There are three mitzvos in Sefer Bereshis:

Pru urvu- Be fruitful and multiply.

This was the first mitzva given in the Torah. A man is required to have at least one boy and one girl. It is not a woman’s obligation yet women  naturally have a desire to have children because of their strong maternal feelings. I always wondered why this was first. I guess the continuation of the Jewish people relies on this.

Bris Mila – circumcision

On the eighth day after his birth, a Jewish boy is required to be given a bris by a mohel. The word bris means covenant- when a boy is given a bris he enters into a covenant with Hashem. The first person to be given a bris was Avraham Avinu, and Yitzchak was the first boy to be given a bris at eight days old. Other people that are mentioned that were  given a bris were: Chamor, Schem and the people of Schem, Yishmael, the Jews that went out of Egypt (some were given a bris before they left while others were given a bris in the desert). Some people are born with half a birs so there is a different procedure for that. Gerim are also given a bris, and if a man did not have his bris on the eighth day, it is still never too late.

What a nerve!  The sciatic nerve – the gid hanoshech.

Yaakov met the angel of Eisav in the middle of the night and they fought each other. During the fight, the malach hit Yaakov in the sciatic nerve and from that we learn that we are not to eat that nerve. After that nerve-wracking experience, the angel of Eisav said he had to go as it was time for him to sing Shira to Hashem, yet Yaakov held onto him and told the angel to admit that Yaakov did not steal the birthright from Eisav. The Malach agreed and said, “Yisrael is now your name, your children will be called Bnei Yisrael and Eretz Yisrael will be their land.”

Next weeks question: Who were the inhabitants of what is present day Gaza in biblical times?