Questioning faith in the parsha
Koshi: How do we understand the first commandment/blessing: PRU u’RVU? What does it teach us about the first couple — every couple — the Creator?
REMEZ…Dialogue of the Centuries—Reclaiming Culture/Connection
V.22 God blessed them saying: Pru Ur’vu—Be fertile and increase, fill the waters in the seas, and let the birds increase on earth.
RASHI… “Pru”—this is related to fruit; that is to say, “produce fruits!” “Urvu”—multiply allowed for the possibility that one can beget many…
IBN EZRA… “Pru Urvu”—Not an imperative here. The power was not their own, but rather a Divine blessing: “You shall be fruitful & multiply.”
RADAK…The meaning, then, of the blessing is: ‘I have endowed you with the capability of proliferation, and the blessing that you may multiply exceedingly.’
HIRSCH… “Pru” is the production of progeny. “R’vu” is the care of the young on which this proliferation depends.
V.2 God blessed them and God said to them: “Pru Ur’vu—Be fertile and increase, fill the earth and master it; and rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and all the living things that creep on earth.”
RASHI… “Pru uR’vu”—That is, a Divine blessing, not a commandment.
SEFER HaCHINUCH…In Breishit there is one positive commandment: propagation, as it is written, “be fruitful and multiply.” In accordance with the Divine wish, the world is to be inhabited…This is a great mitzvah upon which all the mitzvoth rest, for it was given to man and not the angels…
ABRAVANEL… “And He blessed them”—This implies that God endowed them with an all-encompassing blessing. After that, “God said to them”—An imperative, “Be fruitful!” As if to say, though I created you in My Image, do not be so engrossed in the spirit and intellect that you neglect the physical and so destroy My world.