Parashat Bere’shiyt / פרשת בראשית

Next read in the Diaspora on 10 October 2015. Parashat Bereshit is the 1st weekly Torah portion in the annual Jewish cycle of Torah reading. Torah Portion: Genesis 1:1 – 6:8     Haftarah for Sephardim: Isaiah 42:5 – 42:21

The scroll of the Torah is the oldest and most sacred of all Israel’s Scriptures. It contains five books. The Hebrew name for the first one is Bereshit (בראשית). It is also the first word of the book in the Hebrew text, as well as the name for the first portion (the first week’s reading). Bereshit means “In The Beginning.”

The English name Genesis comes from the Septuagint (LXX), the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible. Genesis means “origins.” Therefore, the Greek name for the first book of the Bible means “The Book of Origins.”

Genesis describes the origins of everything. It begins with the origins of the universe, focuses on the origins of man and then explores the origins of the nation of Israel.

As we study the first week’s reading from the book of Genesis, we will learn a great deal about God, but even more about ourselves. After all, this is the story of our origins. When properly understood, the story of our origin helps us find our destination.