Shabbat Reading

Friday, October 20, 2006 |  by Michael Schneider
Beresheet - In the Beginning: Genesis 1:1–6:8; Isaiah 42:5–43:10

With the words, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,” God begins His writing to man. Readers of the Word are inspired and enlightened anew every year when the cycle of Sabbath readings begins once again. Man is in a different stage of his spiritual walk with God with each new cycle of the readings, so he will glean a new perspective than what he had the previous year with, hopefully, a transformed heart! Therefore, we should never dismiss scripture, saying we’ve read it before.

In our first weekly portion, we read about the creation of man until the time of Noah, all in only six chapters! This is a time period of more than 1,500 years (10 pre-flood generations).

One thing should catch our eyes while we read the story of creation: Light was created on the first day, but the sun and moon is created on the fourth day. Why? It is God and His glory that was shining over the earth, as it will be again in the end times. By the way, the Hebrew word for heaven is sham-mayim which means: from there is water!

On the third creation day we read at the end twice, “And it was good!” On this day the dry land (earth) and the sea, were created together with the seed-bearing fruit. Therefore, the Jews believe that every third is “double-good” and because of this more weddings are held on Tuesday for a double blessing.

Man is created last, on the sixth day. Apparently after that God needed a rest! Something that should catch your eye here is that God did not follow this day with, “And it was good.” He instead made a general statement that he was satisfied with “all that He had made” (verse 31). The sages say that God gave the man free will to be good or not. So it is in our hands whether God will say in the end: “And it was good!”

The first three verses in the second chapter is the Shabbat Blessing read in Jewish houses every Friday eve before the blessings over the wine and bread.

We also read about the perfect fellowship that man had with his Creator in the garden of Eden. His main duty was to give names to the animals. But God saw that “It is not good for the man to be alone” and He created woman from Adam’s rib.

Temptation, sin and shame entered the world. Adam and Eve hid themselves behind a tree. Thousands of years later, Yeshua, the sinless Lamb of God, was crucified on a tree.

In chapter two we also read about the most important principle for marriage: 1. A man leaves his father and his mother; 2. joins his wife; and 3. they become one flesh.

In chapter four, we read about the first murder in human history, stemming from the jealousy of a brother. Jealousy became the root of all evil and murder.

Why did the first people live hundreds of years (for example, Methuselah lived 969 years!)? It was not because they ate healthier, but because they had no writing instruments so they had to live long enough to pass on the stories, especially creation, the subsequent generations.

The portion from the prophets in Isaiah 42 praises God’s perfect creation. But in the same breath the prophet says that out from His chosen people will come the light to the nations, or as Yeshua said Himself: Salvation comes from the Jews.

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