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002: Genesis 1 Commentary: Umberto Cassuto – 6 Things about the Creation Story

Umberto Cassuto: WSB Show Episode 002

Umberto Cassuto is considered the greatest Jewish Scholar of the twenty-century by is peer.  In this episode of the WSB Show we introduce the man and the methods he used to research and write his commentary on Genesis from Adam to Abraham. 

We all have an experience with Genesis 1:1. Perhaps it was your first memory verse. I have a question for you, have you ever read Genesis 1 and thought “what am I missing? I know there is more here than meets the eye.” Have you ever had the thought, “I wonder what Jewish teachers have to to say about this chapter?” Well, they have a lot to say. However, I am going to share with you what the greatest Jewish scholar of the twenty-century had to say. By the way did I mention, this is one of the first Torah lessons taught in children in public schools in Israel? Download the resource for this teaching and follow along as we explore Genesis 1.

Parsha Chayei Sarah

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  • Parsha
  • 3 min read
Parsha-Chayei-Sarah

Parsha Chayei Sarah חַיֵּ֣י שָׂרָ֔ה  is the fifth parsha reading for the yearly cycle. It is translated as “Life of Sarah”. Life can be spelled four different ways — (1) c-h-a-y-e-i,  (2) c-h-a-y-e, (3) h-a-y-y-e or  (4) h-a-y-y-e-i. 

In parsha Chayei Sarah we have two deaths and two marriages. Sarah dies and Abraham purchases the cave of Machpelah from a Hittite named Ephron. After burying Sarah, Abraham charges his servant to locate a wife for Isaac from Abraham’s homeland and not from the Cannanites. Much of this portion is about that task. Rebekah returns with the servant and marries Isaac. Afterward, we discover Abraham marries Keturah and has six sons with her. This portion reveals the twelve chieftain sons of Ishmael and ends with Ishmael dying at the ripe old age of 137 years.

Chayei Sarah חַיֵּ֣י שָׂרָ֔ה is the second and third words and in the Hebrew text (see text below).

Parsha Vayera

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  • Parsha
  • 2 min read
Parsha Vayera

Parsha Vayera וַיֵּרָ֤א is translated as “And He appeared”.

Parsha vayera וַיֵּרָ֤א is the fourth parsha in the annual reading cycle. It is perhaps the most significant of all parashiyot as it is the turning point in Abraham’s life.  Abraham has a visitation and the promise of a son through Sarah. Abraham intercedes for the righteous in Sodom and Gomorrah. Sarah is taken by Abimelech. Isaac is  born and Ishmael is banished. A covenant is established between Abimelech and Abraham and it ends with the binding of Isaac.

Vayera וַיֵּרָ֤א is the first word and in the Hebrew text (see text below).

Parsha Lech Lecha

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  • 3 min read
Parsha Lech Lecha

Parsha Lech Lecha לֶךְ־לְךָ֛ is translated as “go”, “leave!”  but it literally means “go for you”. It can be spelled, “lech-lecha”, “lekh-lekha”, or “lech-l’cha”

In parsha lech lecha we begin the story of Abram. He is told to leave his family in Babylon and his physical and spiritual journey begins. He travels to Egypt, his nephew separates from him, he goes to war, meets Melechizedek. Then God promises a son, He has a child with Hagar. It ends with Abraham and his whole household entering into a covenant by circumcision.

Lech-Lecha לֶךְ־לְךָ֛ is the fifth and sixth words and in the Hebrew text (see text below).

Parsha Noach

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  • Parsha
  • 3 min read
Parsha Noach

Parsha Noach נֹ֔חַ is the second reading in the annual reading cycle. This parsha contains many familiar stores (1) the building of the ark, (2) the flood, and of course the (3) tower of Babel.

There are several interesting facts concerning the Hebrew text. This parsha can be considered the longest pasha in one way. It has the most sentences (verses) of any Torah portion, but it does share this honor with parsha Vayishlach (Bereshit 32:4-36:43). More amazingly it does not contain the most letters. That honor belongs to parsha Miketz (Bereshit 41:1-44:17). Parsha Vayeira (Exodus Shemot 6:2-9:35) has the most words.

Noach נֹ֔חַ is the third word and the first distinctive word in the Hebrew text (see text below).

Parsha Bereshit

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  • Parsha
  • 3 min read
Parsha Bereshit

Parsha Bereshit בְּרֵאשִׁית is the first reading of the annual reading cycle and the first reading in Torah or the book of Genesis. It is the name of the first book of Moses. Also, it is also the first word of the Hebrew text.

Bereshit בְּרֵאשִׁית is commonly translated at “In the beginning.” For a fuller explanation on the word Bereshit you may read more on the Introduction of Genesis.

In English, Bereshit can be spelled eight different ways – (1) Bereshit, (2) Bereishit, (3) Bereshis, (4) Bereishis, (5) B’reshith, (6) Beresh’t, (7) Beresheet, or (8) Bereishees

See the Hebrew text below.

Kol Nidre

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  • Prayers
  • 2 min read

The Kol Nidre is a controversial Aramaic prayer. Many Rabbis tried to prevent this prayer from the tradition. Although for the most part it is now accepted tradition from time to time the controversy still appears. Although it is suppose to be chanted many just read it as a personal confession.

Watch this brief video explaining this prayer.

Parsha Matot – Masei

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  • Parsha
  • 2 min read
Matot-Masei

This week have a double parsha reading. This is the sixth of seven possible double readings and the second in Numbers (BeMidbar).  We are reading Matot מַּטּוֹת – Masei  מַסְעֵי  When we have double readings the daily readings change. Sometimes, the halftorah reading changes too.

Here we will combine all the stats and information. However, if you are interested in the numbers for each parsha we have created individual posts for them. See them below:

Now lets look at those stats.