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Bereshit (Genesis) 1:1-4

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Here is what Genesis 1:1 looks like in a Torah scroll. In Hebrew, the book of Genesis is called "Bereshit" (Beresheet) after the first word of the text. We could do a whole hour lesson or more, on what the first words mean. Rashi translates as "In the beginning of God's creating...".

Below is a photo of the first of a Torah scroll; it is written on Notice that there are no vowels and no punctuation symbols. The Masorites added the "Taamim" or cantillation/punctuation symbols in the 7th to 11th centuries; these symbols are included in texts made by printers, but not in the Torah scroll itself. The Torah is written on vellum (usually skin of a cow, sheep, or goat); so you can see in the photo below that sometimes the skin doesn't remain flat, and thus the waviness in the letters. I'll attempt to find a better photo or make one.

After studying the Hebrew below, come back to the photo, and see if you can make out the letters and read it for yourself. NOTE: In any scroll, the first letter "BET" is always written larger than the other letters.

In the text below, we have added commas and periods as you might find in an English text.
If you change the Hebrew font to "StamAshkenaz", the letters will change to look more likely the Torah scroll, and the vowels will disappear. Some letters are decorate with "crowns" (tagim).

Bereshit (Genesis) 1:1

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Bereshit (Genesis) 1:2

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Bereshit (Genesis) 1:3

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Bereshit (Genesis) 1:4

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