The Weekly D'rash and the Scriptures that we will be reading this Shabbat for B'reishit Erev Chodesh from Rabbi Howard Silverman
TORAH ~ Genesis 1:1-6:8
HAFTARAH ~ 1 Samuel 20:18-42 BRIT CHADASHA ~ John 1:1-18
This week the new year begins in earnest with the Torah reading coming from the beginning of Genesis. The creation of mankind is the pinnacle of the creation story. Mankind is created in the image and likeness of God and therefore holds an exalted position among all created beings. In chapters 1–2 of Genesis, we learn that mankind is responsible for subduing, cultivating, and preserving the earth. Mankind is called to be God's emissary to the created world. Before the rebellion of Adam and Eve, to subdue the earth meant to rule the world in a beneficial manner similar to way God rules. It is only after the rebellion that mankind begins to "subdue the earth" through harsh subjugation that demeans people and destroys the earth itself.
As Messiah followers, we are called to "resurrect" the dignity and glory of mankind as we live out our calling as imagebearers of God. We have a calling to rule the earth so that it can testify of the glory of God. We are to treat others in a way that demonstrates the glory of humanity. How do we subdue the earth as well as cultivate and keep it? Perhaps beginning with a mindset that we have such a high calling! As we treat others with dignity, and care for the animal world as well as the earth itself, we are fulfilling our calling.
Psalm 8:5–8 describes the calling of mankind. The text says that we are crowned with "glory and majesty". More literally, we might say that we have been honored with glory and majesty. These words are usually reserved for God, but here they describe the imagebearers of God in this world. To this we can add lovingkindness and compassion as we read in Psalm 103:4. We have quite a responsibility to the rest of the created world. We are called to glorify the creation so that it magnifies the Creator. No matter what our station in life may be, we hold an exalted position in creation with great responsibility. In this way we know that our life has meaning and significance.
In the New Covenant Scriptures, Yeshua is the glory of humanity. That is why Hebrews 2:9 applies Psalm 8 to Yeshua. However if you read the text carefully, we learn that the way in which Yeshua was crowned with glory and majesty was by suffering for our sins. What a great lesson for us. If we desire to fulfill our calling of living in a way that reflects the glory, majesty, and honor of God, as well as His lovingkindness and compassion, we do so through humility and care for others. May we begin the new year thinking of new ways of glorifying God as imagebearers of the Almighty!
TORAH READING: GENESIS 1:1 – 6:8
1:1 In the beginning G-d created the heavens and the earth.
2 The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of G-d was moving over the surface of the waters.
3 Then G-d said, "Let there be light"; and there was light.
4 G-d saw that the light was good; and G-d separated the light from the darkness.
5 G-d called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.
6 Then G-d said, "Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters."
7 G-d made the expanse, and separated the waters which were below the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse; and it was so.
8 G-d called the expanse heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, a second day.
9 Then G-d said, "Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear"; and it was so.
10 G-d called the dry land earth, and the gathering of the waters He called seas; and G-d saw that it was good.
11 Then G-d said, "Let the earth sprout vegetation: plants yielding seed, and fruit trees on the earth bearing fruit after their kind with seed in them"; and it was so.
12 The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit with seed in them, after their kind; and G-d saw that it was good.
13 There was evening and there was morning, a third day.
14 Then G-d said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years;
15 and let them be for lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth"; and it was so.
16 G-d made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night; He made the stars also.
17 G-d placed them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth,
18 and to govern the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness; and G-d saw that it was good.
19 There was evening and there was morning, a fourth day.
20 Then G-d said, "Let the waters teem with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth in the open expanse of the heavens."
21 G-d created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarmed after their kind, and every winged bird after its kind; and G-d saw that it was good.
22 G-d blessed them, saying, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth."
23 There was evening and there was morning, a fifth day.
24 Then G-d said, "Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth after their kind"; and it was so.
25 G-d made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind; and G-d saw that it was good.
26 Then G-d said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth."
27 G-d created man in His own image, in the image of G-d He created him; male and female He created them.
28 G-d blessed them; and G-d said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth."
29 Then G-d said, "Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you;
30 and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food"; and it was so.
31 G-d saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
2:1 Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts.
2 By the seventh day G-d completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.
3 Then G-d blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which G-d had created and made.
4 This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the L-RD G-d made earth and heaven.
5 Now no shrub of the field was yet in the earth, and no plant of the field had yet sprouted, for the L-RD G-d had not sent rain upon the earth, and there was no man to cultivate the ground.
6 But a mist used to rise from the earth and water the whole surface of the ground.
7 Then the L-RD G-d formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.
8 The L-RD G-d planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man whom He had formed.
9 Out of the ground the L-RD G-d caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
10 Now a river flowed out of Eden to water the garden; and from there it divided and became four rivers.
11 The name of the first is Pishon; it flows around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold.
12 The gold of that land is good; the bdellium and the onyx stone are there.
13 The name of the second river is Gihon; it flows around the whole land of Cush.
14 The name of the third river is Tigris; it flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.
15 Then the L-RD G-d took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it.
16 The L-RD G-d commanded the man, saying, "From any tree of the garden you may eat freely;
17 but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die."
18 Then the L-RD G-d said, "It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him."
19 Out of the ground the L-RD G-d formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name.
20 The man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him.
21 So the L-RD G-d caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place.
22 The L-RD G-d fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man.
23 The man said, "This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man."
24 For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.
25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.
3:1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the L-RD G-d had made. And he said to the woman, "Indeed, has G-d said, 'You shall not eat from any tree of the garden '?"
2 The woman said to the serpent, "From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat;
3 but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, G-d has said, 'You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.'"
4 The serpent said to the woman, "You surely will not die!
5 "For G-d knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like G-d, knowing good and evil."
6 When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.
7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings.
8 They heard the sound of the L-RD G-d walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the L-RD G-d among the trees of the garden.
9 Then the L-RD G-d called to the man, and said to him, "Where are you?"
10 He said, "I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself."
11 And He said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?"
12 The man said, "The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate."
13 Then the L-RD G-d said to the woman, "What is this you have done?" And the woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate."
14 The L-RD G-d said to the serpent, "Because you have done this, Cursed are you more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you will go, And dust you will eat All the days of your life;
15 And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel."
16 To the woman He said, "I will greatly multiply Your pain in childbirth, In pain you will bring forth children; Yet your desire will be for your husband, And he will rule over you."
17 Then to Adam He said, "Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, 'You shall not eat from it'; Cursed is the ground because of you; In toil you will eat of it All the days of your life.
18 "Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; And you will eat the plants of the field;
19 By the sweat of your face You will eat bread, Till you return to the ground, Because from it you were taken; For you are dust, And to dust you shall return."
20 Now the man called his wife's name Eve, because she was the mother of all the living.
21 The L-RD G-d made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them.
22 Then the L-RD G-d said, "Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever "--
23 therefore the L-RD G-d sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken.
24 So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life.
4:1 Now the man had relations with his wife Eve, and she conceived and gave birth to Cain, and she said, "I have gotten a manchild with the help of the L-RD."
2 Again, she gave birth to his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of flocks, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.
3 So it came about in the course of time that Cain brought an offering to the L-RD of the fruit of the ground.
4 Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the L-RD had regard for Abel and for his offering;
5 but for Cain and for his offering He had no regard. So Cain became very angry and his countenance fell.
6 Then the L-RD said to Cain, "Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen?
7 "If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it."
8 Cain told Abel his brother. And it came about when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.
9 Then the L-RD said to Cain, "Where is Abel your brother?" And he said, "I do not know. Am I my brother's keeper?"
10 He said, "What have you done? The voice of your brother's blood is crying to Me from the ground.
11 "Now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand.
12 "When you cultivate the ground, it will no longer yield its strength to you; you will be a vagrant and a wanderer on the earth."
13 Cain said to the L-RD, "My punishment is too great to bear!
14 "Behold, You have driven me this day from the face of the ground; and from Your face I will be hidden, and I will be a vagrant and a wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me."
15 So the L-RD said to him, "Therefore whoever kills Cain, vengeance will be taken on him sevenfold." And the L-RD appointed a sign for Cain, so that no one finding him would slay him.
16 Then Cain went out from the presence of the L-RD, and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden.
17 Cain had relations with his wife and she conceived, and gave birth to Enoch; and he built a city, and called the name of the city Enoch, after the name of his son.
18 Now to Enoch was born Irad, and Irad became the father of Mehujael, and Mehujael became the father of Methushael, and Methushael became the father of Lamech.
19 Lamech took to himself two wives: the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other, Zillah.
20 Adah gave birth to Jabal; he was the father of those who dwell in tents and have livestock.
21 His brother's name was Jubal; he was the father of all those who play the lyre and pipe.
22 As for Zillah, she also gave birth to Tubal-cain, the forger of all implements of bronze and iron; and the sister of Tubal-cain was Naamah.
23 Lamech said to his wives, "Adah and Zillah, Listen to my voice, You wives of Lamech, Give heed to my speech, For I have killed a man for wounding me; And a boy for striking me;
24 If Cain is avenged sevenfold, Then Lamech seventy-sevenfold."
25 Adam had relations with his wife again; and she gave birth to a son, and named him Seth, for, she said, "G-d has appointed me another offspring in place of Abel, for Cain killed him."
26 To Seth, to him also a son was born; and he called his name Enosh. Then men began to call upon the name of the L-RD.