Hebraic Studies – Parashat Bereshit

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On this site I will use two versions of the “Jewish Publication Society” (JPS) of the Torah/Tanakh.

Although some minor alterations have been made relating to names and attributes having been corrected.

Please Note: Verse numbers may at times vary in non-Jewish Bibles.


Parashat Bereshit

Bereshit - Genesis Chapter 1 verse 1 to Chapter 5 verse 32.


With Rabbi Reuven Ben-Avraham.

“And on the seventh day Elohim finished His work which He had made; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made. And Elohim blessed the seventh day, and hallowed it; because that in it He rested from all His work which Elohim in creating had made.” Bereshit - Genesis 2:2-3 (Jewish Publication Society” (JPS) version of the Torah).

The Torah tells us that Elohim completed His creation on the seventh day, and He then rested on what has become the, and our blessed “Shabbat”.

Thus did Elohim, blessed be He, create anything on Shabbat? And what does really mean when it states “And on the seventh day Elohim finished His work”. Should it not have said that He completed His work on the sixth day?  The question is how can we address this issue. “What was the world lacking on or for the seventh day Shabbat came it was “menucha”, and when that came then the work was completed and finished.

The truth is that Elohim, blessed be His Sanctified Name, did indeed create something on or for the Shabbat, and that was the concept of “menucha” (rest, peace and quiet) .

This teaches us an important point, one may have thought that the concept of ‘rest’ is as a passive mode of behaviour, and not something that needs to be created, however, we see from this that the Torah’s concept of ‘menucha’ is something that Elohim created by refraining from regular ‘melacha’ (work or creating). Accordingly, Elohim’s rest was not merely refraining from creative activity; rather it also involved a cessation of activity that ‘enabled’ Him to, so to speak, to reflect and to appreciate the fruits of the incredible activity of the previous six days.

As we know, by ‘resting’ on Shabbos we emulate Elohim’s original ‘rest’. We should learn that the ‘Shabbat menucha’ (Sabbath rest) that we are required to participate in does not simply mean that we should not do any melacha (work), rather it requires an active effort. What does this active effort involve? Just like Elohim stepped back and reflected upon all His work of the previous six days, so too we are supposed to actively contemplate our achievements of the previous six days and appreciate what we have achieved spiritually, have we done all we should have. Did we keep Kosher, Say our daily prayers, and Say the blessing before and after our meals, and lit the Shabbat candles, etc, etc? Thus an important aspect of Shabbat is contemplation of where we are going in life which should enable us to enter the next week as growing individual’s, and hopefully encouraging our mishpachot to do the same and Elohim willing join you at Shul!

Shabbat Shalom,

Always remember our motto seen on the logo at the top of this page: “The More Torah, the More Life”, for Elohim, blessed be His Sanctified Name, is the one who gave us our Life!”

Rabbi Reuven Ben-Avraham.


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