hebrew
1)

Seeing as the Heaven was already created on the first day, why does the Torah see fit to add here (on the second day) "Yehi Raki'a"?

1.

Rashi: Although it was created on the first day, it was still wet and therefore incomplete; so Hashem commanded it to dry up and 'strengthen' itself'.

2.

Ramban: Based on his explanation in Pasuk 1 1 , that (apart from the light) Hashem only formed 'Bohu' (indefinable matter) he explains that Hashem now ordered the matter of the Shamayim which He initially created to take on the shape of a flat expanse (the word 'Roka' means to beat flat) that divides between the upper water and the lower water 2 .

3.

Rashbam: Basically, he agrees with the Ramban's explanation (Refer to 1:6:1:2*); only he adds that up until now, the water filled the entire space between the earth and the upper Heavens, and now, Hashem split the water, by placing the sky in the middle - from east to west and from north to south.


1

The Ramban bases his explanation on the second explanation cited in a Midrash (the first explanation there is the one cited by Rashi).

2

The Rashbam explains that 'Raki'a' is another way of saying 'Meruka' (like 'Ashir' and 'Me'ushar')

2)

Why does the Torah write that the sky was situated "in the midst of the water".

1.

Rashi 1 : It comes to teach us that since the sky divided between the upper water and the lower water, it must have been held in place by the 'Command of the King' 2 .


1

See also Targum Yonasan.

2

The Ramban explains that he declines to offer an explanation, as it is forbidden to delve into these matters. On a number of occasions the Ramban intimates that even when he does get involved in esoterics, any reader who thinks that he understands it will only be fooling himself.

3)

רש"י: באמצע המים: למה לא פירש כפשוטו שהרקיע היה בתוך המים ממש?

1.

גור אריה: בפסוק הבא כתוב "ובין המים אשר מעל לרקיע" נמצא שהרקיע לא היה בתוך המים אלא הוא היה באמצע, בין המים העליונים לתחתונים.

2.

גור אריה: כבר ביום הראשון היה הרקיע בתוך המים ורק ההבדלה נעשתה ביום השני, ולכן פירש שביום השני שם ה' את הרקיע באמצע.

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