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Friday, October 9, 2015 • 5:39pm
• Our Portion for the Week •
B'REISHEET – GENESIS 1:1 – 6:8
In this portion we begin the reading of the Torah anew. The creation of the world is described in two accounts. The first account focuses on the creation of all the elements of the physical universe, including humanity, and comes to a climax with the establishment of a day of rest. The second account focuses on the creation of humanity and comes to a climax with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. As a result of transgressing, a strict prohibition on eating of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, Adam and Eve are banished from the Garden. God proclaims that henceforth they will get their food by hard toil and women will bear children in pain. Adam and Eve have two sons, Cain and Abel, who become a farmer and a shepherd, respectively. As a result of anger when God accepts Abel's offering but not his own, Cain kills his brother. Adam and Eve have a third son, Seth, from whom Noah descends.
• Our Question for the Week •
The Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the East, and placed there the man whom He had formed.
Gan Eden – the garden of Eden – represents both the paradisaic location of human origins and the "heavenly" realm of the hereafter. What constitutes a paradise? How would you describe your paradise?
The Hebrew word "eden" signifies "pleasure." What does this tell us of the Bible's view of paradise? What does this tell us of the Jewish attitude toward human pleasure?