Shabbat Breishit 5777–Shabbat Torah Study–In the Likeness of God…

And so we begin again. In synagogues and temples around the world Jews will read the allegorical stories of creation that populate the first chapters of the Torah—Breishit—Genesis.

Importantly, we read of the creation of humankind. We read that the first human was created “b’tzelem Elokim” –in the likeness of God. (Genesis 1:26-27). It is basic that the Torah is not telling us that we look like God or vice versa. Rather our commentators tell us that humans have certain godly characteristics, components and capabilities.

We read that God created the first human by blowing into Adam’s nostrils a Soul. (Genesis 2:7). The first human had part of God within.

We read that it is from the first human that all of humankind flowed.

Thus, the message of Breishit is that every human has Godliness within him or her and the infinite potential for goodness.

We do not read Breishit as a science text on creation. We read it for its deeper messages and meanings.

What do you think those godly characteristics, components and capabilities in each human are? How do you demonstrate your own godly traits? Are they easy for others to recognize?

We are to look at and for the goodness and godliness in each individual. That may not always be an easy task, but the message is that it exists for us to find. When we disrespect others, we disrespect God. When we have low self-esteem or lack confidence, we doubt the quality of the potential that God has given us. God created us to be God’s partners. What can each of us do to be good partners?

This Shabbat we learn with Rabbi Rachel Shere who will guide us through these early chapters and their messages. 9:45 a.m. in the Shiffman Chapel. Come as you are. Stay as long as you like.

Shabbat shalom!

Paul

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