Rashi's Genesis

1. When God as Judge[1] began creating the heavens and all that was embedded in them and the earth[2] and all that was embedded in it,[3]
2. the earth was astonishingly empty, darkness was over the waters which covered the earth, and the Throne of Glory hovered over the waters by the command of God.[4]
3. God as Judge said, "Let there be light" and there was light.[5]
4. God saw that the light was good but that it was confusing for the light and the darkness to function together, so God separated the light from the darkness. [6]
5. God named the light "day" and the darkness "night." There was evening and there was morning, a day of God, alone in the world God had created.[7]
6. God as Judge said, "Let some of the water created on the first day be jelled and become a stable firmament, dividing midway between the waters."[8]
7. God put the firmament in its proper condition and in its proper place, suspending it as a divider between the waters below the firmament which are on the earth and the waters above the firmament which encompass the universe; and it was so -- the work of the waters had begun.[9]
8. God named the firmament "heaven" because it was made from fire and water.[10] There was evening and there was morning, a second day.
9. God as Judge continued the work of the second day and said,[11] "Let the waters which are spread out all over the earth be gathered into one large ocean, the largest of the seas, and let the dry land appear from beneath the waters," and it was so.
10. God named the dry land "earth" and the waters God named "seas" for they were one large ocean made up of many waters from many places. God thus completed the work of the second day,[12] and God saw that it was good.
11. God as Judge then said, "Let the earth have a covering of plant life -- each species of grass producing seed within itself,[13] and trees that taste like the fruit they bear[14] and whose fruit have seeds of their own kind within them"; and it was so.
12. The earth brought forth the plant life which covered the earth -- grasses which followed the example of the trees and produced seeds according to their kinds, and trees which produced fruit containing their seeds according to their kinds but not trees whose wood was edible.[15] God's work of creating plant life was thus complete, and God saw that it was good.
13. There was evening and there was morning, a third day.
14. Having created the heavens and all that is in them and the earth and all that is in it on the first day, God as Judge said, "Let the heavenly lights be suspended in their proper places. Let the heavenly lights serve as ill omens, except when the people observe the will of God. Let them also serve as the means for calibrating the dates of the festivals, for determining a full day, and for calculating the yearly calendar."[16] The lights of the fourth day were created defectively[17] to foreshadow the curse of croup which is visited upon children, against which the sages fast on the fourth day of the week.
15. Light and darkness having functioned together for the first three days[18] and the primeval light of the first day having been set aside for the righteous, God now said, "Let them become lights in the heavenly firmament also to give light to the world"; and it was so.
16. Originally, the sun and the moon were of equal size, since both were called "great," but then the moon complained that two powers cannot share one realm. So God as Judge diminished its size.[19] Because God diminished the size of the moon, God compensated it by creating additional heavenly bodies, the stars.
17. God put the heavenly bodies in the firmament of the heavens to give light upon the earth,
18. and to set the rules for the day and the night, dividing between the period of light during the day and the period of darkness during the night. God's work of creating the heavenly bodies was thus complete, and God saw that it was good.
19. There was evening and there was morning, a fourth day.
20. God as Judge said, "Let the waters swarm with creatures that live and move[20] -- with those that stay close to the earth (the creeping things of the sea and of the air, such as flies) and with fish -- and let birds fly over the earth, across the face of the firmament of the heavens."
21. God as Judge created Leviathan and his mate[21] -- slaying the female and salting its flesh for the righteous while allowing the male to live for, had they mated, they would have overwhelmed creation -- and all living beings which are close to the earth, which the waters had caused to swarm forth, each according to its kind; and all winged-birds, according to their kinds. God's work of creating the animals embedded in the sea was thus complete, and God saw that it was good.
22. Because they are killed for food, God as Judge blessed the swarming creatures, commanding them, "Reproduce yourselves and also multiply, bringing forth more than one of your kind at each birth. Fill the water in the seas and let the birds multiply on the land."
23. There was evening and there was morning, a fifth day.
24. God as Judge said, "Let the earth bring forth the creatures that live and move[22] which had been created on the first day and embedded in the earth,[23] each according to its kind -- domesticated animals; those which stay close to the earth:[24] creeping creatures such as ants, beetles, and worms, and small animals such as moles, rats, and lizards; and beasts of the earth -- each according to its kind"[25]; and it was so.
25. God as Judge made the animals with their consent, after having consulted with them. God made them fully mature: the beasts of the earth according to their kinds, the domesticated animals according to their kinds, and all the things which move low to the ground according to their kinds.[26] God's work of creating the animals of the earth was thus complete, and God saw that it was good.
26. God showed humility and, although God was the more powerful and alone was the Creator, God consulted with the angels[27] saying, "There are beings in the heavens according to My likeness and, if there are no beings according to My likeness in the lower realms, jealousy will be generated among the works of creation; therefore, let us make humanity in our mold, with our power to understand and to be intelligent, and they will rule over the fish of the sea, the birds of the heavens, the domestic animals, all the earth, and all the beings which stay close to the earth. If humanity is worthy, they will rule but, if they are not worthy, they will sink lower than the animals and be ruled by them."
27. God as Judge, alone without the angels,[28] created the human being, by hand, in a mold[29] which was like the mold with which a seal is made or like the die from which a coin is produced, and which had been specially crafted for the human being. In a mold which was a hologram image[30] of God, God created the human being. One being which was both male and female and which was subsequently divided into two beings, God created them.[31]
28. God as Judge blessed them and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. The man is commanded to reproduce. He shall also subdue the female so that she not be unrestrained." And to them both God said, "Rule over the fish in the sea, over the birds in the heavens, and over every creature that moves with life close to the earth."
29. God said, "Behold, I give you all the plant life which reproduces by seed which is on the face of the whole earth, and all the trees which have fruits of the tree and which reproduce by seed -- they shall be food for you
30. and for all the beasts of the earth, for all the birds of the heavens, and for every creature that moves with life on the earth -- all green plant life shall be food." And it was so that humankind and the animals ate plants but were not permitted to kill any other creature and eat it until after the flood of Noah.
31. God saw all that God had created and behold it was very good. There was evening and there was morning, the sixth day -- the day on which everything was temporarily set in its proper place, awaiting the acceptance of the Torah by the Israelites when all would become permanently fixed.[32]
1. The heavens and the earth and all that was created with them were finished.
2. At exactly the end of the sixth day and the beginning of the seventh day, God finished the work God had done. On the seventh day God rested, thus completing all the work which God had done.[33]
3. God as Judge created a future blessing for the seventh day, ordaining that the manna would fall in double portion on the sixth day for the seventh. God proclaimed the seventh day holy, ordaining that the manna would not fall on the seventh day itself, for on it, God had rested from all the work which God had doubled to accomplish on the sixth day.[34]

[1] The only divine Name used in this chapter is Elohim, the traditional designation of God's attribute of judgement. Rashi notes that God could not create the world with judgement alone and, hence, the Torah adds the Tetragrammaton, the traditional designation of God's mercy, in chapter two. back
[2] Rashi indicates that the reason for starting the Torah with Genesis, and not with Sinai, was to provide the Jewish people with a ground for their right to the promised land: Since God created the whole world, God could -- and did -- assign a special part of it to the Jews. This precludes counterclaims based on conquest or history. back
[3] Alt.: In the beginning of everything, God as Judge created the heavens and the earth; the heavens and all that it would produce embedded in it, and the earth and all that it would produce embedded within it.
Alt.: For the sake of Torah, / For the sake of Israel, / With wisdom, God as Judge created. back
[4] Alt.: by the breath blowing from God. back
[5] Alt.: God as Judge said, "Let there be spiritual light" and there was spiritual light. back
[6] Alt: God saw that the divine spiritual light was good for the righteous and should not be used by the wicked, so God separated the light and reserved it for the righteous in the world to come. back
[7] Ling. alt.: a day of God's oneness. back
[8] Ling. alt.: God as Judge said, "Let there be an expanse dividing the waters." / God said to the waters, "Be Still." And astonished, they became stable. back
[9] Ling. alt.: God put the expanse and the waters in their proper condition, with a stable heaven separating the stable waters on earth from the stable waters suspended in an outer sphere. The initial work of creating the waters had begun. back
[10] Hebrew, shamayim, drawn from esh (fire) and mayim (water).
Alt.: because there is water in the heavens / because the heavens bear the waters. back
[11] Ling. alt: To complete the work of the second day, God as Judge said. back
[12] Ling. alt.: The work of the waters begun on the second day was thus completed on the third day, and God saw. back
[13] Ling. alt.: individual grasses which produce seed within themselves / with particular kinds of plants reproducing seeds. back
[14] Ling. alt.: edible trees that are fruit and that produce fruit with their own seeds. back
[15] Rashi notes that, for not obeying God strictly, the earth was later punished (Gen. 3:17). back
[16] Ling. alt.: Let the moon indicate to the Israelites the proper time for the celebration of festivals. Let the sun and moon indicate the completion of days, being one half day of sun plus one half day of moon; and let the completion of 365 days be the indication of a year, the sun and the moon having gone through the twelve constellations of the Zodiac and having returned to their original positions to begin the cycle again. back
[17] The word me'orot "lights" is spelled defectively and, thus, can be read me'eirot "curses." back
[18] Some versions of Rashi indicate that light and darkness ruled together for all seven days of creation. In this case, the sun and the moon began their separate functions only on the eighth day, and they were put in place on the fourth day. This yields the alternate reading: When the initial six days of creation had been completed and the primeval light hidden away for the pious, God said. back
[19] Different versions of this story place the complaint of the moon as competitive power (Ginsberg, Legends of the Jews, 1:23-26), as sibling rivalry (Pirkei de Rabbi Eliezer, ch. 6), and as a simple question to God (Talmud, Hulin 60b). God's reaction, too, differs in these versions. For a feminist reading of this text, see B. Ellison Rosenblit, "Midrash on the Moon: In a Different Light," Response (Winter 1995) 101-105. back
[20] Hebrew, nefesh hayah, in the sense of "creatures capable of movement"; hence ling. alt.: have vitality / move with life / moving, living creatures. back
[21] Alt.: the gigantic fish which are in the sea. For the biblical references, see the commentary of Rashbam. For the rabbinic legends, see Ginsberg, op. cit., 5:285-86. back
[22] Ling. alt.: have vitality / move with life. back
[23] Poetic alt.: Let creatures emerge from the womb of the earth. back
[24] Rashi understands Hebrew remes / romes to be a synonym of Hebrew sherets, with the addition that the former often refers to slithering as the mode of locomotion; hence, ling. alt.: creeping things that live and move. back
[25] Ling. alt.: each reproducing its kind. back
[26] Ling. alt.: God made the beasts, the cattle, and every creeping creature with its full growth, according to the will of each creature, in the form it had chosen, and with its consent and acknowledgment of the Kingship of God. back
[27] Ling. alt.: God, modeling modesty, consulted. Other sources talk about God consulting with all creation or with Godself. back
[28] The two verbs of creation in this verse are clearly in the singular in spite of the plural verb and plural suffixes of the previous verse. This indicates that the angels did not actually participate in the creation of humankind; they were only consulted. back
[29] Hebrew, defus. back
[30] Hebrew, tselem deyokan. On the latter as "hologram image," see Rashi to Gen. 39:11.
Ling. alt.: a vision of an image. back
[31] Alt.: two beings, male and female, God created them, as told later (Gen. 2:21). back
[32] Alt.: On the sixth day, the sixth of Sivan was created in preparation for the giving of the Torah.
Ling. alt.: the day on which creation was made contingent upon Torah and Israel's acceptance thereof. back
[33] Alt.: On the seventh day the world experienced rest and was then complete. back
[34] Alt. initial phrasing: All the work that was fit to do on the seventh day, God completed on the sixth day. back