Parsha Bereshit

The Death of Abel via Wikimedia CCWhy is this significant, other than the obvious lessons about brothers and love of G-d? Here we see a second example of G-d's direct communication with man. We see this type of communication for a while until we prove to G-d that we just can't handle it. Toward the end of the Torah, G-d changes tactics and doesn't directly communicate with all of the Jewish people.

The parsha continues to follow Cain's line. He had a son, Enoch, and named his town after him. Then Enoch had a great-great-grandson whose name was Lamech, who had two wives named Adah and Zillah. The parsha further details their family. We also learn that Adam and Chava had a third child named Seth. He had a son named Enosh. After Seth, Adam had more children, both sons and daughters. Adam lived, it says, 930 years! The parsha details some of Adam's children and their lifespans -- Seth: 912 years, Enosh: 905 years, Kenan: 910 years, Mahalalel: 895 years, and Jared: 962 years. Jared's son, Enoch, lived 365 years and his son Methuselah lived 969 years. His son Lamech lived 777 years and was father to Noah. Noah lived 500 years before he had his three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

At the end of the parsha, it speaks about G-d limiting our lives to 120 years. Seems like a wise choice when looking at these life spans. There is some debate and many different theories behind these numbers. Many scholars are at work trying to line up the 5771 years of Jewish history with the scientific fossils and carbon dating. What is one of their theories? That these years, the first years, weren't 365-day years. Perhaps that is true. Either way, these are our great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great ancestors.

Parshat Bereshit from

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10/1/2010 4:00:00 AM
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  • Talia Hava Davis
    About Talia Hava Davis
    As the daughter, niece, granddaughter, and great-granddaughter of rabbis, Talia Davis has been immersed in Jewish culture and communities throughout her life. She has lived in Israel and served as the Religious and Cultural Vice President of the Southeast Region of North American Federation of Temple Youth. Presently she enjoys attending synagogue at a variety of shuls that range from Chabad Orthodox to her father's post-denominational, Rocky Mountain Hai.
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