The Parsha In 250 Words (Or So)
We begin with God creating the world in six days by (1) separating darkness and light, (2) forming the heavens, (3) setting the boundaries between the earth and the sea and creating plants and trees, (4) fixing the position of the sun moon and stars and thereby allowing for the creation of days and years, (5) creating fish, birds and reptiles, and then on sixth day, creating animals from the land and, finally, man.
On the seventh day, God rested.
God creates man by bringing him forth from the dust. This is Adam. Then, from Adam’s rib, God creates for him a partner, Eve. Adam and Eve dwell in the garden of Eden and are told not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. However, a serpent convinces Eve to eat from the tree and she shares the fruit with Adam. Consequently, the serpent is condemned to crawl, Adam and Eve are condemned to die, and Eve, to suffer during child birth.
Adam and Eve are expelled from the Garden. After, Eve gives birth to two sons, Cain and Abel. Cain quarrels with Abel, kills him, and is exiled. A third son is also born, Seth, whose descendant we learn, after much genealogical detail, is Noah, the only righteous man in the world.
As we’ll see throughout Bereshit, there’s a lot of action here. Most people know very few of the stories from the Torah, and here, in the opening lines, are three of the most famous — the creation of the world, Adam and Eve in the Garden, and Cain murdering Abel.
After so much action, we transition to a genealogical retelling of the descendants of Adam and Eve. We’ll see that this is a device often used to transition the action, here from Adam and Eve to Noah, generations later.
Questions For Later Discussion
Why are Adam and Eve barred from eating from the tree? And why does the serpent try to get them to?
What was a serpent before it was cursed to crawl on its belly?
How did the world go so wrong after the expulsion from the Garden?