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Bereshit: Rishon

Seven Days

In the beginning, G-d created Heaven and Earth, but the Earth was unformed. On the first day of Creation, G-d created light to separate between day and night. On the second day, G-d made the sky, to separate between what's above and what's below. On the third day, He gathered the waters on Earth together into seas. He also commanded the Earth to give forth seed-bearing plants and trees that would reproduce themselves. On the fourth day, G-d set the sun, moon and stars in the sky. The heavenly bodies would be used for calculating the calendar. (They're also pretty useful for navigation and, in general, for seeing things!) On the fifth day, G-d filled the water with an endless variety of creatures. He blessed them that they should be prolific in breeding. He also made the birds and other flying things (like, say, bats).

On the sixth day, G-d created the animals of the land, both domesticated livestock and wild beasts. He spoke to His angels about His intention to create man in His own “image,” that is, with the capacity for free will and to choose between good and evil. Man was given dominion over the world and everything in it – this refers to the ability to use and the responsibility to care for the Earth and its creatures, but not the right to abuse them. G-d made man and woman (we’ll see the details shortly) and commanded them to be prolific and to master the world. (Man was commanded to reproduce; contrast this with fish who were blessed with reproduction.) G-d gave man permission to eat any type of vegetation; in fact, all creatures were vegetarian at that time.

After six days, Heaven and Earth were complete, so on the seventh day, G-d “rested.” (Obviously, G-d doesn’t get tired. To rest merely means that He ceased creating.) G-d blessed and sanctified the seventh day as Shabbos, the Sabbath.

Author: Rabbi Jack Abramowitz