Be holy and multiply
7, 1 - 11, 32
- Principle message
- Themes in the parasha
- Commentary of Rabbenu Bahya
- The concept: mithalekh betumo
1st level: hithalkhut
2nd level: begin to be a tzaddik
3rd level: temimut
- The role of the tzaddik in his generation
- The tzaddik and the Jew
- Reading material
- Personal development
1st Level, for everyone
2nd Level, advanced students only
1st Level, for everyone
We have seen how parasha Bereshit reveals to us the aim
of creation, the raison d'etre of the universe and of humanity,
and the role of man in this creation.
This means that a divine plan is revealed through the Hebrew
- to make man a partner in creation as the place of G-d's
- to communicate to him the knowledge of G-d 's inner life,
within a partnership; this level is expressed most in man's
make up which is made up of male and female, and is therefore
in the image of Hakadosh Barukh Hu and the shekhina;
- and, moreover, the Creator reversed the roles (ki veyhakhol
if one can say that), and remitted to man the control of
Given the distance between the two partners, this transition
from Creator to man leads to a diminishing of the divine
presence, which is the shekhina, on earth.
But G-d, through the Torah, gave man the power to correct
this diminishment. This is what we mean by tikkun, or reparation.
Ribbi Yaakov Abuhatzera brings together all
"Bereshit gematria ke shehinat uzenu
the word Bereshit has the same gematria (numerical value)
as shekhinat uzenu (the shekhina [presence of God] is our
lirmoz de ikar ha Torah ve haavoda ve hamitzvot
to indicate that the essence of the Torah, prayer and the
hakol hu let tikkun ha shekhina
everything is for the tikkun of the shekhina,
lefi she be khol yom va yom
so that every day and all days
trikha binian mehadash
the shekhina must be built anew
ve ze hadavar talul bivene Yisrael
and this is the role of bene Yisrael.
We shall see how this in the life of Noah.
Themes in the parasha
This parasha recounts the entry into Noah's ark, the flood,
the exit from the ark, the commandment to fructify on earth,
the warning against murder, the covenant and its symbol
the rainbow, Noah's drunkenness, his three sons and their
descendants, the tower of Babel, the generations till Abraham
From the time of the exit from the state of
the Garden of Eden, humanity rapidly became what we know
it to be today, for we have hardly progressed since then:
science and knowledge have certainly developed, but their
use is as brutal and murderous as in the story of Cain and
Abel. Worse still, science and technology have amplified
the power of murder: never has humanity engaged in so many
genocides. It has learnt nothing from history and genocides
continue to take place at an accelerated rate.
We are simply primitives who are armed with
more dangerous arms. Adults and children wallow in electronic
war games that are based on destruction and massacre; murder
films and novels are regular best sellers; and everyone
is addicted to the thrill of watching images of destruction
and horror on their television sets or listening daily to
news of attacks or catastrophes on the radio -- not to mention
killings and violence which result from cruel economies
and greedy arms trading. These cruelties and brutalities
ensure the standard of living of the Western world, and
we are completely indifferent to them. These are the values
on which our advanced, democratic societies, which claim
to champion the rights of man, are based.
It is within this context that a certain type
of man appeared: "Noah was a just man and perfect in
his generations, and Noah walked with God" (Genesis
6, 9). Here we have the clues to enable us to understand
how such a destructive cycle of violence can be stopped.
This is why it is particularly important to
study this parasha.
Studying the parasha in English however will
not teach us anything about its message. We need to study
the Hebrew text directly and examine corresponding links
between verses and words of the same roots, in order to
grasp the complete message of this parasha.
All those who wish to study and understand the Torah must
therefore learn Hebrew.
In Hebrew the above quote reads as: Noah ish
tzaddik tamim hayabedorotav et-haelohim hithalekh-Noah.
The key to the message is found in each of the Hebrew words.
We shall see this, when we study the commentaries
of Rabbenu Bahya and of the Shla (Rabbi Yeshayah Horowitz).
Commentary of Rabbenu Bahya (dec. circa 1340)
Rabbenu Bahya begins his commentary of each parasha with
a verse from Proverbs, Mishle.
He demonstrates that the verse from Proverbs
summarizes the content of each parasha. The essence of the
Torah is never to separate life from thought, for the Torah
represents life and the laws of the man and of the world.
We shall discover through this verse a new way of understanding
the Book of Proverbs.
The verse he uses for Noah is verse 20, 7:
mithalekh betumo tzaddik, ashere vanav aharav - "The
just man walketh in his integrity: his children are blessed
Man is not a just man, a tzaddik, until he
walks in the path of life that is directed towards Hashem.
The concept: mithalekh betumo ( man walks
in his integrity)
This means dutifully carrying out the mitzvot, with love
and fear, without pride, without boasting or seeking honors
and recognition. He who does not do this is a sinner.
The attribute of a tzaddik (his midda) is therefore to carry
out the mitzvot completely; this means that he should not
glorify himself in his eyes or in the eyes of others. This
is what is written in the preceding verse of Proverbs (20,
6): rav-adam yikra ish hasedo veish emunim mi yimtza - "Most
men will proclaim everyone his own goodness: but a faithful
man who can find?"
Therefore what this parasha, and Judaism,
demands of man is:
to follow not only a moral path,
to carry out not only all the mitzvot of the Torah,
but to achieve the level of tzaddik and "hide one's
Therefore to be a just man, a tzaddik, involves
three levels of growth:
1st level, hithalkhut:
This is to be someone who wants to follow God's way (mithalekh),
which means first to shun violence (hamas) and in particular
that of one's generation, as did Noah.
We can summarize this in four points:
One) be aware of the violence of our generation,
Two) examine if we are not part of it,
Three) follow the precepts of Hashem,
Four) walk in his path.
2nd level: begin to be a tzaddik
It is the wise, intelligent person who acts, a hakham lev,
not someone who only thinks or someone who talks first (so
many theories and debates have tried to remake the world
and have had no effect except to do away with two things:
the small deed and the art of being silent and avoiding
slander. Our Sages call the man who falls into this trap,
which includes all of us all the time, an evil, a pratting
fool (read Proverbs 10, 8).
3rd level: temimut
This signifies the level of accomplishment, the state of
a tzaddik bitemimut;
" this is a man who acts with love and fear of God;
and for this reason he conceals his good deeds.
" this is a man who tries to reach the most perfect
level in all of his actions; in this way he links himself
to temima, to that which is whole and complete and which
characterizes Hashem and the Torah. Read Psalm 119, 1 and
Psalm 15 which describes the tasks that need to be accomplished.
When these levels are reached, then a good
" will bear many fruits,
" will serve as a good example for children who will
learn it and follow in its path: read Proverbs 14, 26.
The role of the tzaddik in his generation
The concept of the tzaddik refers to his own
generation, since his role is to restrain the violence of
his generation. This also limits the figure of the tzaddik:
this is why the commentaries on the words "in his generation"
note that Noah would perhaps not have been a tzaddik in
the generations of Abraham or of Moshe. But it is already
an achievement if one succeeds in not succumbing to the
faults of one's environment!
In the same vein, our Sages draw another conclusion: "he
who masters a particular subject (for instance astronomy
at that time would correspond to physics, mathematics or
computer science today) but does not use it for a good purpose,
Hashem says of him: 'but they regard not the work of the
Lord, neither consider the operation of his hands' (Isaiah
5, 12). This means that the tzaddik must use all the resources
which the Creator gave him to do good. This is the teaching
of Rabbi Shimon ben Pazi in Tractate Shabbat 75 a, which
I cite in my paper on suicide and the Jewish tradition in
order to show how important it is for us to use our professional
knowledge in order to help those who suffer and that ethical
conduct alone is insufficient.
The tzaddik and the Jew
1. Jewish tradition offers a program for the
reconstruction of the world which is based on man bettering
2. This program of self development, which consists in tikkun
of middot (repairing personal qualities), involves a number
of progressive stages.
3. This program must aim at attaining its end and completely
involving the Jew; it is for this reason that our Sages
say that a tzaddik who is not complete is a bad tzaddik
(Berakhot 7 a).
Because of the urgency and the need to repair
a world which is destroying itself, the Creator chose a
small deed and a small people - the Jewish people, and gave
them a set of laws: the Torah. Those who, in the name of
freedom of thought, do not accept this account of the Jewish
people, cannot understand the eternal and important role
that Jews play, despite their small number, at every level
and in every type of society. Our enemies are correct when
they say "they [the Jews] are everywhere."
Whether a Jew feels he is "religious"
or not is of no consequence: he cannot avoid this universal
task of improving the world, which he can carry out and
apply to the most diverse areas of human activity. This
is a historical and anthropological characteristic and the
Jewish people have played this role for thousands of years,
while the majority of other nations have disappeared in
terms of defined peoples.
Tradition says that there is always a minimum
of 36 just people who save the world during the most dangerous
times: "36 within the Jewish people, and 36 outside
the Jewish people." Every knowledgeable person will
understand that this refers to the expanded name for God
which has 72 letters. This is the aim of creation which
must renew itself in order to succeed, as is written in
the last chapter of the book of Isaiah.
Furthermore, our Sages say that the Creator
waxes angry when the tzaddikim do not play a strong enough
role according to the needs of their generation (Shabbat
30 b).Without them, the world would be at the mercy of the
reshaim, the evil ones who fear no one, and who, even at
the gates of hell, do not change their conduct and are capable
of using every tool, including religion, to do evil (Eruvin
The role of the Jew or the just man or tzaddik
is so important that it can prevent the destruction of the
world: it is as though the world can be re-created through
him (Yoma 38 b). Our texts compare this role to the resurrection
(Pessahim 68 a). Even the memory of a tzaddik is a source
of benediction, as is said when one talks about a former
Sage: zekher tzaddik livrakha (Proverbs 10, 7; Yoma 37 a),
"the memory of a tzaddik is a benediction."
This is so important for the Hakadosh barukh hu, and for
the existence of the world, that when a tzaddik dies, another
one is born at that same moment (Yoma 38 b). This is a phenomenon
that has been seen time and again among the descendants
of those who love Torah.
This role of the tzaddik to "do"
good (as is indicated in the grammatical form of the expression:
"to do tzedek" ), and the involvement of Jews
in this task, have led to the emergence of a major facet
of Jewish life: the great Sages who possess perfect knowledge,
who have fully developed their personal potential through
the holiness of their middot, and who are dedicated to teaching
their disciples to follow in their path. We call these just
men Rabbenu, Gaon, HaKaddosh, Rabbi, the Tzaddik. These
Sages are rare men and they are a light for their generations
and for all generations. They contribute in this way to
the universal messianic mission, as is said of King David
that he was Mashiah. This does not imply the concept of
the Mashiah as someone who will arrive at a certain time
to lead the Jewish people. Judaism does not deal, or should
not according to our texts, with the question of who or
who is not the Mashiah; only results can prove this.
No one can claim this grand collective role,
which entails immense struggles against evil and between
the demands of divine justice (tzedek) and goodness (tzedaka),
without risk to himself and to others. As is written in
Zohar II 190b: when the Supreme will falls on the tzaddik,
it is to demonstrate the love of Hakadosh barukh Hu for
the tzaddik and everything that surrounds him.
As we noted from the very beginning, modesty
and humility are essential, and when we accept that we are
nothing, we see that we are all equal and that what we have
derives only from the goodness of God and from Torah.
The role of the tzaddik always entails tzadaka.
Note on the concept of tikkun
The concept of tikkun has now entered the
everyday vocabulary of religious Jews and needs to be explained
in all its facets:
1. This is the reparation of a failing or fault in the makeup
of an object, person or situation.
2. This is a method of reparation which was formulated by
our Sages and which consists in texts which one must study
and prayers one must say on specific dates and times, or
in specific situations, after having carried out acts of
purification (for example, those of mikve, tzedaka, vidui,
ritual bath, charity, avowal of sins, etc.). Thus we have
the tikkunei hatzot which are said at midnight.
3. A special tikkun, also based on the Sages, are the texts
we read at night on certain festivals, such as the tikkunei
Shevuot, or the tikkunei of the night of Hoshana Rabba.
4. The tikkun neshama belongs to a higher level of reparation.
It involves not just repairing one's behavior and attitudes,
but the very nature of one's soul, for certain things could
have happened, perhaps in past lives or in the purification
process after death, which necessitate praying for the soul.
The greatest Jewish mystics speak of this level but few
are able to live at this level of purity, or even claim
to understand them. Only exceptional Sages, who have been
recognized as the great tzaddikim of their generation, can
talk or give advice at this level; anyone else who does
so is a charlatan. Judaism, which has thousands of years
of knowledge of human nature, warns against venturing into
these domains. The sons of Aharon (Aaron) perished this
way. King David believed he could easily venture into these
paths but he encountered the greatest of difficulties. And
we are nothing in comparison. Stories abound in Hassidic
and folk literature about experiences with the "dibbuk."
5. We also speak of tikkunei Shabbat (in the plural) which
consists in the practice of reading a collection of poems
and Psalms which describe the beauty of Shabbat and which
were put together by kabbalists, especially the Ari zal.
6. The tikkunei Klali, of Rabbi Nahman of Breslaw, help
to purify the mind and the body.
7. We also speak of tikkunei ha lashon in cases when an
extra letter appears in a word, producing anomalies. Refer
to Rashi's analysis of this phenomenon in his commentary
on Bereshit 49,22, Shemot 18, 8, Bemidbar 11,16, Isaiah
9, 6 and Job 32, 3. These anomalies have great significance,
for they often transmit the secrets of the Torah, or their
aim is to avoid an interpretation which would harm the Torah.
They are also called tikkunei sofrim.
8. There is also the tikkunei korim, which are books that
set out clarifications in order to avoid misinterpretation
of the Torah.
9. Last but not least, the Tikkunei Hazohar which is one
of the books of the Zohar whose 70 chapters comment solely
on the first word of the Torah, describing the many links
that exist between the verses and letters of the Torah at
the highest level of understanding. This book is written
in Arameic. It is the basis of most of kabbala commentaries.
10. A popular concept is the tikkunei haolam which involves
a reparation of the world at every level, particularly the
societal organization, and is usually a ruling of decision
of a Sage which has been recognized by an entire generation
and which changes certain customs for the good of the community.
The concept refers therefore to things that increase harmony
in the world.
11. Finally, all the above represent the most authentic
form of Judaism, which holds that the Jewish people are
engaged in the "tikkun" (reparation) of a world
in which positive and negative forces confront each other.
The reparation was begun at the individual level, with the
patriarchs, and was then pursued at the level of the family,
then of the nation. There were times when this process faltered,
as during the destruction of the Temple. But there is also
the certainty that the process of reparation will not fail
and that ultimately it will lead to the fulfillment of the
divine plan. We find here too the concepts of teshuva (return)
and of Mashiah (messiah) which is very complex and is analyzed
in detail at the end of Tractate Sanhedrin, and by the Rambam.
There have always been people who exploit these concepts
and hopes and fool honest individuals who do not have the
knowledge to discern true from false: this is what leads
to false messiahs. The process of tikkun is authentically
Jewish, but it is difficult to mobilize and to discern.
It is however one of the bases of Jewish emuna (faith and
trust) and this is the reason why the Rambam includes it
in his fundamental principles, ha ikarim.
Read attentively, in context, the verses cited above,
and Rashi on Shmot 23, 8; Devarim 4, 5, 16, 19.
Review the parasha and form your own conclusions:
Exchange ideas with family, friends, colleagues on:
+ paths of life,
+ moral choices,
+ differentiation from the masses, particularly with reference
to opposition to violence and support of victims,
+ greater sensitivity to suffering,
+ greater commitment to self-development rather than to
2nd Level: for advanced students only
Bereshit, explained by the Shla
2. Rashi's commentary
3. Problems posed by Rashi's commentary
4. Implications of this debate
5. Women's greatness as perceived by the Shla
In his book Shnei Luhot Habrit (Two Tables
of the Covenant, Rabbenu Yeshaya ben Avraham Hallevi Horowitz
(1560-1630), known as the Shla Hakadosh, devotes his entire
commentary on Noah to the commandment "be fruitful
and multiply" (peru urvu).
A preliminary discussion can be found in Tractate
The Mishna notes that only man has the obligation to carry
out this commandment because it is linked to the act of
conquering the land: peru urvu u mileu et-haaretz vehibeshuha;
"be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth "
(Bereshit 1, 28 and Noah 9, 1), a task which was given to
man when he conquered the land.
Ribbi Yohanan ben Broka, however, maintains that since the
text of the commandment (Bereshit 1, 28) is preceded by
Vayevarekh otam Elokim vayomer, "And Elokim blessed
them, and Elokim said unto them" [male and female],
this indicates that the commandment is an obligation for
both men and women.
All agree that the expression is both a blessing and a commandment
(mitzva).The essence of a blessing is to enable human beings
Tractate Sanhedrin 59 notes that this commandment was accepted
by men and women when the Torah was given to them, for it
is followed by: shuvu lahem leaholehem, "get you into
your tents again" (Deuteronomy 5, 27), which means
"towards your wives and conjugal intimacy and procreate."
Everyone therefore considers it to be a mitzva (commandment).
2. Rashi's commentary
Rashi's commentary on Noah 9, 7 "And
you, be fruitful and multiply, bring forth abundantly in
the earth and multiply therein" covers several levels:
lefi feshuto (according to the literal meaning),
harishona liveraha (at first he interprets it as a blessing:
as in Bereshit 1, 28 and here in 9, 1 of Noah), vehane letzivuye
(here he interprets it as a commandment: as of verse 9,
ulefi midrasho (according to the midrash) lehakish mi sheeno
osek biferia urevia leshofeh damim (link a murderer who
sheds blood to he who does not carry out and keep the mitzva
of "fructify and multiply.")
Rashi elucidates the debate thus:
clarify if it is a blessing or a commandment;
he then adds a second instruction, demonstrating the link
between abstinence from the commandment and murder, through
a process of demonstration called ekesh, whereby the secondary
meaning is found in the alliance and juxtaposition of two
apparently independent subjects (Note Rashi's use of lehakish).
The midrash referred to by Rashi is Yevamot
63 b where Ribbi Eliezer explains the link between murder
and non-realization of the commandment of procreation: this
is demonstrated first in verse 9, 6 of Noah shofeh dam haadam
baadam damo yishafeh, "whoso sheddeth man's blood by
man shall his blood be shed" and then (ekesh) in verse
9, 7: "and you, be fruitful and multiply."
3. Problems posed by Rashi's commentary
The Mizrahi, a great commentator of Rashi, interprets Rashi's
comments as representing an evolution within the text: what
was first a blessing becomes later a commandment (9, 7)
and there is no longer any association with the blessing.
The Ramban notes that Rashi cites Ribbi Eliezer as a reflective
midrash, as a proposition, not as a law of halakha.
The Shla, in keeping with his great gift of pedagogy which
allowed him to teach at the simplest and most complex levels,
put order in the texts and the commentaries.
He summarizes everything and sees no contradiction
between the Sages since they are all in agreement, except
that each one stresses a different part of the commandment:
from the time of Adam, what God said included both benedictions
In Noah, there is not just a repetition but an instruction
that he who does not procreate sheds blood and is a murderer;
Ribbi Yehuda made a further contribution: this type of sin
has to be punished and a warning is therefore given;
Tractate Sanhedrin stresses the commandment, but does not
reject the blessing: it simply demosntrates that in 9, 7
the commandment is made more explicit, to the point of entailing
All of this serves to show exactly what is
entailed in the Jewish method of study; it is not enough
to say that "we received the revelation" and thereby
draw facile conclusions: it is necessary to understand both
the written and oral text. This type of analysis requires
an in-depth knowledge of Hebrew and the text's structure,
otherwise one can draw any interpretation and invent endless
theories and religions according to the intellectual climate
of the times - whether of Rome, Greece, the desert, philosophy,
myths, or the latest modern culture. This is what history
is made of; but the Jewish people continue to be faithful
to their law and to their rigorous form of study. By returning
to the Hebrew source one can always succeed in refuting
wild interpretations and uphold the strict teachings of
the Sages (rather than finding partial codes that prove
4. Important implications of this debate
One question remains: why was this commandment
said both to Adam and to Noah?
It would be too difficult to deal here with all the complex
ideas entailed in the answer, so I will give a partial answer.
In Yevamot 63, Ribbi Yaakov states that he
who does not procreate harms the image of God, his dmut;
we know that man was created in the image of God in two
aspects, "in his image and in his likeness:" naase
adam betzalmenu kidemutenu, "Let us make man in our
image, after our likeness" (Bereshit 1, 26). The Shla
says that the tzelem refers to the holiness of the soul
and the dmut refers to the holiness of the body.
The murderer who kills these two levels harms
the image of God in man (whether he kills a head of state,
a stranger or his enemies).
This is similar to the sin of Adam, which led to the first
murders in history, to the delusions of grandeur in the
generation of the flood, the conflicts and confusion of
the generations of exile; processes which continue to be
actualized in the follies of modern nations.
A certain type of man was needed in order
to arrest this process. Judaism calls this type of man a
tzaddik. Noah was a tzaddik. The concept of a tzaddik entails
not only morality of the soul, but also morality of the
body (as we have just noted) and is characterized by the
act of circumcision (the covenant symbolized by the circumcision)
which is totally adhered to. At the human and spiritual
levels, both Adam and Noah were born circumcised.
This process of moral improvement would be
adhered to from generation to generation till the Mashiah,
as can be seen in the word toledot in Bereshit 2, 4 and
in verse 4, 12 of the book of Ruth where the greatness and
completeness of man is stressed by a double vav in the word
toledot instead of one vav.
But when the human race enters the ark, in
a state of precariousness and imperfection, the word toledot
only has one vav.
Murder cannot be carried out on the tzelem
(ki betselem Elokim asa et haadam 9, 7) because our soul
retains its divine nature, but it can be carried out on
the body which is the other dimension of man made in the
image of God, the dmut and at this level murder and non-procreation
are the same.
Noah succeeded in separating himself from
the degradation around him and "walked with God"
(6, 1) as in the garden of Eden and as Abraham would do
later (24, 40). It was the beginning of what would become
the Jewish people, and of the holy covenant that was made
through the flesh. (Religions which adopted strands of Judaism,
such as Christianity did not retain the ritual of circumcision
because they did not understand the moral role it played
amidst the surrounding degradation; they claimed that the
world and man had been saved, and they abandoned the tools
that enable salvation. The consequences are well known.)
It is for this specific reason (the isolation
of Noah in the Ark or the isolation of the Jewish people),
that the commandment to procreate, linked to this covenant,
is not included in the 7 moral laws imposed on all humanity
and which characterize the stage of bnei Noah.
This confirms (together with the commentary
on Bereshit) the importance attributed to procreation by
Judaism and Jewish families who devote themselves to Torah
5. Women's great nature and role, as perceived
by the Shla
Let us end, this 1,000th commentary on Noah,
with the Shla's comment on verse 31, 30 of Proverbs. This
verse forms part of Eshet hayil, the poem sung every Friday
night: sheker hahen vehevel hayofi, isha yirat Hashem hi
tithallal: "Favor is deceitful and beauty is vain but
a woman that feareth Hashem, she shall be praised."
Midrash Yalkut Shimeon shows that the proverbs
of King Solomon are not adages of popular wisdom but keys
to the interpretation of the Torah:
--- sheker hahen (favor is deceitful) refers to Noah whose
name has the same letters as hen and who failed to live
in a state of paradise, as seen in the wine incident:
--- hevel hayofi (beauty is vain) refers to the beauty of
Adam who, through his sin and fall, failed to keep his promises;
--- and finally isha yirat Hashem hi tithallal (a woman
that feareth Hashem, she shall be praised) refers to Moshe,
who feared God and was praised and who did not disappoint,
but upheld the ideal image of humanity till the end of his
life. Moshe is also called by the feminine form of the personal
pronoun "you" in Devarim 5, 24 when he tries to
persuade his people to love Hashem, as in Rashi's commentary
on this verse.
That the greatness of man is expressed through
the word isha (woman) - illustrates how eminent a role women
have in Judaism: those who hold opposite views on this subject
do not know the texts fully and do not understand how Jewish
couples adhere to the texts in their daily life.
Only women were created according to His ratzon
- the supreme name of God. Man may say in his morning prayers
that he "thanks God for not having made him a woman"
but a woman "gives thanks for having been made according
to His ratzon" since one should give thanks both in
bad and in good times. One can add that man gives thanks
for the joy of discovering that his complement is a being
who is worthy of great praise because she belongs to so
high a level. Women, aware of their greatness and beauty,
give thanks in truth and modesty, "for having been
made according to His ratzon."
Read attentively and in context the verses quoted above,
Tractate Yevamot, 60 and after.
Sefer hammitzvot 212
Mishne Torah: Nashim, Ishut, 15, 1-2
Shulhan Arukh: beginning of Even haezer.
Reminder. There are "only" three
mitzvot in the entire book of Genesis:
Parasha Bereshit: be fruitful and multiply (1, 28)
Parasha Lekh Lekha: the circumcision (17, 10)
Parasha Vayishlakh: the prohibition against eating the hollow
of the thigh.
These form the basis of all the other mitzvot.