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Parshah Bereshit - Genesis 1:5

Updated: Jan 14

The First Day of Creation

By Rabbi Moshe Weiner

Day and Night

Parashat Bereshit Chapter 1

The First Day of Creation

1. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

2. Now the earth was astonishingly empty, and darkness was on the face of the deep, and the spirit of God was hovering over the face of the water.

3. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.

4. And God saw the light that it was good, and God separated between the light and between the darkness.

5. And God called the light “day”, and the darkness He called “night”, and it was evening and it was morning, one day.

5. And God called the light “day”, and the darkness He called “night”: God’s assigning names to the various creations is not merely naming these things, but rather determining their attributes and nature, and this is the completion of their having been made and perfected.

And God called the light “day”: and determined for it a realm of action. This is the creation of the time period which in particular is referred to as day, and the darkness He called “night”, which is the creation of the time period of night.

and it was evening and it was morning, one day: And it was previously, even before God called the light Day and the darkness Night, there already was the concept of evening and morning. Or, And it was means in the present, that it was evening and morning, and this verse thus reiterates the overall work of the first day.

Evening is the beginning of the night from the time that the sun sets, and morning is the beginning of the day from the time of daybreak, when the first light of day appears in the east at dawn. On the first day, before the luminaries were created, it is a description of time. That is to say, there was a time of evening which continued into the night, and afterwards there was a time period of morning which continued into the day, until there was a complete unit of time called one day.

The intent of the verse is to tell us about the creation of time. On the first day, an amorphous Earth was created, together with light and darkness, as well as time which is referred to as one day [and similarly on all the days of the creation, an additional time was created that is referred to as “the second day”, “the third day”, and so on]. And the creation of time is parallel to the creation of substances that were created on that day, in which there are detailed units of time; that is, on the first day, the time of evening and the time of morning were created, as well as the time of day and the time of night of the first day, and Earth, light and darkness were created.

One day: “Day” is also the particular name for the time of light, and also the particular name for an entire day, composed of a night and a day. [This hints to the fact that even though “one day” includes many time periods - night and day, evening and morning - nonetheless, the principal purpose is the creation of the time of daylight, and for this reason the collective of all these particular time periods is referred to as a “day”.]

Sources: Bi'ur Torat Moshe - Explanation of the book of Moses - Genesis by Rabbi Moshe Weiner

By Rabbi Moshe Weiner


Rabbi Moshe Weiner is the Rabbinical Director of the Academy and the author of the Divine Code of Law for Noahides. He is also the Overseeing Authority of the Legal Noahide Movement.

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