The Day that is Entirely Sabbath

The weekly Sabbath celebrates the coming of the Messiah. The Sabbath offers a weekly foretaste of the era of peace and rest when Messiah will rule the earth.

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B'reisheet

Regular Shabbat Readings

Read / Listen to these Portions

  • B'reisheet (בראשית | In the beginning)
  • Torah: Genesis 1:1-6:8
  • Haftarah: Isaiah 42:5-43:10
  • Gospel: John 1:1-17

Note: The regular readings are often interrupted with special readings on Jewish holidays, special Sabbaths, and Rosh Chodesh. Refer to the annual Torah Portion schedule for these special portions.

Portion Outline

  • Torah
    • Genesis 1:1 | Six Days of Creation and the Sabbath
    • Genesis 2:4 | Another Account of the Creation
    • Genesis 3:1 | The First Sin and Its Punishment
    • Genesis 4:1 | Cain Murders Abel
    • Genesis 4:17 | Beginnings of Civilization
    • Genesis 5:1 | Adam's Descendants to Noah and His Sons
    • Genesis 6:1 | The Wickedness of Humankind
    • Genesis 6:9 | Noah Pleases God
  • Prophets
    • Isaiah 42:1 | The Servant, a Light to the Nations
    • Isaiah 42:10 | A Hymn of Praise
    • Isaiah 42:21 | Israel's Disobedience
    • Isaiah 43:1 | Restoration and Protection Promised

Portion Summary

The scroll of the Torah is the oldest and most sacred of all Israel's Scriptures. It contains five books. The Hebrew name for the first one is B'reisheet (בראשית). It is also the first word of the book in the Hebrew text, as well as the name for the first parasha (the first week's reading). B'reisheet means "in the beginning."

The English name Genesis comes from the Septuagint (LXX), the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible. Genesis means "origins." Therefore, the Greek name for the first book of the Bible means "The Book of Origins."

Genesis describes the origins of everything. It begins with the origins of the universe, focuses on the origins of man and then explores the origins of the nation of Israel.

As we study the first week's reading from the book of Genesis, we will learn a great deal about God, but even more about ourselves. After all, this is the story of our origins. When properly understood, the story of our origin helps us find our destination.


God created the heavens and the earth in six days, and on the seventh day He rested. Each Sabbath may be likened unto a down payment on the Messianic Era. We rest on Shabbat to symbolize the peace that we will have in the days of the Messiah.

In the Talmud, some of the sages viewed the seven days of creation as a broad outline for human history, as the Scripture says, “For a thousand years in Your sight are like yesterday when it passes by” (Psalm 90:4). Accordingly, they compared each of the six days to a millennia of history. Different rabbis offered differing opinions, but they generally agreed that the seventh day, the day of the Sabbath, corresponds to the seventh millennium—the thousand-year Messianic Era. In the poetic words of the sages, the Messianic Era will be a “day that is altogether Sabbath.”

Tz’enah Ur’enah says, “Man was created on the sixth day, for within six thousand years the Messiah will come.” The apostolic community held a similar view of redemptive history. The book of Hebrews compares the age to come to the Sabbath and speaks of the Sabbath as a foretaste of final salvation and the Messianic Era. The book of Revelation speaks of a coming millennium of peace—a thousand-year reign of Messiah during which the adversary is bound in chains. The Apostle Peter reminds us that “with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day” (2 Peter 3:8).

Why doesn’t it say in regard to the Sabbath “and there was evening and there was morning” like it does for the other days? Because the Sabbath alludes to the world to come, and it is called the day that is completely Shabbat, and there is no night. (MinchahBelulah)

Though the Messiah may tarry, we eagerly await the coming return of Messiah, who will initiate that seventh millennium, a thousand-year era “that is altogether Sabbath.” May He come speedily, soon, and in our lifetimes.

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