Breishit (Genesis)The Book of Genesis is concerned with beginnings: the creation of the world and the origin of humanity. It quickly shifts its focus from universal history to the history of the Jewish people beginning in chapter 12, with the introduction of Abraham, the first Jew. The remainder of the book focuses on the lives of Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob and Rachel and Leah, and Joseph. The book ends with the entire family of Jacob descending into Egypt. There are fifty chapters, divided into twelve parashiyot. The parashiyot in Breishit are: Breishit, Noah, Lech Lecha, VaYera, Chaye Sarah, Toldot, VaYetze, VaYishlach, VaYeshev, Miketz, VaYigash and VaYechi.


Noah : We don't have a choice of what we're dealt in life, we can only choose how to play it.

Parashat Noach is a new creation story, or a story of re-creation. It tells how, ten generations after creation, the earth had become corrupt and wicked. Therefore, the Holy One decides to destroy the earth with a flood and begin anew. Only one man, Noah, is deemed to be righteous enough to be saved. He, his family and pairs of each kind of creature are herded together in a large boat - an ark. The earth is flooded, and only those on the ark survive. After the flood, they leave the ark and begin to repopulate the earth. God then establishes a covenant, promising never to destroy the earth with a flood again. Some time later, the story is told of how the descendants of the generation of the flood decided to build a great city with a tower reaching all the way to heaven. God sees what they are doing and decided to thwart their efforts by scattering them all over the earth and causing them to speak different languages. The parasha concludes with the listing of the next generations from Noah to Abram.

Copyright: Kolel, The Adult Centre for Liberal Jewish Learning.

These summaries and introductions are used with permission of Kolel: The Adult Centre for Liberal Jewish Learning in Toronto, Canada. Kolel is a dynamic, pluralistic, egalitarian institution where men and women engage in Jewish learning which values both traditional and liberal interpretations. Kolel is a gateway into a richer expression of Judaism for each individual, wherever their journey of Jewish discovery may take them.

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