Thursday, February 27, 2014

Bit at a Time Bible Hebrew -- Genesis 1:8

Genesis 1:8
ח וַיִּקְרָא אֱלֹהִים לָרָקִיעַ שָׁמָיִם וַיְהִי־עֶרֶב וַיְהִי־בֹקֶר יוֹם שֵׁנִי:
Transliteration: Va-yiqra elohim la-raqia shamaim va-y’hi erev va-y’hi voqer yom sheni.
Translation:    Gd named the raqia heaven and there was evening and there was morning a second day.
Letters in this lesson:
Vocabulary in this lesson:
שֵׁנִי    second
The classic question on this verse is, why does it say “second”, an ordinal number, but previously it said “one,” a cardinal number.  In Midrash Rabbah on Parshah Naso (in Numbers) it says that the day the tabernacle was put up and  Gd’s glory came to rest on it, that was the same as the world being created over again.  In Midrash Rabbah on Parshah Breshit (in Genesis) chapter 3 section 8 says it’s because Gd was the only One in the world at the time; the angels weren’t created until the second day. 
And you thought you were the only one.
Now, here’s another question.  Verse 1 says “creation of heaven and earth,” but here it says that Gd gave the name “heaven” to the raqia.  Does that mean that heaven didn’t actually exist before this?  Judaism would say no.  There was a discussion about whether heaven or earth was created first, and one answer was that it doesn’t matter because they are equal partners in the world.  R. Shimon bar Yochai said they were created at the same time, like a pot and its lid.  Apparently makers of clay pots used to make sure the lid fitted tightly by building a large ball, then cutting the top off, scooping out the insides, and making a lip for the lid to sit on.  R. Shimon was known as one of the greatest explainers of Torah in his time, which was around the Hadrianic persecution, and he is credited as author of the Zohar, the fundamental work of Jewish mysticism.
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

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