Well, I think what you find in 1S 2.29 (תְּכַבֵּ֤ד אֶת־בָּנֶ֙יךָ֙ מִמֶּ֔נִּי לְהַבְרִֽיאֲכֶ֗ם מֵרֵאשִׁ֛ית כָּל־מִנְחַ֥ת יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל לְעַמִּֽי honor your sons above me, to fatten yourselves with the best of all the offerings of Israel my people) is another root in the Hiph'il, usually written ברה, as in 2S 3.35, and the divine creation expressed by ברא is only used in Qal and Niph'al (Hiph'il would mean to make God create something). You wouldn't say that ברא would also mean to cut down trees, wouldn't you (Jos 17.15 כִּֽי־יַ֣עַר ה֔וּא וּבֵ֣רֵאת֔וֹ for though it is a forest, you shall cut it down)?
This looks to be one of those distinctions people have been trying to parse Biblically for centuries, but I’m curious how those discussions have affected present-day usage. Are the two (and other) terms used interchangeably nowadays? Is one deprecated, or relegated to only certain contexts?
In the meantime, here’s some stuff I’ve found that could be relevant for studiers today: https://rabbibenherman.com/2015/10/10/three-types-of-creation/ - very short summary: ברא (bara) - creation that only God can do יצר (yatzar) - creation that anyone can do עשה (asah) - also creation anyone can do, but “whereas יצר (yatzar) is the formation, the utilizing of creative energy to establish a “blueprint,” עשה (asah) is actually bringing the form into a finished product.”
whereas http://alhatorah.org/Two_Accounts_of_Creation/2 says, in the section עשה/ברא versus יצר: “In Chapter 1, when Hashem created ex nihilo, the verbs "ברא" and "עשה" are used. The creations of Chapter 2, though, were formed from pre-existing matter, and therefore the more appropriate verb "יצר" is used.”
but then on this same page the author also remarks that not all commentators remarked on this distinction and that it could just be “standard literary variation in Torah.”
So, as usual, lots of opinions at odds! It’d be interesting to see how they’re reconciled in modern usage.
Well, it depends on, what you mean by producing. I would translate produce mainly by the Piel יִצֵּר, especially if you are speaking about manufacturing or industrial production. יָצַר I think includes some creative or mental skills or is a more individual bringing about. Of course there are other usages of produce too, e.g. הֵפִיק סֶ֫רֶט he produced a movie.