| Published: October 18, 2022
General Overview: In the Torah‘s opening reading, Bereishit, G‑d creates the world in six days and rests on the seventh. Adam and Eve eat from the Tree of Knowledge and are expelled from the Garden of Eden. Cain slays Abel and is punished accordingly. Enumeration of the ten generations between Adam and Noah, the birth of Noah, and the degeneration of mankind.
First Aliyah: This section recounts the story of creation in six days. On the first day G‑d made darkness and light. On the second day He formed the heavens, dividing the “upper waters” from the “lower waters.” On the third day He set the boundaries of land and sea and called forth trees and greenery from the earth. On the fourth day He fixed the position of the sun, moon and stars. Fish, birds and reptiles were created on the fifth day; land-animals, and then the human being, Adam, on the sixth. G‑d ceased work on the seventh day, and sanctified it as a day of rest.
Second Aliyah: This section discusses the events of the sixth day of creation in greater detail. After Adam was formed from the earth, G‑d placed him in a garden just east of Eden. G‑d permitted Adam to eat from any tree in the garden, with the exception of the Tree of Knowledge. Adam named all the animals and birds, and G‑d decided that Adam needed a mate.
Third Aliyah: G‑d caused Adam to fall into a deep slumber and formed a woman, Eve, from one of his sides. Adam was delighted with his new mate. The serpent, at the time the wisest of all animals, sweet-talked Eve into eating from the fruit of the forbidden Tree of Knowledge. Eve shared the fruit with Adam, and imbued with a new sense of knowledge and awareness, they were ashamed of their nakedness and clothed themselves. The fallout was quick to come: G‑d cursed the serpent, Eve, and Adam too, with various maledictions.
Fourth Aliyah: Adam and Eve were then expelled from the idyllic Garden of Eden. Eve gave birth to two sons, Cain and Abel. When Abel’s offering to G‑d was accepted, while Cain’s was rejected, Cain murdered his brother in a jealous rage. G‑d punished Cain, designating him to be a lifelong wanderer, but postponing his ultimate punishment for seven generations.
Fifth Aliyah: The sixth generation descendent of Cain was Lemech, who fathered several children — seventh generation descendents of Cain.
Sixth Aliyah: Lemech accidentally killed his great-great-great-great-grandfather Cain in a hunting accident; the blood of Abel was finally avenged. Adam and Eve gave birth to a third son, Seth. This section then chronicles the first seven generations of mankind, from Adam to the righteous Enoch.
Seventh Aliyah: The next three generations are chronicled in this section — concluding with Noah, the tenth generation from Adam. At this point in time, the wickedness and immorality of the people on earth reached such proportions that G‑d regretted creating man. G‑d gave the world 120 years to clean up their act or be destroyed. Noah, on the other hand, was an exception. He was righteous and found favor in G‑d’s eyes.
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