Sunday, October 14, 2012


Creation of Man: Was it “Good”? (1:27)

The tree, the bird, and the insect all reach their potential on Day One. But Man still has to grow.


Creation of Man: Was it “Good”? (1:27)

Concerning the creation of all the species, the Torah writes, “And G-d saw that it was good.” However when G-d creates Man we do not find this expression. There is no ‘Ki Tov’ by the creation of Adam.

The insect gets a ‘Ki Tov’. The elephant gets a ‘Ki Tov’. Indeed, every creature gets one. But Man, formed in G-d’s own Image, the top of the pyramid, does not merit a ‘Ki Tov’!                                                           

The Sefer HaIkrim by Rav Yosef Albo discusses this matter. When an insect is created, it is possible to say, “It is good.”  So too, an apple tree.  Concerning every creation in the world it is possible to say these words and mean it. The reason why is that when an elephant is created it has reached perfection. We do not expect anything more from him: Similarly, with the apple tree. Thus everything as created is already “Good,” except for Man.

Regarding the fellow blessed with brains, soul and freedom of choice, it is not merely sufficient that he was created. That is merely the beginning. At that stage in his development he is far from perfect. So we wait. Sometimes, we wait a lifetime, before he reaches his full potential.                                                          

What a difference. The apple tree, the bird, and the insect all reach their potential on Day One. But Man’s achievements are still waiting to blossom. That is why we cannot say “Ki Tov;” hopefully after 120 years, but not on the day of his creation.                                                           

The Talmud says (Berachos 17a) that when the Rabbis used to take leave of each other, they gave themselves a blessing, “You should see your world in your lifetime” (Olamecha tireh b’chayecha). What do these words mean? What kind of blessing is this?                                              

 Olamecha-your world” comes from the root he’elem (that which is hidden). He’elem is the word for potential. Therefore our Sages of old wished themselves and each other that they should be able to see their own potential in their lifetime.                                                                      

A similar thought exists in connection to the curses delivered by G-d after the sin of the Tree of Knowledge. “The earth will be cursed because of you; with pain you will eat from it, all the days of your life.”  A careful reading of the text reveals that while the curse seems to be directed to man, that he would have to work hard for his sustenance, it is actually the earth that will be cursed.                                      

In fact, the earth received the worst curse of all. If it is difficult to wrench the fruits out from the land, then the earth cannot see its potential. Imagine possessing the potential but having it suppressed and inaccessible. That is an awesome curse. If this is true for the ground we walk upon, it is only more relevant for mankind as well.

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