Shabbat Bereshit (Gen. 1:1-6:8)

Looking at it one way, Bereshit is a series of failures. After the high point of creation, it’s all downhill – from the fateful fruit of the tree to Cain’s aggression against Abel, humans really don’t have a particularly good time of it. Even the points in the narrative that aren’t downright bad, most have an element failure to them.

  • making clothes from leaves? Not such a great plan.
  • God asks where the first humans are, and they hide
  • God asks Cain where his brother is, and he gets snippy

The list goes on.

However, there’s a silver lining to all this. As one Rabbi puts it – if you look at an baby’s life, it’s one long series of failures. They try to sit up, try to roll over, try to get the shiny-pink-shakey-thing into their mouth. And they fail. Over and over and over again they can’t achieve their goal. At least, until they do.

The same goes for children. They can’t ride a skateboard. Can’t read. Can’t reach the shelf where the cookies are. Until they can, by hook or by crook.

Through it all, babies and children (and a precious few adults) maintain an unbelievably positive attitude.

It’s a lesson worth remembering. We all can’t. Can’t sing, can’t dance, can’t cook, can’t speak another language, can’t make a center court jump shot. Until we can. Until that moment when “can’t” turns into “did”.

Of course, “did” will never come if we don’t keep trying.

SO, limited only by your creativity and the category of food you are assigned, please bring a food which is fraught with failure.


Not sure what this Torah portion is about? You can find a brief summary in The Edible Torah’s “Condensed Guide to the Weekly Torah Readings”. For more information on what The Edible Torah is all about, along with insight on how to set up a pot-luck Shabbat experience, check out “The Edible Torah Guide”.