Jewish Literacy – Biblical Era: Creation (Part 3)

Creation of Earth - Genesis Chapter 1
Creation of Earth – Genesis Chapter 1

And God said: ‘Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters’ (Genesis 1:6). Rashi explains that “Let there be a firmament” means to let the firmament become strengthened. Even though the heavens were created on day one, they were still moist and therefore congealed on the second day.1

This idea was expressed in the Tanakh as it says “The pillars of heaven tremble and are astonished at His rebuke” (Job 26:11). Due to God’s roar of “Let there be a firmament,” the heavens stiffened.1

“R. Zulra b. Tobiah said that Rab said: by ten things was the world created: By wisdom and by understanding, and by reason, and by strength, and by rebuke, and by might, by righteousness and by judgment, by lovingkindness and by compassion. …By rebuke, for it is written: The pillars of heaven were trembling, but they became astonished at His, rebuke” (Haggai 15a).2

“[A]nd let it divide the waters from the waters” refers to the center of the waters. The distance between the firmament and the waters upon the earth is the same as the distance between the firmament and the higher waters.3

“And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament; and it was so” (Genesis 1:7). It was at this point in Creation, according to Rashi, that God fixed the firmament into its position. By stating “and it was so,” God was telling mankind that this part of Creation would be so forever.1

Unlike day one when God created light and “saw that the light was good,” God does not reveal that the creation of day two – the firmament – was “good.” Why is this? According to Rashi, the work of the creation of the waters was not yet completed on the second day. Since it was incomplete it was not “in its state of fullness and goodness.”1

“And God called the firmament Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, a second day” (Genesis 1:8).

“What does ‘heaven’ [Shamayim] mean? R. Jose b. Hanina said: It means, ‘There is water’. In a Baraitha it is taught: [It means], ‘fire [אש] and water [מים];’ this teaches that the Holy One, blessed be He, brought them and mixed them one with the other and made from them the firmament” (Haggai 15a).2

“The word shamayim is thus as if it said shem mayim, meaning that ‘heaven’ is the name given the waters when they took on a new form.” On the second day God called for a firmament to be made from the waters that were already made on the first day.3

“These spherical bodies He also called ‘heavens’ by the name of the first upper heavens. This is why they are called in [these verses] ‘the firmament of the heaven’ rather than ‘heavens’ … in order to explain that they are not the heavens mentioned by that name in the first verse but merely the firmaments called ‘heavens’.”3

“And God said: ‘Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear.’ And it was so” (Genesis 1:9).

God called for the waters to be gathered into one place for the water at this point was spread across the entire face of the earth.1
The deep that was referenced in verse two according to Ramban consisted of both water and sand. When God called for the waters to be gathered, He decreed that they be gathered into one place surrounded on all sides by the rising sand.3

“And God called the dry land Earth, and the gathering together of the waters called He Seas; and God saw that it was good” (Genesis 1:10).

This verse states that the proper name for the earth is “yabashah” (יַּבָּשָׁה) which means dry land because the sand dried as the waters separated.3

However, the earth is called “Eretz” (אֶרֶץ) because this name includes the four elements that were created on the first day. These four elements were created for the sake of the earth “in order that there be a habitation for man, since among the lower creatures no one but man recognizes his Creator.”3

The gathering together of the waters were called “yamim” (יַמִּים) – that is, seas. Ramban declares that it is as if the words yam and mayim were combined. The bottom of the ocean is called yam, as it is written “…as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11:9) and a large gathering of water is called the sea (mayim), as it is written “…and took down the sea from off the brazen oxen that were under it…” (II Kings 16:17).3

God declared that the Earth and the Seas were “good.” This is the first instance of the third day’s Creation being declared “good.” Why is this? The creation of the waters and land began on day two and is now completed. Now that the creation of the waters and land is completed, it can be called “good.”3

“And God said: ‘Let the earth put forth grass, herb yielding seed, and fruit-tree bearing fruit after its kind, wherein is the seed thereof, upon the earth.’ And it was so” (Genesis 1:11).

God calls for grass and herbs to fill and cover the Earth and grow seeds within the herbs and the fruit of the trees so they may be seeded in other places.1

“And the earth brought forth grass, herb yielding seed after its kind, and tree bearing fruit, wherein is the seed thereof, after its kind; and God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, a third day” (Genesis 1:12-13).

By God declaring that the grass, herb, and trees which He created were “good” He was declaring that the existence of these portions of Creation are to exist forever.


1Yisrael Herczeg. The Torah with Rashi’s Commentary – Genesis. (New York: Mesorah Publications, Ltd., 2000).
2I. Epstein. Soncino Babylonian Talmud. (London: Soncino Press, 1949). []
3Charles Chavel. Ramban Commentary on the Torah – Genesis. (New York: Shilo Publishing House, Inc., 1971).

Jewish Literacy – Biblical Era: Creation (Part 2)

Tetragrammaton - Genesis Chapter 1
Tetragrammaton – Genesis Chapter 1

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1)

The Name of God used in this very first passage of the Torah does not use the personal Name of God (the tetragamatron – ה-ו-ה-י).1

Rashi explains that Creation really began with God contemplating the Creation with the attribute of strict judgment but He realized that the world could not last if He only used the attribute of strict judgment.2

Instead, God gave precedence to the attribute of mercy but joined it with the attribute of strict judgment. This is the meaning behind “These are the generations of the heaven and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the Eternal One God made earth and heaven” (Genesis 2:4).2

In this passage we see the Personal Name (יהוה) associated with mercy followed by – and joined to – the Divine Name (אֱלֹהִים) which is associated with strict judgment.2

“Now the earth was unformed and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the breath of God hovered over the face of the waters” (Genesis 1:2).

The Hebrew for the word “unformed” (תֹהוּ) means formlessness, confusion, unreality, or emptiness and the Hebrew for the word “void” (בֹהוּ) means emptiness, void, or waste.3 According to Targum Yonatan, the earth was “vacant and desolate” and according to Targum Onkelos the earth was “waste and empty”.4

According to the Rambam “the substance of the heavens is different from that of the earth: that there are two different substances: the one is described as belonging to God, being the light of His garment, on account of its superiority; and the other, the earthly substance, which is distant from His splendour and light, as being the snow under the throne of His glory.”5

Accordingly, we can know that “the heavens and all that is in them consist of one substance, and the earth and everything that is in it consist of one substance. The Holy One, blessed be He, created these two substances from nothing; they alone were created, and everything else was constructed from them.”6

In the Tanakh, darkness (חֹשֶׁךְ) is generally used to symbolize evil, death, oblivion, or misfortune. In this passage, darkness seems to not be just simply the absence of light but is in itself a distinct entity.7

The surface of the deep does not refer to the land underneath the water. This passage refers to the surface of the deep waters that covered the earth.2

“…and the breath of God hovered over the face of the waters” (Genesis 1:2). The Hebrew word for breath (sometimes translated as spirit) is (רוּחַ) which means wind, breath, mind, or spirit.3

Alternatively, Targum Yonatan translates this passage as “…and the Spirit of mercies from before the Lord breathed upon the face of the waters.” Targum Onkelos similarly translates this passage as “…and a wind from before the Lord blew upon the face of the waters.”4

According to the Talmud and Midrash, breath or wind does not hover and this suggests that it was the Throne of Glory that hovered by means of the breath of God. “And the spirit of God hovered over the face of the waters — like a dove which hovers over her young without touching [them]” (Chagigah 15a).8

“The creation of the throne of glory is mentioned by our Sages, though in a strange way: for they say that it has been created before the creation of the Universe. Scripture, however, does not mention the creation of the throne, except in the words of David, “The Lord [has] established his throne in the heavens” (Ps. ciii. 19), which words admit of figurative interpretation; but the eternity of the throne is distinctly described, “[You], O Lord, [dwell forever, your] throne [forever] and ever” (Lam. v. 19).”5

“And God said: ‘Let there be light.’ And there was light” (Genesis 1:3). Using the word “said” (יֹּאמֶר) there is an indication of will or thought. Therefore, the Rabbis taught that the thought which concerned what was to be created on a particular day was thought during the day and the creation was done at sunset.6

Why did the Rabbis teach this about the word “yomer” (יֹּאמֶר)? This teaching was to express the idea that Creation was thought out and there is a reason for everything that was created. Creation was not out of a mere will of God but was purposefully done.6

“And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night …” (Genesis 1:4-5). According to Rashi, God saw that the light was good and He therefore separated it from the darkness.2

Light, according to Rashi, was set aside for the righteous to use in the future for the wicked did not deserve to use it. God saw that it was improper that light and darkness function together “in a jumble.”

Therefore, God assigned light to the “sphere of activity during the day” and assigned darkness to the “sphere of activity during the night.”2

“The Merciful One summoned the light and appointed it for duty by day, and He summoned the darkness and appointed it for duty by night” (Pesachim 2a).9

“…And there was evening and there was morning, one day” (Genesis 1:5). The Hebrew word for evening (עֶרֶב) connotes the idea of mingling “because shapes of things appear confused in it.” The Hebrew word for morning (בֹקֶר) also means “examines” because it is only then “a man can distinguish between various forms.”6

This passage could have easily said “And there was evening and there was morning the first day” which would have placed it within the same liturgical sphere of the subsequent days. “[T]he ‘first’ precedes a ‘second’ in number or degree but both exist, whereas ‘one’ does not connote the existence of a second.”6

Why was the passage written “And God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day” (Genesis 1:5)? As Rashi explains, it is because “the Holy One, Blessed be He, was solitary in His world, for the angels were not created until the second day.”2


1Joseph Telushkin. Biblical Literacy. (New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1997).
2Yisrael Herczeg. The Torah with Rashi’s Commentary – Genesis. (New York: Mesorah Publications, Ltd., 2000).
3Blue Letter Bible. Book of Beginnings – Genesis 1 – (NKJV – New King James Version). (Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2011). Web. 8 Sep 2011. []
4J. W. Ethridge. On the Pentateuch With The Fragments of the Jerusalem Targum From the Chaldee (1862). []
5M. Friedlander (translator). The Guide for the Perplexed. (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd., 1904). []
6Charles Chavel. Ramban Commentary on the Torah – Genesis. (New York: Shilo Publishing House, Inc., 1971).
7David Lieber. Etz Hayim: Torah and Commentary. (Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society, 2001).
8I. Epstein. Soncino Babylonian Talmud. (London: Soncino Press, 1949). []
9I. Epstein. Soncino Babylonian Talmud. (London: Soncino Press, 1949). []

Abraham’s Journeys: Shechem


Bereishit יב (Genesis 12)

1 Now the Eternal One said unto Avram: ‘Get out of your country, and from your kindred, and from your father’s house, unto the land that I will show you. 2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and you will be a blessing. 3 And I will bless them that bless you, and him that curses you will I curse; and in you shall all the families of the earth be blessed.’ 4 So Avram went, as the Eternal One had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him; and Avram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran. 5 And Avram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Kena’an; and into the land of Kena’an they came. 6 And Avram passed through the land unto the place of Shekhem, unto the terebinth of Moreh. And the Kena’ani was then in the land. 7 And the EterOone appeared unto Avram, and said: ‘Unto your seed will I give this land’; and he built there an altar unto the Eternal One, who appeared unto him.

Shechem was a Canaanite city during the time of Abraham. Traditionally, Shechem is associated with Nablus but is specifically identified with the site of Tell Balatah i Balata al-Balad (a suburb of Nablus) in Samaria. It lies between Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal.1 According to the Tanakh, Shechem lays north of Beth-El and Shiloh on the highway going from Jerusalem to the northern parts of Samaria (Judges 21:19). Shechem is a short distance from Michmethath (Joshua 17:7) and Dothan (Genesis 37:12-17). It was in the hill country of Ephraim (Joshua 20:7) immediately below Mount Gerizim (Judges 9:6-7).

The Madaba map places Shechem between Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal2 as does Flavius Josephus in his work Antiquities of the Jews (4:8:44):

…and that when they had got possession of the land of the Canaanites, and when they had destroyed the whole multitude of its inhabitants, as they ought to do, they should erect an altar that should face the rising sun, not far from the city of Shechem, between the two mountains, that of Gerizzim, situate on the right hand, and that called Ebal, on the left…3

Shechem dates back approximately four thousand years. The city is mentioned in the third-millennium Ebla Tablets that were discovered near Aleppo, Syria.4 During Senusret III’s military campaign directed toward Nubia, a campaign of retribution and plunder, is recorded on an Egyptian stele belonging to Sobkkhu. This military campaign also led to the capture of a Sekmem (Shechem) in the hill country of Ephraim.5 In the fourteenth-century BCE Amarna Letters, Shechem is presented as part of the kingdom that was lorded over by Labayu.6


1Rast, Walter. Through the Ages in Palestinian Archaeology: An Introductory Handbook. (Harrisburg, PA: Trinity Press International, 1992).
2Rudd, Steve. “The Madaba Map and the Exodus Route” The Interactive Bible. n.d. Web. 4 November 2011. []
3Whiston, William. (trans.). The Works of Flavius Josephus. (1737). Web. 4 November 2011. []
4Kessler, Oren. “Excavations Done at Former Israelite Capital Shechem” Jerusalem Post. 25 July 2011. Web. 4 November 2011. []
5Dunn, Jimmy. “Senusret III, The 5th King of the 12th Dynasty.” Tour Egypt. 20 June 2011. Web. 4 November 2011. []
6“Letter from Labayu of Shechem.” Kibbutz Reshafim. n.d. Web. 4 November 2011. []

Abraham’s Journeys: Ur and Haran (Part 2)

New Dergah Mosque
New Dergah Mosque

There are many traditions regarding the location of Ur Chasdim including Islam and the classical writer Eusebius.

According to Islamic tradition, the birthplace of Abraham – Ur Chasdim – is location not in Mesopotamia but in southern Turkey. Islamic tradition places Ur Chasdim in the ancient city of Edessa (now known as Sanliufra or simply as Urfa).1

In 1848 J.J. Benjamin II visited the town of Urfa and wrote about his travels there in his book Eight years in Asia and Africa.

“Eighteen hours’ journey from Birdschak lies, in a desert neighbourhood, the town of Urfa, likewise enclosed by a wall. Round about the town are to be found a great number of grottoes, built by human hand; these are all open, and lead into a subterranean passage, which is said to be several hours’ journey in length. Regular gates, doors, streets, extensive places and even wells are to be found here. It is beyond all doubt that these are the traces of a town destroyed by an earthquake. Could it not be the ancient “Ur” of the Chaldees, of which Moses speaks? *

In Urfa are to be found monuments of antiquity, which date from the oldest biblical times; some are preserved up to this day; others are lying in ruins. We mention here some of the most remarkable:

1) The house, in which Abraham was born. It is an artificial grotto, hewn out of a single piece of rock; and a cradle of white stone. The grotto is closed and guarded by the Arabs; one can however enter it on payment of a small gratuity. The Arabs are wont to carry thither their sick children, and to lay them in Abraham’s cradle, in which they leave the little ones for the whole night; if they are not found dead the next morning, their recovery can be looked forward to with safety.”2

Eusebius wrote about the city of Ur Chasdim in his book Preparation for the Gospel. Eusebius  preserves a portion of Alexander Polyhistor’s work Concerning the Jews which in turn quotes from the historian Eupolemus’ work Concerning the Jewish of Assyria.

AND with this agrees also Alexander Polyhistor, a man of great intellect and much learning, and very well known to those Greeks who have gathered the fruits of education in no perfunctory manner: for in his compilation, Concerning the Jews, he records the history of this man Abraham in the following manner word for word:

[ALEXANDER POLYHISTOR] ‘Eupolemus in his book Concerning the Jews of Assyria says that the city Babylon was first founded by those who escaped from the Deluge; and that they were giants, and built the tower renowned in history.

‘But when this had been overthrown by the act of God, the giants were dispersed over the whole earth. And in the tenth generation, he says, in Camarina a city of Babylonia, which some call the city Uria (and which is by interpretation the city of the Chaldees), + in the thirteenth generation + Abraham was born, who surpassed all men in nobility and wisdom, who was also the inventor of astronomy and the Chaldaic art, and pleased God well by his zeal towards religion.”3

Bereishit יא (Genesis 11)

31 And Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran, his son’s son, and Sarai his daughter-in-law, his son Abram’s wife; and they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan; and they came unto Haran, and dwelt there. 32 And the days of Terah were two hundred and five years; and Terah died in Haran.

Haran was the city, according to the Torah, where Abram and his family journeyed when they left Ur Chasdim on their way to Canaan. It was in this place that Abram’s father Terah died. When Abram was 75 years old, Abram, Sarai, Lot, their extended family and servants left Haran to continue onto Canaan. There is an indication later in Bereishit (27:42-43) that some of Abram’s relatives remained in Haran.

Biblical Haran is identified by scholars with the city Harran in modern-day Turkey. This city was the chief home of the Mesopotamian god Sin and remained the chief city of the pagan god under the Assyrians, Chaldeans, and Romans.4 According to the Christian apocryphal work The Book of the Cave of Treasures, Nimrod is credited with founding the city of Harran.

And in the fiftieth year of [the life of] Reu, Nimrod went up and built Nisibis, and Edessa, and Harrân, which is Edessa. And Harrânîth, the wife of Dâsân, the priest of the mountain, surrounded it with a wall, and the people of Harrân made a statue of her and worshipped her. And Baltîn, who was given to Tamûzâ (Tammuz)–now because B`êlshemîn loved her, Tammuz fled before him–set fire to Harrân and burned it. (The Book of the Cave of Treasures – The Fourth Thousand Years)5

The death and burial of Abram’s father Terah in Harran is also mentioned in the Arabic work Kitab al-Magall.

When Terah, father of Abraham, reached two hundred and three years he died. Abraham and Lot buried him in the city of Haran. [God] commanded him that he should travel to the Holy Land.6


1Wikipedia. Ur Kasdim. []
2Benjamin, J. Eight Years in Asia and Africa From 1846 to 1855. (Hanover, 1859).
3Gifford, E. H. Eusebius of Caesarea: Praeparatio Evangelica. (1903). []
4“Harran.” Encyclopedia Britannica. n.d. Web. 23 October 2011. []
5Budge, E. A. W. The Book of the Cave of Treasures. (London: The Religious Tract Society, 1927).
6Gibson, M. D. “Kitab al-Magall or The Book of Rolls” Apocrypha Arabica. (London, 1901).

Abraham’s Journeys: Ur and Haran (Part 1)


Bereishit יא (Genesis 11)

27 Now these are the generations of Terah. Terah begot Avram, Nahor, and Haran; and Haran begot Lot. 28 And Haran died in the presence of his father Terah in the land of his nativity, in Ur of the Chaldees. 29 And Avram and Nahor took them wives: the name of Avram’s wife was Sarai; and the name of Nahor’s wife, Milka, the daughter of Haran, the father of Milka, and the father of Yiska. 30 And Sarai was barren; she had no child. 31 And Terah took Avram his son, and Lot the son of Haran, his son’s son, and Sarai his daughter-in-law, his son Avram’s wife; and they went forth with them from Ur-kasdim, to go into the land of Kena’an; and they came unto Haran, and dwelt there. 32 And the days of Terah were two hundred and five years; and Terah died in Haran.

Although not specifically mentioned in the Tanakh, Ur Chasdim is identified as Abraham’s placed of birth.

Terach took his son Avram, his grandson Lot (Haran’s son), and his daughter-in-law Sarai (Avram’s wife). With them, he left Ur-kasdim, heading toward the land of Kena’an. They came as far as Haran and settled there. (Bereishit 11:31)1

Various people have attempted to identify the location of Ur Chasdim throughout the centuries including Maimonides (Rambam) and Josephus. Maimonides spoke of Abraham being reared in Kutha which could then be associated as “Ur Chasdim” – the birthplace of Abraham.

Abraham was brought up in Kutha; when he differed from the people and declared that there is a Maker besides the sun, they raised certain objections, and mentioned in their arguments the evident and manifest action of the sun in the Universe. (Guide for the Perplexed 3:29)2

Kutha was an ancient Sumerian city on the eastern branch of the Upper Euphrates River about 25 miles northeast of Babylon.3

According to Josephus, Ur was located in the Chaldean territory and Haran was distant from Ur and not located in Chaldea.

Now Abram had two brethren, Nahor and Haran: of these Haran left a son, Lot; as also Sarai and Milcha his daughters; and died among the Chaldeans, in a city of the Chaldeans, called Ur; and his monument is shown to this day. These married their nieces. Nabor married Milcha, and Abram married Sarai. Now Terah hating Chaldea, on account of his mourning for Ilaran, they all removed to Haran of Mesopotamia, where Terah died, and was buried, when he had lived to be two hundred and five years old… (Antiquities of the Jews 1:6:5)4

Josephus locates the area of Chaldea near Babylon.

And Nicolaus of Damascus, in the fourth book of his History, says thus: “Abram reigned at Damascus, being a foreigner, who came with an army out of the land above Babylon, called the land of the Chaldeans… (Antiquities of the Jews 1:7:2)4

Josephus distinguishes the land of the Chaldeans (descendants of Arphaxad) from Syria (descendants of Aram) where Haran is located.

Shem, the third son of Noah, had five sons, who inhabited the land that began at Euphrates, and reached to the Indian Ocean. For Elam left behind him the Elamites, the ancestors of the Persians. Ashur lived at the city Nineve; and named his subjects Assyrians, who became the most fortunate nation, beyond others. Arphaxad named the Arphaxadites, who are now called Chaldeans. Aram had the Aramites, which the Greeks called Syrians… (Antiquities of the Jews 1:6:4)4

According to Josephus, Ur Chasdim is located in Southern Mesopotamia and not in Syria or Turkey as some others have stated.

Nachmanides (Ramban) declares that Ur Chasdim is in fact Abraham’s birthplace. Not only does he declare this to be his birthplace but Nachamnides places Ur Chasdim in the area of Aram-naharim in Mesopotamia based upon Bereishit 24:10.

[The] verse stating, “And I took your father Abraham from beyond the river and led him throughout all the land of Canaan [Yehoshua 24:3], should have stated, ‘And I took your father from Ur of the Chaldees and led him throughout all the land of Canaan,’ for it was from there that he was taken, and it was there that he was given [the command to get out of his country and from his birthplace – Bereishit 12:1]. (Commentary on the Torah – Lech Lecha)5

According to the Talmud, Ur is associated with the city Erech.

…Between the two there is [a distance] of one hundred parasangs and its circumference one thousand parasangs . And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh in the land of Shinar. ‘Babel’ in its usual sense; ‘Erech’ ‘ i.e. Urikath; ‘Accad’, i.e. Baskar;15 ‘Calneh’, i.e. Nupar — Ninpi. Out of that land went Ashur. (Babylonian Talmud – Yoma 10a)6

Uruk was the ancient name for Erech, a city in Chaldea (Kasdim, a region on the Euphrates and the Persian Gulf which was originally the southern part of Babylonia). This was near the city of Ur, the birthplace of Avraham, on the lower Euphrates River which was then on the Persian Gulf (before it receded).7

The apocryphal Book of Jubilees also implies that it is in Ur Chasdim that Abraham was born by linking the city “Ur” back to Abraham’s ancestor Serug (Sêrôḫ).

And in the thirty-fifth jubilee, in the third week, in the first year thereof, Reu took to himself a wife, and her name was ’Ôrâ, the daughter of ’Ûr, the son of Kêsêd, and she bare him a son, and he called his name Sêrôḫ, in the seventh year of this week in this jubilee. 2. And the sons of Noah began to war on each other, to take captive and to slay each other, and to shed the blood of men on the earth, and to eat blood, and to build strong cities, and walls, and towers, and individuals (began) to exalt themselves above the nation, and to found the beginnings of kingdoms, and to go to war people against people, and nation against nation, and city against city, and all (began) to do evil, and to acquire arms, and to teach their sons war, and they began to capture cities, and to sell male and female slaves. 3. And ’Ûr, the son of Kêsêd, built the city of ’Arâ of the Chaldees, and called its name after his own name and the name of his father. (Book of Jubilees 11:1-3)8


1Aryeh Kaplan. The Living Torah. (New York: Moznaim Publishing Corporation, 1981).
2M. Friedlander (translator). The Guide for the Perplexed. (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd., 1904). []
3Wikipedia. Kutha. []
4William Whiston (translator). The Works of Flavius Josephus. (1737).
5Charles Chavel. Ramban: Commentary on the Torah (Genesis). (New York: Shilo Publishing House, Inc., 1971).
6I. Epstein Soncino Babylonian Talmud. (London: Soncino Press, 1949).  []
7Dafyomi Advancement Forum. Background on the Daily Daf – Yoma 10. []
8R.H. Charles (translator). The Book of Jubilees. (London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1917).