Mikraot Gedolot/Genesis/1:1

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Text[edit]

In the Beginning, God created the heavens and the earth;  ;בְּרֵאשִׁ֖ית בָּרָ֣א אֱלֹהִ֑ים אֵ֥ת הַשָּׁמַ֖יִם וְאֵ֥ת הָאָֽרֶץ

Rashi[edit]

In the beginning בְּרֵאשִׁ֖ית
Rabbi Yitzchak said: [God] could have begun the Torah only from "This month shall be to you" (Exodus 12:2), which is the first mitzvah (precept) which Israel was commanded. So what is the reason that [God] began with "In the beginning"? Because of [the idea expressed in the verse]: "[God] has declared to His people the power of His works, in order to give them the heritage of the nations" (Psalm 111:6). Thus, should the nations of the world say to Israel: "You are robbers, having conquered the lands of the seven [Canaanite] nations [by force]," [Israel] can say to them: "The whole earth belongs to the Holy Blessed One; He created it and gave it to whomever He saw fit. By His will He gave it to [the Canaanite seven nations], and by His will He took it from them and gave it to us." אמר רבי יצחק: לא היה צריך להתחיל את התורה אלא מ"הַחֹדֶשׁ הַזֶּה לָכֶם" (שמות יב ב), שהיא מצוה ראשונה שנצטוו ישראל. ומה טעם פתח בבראשית? משום (תהלים קיא ו) "כֹּחַ מַעֲשָׂיו הִגִּיד לְעַמּוֹ לָתֵת לָהֶם נַחֲלַת גּוֹיִם". שאם יאמרו אומות העולם לישראל: "לסטים אתם שכבשתם ארצות שבעה גוים", הם אומרים להם: "כל הארץ של הקב"ה היא; הוא בראה ונתנה לאשר ישר בעיניו. ברצונו נתנה להם, וברצונו נטלה מהם ונתנה לנו".
In the beginning, [God] created בְּרֵאשִׁ֖ית בָּרָ֣א
This verse surely calls out, "Interpret me Midrashically!" As our teachers of blessed memory interpreted it: [God created the world] for the sake of the Torah which is called "the beginning (reshit) of [God's] way" (Proverbs 8:22), and for Israel who were called "the beginning (reshit) of [God's] grain" (Jeremiah 2:3).

However, if you wish to interpret it literally, then interpret it thus: In the beginning of the creation of heaven and earth, when the earth was unformed and void and darkness, God said "Let there be light". The verse does not come to teach the order of creation – to say that these things [heaven and earth] were [created] first – because if this had been what it came to teach, it would have said "First (barishonah) [God] created the heavens," etc. [We cannot understand B'reshit to mean in the beginning], since there is no [instance of] reshit in scripture that is not closely connected to the word after it, e.g.: "In the beginning of Yehoyakim's reign" (Jeremiah 26:1); "the beginning of his kingdom" (Genesis 10:10); "the first fruit [reshit] of your grain" (Deuteronomy 18:4). Likewise here you must interpret B'reshit bara Elohim et hashamayim etc. as if it were written B'reshit b'ro, "In the beginning of [God's] creation of". Similar to it [where the noun in the construct state is followed by a verb rather than a noun] is [the following]: "T'chilat Diber Hashem B'hoshea" (Hosea 1:2), i.e. At the beginning of the Blessed Holy One's speaking to Hosea, God said to Hosea, etc.

But if you say that it comes to teach that these things [heaven and earth] were created first, and that its interpretation is "In the beginning of everything [God] created these" – and indeed you have verses that abridge their language and leave out a word, as in "For it did not close the doors of my womb" (Job 3:10), where it does not specify who is the closer; and as in "... will carry away the riches of Damascus" (Isaiah 8:4), without specifying who will carry it; and as in "If one will plow with cattle" (Amos 6:12), where it does not specify "if a person will plow with cattle"; and as in "Declaring the end from the beginning..." (Isaiah 46:10), where it does not specify "Declaring from the beginning of a thing the end of a thing" – if so, [that the heaven and earth were created first], you must question yourself, because it is written, "And the spirit of God was hovering over the face of the water" (Genesis 1:2), even though the verse had not yet revealed when the creation of water happened. Thus you have learned that the water preceded the earth.

Furthermore, heaven was created from fire and water. So you must admit that the verse does not teach the order of earlier and later [acts of Creation] at all.

אין המקרא הזה אומר אלא דרשני, כמו שדרשוהו רבותינו ז"ל: בשביל התורה שנקראת (משלי ח כב) "רֵאשִׁית דַּרְכּוֹ", ובשביל ישראל שנקראו (ירמיהו ב ג) "רֵאשִׁית תבואתו".

ואם באת לפרשו כפשוטו, כך פרשהו: "בראשית בריאת שמים וארץ, וְהָאָרֶץ הָיְתָה תֹהוּ וָבֹהוּ וְחֹשֶׁךְ, וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹהִים יְהִי אוֹר". ולא בא המקרא להורות סדר הבריאה, לומר שֶאֵלו קדמו; שאם בא להורות כך, היה לו לכתוב: "בראשונה ברא את השמים" וגו', שאין לך "ראשית" במקרא שאינו דבוק לתיבה של אחריו, כמו: (ירמיהו כו א) "בְּרֵאשִׁית מַמְלְכוּת יְהוֹיָקִים", (בראשית י י) "רֵאשִׁית מַמְלַכְתּוֹ", (דברים יח ד) "רֵאשִׁית דְּגָנְךָ". אף כאן אתה אומר: "בְּרֵאשִׁית בָּרָא אֱלֹהִים" וגו', כמו "בְּרֵאשִׁית ברוא". ודומה לו (הושע א ב) "תְּחִלַּת דִּבֶּר ה' בְּהוֹשֵׁעַ", כלומר: תחילת דיבורו של הקב"ה בהושע, "ויאמר ה' אל הושע" וגו'.

ואם תאמר: להורות בא שאלו תחילה נבראו, ופירושו: בראשית הכל ברא אלו, ויש לך מקראות שמקצרים לשונם וממעטים תיבה אחת, כמו: (איוב ג י) "כִּי לֹא סָגַר דַּלְתֵי בִטְנִי", ולא פירש מי הסוגר, וכמו (ישעיהו ח ד) "יִשָּׂא אֶת חֵיל דַּמֶּשֶׂק", ולא פירש מי ישאנו, וכמו (עמוס ו יב) "אִם יַחֲרוֹשׁ בַּבְּקָרִים", ולא פירש "אם יחרוש אדם בבקרים", וכמו (ישעיהו מו י) "מַגִּיד מֵרֵאשִׁית אַחֲרִית", ולא פירש "מַגִּיד מֵרֵאשִׁית דבר אַחֲרִית דבר". אם כן תמה על עצמך, שהרי המים קדמו, שהרי כתיב: "וְרוּחַ אֱלֹהִים מְרַחֶפֶת עַל פְּנֵי הַמָּיִם", ועדיין לא גילה המקרא בריית המים מתי היתה. הא למדת שקדמו המים לארץ. ועוד, שהשמים מאש ומים נבראו. על כרחך לא לימד המקרא בסדר המוקדמים והמאוחרים כלום.

God created בָּרָ֣א אֱלֹהִ֑ים
And it does not say "Hashem created" [i.e., the Torah refers to the Creator by the name Elohim, signifying strict justice, rather than by the Ineffable 4-letter Name, signifying mercy], because initially [God] thought to create [the world] with the attribute of strict justice. But [God] saw that the world would not last [if governed only with strict justice], so He had the attribute of mercy precede and partner with the attribute of strict justice, and so it is written: "In the day that Hashem God created earth and heaven" (Genesis 2:4) [i.e., the name denoting mercy preceding the one denoting strict justice]. ולא אמר "בָּרָא ה'". שבתחילה עלה במחשבה לברואתו במידת הדין; ראה שאין העולם מתקיים, הקדים מידת רחמים ושיתפה למידת הדין. היינו דכתיב (להלן ב ד): "בְּיוֹם עֲשׂוֹת ה' אֱלֹהִים אֶרֶץ וְשָׁמָיִם".


Ibn Ezra[edit]

Ramban[edit]

In the beginning בְּרֵאשִׁ֖ית
Rabbi Yitzchak said: [God] could have begun the Torah only from "This month shall be to you" (Exodus 12:2), which is the first mitzvah (precept) which Israel was commanded. So what is the reason that [God] began with "In the beginning"? Because of [the idea expressed in the verse]: "[God] has declared to His people the power of His works, in order to give them the heritage of the nations" (Psalm 111:6). Thus, should the nations of the world say to Israel: "You are robbers, having conquered the lands of the seven [Canaanite] nations [by force]," [Israel] can say to them: "The whole earth belongs to the Holy Blessed One; He created it and gave it to whomever He saw fit. By His will He gave it to [the Canaanite seven nations], and by His will He took it from them and gave it to us.":

This is a legend written by Rabbi Shlomo language interpretation. And ask her, that is a great need is to start in Genesis, God created the Torah, that is the root of faith, and who does not believe it and think the world was primordial is a heretic and has no Torah at all.

In the beginning, [God] created בְּרֵאשִׁ֖ית בָּרָ֣א
This verse surely calls out, "Interpret me Midrashically!" As our teachers of blessed memory interpreted it: [God created the world] for the sake of the Torah which is called "the beginning (reshit) of [God's] way" (Proverbs 8:22), and for Israel who were called "the beginning (reshit) of [God's] grain" (Jeremiah 2:3).

However, if you wish to interpret it literally, then interpret it thus: In the beginning of the creation of heaven and earth, when the earth was unformed and void and darkness, God said "Let there be light". The verse does not come to teach the order of creation – to say that these things [heaven and earth] were [created] first – because if this had been what it came to teach, it would have said "First (barishonah) [God] created the heavens," etc. [We cannot understand B'reshit to mean in the beginning], since there is no [instance of] reshit in scripture that is not closely connected to the word after it, e.g.: "In the beginning of Yehoyakim's reign" (Jeremiah 26:1); "the beginning of his kingdom" (Genesis 10:10); "the first fruit [reshit] of your grain" (Deuteronomy 18:4). Likewise here you must interpret B'reshit bara Elohim et hashamayim etc. as if it were written B'reshit b'ro, "In the beginning of [God's] creation of". Similar to it [where the noun in the construct state is followed by a verb rather than a noun] is [the following]: "T'chilat Diber Hashem B'hoshea" (Hosea 1:2), i.e. At the beginning of the Blessed Holy One's speaking to Hosea, God said to Hosea, etc.

But if you say that it comes to teach that these things [heaven and earth] were created first, and that its interpretation is "In the beginning of everything [God] created these" – and indeed you have verses that abridge their language and leave out a word, as in "For it did not close the doors of my womb" (Job 3:10), where it does not specify who is the closer; and as in "... will carry away the riches of Damascus" (Isaiah 8:4), without specifying who will carry it; and as in "If one will plow with cattle" (Amos 6:12), where it does not specify "if a person will plow with cattle"; and as in "Declaring the end from the beginning..." (Isaiah 46:10), where it does not specify "Declaring from the beginning of a thing the end of a thing" – if so, [that the heaven and earth were created first], you must question yourself, because it is written, "And the spirit of God was hovering over the face of the water" (Genesis 1:2), even though the verse had not yet revealed when the creation of water happened. Thus you have learned that the water preceded the earth.

Furthermore, heaven was created from fire and water. So you must admit that the verse does not teach the order of earlier and later [acts of Creation] at all.

אין המקרא הזה אומר אלא דרשני, כמו שדרשוהו רבותינו ז"ל: בשביל התורה שנקראת (משלי ח כב) "רֵאשִׁית דַּרְכּוֹ", ובשביל ישראל שנקראו (ירמיהו ב ג) "רֵאשִׁית תבואתו".

ואם באת לפרשו כפשוטו, כך פרשהו: "בראשית בריאת שמים וארץ, וְהָאָרֶץ הָיְתָה תֹהוּ וָבֹהוּ וְחֹשֶׁךְ, וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹהִים יְהִי אוֹר". ולא בא המקרא להורות סדר הבריאה, לומר שֶאֵלו קדמו; שאם בא להורות כך, היה לו לכתוב: "בראשונה ברא את השמים" וגו', שאין לך "ראשית" במקרא שאינו דבוק לתיבה של אחריו, כמו: (ירמיהו כו א) "בְּרֵאשִׁית מַמְלְכוּת יְהוֹיָקִים", (בראשית י י) "רֵאשִׁית מַמְלַכְתּוֹ", (דברים יח ד) "רֵאשִׁית דְּגָנְךָ". אף כאן אתה אומר: "בְּרֵאשִׁית בָּרָא אֱלֹהִים" וגו', כמו "בְּרֵאשִׁית ברוא". ודומה לו (הושע א ב) "תְּחִלַּת דִּבֶּר ה' בְּהוֹשֵׁעַ", כלומר: תחילת דיבורו של הקב"ה בהושע, "ויאמר ה' אל הושע" וגו'.

ואם תאמר: להורות בא שאלו תחילה נבראו, ופירושו: בראשית הכל ברא אלו, ויש לך מקראות שמקצרים לשונם וממעטים תיבה אחת, כמו: (איוב ג י) "כִּי לֹא סָגַר דַּלְתֵי בִטְנִי", ולא פירש מי הסוגר, וכמו (ישעיהו ח ד) "יִשָּׂא אֶת חֵיל דַּמֶּשֶׂק", ולא פירש מי ישאנו, וכמו (עמוס ו יב) "אִם יַחֲרוֹשׁ בַּבְּקָרִים", ולא פירש "אם יחרוש אדם בבקרים", וכמו (ישעיהו מו י) "מַגִּיד מֵרֵאשִׁית אַחֲרִית", ולא פירש "מַגִּיד מֵרֵאשִׁית דבר אַחֲרִית דבר". אם כן תמה על עצמך, שהרי המים קדמו, שהרי כתיב: "וְרוּחַ אֱלֹהִים מְרַחֶפֶת עַל פְּנֵי הַמָּיִם", ועדיין לא גילה המקרא בריית המים מתי היתה. הא למדת שקדמו המים לארץ. ועוד, שהשמים מאש ומים נבראו. על כרחך לא לימד המקרא בסדר המוקדמים והמאוחרים כלום.

God created בָּרָ֣א אֱלֹהִ֑ים
And it does not say "Hashem created" [i.e., the Torah refers to the Creator by the name Elohim, signifying strict justice, rather than by the Ineffable 4-letter Name, signifying mercy], because initially [God] thought to create [the world] with the attribute of strict justice. But [God] saw that the world would not last [if governed only with strict justice], so He had the attribute of mercy precede and partner with the attribute of strict justice, and so it is written: "In the day that Hashem God created earth and heaven" (Genesis 2:4) [i.e., the name denoting mercy preceding the one denoting strict justice]. ולא אמר "בָּרָא ה'". שבתחילה עלה במחשבה לברואתו במידת הדין; ראה שאין העולם מתקיים, הקדים מידת רחמים ושיתפה למידת הדין. היינו דכתיב (להלן ב ד): "בְּיוֹם עֲשׂוֹת ה' אֱלֹהִים אֶרֶץ וְשָׁמָיִם".

Rashbam[edit]

Talmudic Citations[edit]

  • (Taanit 4:3) This passage in the Torah was recited on the first day of each maamad’s turn at Temple service.