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Parshas Bereishis

The Anthropologicalization of Adam

Have you ever been inspired to build something? Just wait, your time shall come! It starts with a desired outcome and the imagined steps necessary to go from scratch to finish. The courageous (or foolish) among us start the project and then discover the vexing problems of construction. The wisdom of asking others far more experienced for help, or the savings in time and money when hiring professionals, eludes us until we realize that we have been standing crooked so that the bookcase looks straight.

Then there are the kit-purchasers. They are the inspired assemblers and instruction readers of the self-help do-it-yourself public. Converging on Home Depot in their 4 door imported sedans, they discover that most cars are too small for transporting anything longer than four six foot 2x4's (and only if you lay them diagonally extending out from the front passengers window out the rear passengers drivers side window.) They discover that transporting the kit alone requires a delivery charge, a six- week wait, or a pickup truck.

The hardy and determined among them will rent or purchase the weekender pickup truck and then wonder how they are going to get the boxed do-it- yourself bookcase kit into the back of the pickup without scratching the highly polished and factory perfect truck bed.

The truly experienced and smart do-it-yourselfers drive expensive SUVS and know that the most they can and should do is pickup the phone and call a professional to transport and assemble the bookcase. They are the ones who seem to have all that time on Sunday afternoon to do other things.

Assuming that the determination to build is great enough to compel the otherwise sane into doing the insane there is still the dreaded fear of; the left over piece that doesn't seem to go anywhere?

Following the expletive explosion referencing the intelligence of the manufacturer, one of three things might occur.

A) A phone call to the self- help 800 number that does not answer on weekends.

B)Disassemble the product, repack it, and the she doesn't like the way it looks, next pick it out herself return to Home Depot.

C) Stuff the extra piece in the sock drawer and by Pesach time it will become, Does anyone have any idea what the heck this piece of plastic is anyway, and who put it in my drawer?

All kidding aside, we learn from experience the beauty and functionality of everything fitting into its proper place and the frustration and disruption when things are not integrated and do not fit. Imagine the utter divine brilliance beyond description and comprehension that was and is the creation of the universe. Not only is it fundamental to the realization of the Creator, it simply boggles the mind and excites our fascination!

At the end of the description of each day of creation, G-d stated, "And G- d saw that it was good." The meaning of good" is wholeness and unity. Each day G-d reviewed His creation and gave it His stamp of approval. However, at the end of the sixth day of creation the Torah states, "G-d saw the whole of what He had created and lo! it was very good!

Rav Shimshon Raphael Hirsch explained,

He beheld the totality of what He had created; He beheld the totality of His creations; He saw all of His creations in harmony with one another, all centering upon the same pivotal point? He saw the completeness, the harmony that united everything H created. He considered each individual creation in relation to the whole and lo! It was good. (1:31)

On the first verse in the Torah Rav Hirsch explains that the ability to take varied components and make of them an integrated whole is inherent to the divinity of G-d. "Elokim" the root of this word "Ayleh" [ demonstrative pronoun "Ayleh- these, a pronoun that denotes multiplicity of things joined together into one unity. Thus, while "Ayleh" general points to the visible multiplicity of objects in Creation, "Aylo-ah" the term denoting G-d, may be interpreted as describing that One Being by Whose might and will all this multiplicity is gathered into one single whole: it is through their relationship to Him that all the elements in the universe become one single entity, in short, one world. Hence "Aylo-ah" in fact denotes the On Ruler, Lawgiver and Judge over all the world in His attribute of justice (quality of Supreme Judge). (1:1)

The creation of Adam the first human creature is recorded in dialogue between G-d and His celestial court. (1:26-27) Let Us make an Adam in a form worthy of Us, in keeping with Our image? And G-d created Adam worthy of Himself; in a form worthy of G-d did He create them commanded the human to be fruitful and multiply and subdue the earth.

In the second chapter the Torah relates a more detailed description of Adam's creation and his division into the two inherent components of male and female. However, the actual division of Adam into Adam and Chava demands further study and explanation.

(2:18-23) It is not good that Adam should be alone; I help meet G-d herded together all the animals and birds? and Adam to see what he would call them, and everything that Adam called it, that was its name Adam gave names but he found no helper fittin caused unconsciousness to fall upon Adam He took one of his sides the side that He had taken into a woman?

What did Hashem mean by? It is not good that Adam should.

Why did Hashem first have Adam name all the animals and birds before dividing Adam into male and female?

In the entire story of Gan Eden the Torah refers to Chava as Woman. Only after the sin of eating from the Tree of Good and Evil did Adam give her the name Chava. Why?

It was never intended for the Adam creature to remain bi-sexual and hermaphroditic. It is not good that Adam should be alone G-d's intention was to create a world of free willed humans who would engage each other in acts of Chesed (kindness), paramount of which would be sharing with each other their growing awareness and knowledge of G-ds manifest greatness and purpose. However, before creating the first human family and society, G-d wanted the Adam creature to recognize and embrace his uniqueness. It was imperative that the human accept that he alone among all the creations of G-d was endowed with free will and formed in a likeness and form worthy of G-d. Therefore, G-d first exposed Adam to all His other creations and allowed Adam to recognize the unique qualities of each creation while realizing that it still did not approximate his own uniqueness - that of being human.

A while ago I had the pleasure of spending Shabbos with my Father Shlit'a. In his Drasha (sermon) on Shabbos morning he explained the episode of Adam naming of the animals. The naming of the animals was far more than Adam recognizing the uniqueness of the human being. Adam's analysis of the animal world allowed for Adam to recognize the spectrum of qualities that G-d created in His universe.

Throughout the Talmud and Medresh the Rabbis (Chazal) used animals to describe human characteristics.(Avos 5:23) Be bold as a leopard, light as an eagle, swift as a deer, and strong as a lion to carry out the will of your Father in Heaven. The anthropologicalization of animals is far more than shades of Aesops Fables. It was intended that we study G-d's world and extract the individual qualities of the Creator. It is true that a leopard is bold, the eagle light, the deer swift, and the lion strong; however, Chazal were not interested in teaching us biology for the sake of science. Chazal were showing us that G-d created living examples of qualities that He wishes us to find in ourselves and develop in service to Him. The ant is diligent, the cat is clean, the dog is devoted, and the ape is devoted to its offspring. They are qualities that G-d coded into the nature and instincts of those animals so that we could study them and better understand how to develop and integrate them in ourselves and in our service to G-d.

Adam was shown all the animals and birds and allowed to see the uniqueness of each. He understood their uniqueness and named them accordingly. However, he also realized that each of those characteristics were already inherent within himself. In the entire animal kingdom he could not find a mate that complimented the composite nature of his own abilities. He was able to find them individually in measures worthy of study, respect, and emulation. However, there was no other free willed creature in G-d's world that contained all the characteristics that he had.

Adam realized his own uniqueness in the complexity, integration, and potential wholeness of his divine character. Like Elokim, he too represented a harmony of qualities all centering upon the pivotal point of free willed service to G-d. Adam recognized the potential completeness and harmony that could unite everything he was in service to G-d. No other such creature existed and Adam was ready to be divided into his two inherent components. Each component was slightly different in appearance and function, yet equal in quality and ability. It became their responsibility to work out the details of the partnership the division of labor and the focus of their energies.

At first, the other Adam creature was called Woman. As the story unfolded and Man and Woman sinned, they were forced to see themselves as less divine and more human. They were forced to accept that they would have to work through their weaknesses and failings and develop the strengths and qualities gifted to them by G-d. It forced them to more closely look at themselves and not assume anything as given or perfect. They were forced to confront the realities of life. It became clear to them that they were each a composite of qualities worthy of G-d. Therefore, Adam called Woman, Chava ? the Mother of A a ever lasting reminder that she was the only other creation worthy of joining with him in developing all existing qualities in service and devotion to G-d.

The same is true for every marriage between a man and a woman. Two very different creations of equal potential and ability that are as perfect as the effort they extend in developing themselves and supporting the development of the other. Assuming individual perfection as a given is the height of foolishness and a guarantee of failure to become the integrated whole that G-d intended each of us to be in joining our other half in emulating the wholeness of G-d Himself.

(For further discussion: The same formula is true for all of humanity. The perfection of our service to G-d and the mission of our creation is dependent on integrating all our wholes into a composite whole embracing all and thereby transcending all.)

Parsha Review

In the beginning G-d created separate and different creations. Each of these separate and different creations had its own assigned purpose in being created, and it is the universal responsibility of all creations to protect each others divinely ordained right to accomplish their individualized missions. If a creation hinders or interferes with another creation's purpose for being created, the interfering creation is opposing the established order of the Creator and His purpose in creating that specific creation.

The Creator provides all the necessary qualities and tools for each separate and different creation to exist and attain its reason for being created. Individual talents, rights, and ownership are the tools for accomplishing the Creator's purpose in creating separate and different creations. The need to protect these individual rights and qualities is as evident in the proper functioning of the complex ecosystem of our world as it is in the proper functioning of any human society. We must therefore conserve the natural resources of our world and cherish the right of all people to have what is theirs and be who they can be.

This mandate of "Intentionally Created Speciation" is a universal truth as stated throughout Parshas Bereshis. It began with the six days during which G-d created all things as separate and different, and concluded with the creation of man, woman, and Shabbos as the most different and the most glorious of all creation. It is our responsibility to embrace the reality of "Speciation" and acknowledge through our actions the Creator and His purpose for creation.


Text Copyright 2004 by Rabbi Aron Tendler and Torah.org

The author is the Rabbi of Shaarey Zedek Congregation, Valley Village, CA, and Assistant Principal of YULA.


 






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