Parasha Minute: Genesis / Breisheet


From the world’s oldest fairy tales to Hollywood blockbusters, the best way to understand a story is to start at the beginning. “Genesis” means just that: origins, or beginning. As a narrative account of one people’s history with God, Genesis (and the books that follow) contains many smaller, interlocking stories. But it is mainly a story with a central character, action, and conflict. These opening lines tell of a time before time, in the beginning of things, and introduce a character who is present before there was anything with form. “In the beginning, God” speaks light into being, and declares that it is good.

We get an idea of how God responds to the objects of His creation: light is good; as are the seas and trees, animals and birds, the stars, man and woman. We can think about Genesis as a story about order, patterns, and contrast: heavens and earth; light and darkness; night and day; and ultimately, choices between good and evil, and death and life. Points to Ponder: What opposing forces do you struggle with on a daily basis? A work-life balance perhaps, or differences in opinion between parent and child, employer and employee? How do you weigh choices?