Bereishit/ Bereishis (Part 2)
Tishrei—In the Beginning
Is. 42:5-43:10 (Haftarah)
Welcome back to Bereishit/Bereishis. If you haven’t read Bereishit Part 1, you can click here.
We will look for the connections of the four rivers and learn its significance to the Creation Story. As we recall, Bereishit/ Bereishis means “In the Beginning.” So in the beginning, there were events that were very substantial: The Creation of the heavens and the earth, Adam and Eve, the first sins, and the first argument with Kain and Abel over the appointed times, curses, and their consequences.
We will focus on the four rivers:
“Draw near to Me and hear this: From the beginning, I did not speak in secret; From the time anything existed, I was there. “And now the Lord G-d has sent me, endowed with His spirit.” Thus said the LORD your Redeemer, The Holy One of Israel: I the LORD am your G-d, Instructing you for your own benefit. Guiding you in the way you should go. If only you would heed My commands! Then your prosperity would be like a river, Your triumph like the waves of the sea.” (Isaiah 48:16-18)
Hashem has warned us to heed His Torah, keep His Festivals, as they are His Will. Hashem said if we love Him, to keep His Mitzvoth (commandments). The Torah is Light. Hashem is our Redeemer and G-d. We need to pay very close attention to obey His commandments so that our well-being would flow like a river…
The seven days of Creation were set in patterns. These patterns have chiastic connections as well as contranyms (at their opposite). G-d is a G-d of order. In other words, the events during Creation, Adam and Eve (Chavah), Kain and Abel, Esau and Jacob, as well as others, were established with a purpose—not randomly.
Hashem’s appointed times are known as calendar dates Hashem established; connecting the fourth day of creation: sun, moon, and stars that governs our days and nights. Those seasons are also the (3) pilgrimages: Pesach , Shavuot, and Sukkot .
Kain and Abel brought their offerings to Hashem at Sukkot, but Kain’s did not meet the criteria and fell short because his offering wasn’t his firstfruits, just fruits. Kain didn’t give his best to Elokim, just the leftovers. We, too, are to give Hashem our best offerings. Our offerings to Hashem are from what comes from our heart and lips since we don’t have our third Temple, yet. From the mouth speaks the heart.
Eden’s primary river isn’t mentioned by Name, Hashem is the source of life in water, as well as the Tree of Life.
If we look at a rainbow photo from NASA, we see a rainbow is circular. The Biblical Festivals start back to the beginning from the end. The Garden had four rivers with a main source giving direction. The essence of the four rivers is to increase and burst forth with fruit. This includes the seasons of chag: Pesach, Shavuot, and Sukkot, which also are the firstfruits offerings. The River in the Garden also gave off a mist that controled the climate and atmosphere for the Garden. Because it is a carbon-based earth, it makes it the perfect environment for trees, plants, all living creatures, including man. This plan was not only perfect, but very soothing for the man’s souls and spirit and a body made from dirt. It was also a dwelling for the Father to communicate with man. This was the plan for man to exist within the boundaries established in which man and G-d could fellowship together.
What is fascinating is the chiastic Menorah’s description that not only applies to the Spirits of G-d (Isaiah 11:2-3) , seven Festivals, with the seven days of Creation, but it includes the branches of the four rivers that all flow from the same source—The Garden of Eden.
“Such is the story of heaven and earth when they were created. When the LORD G-d made earth and heaven— when no shrub of the field was yet on earth and no grasses of the field had yet sprouted, because the LORD G-d had not sent rain upon the earth and there was no man to till the soil, but a flow would well up from the ground and water the whole surface of the earth— the LORD G-d formed man from the dust of the earth. He blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being. The LORD G-d planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and placed there the man whom He had formed. And from the ground the LORD G-d caused to grow every tree that was pleasing to the sight and good for food, with the tree of life in the middle of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and bad. A river issues from Eden to water the garden, and it then divides and becomes four branches. The name of the first is Pishon, the one that winds through the whole land of Havilah, where the gold is. (The gold of that land is good; bdellium is there, and lapis lazuli.) The name of the second river is Gihon, the one that winds through the whole land of Cush. The name of the third river is Tigris, the one that flows east of Asshur. And the fourth river is the Euphrates. The LORD G-d took the man and placed him in the garden of Eden, to till it and tend it.” (Genesis 2:4-15)
The river flowed out of Eden to water the Garden. The head of the river divides into four rivers. Pishon and Gihon have recurring qualities that return, circular. Hashem’s Festivals always return on the calendar, and like good gold, and precious stones, we too shall thirst for Torah, and become refined.
Rivers of Eden
As you view the Menorah, you’ll be able to see the 4 Rivers.
EUPHRATES/PERAT is the middle branch, which is the furthest boundary of Israel; yet, the fruit of it is being the Great River. The middle branch feeds out to the others.
“I will set your borders from the Sea of Reeds to the Sea of Philistia, and from the wilderness to the Euphrates; for I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hands, and you will drive them out before you.” (Exodus 23:31)
Even though there isn’t a description of its movement, it is still synonymous with Shavuot and it corresponds with Sukkot. The chagim (3 pilgrimages) are all first-fruit offerings. Shavuot is first-fruits of wheat. This represents the Ruach ha’Kodesh, which is located on the fourth menorah candlestick—Center!
“The Euphrates River is later mentioned in G‑d’s promise to Abraham regarding the Land of Israel, and is used as one of the defining borders of the Promised Land. We are also told that there was a time when Jewish civilization had spread so far that members of the tribe of Reuben were living all the way to the banks of the Euphrates!”
Pishon means to increase. Looking at the menorah of the four rivers provided, you will notice that the Pishon River “heads” or divides into the 1st and the 7th branches. The movement of the Pishon River is surrounding (savav), and is thought to represent the Nile.
The plagues and the Nile originated during the Exodus Passover. Looking at the menorah provided, on the far left branch (branch one) it is also Passover (first festival) which is Israel’s account to have increase. Just like in Creation when Elokim separated the light from the darkness, Goshen was separated from the darkness that was sent to Egypt. The more the Egyptians afflicted the Israelites, the more the Israelites increased in number; which was concerning to the Pharaoh! The increase of the Pishon River and the increase of the Israelites (Plagues of the Nile) do parallel concisely.
Now, let’s look at the seventh branch (far one to the right—last one). The 7th branch is also the Sukkot. Sukkot is celebrated in remembrance of the Passover—a chiastic connection! This also represents Wisdom/Chokmah and Reverence of Hashem.We know there are seven days in creation, seven Spirits of Hashem, seven Festivals that are appointed times to gather with Hashem. So let’s try and place the dot-to-dots on this.
One will begin on the far left branch; working its way over to the last branch on the far right of the Menorah.
- Spirit of Wisdom (Chokmah)/PesachLight & Darkness
- Spirit of Understanding (Binah)/ Unleavened Bread(Chag HaMatzah)/ Upper and Lower Waters
- Spirit of Counsel (Etzah)/First fruits of Barley(Yom HaBikkurim)/Earth, Fruit, Seed, plants
- Ruach/ Shavuot/Sun, moon, stars
- Spirit of Power (Gvurah)/ Rosh Hashanah/ Birds and Fish
- Spirit of Knowledge (Daat)/ Day of Atonement (Yom Hakippurim)/ Beast and Man
- Spirit of Reverence/Fear (Yirat Adonai)/ Sukkot/ Sabbath (Shabbat/ Shabbos)
Please don’t let this overwhelm you! It takes time for it to soak into our thoughts. We all have been programmed to just surface read; scratching the surface. Torah is much deeper than just surface reading. I don’t know of you like onions, or not, but imagine one in front of you. I will imagine the red onion—yummy, sweet with a kick. One can cut that onion easily enough in half. But if you take the onion and begin to peel off each layer, one layer at a time, you’re going to be there awhile soaking up its juices. Learning Torah are layers upon layers. In other words, the more we study Torah, the more we will have a better understanding on a deeper level in Hashem’s Presence.
OK, before I trail off too far, let’s get back to the Four Rivers!
Gichon divides into the second and sixth branch, described as bursting forth. To draw forth as to give birth. On the second branch, there is Binah, which means to build (Understanding), Chag Hamatzah (Unleavened Bread) chiastically connects to the sixth branch of Da’at which means knowledge, Yom HaKippurium (Day of Atonement).
Song of Solomon 6:10
On Yom Kippur, which is the sixth day, the High Priest is anointed just as King Solomon (builder/Ruach Binah) of the first temple. The anointing was at Gihon—another connection!
Chidekkel (noisy, rapid, roaring, Tigris). This will be a division into the third and fifth branches of the Menorah.
The Hebrew word, halakha, means “walks” or “goes” in a movement.
- Fifth day of Creation-birds and fish moved rapidly.
- Fifth festival, Rosh Hashanah, blowing the shofar that is very noisy!
- First Fruits of Barley.
- Etzah (Spirit of Counsel) and Gvurah (Power).
The main river came from the Throne itself, giving nourishment to the Garden of Eden. Adam was in charge of moving the water, but he was not the creator of the water. Adam was able to freely irrigate the garden, trees included. He was given charge over the care and keep of the Garden. Adam’s physical and spiritual strength soon came to a weakened area after he sinned. After the fall, cultivating the soil became a lot harder- breaking sweat; fighting weeds.
Since Adam was placed in the Garden after he was created, we need to remember that it was Elokim Who caused the trees and plant life to grow. Adam was Hashem’s partner; having the reward of the Ruach ha’ Kodesh.
Hashem is the source of this nourishment– Water. He sustains life, and we, as His servants, are happy to help (good deeds). Pesach, Shavuot, and Sukkot are the rivers that give nourishment/drink in order to provide that water to “Good Gold” and “Precious Stones.” In other words, humans were created to walk through this water—Eden’s Four Rivers.
When the Israelites were in the wilderness with Moses for 40 years, Hashem sustained their needs. For example, their leather shoes and clothing lasted as the material never wore out. For forty years the Father provided and gave them Manna for their daily food. The manna was a miracle that happened every six days. On the sixth day, they would gather a double portion to have rest on the seventh day. Manna was not given on the seventh day so they had to plan accordingly.
“The house of Israel named it manna; it was like coriander seed, white, and it tasted like wafers in honey.” (Exodus 16:31)
The appearance of manna resembled Bdellium, which was a precious stone that was encircled in the land of Havilah of the Pishon River. The seventh river, Pishon, boarders the land of Havilah where the bedolach was. Sabbath is identified with set apart– holy.
I think it is fascinating that the connection of bdellium is found to sparkle and glisten like a rainbow-crystal clear, and Manna was sparkly; wet clear dew for the Israelites! The dew would have glistened in the sunlight, refracting the prism of the rainbow. Moreover, if you take the menorah and tip it upside down, you’ll see a rainbow. It also looks like a bow and arrow readily to hit the mark—to be on target –Torah. Doesn’t this sound like a wonderful message given to us from our Father directly from the Throne of Glory?!
“A psalm of David, when he was in the Wilderness of Judah. God, You are my God; I search for You, my soul thirsts for You, my body yearns for You, as a parched and thirsty land that has no water. I shall behold You in the sanctuary, and see Your might and glory.” (Psalms 63:1-3)
The Onyx Stone
The Onyx is another precious stone of Havilah which appears black, but’s contranym (opposite of itself) is likely a whitening process. Shoham, Hebrew word for onyx appears to mean “ to blanch.” This would be the idea of making something holy by whitening. The priests of the Temple wore white linen garments. The linen was made of shesh.
Shen is one of the Hebrew letters in their alphabet. Shen means teeth. In Hebrew, the Shesh is spelled with (2) shens, which literally places the whiteness of the linen, and it also has a fiery connotation with the number six. If you look back to the menorah, or day six of Creation, you’ll soon recognize that on day six was the day that beast and man were created.
The 12 stones represent the 12 tribes of Israel. The shoham stones were connected to the breastplate (choshen) upon the priest’s shoulder using gold chains.
“For a child has been born to us, A son has been given us. And authority has settled on his shoulders. He has been named “The Mighty G-d is planning grace; The Eternal Father, a peaceable ruler.” (Isaiah 9:5)
When we surface read, as taught in Western/ Greek cultures, we miss so much! It is exciting to have the true understanding of Torah. I can only hope we are able to peel back those onion layers to really get into the depth of Hashem’s precious word.
Hashem is the Aleph and the Tav. He is the beginning and the end; which of course after the seventh day (completeness), the eighth day is a new beginning—full circle!
He is our Creator, we are His creation. The main river came from the Throne of Glory, giving nourishment to the Garden of Eden.
Adam was in charge of moving the water, but he was not the creator of the water. Adam was able to freely irrigate the garden, trees included. Hashem is the source of this nourishment- Hashem’s River of Life. He sustains life, and as His servants, we should rejoice as He is our Rock of Salvation! Pesach, Shavuot, and Sukkot are the rivers that give nourishment/drink in order to provide that water to “Good Gold” and “Precious Stones.”
The Four Rivers came from the Thorne of Glory, pouring into into Gan Eden! Hashem is our Life Source.
 Isaiah 48:16-18, Sefaria
 Genesis 2:4-15, Sefaria
 Exodus 23:31, Sefaria
 Exodus 16:31, Sefaria
 Psalms 63:1-3, Sefaria
 Isaiah 9:5, Sefaria