Genesis: The Book of Beginnings

Jonathan Sacks


My rabbi tells me that Exodus is the book that begins the story of the Jewish people. So why did the authorities place Genesis first in the Tanach? I found the answer in this book. According to Rabbi Sacks: “By placing the stories of Genesis before the book of Exodus, with its story for the birth of the Israelites as a nation, the Torah is implicitly telling us of the primacy of the personal over the political.”

Exodus is the one big story of the birth of a people, but Genesis full of little stories of one person after another. Adam, Abraham, Jonah, Jacob, Joseph—they all take their moment in the spotlight then move offstage to make room for the next person to tell his story.

This extremely readable book takes each parasha in turn and looks at its relevance to our lives today.

I look forward to its companion essays on Leviticus.


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