- 1. When God as Judge
began creating the heavens and all that was embedded in them and
the earth and all that was
embedded in it,
- 2. the earth was astonishingly empty, darkness was over the
waters which covered the earth, and the Throne of Glory hovered
over the waters by the command of
- 3. God as Judge said, "Let there be light" and there was
- 4. God saw that the light was good but that it was confusing
for the light and the darkness to function together, so God
separated the light from the darkness.
- 5. God named the light "day" and the darkness "night." There
was evening and there was morning, a day of God, alone in the
world God had created.
- 6. God as Judge said, "Let some of the water created on the
first day be jelled and become a stable firmament, dividing midway
between the waters."
- 7. God put the firmament in its proper condition and in its
proper place, suspending it as a divider between the waters below
the firmament which are on the earth and the waters above the
firmament which encompass the universe; and it was so -- the work
of the waters had begun.
- 8. God named the firmament "heaven" because it was made from
fire and water. There was
evening and there was morning, a second day.
- 9. God as Judge continued the work of the second day and
said, "Let the waters
which are spread out all over the earth be gathered into one large
ocean, the largest of the seas, and let the dry land appear from
beneath the waters," and it was so.
- 10. God named the dry land "earth" and the waters God named
"seas" for they were one large ocean made up of many waters from
many places. God thus completed the work of the second
day, and God saw that it
- 11. God as Judge then said, "Let the earth have a covering of
plant life -- each species of grass producing seed within
itself, and trees that
taste like the fruit they
bear and whose fruit
have seeds of their own kind within them"; and it was so.
- 12. The earth brought forth the plant life which covered the
earth -- grasses which followed the example of the trees and
produced seeds according to their kinds, and trees which produced
fruit containing their seeds according to their kinds but not
trees whose wood was
edible. God's work of
creating plant life was thus complete, and God saw that it was
- 13. There was evening and there was morning, a third day.
- 14. Having created the heavens and all that is in them and the
earth and all that is in it on the first day, God as Judge said,
"Let the heavenly lights be suspended in their proper places. Let
the heavenly lights serve as ill omens, except when the people
observe the will of God. Let them also serve as the means for
calibrating the dates of the festivals, for determining a full
day, and for calculating the yearly
calendar." The lights of
the fourth day were created
foreshadow the curse of croup which is visited upon children,
against which the sages fast on the fourth day of the week.
- 15. Light and darkness having functioned together for the
first three days and the
primeval light of the first day having been set aside for the
righteous, God now said, "Let them become lights in the heavenly
firmament also to give light to the world"; and it was so.
- 16. Originally, the sun and the moon were of equal size, since
both were called "great," but then the moon complained that two
powers cannot share one realm. So God as Judge diminished its
size. Because God
diminished the size of the moon, God compensated it by creating
additional heavenly bodies, the stars.
- 17. God put the heavenly bodies in the firmament of the
heavens to give light upon the earth,
- 18. and to set the rules for the day and the night, dividing
between the period of light during the day and the period of
darkness during the night. God's work of creating the heavenly
bodies was thus complete, and God saw that it was good.
- 19. There was evening and there was morning, a fourth day.
- 20. God as Judge said, "Let the waters swarm with creatures
that live and move --
with those that stay close to the earth (the creeping things of
the sea and of the air, such as flies) and with fish -- and let
birds fly over the earth, across the face of the firmament of the
- 21. God as Judge created Leviathan and his
mate -- slaying the
female and salting its flesh for the righteous while allowing the
male to live for, had they mated, they would have overwhelmed
creation -- and all living beings which are close to the earth,
which the waters had caused to swarm forth, each according to its
kind; and all winged-birds, according to their kinds. God's work
of creating the animals embedded in the sea was thus complete, and
God saw that it was good.
- 22. Because they are killed for food, God as Judge blessed the
swarming creatures, commanding them, "Reproduce yourselves and
also multiply, bringing forth more than one of your kind at each
birth. Fill the water in the seas and let the birds multiply on
- 23. There was evening and there was morning, a fifth day.
- 24. God as Judge said, "Let the earth bring forth the
creatures that live and
move which had been
created on the first day and embedded in the
earth, each according to
its kind -- domesticated animals; those which stay close to the
creatures such as ants, beetles, and worms, and small animals such
as moles, rats, and lizards; and beasts of the earth -- each
according to its kind";
and it was so.
- 25. God as Judge made the animals with their consent, after
having consulted with them. God made them fully mature: the beasts
of the earth according to their kinds, the domesticated animals
according to their kinds, and all the things which move low to the
ground according to their
kinds. God's work of
creating the animals of the earth was thus complete, and God saw
that it was good.
- 26. God showed humility and, although God was the more
powerful and alone was the Creator, God consulted with the
angels saying, "There
are beings in the heavens according to My likeness and, if there
are no beings according to My likeness in the lower realms,
jealousy will be generated among the works of creation; therefore,
let us make humanity in our mold, with our power to understand and
to be intelligent, and they will rule over the fish of the sea,
the birds of the heavens, the domestic animals, all the earth, and
all the beings which stay close to the earth. If humanity is
worthy, they will rule but, if they are not worthy, they will sink
lower than the animals and be ruled by them."
- 27. God as Judge, alone without the
angels, created the
human being, by hand, in a
mold which was like the
mold with which a seal is made or like the die from which a coin
is produced, and which had been specially crafted for the human
being. In a mold which was a hologram
image of God, God
created the human being. One being which was both male and female
and which was subsequently divided into two beings, God created
- 28. God as Judge blessed them and God said to them, "Be
fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. The man is commanded to
reproduce. He shall also subdue the female so that she not be
unrestrained." And to them both God said, "Rule over the fish in
the sea, over the birds in the heavens, and over every creature
that moves with life close to the earth."
- 29. God said, "Behold, I give you all the plant life which
reproduces by seed which is on the face of the whole earth, and
all the trees which have fruits of the tree and which reproduce by
seed -- they shall be food for you
- 30. and for all the beasts of the earth, for all the birds of
the heavens, and for every creature that moves with life on the
earth -- all green plant life shall be food." And it was so that
humankind and the animals ate plants but were not permitted to
kill any other creature and eat it until after the flood of Noah.
- 31. God saw all that God had created and behold it was very
good. There was evening and there was morning, the sixth day --
the day on which everything was temporarily set in its proper
place, awaiting the acceptance of the Torah by the Israelites when
all would become permanently
- 1. The heavens and the earth and all that was created with
them were finished.
- 2. At exactly the end of the sixth day and the beginning of
the seventh day, God finished the work God had done. On the
seventh day God rested, thus completing all the work which God had
- 3. God as Judge created a future blessing for the seventh day,
ordaining that the manna would fall in double portion on the sixth
day for the seventh. God proclaimed the seventh day holy,
ordaining that the manna would not fall on the seventh day itself,
for on it, God had rested from all the work which God had doubled
to accomplish on the sixth
 The only divine Name used in this chapter is
Elohim, the traditional designation of God's attribute of
judgement. Rashi notes that God could not create the world with
judgement alone and, hence, the Torah adds the Tetragrammaton, the
traditional designation of God's mercy, in chapter two.
-  Rashi indicates that the reason for
starting the Torah with Genesis, and not with Sinai, was to
provide the Jewish people with a ground for their right to the
promised land: Since God created the whole world, God could -- and
did -- assign a special part of it to the Jews. This precludes
counterclaims based on conquest or history. back
-  Alt.: In the beginning of everything,
God as Judge created the heavens and the earth; the heavens and
all that it would produce embedded in it, and the earth and all
that it would produce embedded within it.
- Alt.: For the sake of Torah, / For the sake of Israel, / With
wisdom, God as Judge created. back
-  Alt.: by the breath blowing from God.
-  Alt.: God as Judge said, "Let there be
spiritual light" and there was spiritual light.
-  Alt: God saw that the divine spiritual
light was good for the righteous and should not be used by the
wicked, so God separated the light and reserved it for the
righteous in the world to come. back
-  Ling. alt.: a day of God's oneness.
-  Ling. alt.: God as Judge said, "Let
there be an expanse dividing the waters." / God said to the
waters, "Be Still." And astonished, they became stable.
-  Ling. alt.: God put the expanse and the
waters in their proper condition, with a stable heaven separating
the stable waters on earth from the stable waters suspended in an
outer sphere. The initial work of creating the waters had begun.
-  Hebrew, shamayim, drawn from
esh (fire) and mayim (water).
- Alt.: because there is water in the heavens / because the
heavens bear the waters. back
-  Ling. alt: To complete the work of the
second day, God as Judge said. back
-  Ling. alt.: The work of the waters
begun on the second day was thus completed on the third day, and
God saw. back
-  Ling. alt.: individual grasses which
produce seed within themselves / with particular kinds of plants
reproducing seeds. back
-  Ling. alt.: edible trees that are
fruit and that produce fruit with their own seeds.
-  Rashi notes that, for not obeying God
strictly, the earth was later punished (Gen. 3:17).
-  Ling. alt.: Let the moon indicate to
the Israelites the proper time for the celebration of festivals.
Let the sun and moon indicate the completion of days, being one
half day of sun plus one half day of moon; and let the completion
of 365 days be the indication of a year, the sun and the moon
having gone through the twelve constellations of the Zodiac and
having returned to their original positions to begin the cycle
-  The word me'orot "lights" is
spelled defectively and, thus, can be read me'eirot
-  Some versions of Rashi indicate that
light and darkness ruled together for all seven days of creation.
In this case, the sun and the moon began their separate functions
only on the eighth day, and they were put in place on the fourth
day. This yields the alternate reading: When the initial six days
of creation had been completed and the primeval light hidden away
for the pious, God said. back
-  Different versions of this story place
the complaint of the moon as competitive power (Ginsberg,
Legends of the Jews, 1:23-26), as sibling rivalry
(Pirkei de Rabbi Eliezer, ch. 6), and as a simple question
to God (Talmud, Hulin 60b). God's reaction, too, differs in
these versions. For a feminist reading of this text, see B.
Ellison Rosenblit, "Midrash on the Moon: In a Different Light,"
Response (Winter 1995) 101-105. back
-  Hebrew, nefesh hayah, in the
sense of "creatures capable of movement"; hence ling. alt.: have
vitality / move with life / moving, living creatures.
-  Alt.: the gigantic fish which are in
the sea. For the biblical references, see the commentary of
Rashbam. For the rabbinic legends, see Ginsberg, op. cit.,
-  Ling. alt.: have vitality / move with
-  Poetic alt.: Let creatures emerge from
the womb of the earth. back
-  Rashi understands Hebrew remes /
romes to be a synonym of Hebrew sherets, with the
addition that the former often refers to slithering as the mode of
locomotion; hence, ling. alt.: creeping things that live and move.
-  Ling. alt.: each reproducing its kind.
-  Ling. alt.: God made the beasts, the
cattle, and every creeping creature with its full growth,
according to the will of each creature, in the form it had chosen,
and with its consent and acknowledgment of the Kingship of God.
-  Ling. alt.: God, modeling modesty,
consulted. Other sources talk about God consulting with all
creation or with Godself. back
-  The two verbs of creation in this
verse are clearly in the singular in spite of the plural verb and
plural suffixes of the previous verse. This indicates that the
angels did not actually participate in the creation of humankind;
they were only consulted. back
-  Hebrew, defus.
-  Hebrew, tselem deyokan.
On the latter as "hologram image," see Rashi to Gen. 39:11.
- Ling. alt.: a vision of an image. back
-  Alt.: two beings, male and female, God
created them, as told later (Gen. 2:21). back
-  Alt.: On the sixth day, the sixth of
Sivan was created in preparation for the giving of the Torah.
- Ling. alt.: the day on which creation was made contingent upon
Torah and Israel's acceptance thereof. back
-  Alt.: On the seventh day the world
experienced rest and was then complete. back
-  Alt. initial phrasing: All the work
that was fit to do on the seventh day, God completed on the sixth