Book 1: Genesis


Chapter 01 - Rashi

Verse 1: In the beginning.

R. Yitzchok said: The Torah should have begun with [the verse] "This month shall be [your first month],"1 it being the first precept that the Israelites were commanded.2 Then why does it [the Torah] begin with "In the beginning"? This is because [of the concept contained in the verse,] "He declared the power of His works to His people in order to give to them the inheritance of nations."3 Thus, should the nations of the world say to Israel, "You are robbers, for you have taken by force the lands of the Seven Nations,"4 they [Israel] will say to them: "All the earth belongs to G-d. He created it and gave it to whomever He saw fit. It was His will to give it to them and it was His will to take it from them and give it to us."

In the beginning [El-him] created.

This verse insists that it be expounded as was done by our Rabbis.5    6 [The world was created] for the sake of the Torah which is called "The beginning of His way,"7 and for the sake of Israel who are called "The beginning of His grain crop."8    9 But if you insist on the simple interpretation, interpret it thus. At the beginning of the creation of heaven and earth, when the world was unformed and desolate, G-d said, "Let there be light." This verse does not intend to teach the sequence of creation -- that these were [created] first. For if that was the intention, it should have written, "At first G-d created the heavens," etc. For the word {Hebrew Ref} never appears in Scripture except when it is annexed to the following word. For example, "At the beginning of Yehoyakim's reign,"10 [or] "The beginning of his reign,"11 [or] "The first of your corn crop."12 Here, too, you must interpret "In the beginning El-him created" as if [it were written] "At the beginning of the creating." [We find] similarly, " {Hebrew Ref} ," as if to say, "At the beginning of G-d's speaking to Hoshea, G-d said to Hoshea," etc.13 If you would claim that [the verse] intends to convey that these [i.e., heaven and earth] were created first, and its interpretation is that at the beginning of everything He created these; and that there are [other] such verses that are shortened omitting a word, such as, "For [it] did not shut the doors of my womb,"14 omitting who it is that closes [the womb]; and "[It] will remove the army of Damascus,"15 omitting who it is that takes it away; and, "Does [it] plow with oxen?"16 without explicitly stating, "Does man plow with oxen?" and, "He relates the end from the beginning,"17 without stating explicitly, "He relates from the beginning of something, the end of something." If this is so, you must question yourself.18 Because [as it happens] water preceded [the heavens and the earth,] for it is written, "The breath of El-him hovered above the surface of the water," Scripture not yet having revealed when the creation of the water took place,19 thus teaching that the waters preceded the earth. And further [proof of the above is that] since the heavens were created from fire and water,20 you are therefore forced [to admit] that Scripture did not [intend to] teach anything of the earlier or later sequence [of creation].

El-him created.21

It is not written "Ad-noy created!"22 [This is] because at first He intended to create it with the attribute of justice, but then saw that the world cannot exist and gave priority to the attribute of mercy and joined it with the attribute of justice. This [thought] is conveyed in the verse, "On the day when Ad-noy El-him made earth and heaven."23

Verse 2: Unformed and desolate.

{Hebrew Ref} signifies wonder and astonishment. I.e., a person would be awed and astonished by its emptiness. {Hebrew Ref} in Old French is estordison.


{Hebrew Ref} means desolation and empty space.

The surface of the abyss.

I.e., upon the waters that are upon the earth.24

The breath of El-him hovered.25

[This refers to the] Throne of Glory [which] was standing in space, hovering over the surface of the waters by means of the breath of G-d and His commands,26 as a dove hovers over its nest. Acoveter in Old French.

Verse 4: El-him saw that the light was good and divided.

Here, too, the Aggadaic explanation27 is necessary.28 He saw that it was not fitting that the wicked should have the use of it [light], He, [therefore,] set it apart for the righteous in the World-to-Come. According to its simple meaning, explain it as follows. He saw that it was good and it is therefore improper that it [the light] and darkness should function together in confusion. So He established that one be bounded by the day and the other be bounded by the night.

Verse 5: One day.

For the language of this parshah to be consistent it should have said "the first day,"29 as is written concerning the other days, "second, third, fourth." Why, then, is it written [here] "one"? This is because [on this day] G-d was alone in His world for the angels were not created until the second day.30 This is the explanation in Bereishis Rabbah.

Verse 6: Let there be a canopy.31

[The meaning is] let the expanse be solidified. Even though the heavens were created on the first day, they were, nevertheless, still fluid and were solidified on the second day by the roaring command of G-d, when He said, "Let there be a canopy!" This is the intent of the verse, "The pillars of the heavens shuddered" the entire first day, and on the second "They were astonished by His roaring command."32 [This is analogous] to a person who is startled and bolts upright from the sudden roar of one who terrifies him.

In the midst of the waters.33

[Here the meaning is] in the middle of the waters. Because the separation between the upper waters and the canopy is the same as between the canopy and the water that is on the earth. You may infer from this that they [the heavens] are suspended [in space] by command of the King.

Verse 7: El-him made the canopy.34

[The interpretation is:] He fixed it in its position and [that is considered] its creation. [This is] similar [to the verse,] "And she made [fixed] her nails."35

[From] above the canopy.36

[The verse] does not state above the canopy, but rather from above the canopy. [This is] because they [the waters] are suspended in space. And why does it [the verse] not state "That it was good" [in reference to] the second day?"37 Because the work involving the water was not completed until the third day,38 although it was begun on the second [day]; and anything incomplete is not considered perfect or best. [Whereas,] on the third day, when the work involving the waters was completed, and He began another work which He completed, [the phrase] "That it was good" is repeated twice. One for the completion of the work of day two, and one for the completion of the work of that [third] day.

Verse 8: El-him called the canopy heaven.

[The word {Hebrew Ref} is a contraction of] {Hebrew Ref} -- [meaning carrying of water,] [also] {Hebrew Ref} -- there is water, [also] {Hebrew Ref} -- fire and water. He blended them with one another and made the heavens from them.

Verse 9: Let the waters be gathered.39

They [the waters] were [at first] spread over the face of the entire earth and He gathered them into the Ocean which is the greatest of all seas.

Verse 10: He called seas.

Is there not but one sea?40 But [the reason for the use of the plural is] [because] there is a difference between the taste of a fish that comes up from the sea at Acco and the taste of a fish that comes up from the sea at Spain.41

Verse 11: Let the earth sprout grass, herbs.42

{Hebrew Ref} is not synonymous with {Hebrew Ref} , nor is {Hebrew Ref} synonymous with {Hebrew Ref} . And according to Scriptural grammar it would be incorrect to say {Hebrew Ref} because there are various species of {Hebrew Ref} , each individual [specie] being referred to as "that particular {Hebrew Ref} ." And it would be incorrect for the speaker to say: "that particular {Hebrew Ref} ," because the term {Hebrew Ref} refers to the [overall plant] covering of the earth when it is full of plant growth. [Therefore:]

Let the earth sprout

[would be defined thus:] Let it [the earth] be full and covered with a covering of individual plants. In Old French {Hebrew Ref} is referred to as erbediz [plant-life], [i.e.,] all intermingled [collectively], whereas each individual root is called {Hebrew Ref} .


[Meaning:] that its seed is grown within it so that it can be resown elsewhere.

Fruit trees.44

This implies that the taste of the tree should be the same as the taste of the fruit.45 However, it [the earth] did not do this, but rather: "The earth sprouted forth... a tree producing a fruit," but the tree itself was not a fruit. Therefore, when Adam was cursed for his sin, it, [the earth] too, was punished for its sin and was [also] cursed.

With its seed within it.

These are the kernels of every fruit from which the tree grows when they are planted.

Verse 12: The earth brought forth, etc.

Though {Hebrew Ref} [of its own kind] was not said when vegetation was commanded [to appear],46 [nevertheless,] they heard that the trees were thus commanded and applied a {Hebrew Ref} [a fortiori] to themselves47 as is explained in an Aggadah in tractate Chulin.48

Verse 14: Let there be lights.

They [the luminaries] were created from the first day and on the fourth [day] He commanded them to be suspended in the canopy. Similarly, all products of heaven and earth were created on the first day and each one was firmly fixed [in its place] on the day that it was commanded. This is the intent of the scripture: "[that which was created] with the heavens" -- 49 to include their products "[and that which was created] with the earth" -- to include its products.

Let there be lights.

The letter vav is omitted [in the word {Hebrew Ref} ] 50 because it [the fourth day] is a cursed day when children are susceptible to disease. This is what is referred to, "On the fourth day they fasted so that disease not befall children."51

To divide between the day and the night.

After the first light was stored away.52 But during the seven days of creation the original light and darkness served together by day and by night.

And they will serve as signs.

When there is an eclipse of the luminaries it is a bad sign for the world, as it is said: "Do not fear the signs from the heavens, etc."53 I.e., when you do the will of G-d, you need not worry about retribution.54

For seasons.55

[This is said] concerning the future. For Israel will be commanded concerning the holidays which are reckoned by the new moon.

For days.

The sun serving half the day and the moon serving [the other] half, make up a complete day.

And for years.

After 365 days they complete their cycle in the twelve constellations that attend them, which makes one year, (alt. version, i.e., 3651 days). Whereupon they begin the next cycle revolving in the same cycle as the first.

Verse 15: They will be for lights.

They [i.e., the luminaries] serve another purpose, that they provide light for the world.

Verse 16: Great lights.56

They were created equal but then, the moon was diminished because it objected by saying: "It is impossible for two kings to rule with the same crown."57

And the stars.58

Because He diminished the moon He increased her hosts to placate her.

Verse 20: Living creatures.59

[Meaning:] a living soul.


Any living thing that is not much higher than the ground is called {Hebrew Ref} ; among winged creatures: e.g., flies, among crawling creatures: e.g., ants, beetles and worms, among [larger] creatures: e.g., rat, mouse, lizard and the like, and so, too, [among] the fish.

Verse 21: Whales.

I.e., the great fish of the sea. According to the Aggadah60 this refers to the Leviasan and its mate which He created, male and female; whereupon He killed the female and preserved it for the righteous in the World-to-Come. For if they were permitted to propagate the world could not exist in their presence.

Living creature.

A living soul.

Verse 22: Blessed them.61

Because they are [constantly] decimated, captured and eaten they required a blessing.62 The animals also needed to be blessed, but since the serpent was destined to be cursed they were, therefore, not blessed so that he [the serpent] not be included in their blessing.

Be fruitful.

[ {Hebrew Ref} ] is derived from {Hebrew Ref} [fruit], meaning: produce fruit.

And multiply.63

Had only {Hebrew Ref} [be fruitful] been said then one would give birth to one and no more. [Therefore,] {Hebrew Ref} [and multiply] was said so that one could give birth to many.

Verse 24: Let the earth bring forth.64

That is what I have already explained65 that everything was actually created from the first day and required only to be brought forth.

Living creatures.66

[I.e., a soul] which is alive.

Creeping things.

This refers to creeping things that are low and creep upon the ground and seem to be dragging because their movement is not discernible. The words {Hebrew Ref} and {Hebrew Ref} [are translated] in our language [O.F.] conmovres.

Verse 25: Made.

He made them in their complete form and their full size.67

Verse 26: Let us make man.68

From here we learn the humility of G-d. Since man was [created] in the image of the angels they were jealous of him. He, therefore, consulted them. Similarly, when He judges kings, He consults His heavenly court. We find this concerning Achav when Michah said to him: "I have seen G-d upon His Throne and all the Heavenly counsel standing by Him on His right and on His left."69 But, can "right" and "left" apply to Him? Therefore, [we must take this to mean] some are on the right [pleading] in favor and some on the left to accuse. Similarly: "By the decree of the angels and by order of the holy ones [i.e., angels]."70 Here, too, He consulted with His heavenly court and received permission. He [G-d] said to them: "There are in the heavens like My image. Should there not be like My image on earth there will be jealously in creation."

Let us make man.71

Though they did not help in his creation and may give the heretics an opportunity to rebel,72 [nevertheless,] Scripture does not refrain from teaching courtesy and the attribute of humility. That the greater one consult and ask permission of a smaller one. Had it been written "I will make man," we would not have learned that He consulted with His [heavenly] court, but only with Himself. The response to the heretics is written alongside:73 "G-d created man" and it does not say "They created."74

In our image.75

[I.e.,] in our form.

As our likeness.

To understand and to be intellectually creative.

And let him dominate the fish of the sea.

This expression [ {Hebrew Ref} ] has [the meaning of] ruling and descending. [If he is] meritorious, [then] he has dominion over the beasts and cattle. [If he is] not meritorious [then] he becomes subjugated to them and the beast has dominion over him.

Verse 27: And thus El-him created man in His form.76

[ {Hebrew Ref} means] in the form that was made for him. Everything [else] was created by command whereas, he [man] was created by hand, as it is said, "You [G-d] placed Your hand upon me."77 [Man] was made by a die as a coin that is made by impression that is called [in O.F.] coin. Similarly it is written, "The die can be varied as clay."78    79

In the form of El-him He created him.80

This teaches you that the form that was established for him [i.e., man] is the form of the image of his Creator.81

Male and female He created them.82

[Yet,] later it states: "He took one of his ribs, etc."83    84 According to Midrash Aggadah85 He created him with two faces at first, and afterward He divided him. According to the simple meaning of the verse, it informs you that they were both created on Friday. However, it was not explained how they were created, but it is explained elsewhere.86

Verse 28: And subdue it.

[It is spelled] without a vav87 to teach you that the male "subdues" the female, [i.e.,] that she not be a gadabout. Also to teach you that man, whose way it is to subdue88 is commanded to be fruitful and multiply, but not the woman.

29-30: To you it shall be for food [and] for every animal of the earth.

He equates animals and beasts to them [i.e., to humans] concerning the food [they are to eat.] He did not permit man and his wife to kill any creature in order to eat meat, whereas they are all permitted to eat all vegetation equally. When the "sons of Noach" came89 meat was permitted to them as it is said, "All living creeping things, etc.,90 like vegetation" that I permitted for Adam, "I have given you everything."

Verse 31: The sixth day.

The letter {Hebrew Ref} was added on the sixth day91 when the days of creation ended, to teach that He stipulated with them, ["You were created] on the condition that the Israelites accept the Five Books of the Torah."92 Another explanation for "the sixth day." They all [i.e., all creation] are pending until "the sixth day," referring to the sixth day of [the month] Sivan which is destined for the giving of the Torah.93

Chapter 02 - Rashi

Verse 2: El-him completed by the seventh day.94

R. Shimon said,95 [man who is] flesh and blood who cannot [precisely] know his times and moments must add from the profane to the holy.96 G-d, who [precisely] knows His times and moments can enter into it by a hairbreadth, and it appears as if He concluded [His work] on that very day [i.e., the Sabbath].97 Another explanation: [At this point in time,] what was the world [still] lacking? [The concept] of rest. With the coming of Shabbos came rest,98 [i.e.,] the work was completed and finished.

Verse 3: Blessed ... sanctified.99

He blessed it through the manna.100 Whereas during all the weekdays there descended for them an omer of manna per person, but, on the sixth day [Friday]; a double portion.101 He sanctified it through the manna for it did not descend at all on Shabbos.102 This verse is written with reference to the future.103

Which El-him had created to do.

The work which was to have been done on Shabbos He doubled and did on Friday, as is explained in Bereishis Rabbah.

Verse 4: This.

["This" refers to] those mentioned previously.104

The history of the heavens and the earth when they were created on the day when Ad-noy made.105 This teaches you that they were all created on the first day.106 Another explanation [of the word] {Hebrew Ref} . He created them with the letter hey [ {Hebrew Ref} ], as it is said, "In G-d, Ad-noy, is the strength of the worlds107 [which can also be interpreted as:] with these two letters yud [ {Hebrew Ref} ] and hey [ {Hebrew Ref} ] of the Name He created two worlds. Here it teaches you that this world was created with the letter hey [ {Hebrew Ref} ]. (In other versions [the following is added], this symbolizes: that just as the {Hebrew Ref} is open at the bottom the world, too, is open to those who return through repentance. The World to Come was created with the letter yud [ {Hebrew Ref} ] to relate that the righteous of that [future] time [will be] few as a yud [ {Hebrew Ref} ], which is the smallest of the letters.) This symbolizes that the wicked will descend to behold the abyss [of hell] like [the letter] {Hebrew Ref} which is closed on all sides and open [only] at the bottom, for them to descend there.

Verse 5: Were not yet on the earth.

Every time the word {Hebrew Ref} appears in Scripture it means 'not yet.' It does not mean 'before' and cannot form a verb saying {Hebrew Ref} as can be said of {Hebrew Ref} [meaning preceded].108 This verse proves this.109 And another [proof of this:] is the verse {Hebrew Ref} 110 which is rendered "For you do not yet fear." This verse, too should be explained thus: [No tree] was as yet upon the earth when the creation of the world was completed on Friday before man was created.

And all the herbal vegetation of the field had not yet sprouted.

[And all vegetation] did not yet sprout. [The fact that] on the third day it is written: "Let the earth sprout forth"111 [should be interpreted:] they did not protrude but they remained at the surface of the ground112 until the sixth day [when man was created]. Why?

For [He] had not brought rain.113

And what was the reason that he did not cause it to rain? Because "There was [yet] no man to work the soil," and there was no one to appreciate the rain. When man appeared and recognized their need for the world he prayed for it and it descended and the trees and vegetation sprouted

Ad-noy El-him.114

Ad-noy is His name. El-him [signifies] that He is Ruler and Judge over everything.115 This is the plain explanation everywhere:116 Ad-noy who is El-him [i.e., Ruler and Judge].

Verse 6: A mist rose.

It was for the purpose of creating man that He brought up [the waters of] the deep and moistened the clouds in order to soak the earth and to create man, like the kneader [of dough] who adds water [to the flour] and then proceeds to knead the dough. Here, too, He [first] "moistened" [the earth] and afterwards "created" [man].

Verse 7: Formed.

[ {Hebrew Ref} with two yuds refers to] two creations. One creation for this world and one creation for when the dead will be resurrected. Whereas animals which will not be judged,117 two yuds are not written [in the word {Hebrew Ref} ].118

Dust from the ground.119

He gathered dust from all four corners of the earth so that wherever [man] may die it [the earth] will receive him for burial.120 Another explanation [for {Hebrew Ref} ]. He took the dust from the place of which it is written: "Make an altar of earth for Me."121 Would that it be an atonement for him so that he may survive.122

And He blew into his nostrils.

He made him of earthy matter and of heavenly matter. His body [is made] from earthy matter and his soul from heavenly matter. [This was so] because on the first day heaven and earth were created. On the second day He created a canopy for the heavens. On the third day the land appeared on earth. On the fourth day He created luminaries for the heavens. On the fifth day the water swarmed [to produce creatures] for the earth.123 It was [therefore] necessary that on the sixth day to create [something] from heavenly and earthly matter. If this were not so124 there would be jealousy in creation for these would outnumber those by one day's creation.

A living soul.125

Animals and beasts are also called living souls. But, the one of man is the most alive for he additionally was given intelligence and speech.

Verse 8: To the east.

East of Eden was where He planted the Garden. Should you ask, it has already been written: "And He created man, etc."126 [The answer is based on that which] I saw in the B'rayso of R. Eliezer the son of R. Yosi Hagalily. The Torah is expounded through thirty-two principles and the following is one of them: A general statement followed by an action are the specifics of the first [statement].127 [Thus,] "He created man" is the general statement leaving from whence he was created obscure [as well] as obscuring what was done. It then repeats and clarifies: "G-d formed man, etc." and caused the Garden of Eden to sprout for his benefit "and placed him in the Garden of Eden" and put him into a deep sleep. The one who hears this may think that this is a different story, but, in reality, it is the details of the first. Similarly, concerning the animals. He again writes:128 "G-d created from the earth all animals of the field" for the purpose of clarifying [the verse] "And He brought them to the man so that he may name them" and to teach concerning the birds that they were created from the swamp.

Verse 9: Made grow.

This verse relates to the Garden.

In the middle of the Garden.129

[Meaning] in the center of the Garden.

Verse 11: Pishon.

This is the Nile, the river of Egypt. Because its waters are bountiful and rise to irrigate the land it is called Pishon [from the same root] as [the word {Hebrew Ref} ] [in the verse] {Hebrew Ref} [His riders increased.]130 Another interpretation: [It is called] Pishon because it causes flax [ {Hebrew Ref} ] to grow as it is said concerning Egypt, "And the flax workers shall be shamed."131

Verse 13: Gichon.

[It is so called] because it flows and roars and its roar is very great as [is written]: "If [an ox] gores,"132 for he gores and goes on to roar.133

Verse 14: Chidekel.

[It is so called] because its waters are pungent and light.134


[It is so called] because its waters increase abundantly135 and have healing qualities for man.

Kush ... Asshur.

[Kush and Asshur] did not yet exist [as countries], but Scripture writes [these names] based on [the fact that they will be so called in] the future.

To the east of Asshur.

[Means] on the eastern side of Asshur.

Is P'ras.

It is the most important of all [the rivers] [because] it is mentioned in conjunction [with] the Land of Israel.136

Verse 15: Took.137

He "took" him with kind words and persuaded him to enter.

Verse 18: It is not good for, etc.138

So that they [the heretics] not claim that there are two dominions, G-d, above, is alone, without a mate and this one [man], below without a mate.

A helper for him.139

If he is worthy then [she is] a helpmate, if he is not worthy then [she is] opposite him, to fight him.

Verse 19: Formed from the ground.

This "creating" is the same as "the making" which was stated above: "And G-d made the animals of the earth, etc."140 However, here it comes to explain that the fowl was created from the swamps.141 Since above it stated that they [the fowls] were created from water and here it states that they were created from the earth.142 Also, it teaches you that immediately, on the day they were created He brought them to man to call them by name. According to Aggadah,143 the word {Hebrew Ref} here has the meaning of dominating and subjugating as [in the verse:] "When you will besiege a city;"144 [accordingly, here it means] that He subjugated them under the domination of man.145

Whatever the man called [each] living creature, etc.146

You must transpose [the words] and explain it: All living souls that were given a name by Adam will retain that name forever.

Verse 20: But the man did not find a helper... Ad-noy El-him caused unconciousness to fall.147

When He brought them [the animals] before him He brought the male and female of each specie. [Adam] said: They each have a mate but I have no mate; immediately: "And G-d put [Adam]..."148

Verse 21: Of his ribs.

[Has the literal meaning] from his sides as [in the verse] "The sides of the Tabernacle."149 This [coincides with] what we said:150 that they were [first] created with two faces.151

And closed-over.

The place of the cut.

And he slept...and He took.

So that he not see the piece of flesh from which she was created and be repulsive to him.

Verse 22: [He] built.152

Like a building, broad at the bottom and narrow at the top so that she can carry the child. [Just] as a wheat silo which is broad at the bottom and narrow at the top so that its weight not be a strain on its walls.153

[He] built the rib ... into a woman.154

[Meaning:] so that it should become a woman as [in the verse]: "And Gidon made it to an ephod,"155 [meaning] so that it should become an ephod.

Verse 23: This at last.

This teaches that Adam attempted to find [a mate] amongst all the animals and beasts and he was not satisfied with them until he discovered Chavah.

This shall be called Woman, for from Man, etc.156

[The words {Hebrew Ref} and {Hebrew Ref} ] have the same root. From this [we derive] that the world was created with the Holy Tongue.157

Verse 24: Therefore, a man shall leave.

The Divine Spirit is saying this prohibiting to the "sons of Noach" forbidden marital relations.158

One flesh.

The child is formed by both [parents] thereby becoming unified as "one flesh."

Verse 25: And they were not ashamed.159

They did not know the ways of modesty to distinguish between good and evil.160 Although he [Adam] was given the wisdom to call [all the creatures] by name, he was not imbued with the evil inclination until he ate from the tree and the evil inclination entered him and he was able to distinguish good and evil.161

Chapter 03 - Rashi

Verse 1: The serpent was more cunning.

Why is this incident inserted here [i.e., connected to the preceding verses]?162 He should have connected it [with] [the verse:] "And He made for Adam and his wife garments of skin and clothed them."163 But, it comes to teach you the cause of the serpent's assailing them. He saw them unclothed, indulging in marital relations unashamedly and he coveted her.164

More cunning than any.165

As cunning and mighty [as he was] [so, too,] was his downfall. Most cunning of all, [became] most cursed of all.166

Did [He] even say, etc.

Did He perhaps tell you not to eat from any of the trees of the garden, etc.? And, although he saw them eating from the other fruits he indulged her in conversation so that she should be obliged to answer him, and give him the opportunity to speak about that particular tree.

Verse 3: Neither shall you touch it.167

She added more to the command; therefore, it caused her to diminish [the command], as it is said:168 Do not add to His words."169

Verse 4: You certainly will not die.

He pushed her until she touched it [the tree]. He then said to her: "Just as there is no death in touching so, too, there is no death in eating."170

Verse 5: For [He] knows.

[The serpent said to her:] Every craftsman resents his fellow-craftsmen. He [i.e., G-d] ate from the tree and [was enabled to] created the world.171

And you will become as gods.172

[With the ability] to create worlds.173

Verse 6: The woman saw.174

She "saw" the words of the serpent [i.e.,] she approved of them and believed him.175

That the tree was good.176

To be like a god.

And that it was tempting to the eyes.

As he told her "Your eyes will open."

Appealing as a means of [obtaining] wisdom.

As he told her: "Knowers of good and evil."

And she also gave it to her husband.

So that she will not die while he will live and marry another.


Comes to include animal and beast.

Verse 7: Were opened, etc.

The verse refers to wisdom and not to the actual ability to see as evidenced by the end of the verse.177

And they realized that they were naked.178

Even one who is blind knows when he is undressed. Then what is [the reference:] "They realized that they were naked"? [Answer:] They had one command [to follow] and they stripped themselves of it.179

Fig leaves.180

That is the tree from which they ate. With that which they sinned they set themselves aright.181 But, the other trees prevented them from taking their leaves. Why is the name of the tree not revealed?182 This is because G-d does not want to grieve any being, so that [the tree] not be shamed of it being said, 'This is the one through which the world was stricken.'

Verse 8: They heard.

There are many Aggadaic expositions which our Sages have already organized in their proper order in Bereishis Rabbah and in other Midrashim. But, I have come only to to give the plain meaning of Scripture and the Aggadah which serves to clarify the words of Scripture in a way which fits those words.

They heard.183

What did they hear? They heard the sound of G-d as He was walking through the Garden.

At the breeze of the day.184

[Meaning] that direction from which the sun [i.e., its rays] comes, which is from the west.185 Because before dusk the sun is in the west and they sinned during the tenth hour.186

Verse 9: Where are you?187

He [i.e., G-d] knew where he was. It was only to engage in conversation with him so that he not be too bewildered to repent188 if He would have punished him suddenly.189 Similarly, in the case of Kayin,190 He said to him: "Where is your brother Hevel?" Similarly, in the case of Bilam191 [He said:] "Who are these people with you?" for the purpose of entering into conversation with them. Similarly in the case of Chizkiyahu [concerning] the messengers of Merodoch-baladan.192

Verse 11: Who told you?193

[Meaning] from where would you know that there is shame in being unclothed?

From the tree?194

With wonder.195

Verse 12: That You gave to be with me.196

Here he [Adam] shows his ingratitude.197

Verse 13: Deceived me.

[Meaning] he misled me. Similarly: "Let Chizkiyahu not mislead you."198

Verse 14: Because you did this.199

From here [we learn]200 that we do not attempt to mitigate the sin of a seducer.201 For had He asked him: "Why did you do this?" he could have answered: "[When one is faced with obeying] the words of the master or the words of the student, who is it that should be obeyed?"202

From among all animals and beasts of the field.

If he was cursed more than the animal then, certainly more than the beast? Our Sages established this deduction in Maseches Bechoros [8a]: to teach that the gestation period of a snake [lasts] seven years.203

On your belly you shall crawl.204

He had legs which were cut off.205

Verse 15: I will put hostility.206

[G-d said:] Your sole intention was that Adam should die by eating first and then you would marry Chavah and you only spoke to Chavah first because women are easily influenced and know how to influence their husbands. Therefore: "I will set enmity [etc.]"207

Strike you.

[Meaning:] He will crush you as [in the verse:] {Hebrew Ref} 208 which is translated [by Onkelos:] You will crush him.

And you shall strike him on the heel.209

[Meaning;] You will be unable to stand upright and will [be forced to] bite him on his heel. But, even from there you will [be able to] kill him. The word {Hebrew Ref} is as [in the verse:] "He blew into them"210 because when the snake comes to bite he emits a whistlelike sound.211 since the words sound alike the form {Hebrew Ref} is used for both.

Verse 16: Your sorrow.

This [refers to] the pain of rearing children.212

Your pregnancy.

Refers to the pain of pregnancy.

You will give birth to children with pain.

This refers to the pain of childbirth.

Your desire will be for your husband.

For marital relations. And, yet, you will not have the audacity to demand it outright from him, but, rather, "he will dominate you." [I.e.] all [the initiative] will come from him and not from you.213

Your desire.

[Means] your desire as [in the verse] "His soul desires."214

Verse 17: The soil will be cursed because of you.

It will produce cursed things for you such as flies, fleas and ants. This is comparable to one who adopts evil ways and people curse the breasts at which he was suckled.215

Verse 18: It will grow thorns and thistles for you.

[This refers to] the earth. When you will sow any kind of seeds it will sprout thorns, thistles, dardar and kundes which require special preparation to be eaten.216

And you will eat the herbs of the field.

Why is this considered a curse? Does it not state in his blessing:217 "Behold, I have given you all seed-yielding herbs, etc."218 But, [let us see] what is stated here at the beginning of this narration: "The soil will be cursed because of you, in sorrow you shall eat from it." And after this pain: "It will grow thorns and thistles for you." [I.e.,] when you will sow beans and vegetables in the garden, it will sprout for you thorns and thistles and other vegetation of the field and you will have no choice but to eat them.219

Verse 19: By the sweat of your face.220

[Meaning:] After you will toil much.

Verse 20: The man called.

Scripture now returns to the earlier narrative, "And man gave names..." It was interrupted only to teach you that as a result of the calling of names he was mated with Chavah, as is written: "But the man found no helper for himself. Consequently: "[He] caused unconsiousness to fall..." And as a result of it being written: "The two of them were naked," it is followed by the narrative about the serpent to let you know that as a result of seeing them unclothed and seeing them indulging in marital relations, he desired her and came to them with a plan and deceitfulness.


A play on the word {Hebrew Ref} [alive]221 for she gives life to her children, as the verse states: "What does man have,"222 [ {Hebrew Ref} ] meaning "to be."223

Verse 21: Leather coats.224

There are opinions in Aggadah that say that [the clothes] were smooth as fingernails cleaving to their skin.225 Others say: material made from skin such as rabbit's fur which is soft and warm226 from which He made clothes for them.

Verse 22: Become like one of us.227

Behold, he is unique in the terrestrial as I am unique in the celestial. What is his uniqueness? The knowledge of good and evil, which is not so of animal and beast.228

Now he must be prevented from reaching out his hand.

If he would live forever he is likely to lead people astray after him and they may say that he too is a god. There are [other] Aggadic expositions, but, they do not fit the simple meaning.

Verse 24: At the east of the Garden.

[Meaning:] "To the east of Gan Eden" -- outside the Garden.229

The Cherubim.

[These are] the destructive angels.230

The rotating sword.

Which had sharpness, to frighten him from again entering the Garden. The targum [Onkelos, of the word] {Hebrew Ref} is {Hebrew Ref} [sharpness] as in "He drew his [sharp] blade" in Maseches Sanhedrin.231 In Old French it is lame. There are other Aggadic expositions But, I come only to present the plain explanation.

Chapter 04 - Rashi

Verse 1: The man knew.232

This had already [occured] before the previous narrative [i.e.,] before he sinned and was exiled from Gan Eden. This is also [true of] the conception and birth. Had it said {Hebrew Ref} it would imply that after he was exiled children were born to him.


[This name was given him] based on [her having said] {Hebrew Ref} ["I have obtained"].

With Ad-noy.

[ {Hebrew Ref} means] like {Hebrew Ref} [with G-d].233 [Meaning:] "When He created me and my husband He created us by Himself. However, in this one we are co-partners with Him."234

To Kayin, to his brother, to Hevel.

The word {Hebrew Ref} is repeated thrice implying additional [facts or things]. This teaches that a girl twin was born with Kayin, and two were born with Hevel.235 Consequently, [concerning Hevel] it says: [Lit.] "And she increased" [in giving birth].236

Verse 2: A shepherd.237

Because the earth was cursed he refrained from working it.

Verse 3: Some fruit of the soil.238

From the worst [of the fruit]. There is an Aggadah that says239 that it was linseed. (An alternate explanation: "from the fruit" means, from whatever was at hand neither good, and [certainly] not the best).

Verse 4: [He] paid regard.

[Means:] and he turned towards. Similarly [in verse 5] {Hebrew Ref} means: "[And to his offering] he paid no regard." Similarly: {Hebrew Ref} [means:] "Do not turn."240 Similarly: {Hebrew Ref} [means:] "Turned from him."241

[He] paid regard.242

A fire descended and consumed his gift-offering.

Verse 7: Is this not so -- if you improve.

The explanation is as explained in Targum.243

Sin rests at the entrance.

[Meaning:] to the opening of your grave will your sin be retained.

Its desire is unto you.

[The desire] of the sin. I.e., the evil inclination constantly desires and lusts to seduce you.

But you can dominate it.

If you desire you will overcome it.

Verse 8: Kayin said.244

He engaged him in argument and dispute in order to find a pretext to kill him.245 Concerning this there are Aggadaic expositions,246 but this is the plain explanation of the verse.

Verse 9: Where is your brother, Hevel?247

For the purpose of engaging him in calm conversation so that he may repent and say: "I killed him and have sinned to You."

I know not.

He became a deceiver of the Most High.248

My brother's keeper?

This is a question of incredulity as is every {Hebrew Ref} prefix that is vocalized with a chataf patach.

Verse 10: Your brother's blood.249

[Referring to] his blood and the blood of his descendants. An alternate explanation: he inflicted him with many wounds250 for he did not know at which point his soul would depart.251

Verse 11: You are cursed from the ground.252

I.e., even more than it had already been cursed for its sin. Here, too, it continued to sin.

That had to open its mouth to accept your brother's blood, etc.

And I, therefore, curse it additionally concerning you: "It will no longer give you of its strength."

Verse 12: Unsettled and a wanderer.

"You have no permission to dwell in one place.

Verse 13: My sin is greater that I can bear.253

An incredulous question.254 [Kayin saying:] "You [G-d] bear the [worlds] above and below and you cannot manage to bear my sin?"255

Verse 15: Therefore, whoever kills Kayin.256

This is one of those verses in which words are brief and its meaning is only hinted without elaborating. [The proper explanation is:] Therefore, [the words,] "Whoever kills Kayin" convey a stern threat: thus will be done to him, such and such will be his punishment, without specifying what his punishment will be.

Revenge will be taken on him sevenfold.

"I do not wish to take vengeance from Kayin now, [but, rather] at the end of seven generations I will take my vengeance from him whereby his descendant Lemech will rise up and kill him. The words {Hebrew Ref} at the end of the verse refers to the avenging of Hevel from Kayin. This teaches that the beginning of the verse is a stern threat that no creature injure him. Similarly:257 "And David said: 'Whoever kills a Yevusite and will reach the gutter' "258 and it does not state what will be done to him. But, rather, the verse speaks by hinting: [meaning:] whoever kills a Yevusite and will reach the gutter and approach the gate and capture it and the blind, etc. [meaning:] and he will kill them259 as well for the blind and the lame having said: 'David may not come into the house.'260 He who kills these I will appoint him a leader and general." Here his [David's] words are abbreviated but Divrei Hayamim is explicit: "He shall be a leader and a general."261

Ad-noy placed a mark on Kayin.262

He inscribed a letter from His Divine Name on his forehead. (Other editions of Rashi add: Another interpretation:] [The statement] "Whoever finds me will kill me" [refers to:] the animals and beasts. But there were not yet any humans from whom he had to fear except for his father and mother, and he had no fear that they would kill him. But, he said: "Until now the fear of me was upon all the animals as it is said: 'And your fear, etc.'263 And, now, as a result of this sin the beasts will not fear me and they will kill me." Immediately: "G-d placed a mark on Kayin" and fear of him reverted to all.)

Verse 16: Kayin went.264

[Meaning:] he left with humility as one who is a deceiver of the One Most High.265

In the land of Nod.

The land to where all exiles wander.266

East of Eden.

That is where his father was exiled when he was expelled from Gan Eden as it is said: "He stationed him at the east of the Garden" of Eden to guard the path of approach to the Garden,267 which indicates that Adam was there.268 [As] we find that the easterly direction always serves as a refuge for murderers as it is said:269 "Then Moshe set aside, etc.270 toward where the sun rises."271 An alternate explanation of {Hebrew Ref} : wherever he [Kayin] walked the earth quaked beneath him272 and people would say: "Move away from him, for he is the one who killed his brother."273

Verse 17: [Kayin] was building a city and he named the city

as a memorial after his son, Chanoch.

Verse 18: Irad had a son.

There are places where it says concerning the male -- {Hebrew Ref} and other places where it says {Hebrew Ref} because the verb {Hebrew Ref} can be used [to convey] two ideas: 1) [in reference] to a woman giving birth, naître in Old French [to give birth] and 2) the man's begetting engendrer in Old French [to beget]. When it says {Hebrew Ref} in the {Hebrew Ref} 274 form it speaks of the woman's giving birth, [i.e.,] so-and-so caused his wife to give birth [to] a son or a daughter. When it says {Hebrew Ref} it speaks of the man's begetting.

Verse 19: Lemech married.

It would not be necessary to detail all this except to teach us, from the end of the narrative, that G-d fulfilled the promise He made when He said: "Revenge will be taken on Kayin sevenfold." Lemech arose after begetting children and producing a seventh generation275 and killed Kayin. This is the intent when it says: "For I have killed a man by my wounding," etc.276

Two women.

This was the custom of the Flood generation -- one [wife] for child-bearing and one for conjugal relations. The one for conjugal relations would be given a sterilizing medicine so that she should become barren. She would be adorned like a bride and fed delicious foods, while her fellow-wife would be neglected and mourn as a widow. This was expressed by Iyov: "He supports the barren one that bears no children and does nothing good for the widow,"277 as is explained in the Aggadah of Chapter Chelek.278


She was the one intended for child-bearing. So called because she was repulsive to him and was kept away from him. (Other versions: from dining with him). {Hebrew Ref} is Aramaic for "kept away."279


She was the one intended for conjugal relations. So called because she resided always in his shadow. These are Aggadaic interpretations in Bereishis Rabbah.280

Verse 20: Father of those who live in tents and breed cattle.

He was the first one of those who pastured cattle in the wilderness, dwelling in tents, a month here and a month there on account of pasture for his sheep and when the pasture would be consumed in this place he would go and pitch his tent in another place. A Midrashic exposition281 [states] that he built temples for idol-worship as it is said:282 "The image of jealousy which provokes jealousy."283 Similarly, his brother.284

[Father of] all who handle [play] the harp and flute.

To make music for idol-worship.

Verse 22: Tuval Kayin.285

[He was so called because:] He refined the craft of Kayin. {Hebrew Ref} is related to the word {Hebrew Ref} [spices]286 because he enhanced and refined the craft of Kayin to produce weapons for murderers.

Who sharpened everything that cuts copper and iron.

[Meaning:] sharpens the tools [used for working with] copper and iron as in: "He sharpened his eyes upon me."287 The word {Hebrew Ref} is not in the {Hebrew Ref} form288 but, rather in the {Hebrew Ref} form, for it is vocalized with a {Hebrew Ref} with the accent on the last syllable289 thereby saying: he sharpens and polishes all tools used for copper and iron.


She was Noah's wife, (according to Bereishis Rabbah.)290

Verse 23: Hear my voice.291

For they had separated from him because he had killed Kayin and his son Tuval Kayin. Lemech was blind and Tuval Kayin would lead him. He [Tuval-Kayin] saw Kayin but he appeared to him to be a beast. He told his father to draw the bow and he [Lemech] killed him. When he realized that he was his forefather, Kayin, he slapped his hands together292 and struck his son between them and killed him. His wives, [thereupon] separated from him and he was attempting to appease them.

Hear my voice.

[Meaning:] "Agree to have conjugal relations with me. Was then the man whom I killed killed by my wounding?" [I.e.,] did I wound him intentionally, that the wounding be attributed to me? And the child that I killed, was it killed by my blow? I.e., by my [intentional] blow." [Lemech's statement being] an exclamatory question, "Did I not act accidentally and not intentionally? That is not a wound attributable to me and that is not a blow attributable to me."

By my wounding.

[Means:] a wound inflicted by sword or arrow macheure, in Old French.

Verse 24: If Kayin shall be avenged sevenfold.293

If Kayin who killed intentionally, [nevertheless] his punishment was suspended for seven generations, [then,] I, who killed unintentionally, certainly should have my punishment suspended for many seven-generation periods.

Seventy-seven [fold].

A term meaning many periods of seven generations is used here. So expounds R. Tanchuma.294 But the Midrash Bereishis Rabbah295 [states:] Lemech killed no one. His wives separated from him once they gave birth to children because it had been decreed to annihilate the descendants of Kayin after seven generations. They said "Why should we give birth in vain? Tomorrow the Flood will come and sweep everything away." And he responded to them: "Did I kill a man with my wound?" [Meaning:] "Did I kill [anyone like] Hevel who was manly in stature and young in years, that my children be annihilated for that sin? Just as Kayin, who committed murder yet his punishment was suspended for seven generations, then, I who have killed no one, certainly should have my punishment suspended for many seven-generation periods!" This is an absurd kal vachomer296 for, if so, then G-d could never exact his debt nor fulfill his word.297

Verse 25: Adam knew, etc.298

Lemech came to Adam horishon299 and complained about his wives. He [Adam] said to them: "Is it proper for you to be so particular concerning the decree of G-d?300 You do what you have been commanded and He will do His." They responded to him: "Correct yourself first. Haven't you been apart from your wife [these] 130 years from the time that, through you, death was decreed?" Immediately...

Adam knew, etc.

What does {Hebrew Ref} [again] signify? It comes to teach that his desire for her was greater than before.301

Verse 26: Then [men] began.

It is a term related to the word {Hebrew Ref} [profane], i.e., by calling the names of men as well as the names of the idols by the name of G-d making them into idolatrous worship and to refer to them as deities.

Chapter 05 - Rashi

Verse 1: This is the book of the history of man.

[Meaning:] This is the narrative of the generations of man. There are many other Aggadaic interpretations.

On the day El-him created.302

This tells us that on the same day that he was created he begot children.303

Verse 3: One hundred and thirty years.304

Up to now he had separated from his wife.305

Verse 24: Chanoch walked.306

He was a righteous person but he could easily be induced to turn towards evil ways. Therefore, G-d quickly took him away and had him die, i.e., before his time. This is why the verse uses a different expression concerning his death, by writing {Hebrew Ref} "and he was not" in the world to complete his years.

For [He] took him.

Before his time; as in: "Behold I take from you the desire of your eyes."307

Verse 28: And had a son.308

From whom the world was built up.309

Verse 29: This [one] will bring us rest.

"He will give us rest from the toil of our hands." Prior to Noach they had no agricultural tools and he prepared [such tools] for them. The earth had been producing thorns and thistles when wheat was sown as a result of Adam horishon's curse and this ceased in the days of Noach. That is the intent of the word {Hebrew Ref} .310 If you do not explain it this way311 then the meaning of the term is not related to the name [ {Hebrew Ref} ] and you would have to call him Menachem.

Verse 32: Five hundred years old.

R. Yudan said: Why is it that all the [previous] generations had children at the age of one hundred years, and this one, [Noach, had children] at the age of five hundred? G-d said: If they312 be wicked they will be destroyed by the [flood] waters which will cause grief to this righteous man. If they be righteous, then I would have to burden him to build many arks. [Therefore,] He restrained his source313 and he had no children until he was five hundred years old in order that Yefes, his oldest son,314 not be of punishable age before the Flood315 as it is written: "For the youngster will die when he is one hundred years old."316 [Meaning: the age at which he will be] liable for punishment, in future time, and so it was before the Torah was given.317

Sheim, Cham and Yafes.

Was not Yefes the oldest?318 But, first you must discuss Sheim who was righteous and who was born circumcised,319 and from whom Abraham descended ( [as is explained] in Bereishis Rabbah.320)

Chapter 06 - Rashi

Verse 2: The sons of rulers.

[Meaning:] the sons of princes and rulers. Another explanation of {Hebrew Ref} : They are the angels who go as messengers of G-d; they, too, intermingled with them. Whenever {Hebrew Ref} appears in Scripture it has the meaning of authority. The following is indicative: "You will be his master."321 "See that I have made you a master."322

That [they] were fair.323

R. Yudan said: It is spelled {Hebrew Ref} ,324 [meaning:] when they improved her appearance beautifying her to enter the marriage canopy, the head ruler would then enter and have relations with her first.325

From whomever they chose.

Even a married woman, even a man or an animal.326

Verse 3: My spirit will not continue to judge man.

[Meaning:] "My spirit will not be in anger and conflict because of man."


[Meaning:] for a long time. "Behold, My spirit is contending within Me whether to destroy or whether to show mercy. This conflict will not be with Me 'forever,' i.e., for a long time."327

Since he is nothing but flesh.

This is the same as {Hebrew Ref} , that is to say, "because":328 "there is also this about him: that he is [only] flesh and, nevertheless, he does not humble himself before Me. What if he were of fire or of some hard substance?"329 Similarly: {Hebrew Ref} 330 [should be interpreted] as {Hebrew Ref} 331 Similarly: {Hebrew Ref} 332 [should be interpreted] as {Hebrew Ref} .333 So, too, {Hebrew Ref} is as {Hebrew Ref} .

His days shall be, etc.

I will delay my anger towards them up to 120 years. If they will not repent I will bring a flood upon them. Should you ask: From the birth of Yafes until the Flood there were only one hundred years;334 [note] there is no "earlier" or "later" in the Torah335 The decree had already been decreed twenty years before Noach had children. So we find in Seder Olam.336 There are many Aggadaic expositions regarding [the words,] {Hebrew Ref} , but, this is the smooth, plain, explanation.

Verse 4: Giants.

They were so called because they "fell" [ {Hebrew Ref} ] and caused the downfall337 [ {Hebrew Ref} ] of the world.338 In Hebrew it means giants.

In those days.

I.e., in the days of Enosh and sons of Kayin.339

And also later.

Though they saw the destruction of the generation of Enosh when the ocean rose and flooded a third of the world, [yet,] the generation of the Flood was not humbled to learn from them.340

When [they] came.

I.e., they [the mothers] gave birth to children like them [the fathers].341

The mightiest ones.

[They were mighty in] their rebellion against G-d.342

Men of renown.

Those who had distinctive names: Irad, Mechuyael, Mesushael, who were so called on account of their destruction for they were wiped out343 and torn out.344 An alternate explanation: "Men of devastation" -- who devastated the world.345

Verse 6: Ad-noy was comforted that He had made.

It was a comfort346 to Him that He created him [man] on earth, for had he been one of the heavenly beings he would have caused them to rebel.347

And He grieved.

The man.

In His heart.

Of G-d. [Meaning:] it entered the thought of G-d to make him grieve. This is according to the translation of Onkelos.348 An alternate explanation of {Hebrew Ref} :349 G-d's thought turned from [applying] Divine Mercy to [applying] Divine Justice. He reconsidered what to do with man that He made upon the earth. Similarly wherever the term {Hebrew Ref} appears in Scripture it means he reconsidered as to what to do. [For example:] "No man that He should reconsider."350 "And concerning His servants, may He reconsider."351 "G-d reconsidered doing the terrible things."352 "I regret that I have made him King."353 All these refer to second thoughts.

And He grieved in His heart.

[Means:] He354 mourned the destruction of His handiwork355 as [in the verse:] "The King mourned his son."356 I wrote this357 in response to heretics. A gentile358 asked R. Yehoshua b. Korcho and said to him: "Do you not agree that G-d knows the future?" He [the Rabbi] answered: "Yes." He said to him: "But, it is written, 'And it grieved His [G-d's] Heart!' "359 He [the Rabbi] responded to him, "Was a son ever born to you?" "Yes," he said. "How did you react?" he asked him. He said, "I rejoiced and made everyone joyful." So he asked him, "But, did you not realize that he would eventually die?" He [the gentile] responded, "At the time of joy let there by joy, at the time of mourning, mourning." He [the Rabbi] said to him, "So it is with acts of G-d. Though it is revealed to Him that they will eventually sin and be destroyed, [nevertheless,] He did not refrain from creating them for the sake of the righteous that were destined to descend from them.360

Verse 7: Ad-noy said, I will obliterate mankind.

"He is of dirt. I will bring water upon him and I will obliterate him.361 Therefore the term {Hebrew Ref} is used.

From man to beast.362

They, too, perverted their way.363

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