The Making of Man

October 16, 2012 - 5:00 am

“Then God said, ‘Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground’.” — Genesis 1:26

The Torah portion for this week, B’reisheet, is from Genesis 1:1—6:8 and Isaiah 42:5—43:10.

Bible critics have a field day with the 26th verse of the first chapter in Genesis:  “Then God said, ‘Let us make mankind …’” Who is “us” ? Who is God speaking to? Can it be that there is more than one God?

The Ba’al Shem Tov, a Hassidic master in the 18th century, offers the following explanation:  Who is God speaking to when He creates man? God is speaking to man himself.

Imagine if you will, God turning to the soul of man and telling him about this great opportunity to take on a physical body and enter into a material world. Then, God continues, man will become something extraordinary — even greater than angels. He will become the first person of the human race.

Now, everyone knows that the first man’s name was Adam. But do you know how he got that name?

Adam has two meanings. The name can mean “earth,” like the Hebrew word adamah. Adam was made from earth. But it can also mean “similar,” like the Hebrew word adameh. Adam was intended to be similar to God. God and Adam had a joint mission — to take the material earth and turn it into something spiritual and God-like. God would start the process, but Adam would have to finish it. Together, they would create the amazing creature called “man.”

Human beings are created unfinished, so to speak. Together, with the help of God, we have the opportunity to become the greatest of God’s creations. Or, heaven forbid, we can turn ourselves into something that is lower than a bug. The choice is ours. God has given us a magnificent opportunity to have a part in the creation and direction of our lives. It’s up to us to create godly lives and become closer to Him.

Try this:  Design your ideal self. Every building needs a blueprint, and every person needs one too. What would a blueprint of your life look like for you?

Describe the person that you want to become. Then make an action plan. What kinds of things do you need to do in order to become your ideal self? What kinds of tools will help you reach your goal? Are there people who can help you? Advice you can seek?

Like any great masterpiece, we are works in progress that will take a lot of time to finish. But with patience and persistence we can accomplish a little more every single day.


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