, the primary descendent for "toldot Shem", to bring HaShem's Name ("shem") into the history of civilization; to fix ("tikun") the error of mankind at Migdal Bavel. How and why, (iy"h) will be the topic of next week's shiur.

 

In light of our discussion, we can better appreciate a puzzling statement made by Ben Azai: "Zeh Sefer toldot ha'Adam...

     

It is taught - Rebbe Akiva says, "v'ahavta l'ray'acha kamocha" – Love your neighbor as yourself - klal gadol  ba'Torah - This is a great principle of the Torah. Ben Azai says, "zeh sefer toldot ha'Adam" (5:1) - klal gadol m'zeh - is an even greater principle.

                     (Yerushalmi Nedarim 9:4)

 

How could one suggest that the very technical list of the genealogies from Adam to Noach found in Bereshit 5:1-32 constitutes even a principle, let alone one more important than the famous dictum that one should love his neighbor as himself!?

     

One could suggest that Ben Azai's statement is not referring specifically to the genealogies, but rather to the overall structure of Sefer Bereshit as formed by the toladot, and thus its theme. Although it is very important to 'love thy neighbor', the theme of Sefer Bereshit - that Am Yisrael must lead all mankind to a theocentric existence - is an even greater tenet of our faith.

 

* * *

 

This study was written by

Rabbi Dr. Hillel ben David

(Greg Killian).

Comments may be submitted to:

 

Rabbi Dr. Greg Killian

4544 Highline Drive SE

Olympia, WA 98501

 

Internet address:  gkilli@aol.com

Web page:  http://www.betemunah.org/

 

(360) 918-2905

 

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[1] ‘The vav as a numeral is six.

[2] These were reduced, the earth and trees having originally produced fruit in one day, and the light of the luminaries being much greater than now, as explained in the text.

[3] The fact that TOLEDOTH is spelled here fully, with a waw, intimates that they were created with their full power.

[4] He interprets the def. art: THE MAN, i.e., the outstanding man, viz., Abraham; cf. supra, XII, 9; infra, XV, 4; Ex. R. XXVIII, 1 et passim.

[5] V. Eccl. R. on Ch. III, 11.

[6] Thus giving them greater strength than if they were laid flat.

[7] For the latter to learn from her.

[8] That are like the sons of Ishmael that he adds to them.

[9] Cf. Gen. R. LXI, 5.

[10] Who of Yitzchak's descendants are a fitting addition to the children of Ishmael?

[11] In the same sense.

[12] Without a second waw.

[13] Denoting that life was to be full, never to be terminated by death.

[14] Henceforth it would be deficient, since death would end it.

[15] For otherwise it should have been spelt in full, since the Messiah can be traced back to Yitzchak's generations (‘E.J.)

[16] Denoting that those enumerated here were righteous, like those enumerated above. The only additions actually are Joseph and his children, and the Midrash means that though they had come under the influence of Pharaoh's court they were nevertheless righteous (‘E.J.).

[17] Just as those were stated at Marah (V.XV, 23 seq.), so were these.

[18] See Rashbam 37:2 for a more complete explanation.

[19] Sanhedrin 109a