Rabbi Lamed Ben Clifford and Rabbi Ba’al Shiva

lon milo duquette


In the beginning [of]…

The first word is b’reishit, or Bereishit ( בְּרֵאשִׁית ). Its elements are:

  • be- (“at / in”)
  • -reish / rosh- (ראש, “head”)
  • -it ית, a grammatical marker implying “of”.

The definite article (i.e., the Hebrew equivalent of “the”) is missing, but implied. The complete word literally means “at [the] head [of]”, or more colloquially, “in [the] beginning [of]”. The same construction is found elsewhere in the Hebrew bible, usually dealing with the beginning of a reign.[6]


[he] created/creating…

The second word is the Hebrew verb bara (ברא). It is in the masculine form, so that “he” is implied. (English verbs do not distinguish between he, she, and it.) A peculiarity of this verb is that it is always used with God as its subject, meaning that only God can “bara”; it is the characteristic verb for God’s creative activity in Genesis 1. “Bara” is also used in Genesis 2 verses 3 and 4. Many conservative Biblical scholars believe that “bara” in this verse means “to create ex nihilo“,[7] but other scholars, such as Walton, argue that the meaning of “bara” is not “create” in the modern sense, but to differentiate/separate and to allocate roles – e.g., in the creation of Adam and Eve, God allocates gender roles to “male and female”.[4]  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genesis_1:1#Bereishit

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