Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
  LifeLine
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Bereisheis

by Rabbi Yaakov Menken

(1: 26) "And G-d said, let us make humanity in our own form and image, and let them rule over the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the animals and all the earth, and anything that crawls upon the land."

Perhaps it should not surprise us that this verse, which describes the creation of man, offers us so much to learn about ourselves - and it's all in Rashi (Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki, the first commentary most people study). Here, says Rashi, we see G-d's great modesty. "Because a person is in the image of the angels, and the angels were jealous of him, therefore He [G-d] consulted them." And later, "Even though they did not help with man's creation, and there is an opening here for heretics to rebel, still the Torah did not hold itself back from teaching us proper conduct and the trait of modesty - that the one who is greater should consult and ask permission of the lesser. Had it said 'I will make humanity,' we would not have learned that He spoke with His court... And the answer is nearby: 'and G-d created the human,' where it does not say 'and they created...'"

Obviously, the trait of modesty is so important, so crucial, that it is necessary for the Torah to teach it to us even when doing so leaves a clear opening for distortion of its message. And in telling us of G-d's humility at the very moment of our Creation, the Torah hints to us how much this trait affects our own development. As we see later - the humblest of men (Moses) is the one who merited to receive the Torah from G-d's mouth!

Then, says Rashi, "in our image" means "to understand and to discern." What is it that makes us G-dly? Our ability to look at things and reach beyond the physical. Koko the gorilla can tell objects apart, and tell you what it wants for dinner. But don't expect a discussion of philosophy. Another fundamental of Judaism -- it is our ability to reason and understand that is the very core of our spirituality.

But that comes with a warning: "And let them rule..." continues the verse. The word used, however, is "V'Yirdu" -- Rashi: "This language contains a meaning of rulership (Ridui) and a meaning of descent (Yerida). If he merits, he will rule over the animals, and if he does not merit, he will descend before them."

It is up to us: if we use our ability to reason and we seek out spirituality, then we hold ourselves high over the animals. But if we use our brains merely as tools for physical benefit - to seek out pleasures more efficiently than Koko ever could - then by using a spiritual gift for profane purposes, we show ourselves to be lower than those same animals.

The decision is ours.


Text Copyright © 1994 Rabbi Yaakov Menken and Project Genesis, Inc.

The author is the Director of Project Genesis.


 


ARTICLES ON MIKETZ AND CHANUKAH:

View Complete List

Yosef and Chanukah
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5757

A Little Oil Goes a Long Way
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5766

Analyzing The Imagery of A Familiar Chanukah Poem
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5765

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

The Sweetest Gift In Life: Peace of Mind
Rav Frand - 5768

Profit from Loss, Light from Darkness
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5762

Yosef Was Rushed From The Pit
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5764

ArtScroll

Yehuda, Yosef and Chanukah
Shlomo Katz - 5763

What A Pity!
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5760

Reading Between The Lines
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5759

Looking for a Chavrusah?

They Dance to God's Music
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5773

A Change of Heart
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5767

Some on Chariots, and Some on Horses
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5758

> In the nick of time
Shlomo Katz - 5770

Miketz - Preparing for the End
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5774

LIVE TODAY TO LIVE TOMORROW/Earning Our Slice of Eternity
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5774

'Mehadrin' - An Understanding of the Concept
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information