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Parshah Bereshit - What is the Name of Dry Land?

The Third Day of Creation Genesis 1:9-12

By Rabbi Moshe Weiner

Dry Land

Parashat Bereshit Chapter 1

The Third Day of Creation

9. And G-d said, “Let the water that is beneath the heavens gather into one place, and let the dry land appear,” and it was so.

10. And G-d called the dry land earth, and the gathering of the waters He called seas, and God saw that it was good

11. And G-d said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, seed yielding herbs and fruit trees producing fruit according to its kind in which its seed is found, on the earth,” and it was so.

12. And the earth gave forth vegetation, seed yielding herbs according to its kind, and trees producing fruit, in which its seed is found, according to its kind, and G-d saw that it was good.

13. And it was evening, and it was morning, a third day.

9. Let the water that is beneath the heavens gather into one place: That is, Let the waters that are beneath the heavens gather into one place, and by means of this the dry land shall appear and be revealed.

10. And G-d called the dry land earth: Dry land is the dry earth [of the continents] that is not covered with water, it was called earth, and that is its proper name. At first, everything was included in the primordial “Earth” [as mentioned above in Verse 2], and henceforth four regions were separated out in the creation: 1) the upper waters, 2) the expanse that is referred to as “Heaven” beneath these upper waters, 3) the lower waters on the surface of the Earth, 4) and the dry land which is referred to as “earth”.

and the gathering of the waters: The bodies of water that were gathered into one place He calledseas [in the plural, while an individual body of water is referred to as “a sea”], even though all the seas in the world are essentially one, because all the waters are connected around the dry land. Nevertheless, the nature of each of the different bodies of water [the seas] varies slightly from one sea to the other. As proof of this, the Sages said that the taste of a fish from one sea is unlike the taste of the same species of fish from another sea - therefore it is fitting to refer to them as “seas”.

11. Let the earth sprout vegetation: That the earth should be covered with a mantle of grass and vegetation - which is a general act of the vegetative power of the earth, to produce all types of vegetation.

herbs: This is a general term including all types of low-lying vegetation that grows on the earth, while “tree” is a general term for all the types of vegetation with a trunk.

producing fruit according to its kind: Thus it is with all the species, that each is separate from the other by a well-known distinction, and will produce fruits according to their particular species. (And this is a particular law of Nature that God has determined for each and every species.) And similarly with the animals, all produce offspring according to their particular species, which is the reason for the prohibition of grafting different species of trees or crossbreeding different species of animals, as will be explained in Leviticus 19:19.

in which its seed is found: That is, the seeds of each tree can be found inside its fruit.

12. according to its kind: The Hebrew word indicates the plural of “kind”, to indicate their many kinds. That is, many different kinds of herbs, and each kind sprouted according to its particular species

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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