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PIRKEI AVOT 3:14 – IN BALANCE

בס”ד

Pirkei Avot 3:14

הוּא הָיָה אוֹמֵר, חָבִיב אָדָם שֶׁנִּבְרָא בְצֶלֶם. חִבָּה יְתֵרָה נוֹדַעַת לוֹ שֶׁנִּבְרָא בְצֶלֶם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (בראשית ט) כִּי בְּצֶלֶם אֱלֹהִים עָשָׂה אֶת הָאָדָם

חֲבִיבִין יִשְׂרָאֵל שֶׁנִּקְרְאוּ בָנִים לַמָּקוֹם. חִבָּה יְתֵרָה נוֹדַעַת לָהֶם שֶׁנִּקְרְאוּ בָנִים לַמָּקוֹם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים יד) בָּנִים אַתֶּם לַה’ אֱלֹהֵיכֶם. חֲבִיבִין יִשְׂרָאֵל שֶׁנִּתַּן לָהֶם כְּלִי חֶמְדָּה. חִבָּה יְתֵרָה נוֹדַעַת לָהֶם שֶׁנִּתַּן לָהֶם כְּלִי חֶמְדָּה שֶׁבּוֹ נִבְרָא הָעוֹלָם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (משלי ד) כִּי לֶקַח טוֹב נָתַתִּי לָכֶם, תּוֹרָתִי אַל תַּעֲזֹבוּ:

He used to say: Beloved is man for he was created in the image [of G-d]. Especially beloved is he for it was made known to him that he had been created in the image [of G-d], as it is said: “for in the image of G-d He made man” (Genesis 9:6).

Beloved are Israel in that they were called children to the All-Present. Especially beloved are they for it was made known to them that they are called children of the All-Present, as it is said: “you are children to the L-rd your G-d” (Deuteronomy 14:1). Beloved are Israel in that a precious vessel was given to them. Especially beloved are they for it was made known to them that the desirable instrument, with which the world had been created, was given to them, as it is said: “for I give you good instruction; forsake not my teaching” (Proverbs 4:2).

G-d is non-corporeality,, He possesses no bodily functions and no representation of Him is possible.[1] So, what does it mean to be formed in the image of G-d? It signifies that we were created as a reflection of our Creator’s characteristics, such as kindness and harshness, as well as the ability to speak/create and free choice.

Adam’s transgression caused an imbalance in man’s attributes. He may exhibit too much or too little kindness, too much or too little severity, and so on.

It is a blessing that G-d reminds us that we are made in His image and that we can establish more balance in our traits with His guidance. We have our entire lives to work on this concretely and actively, but it is especially important during the Jewish month of Elul to take a more active stand on this.

It is advisable to begin working on this feature with clear measures. A pdf with a step-by-step plan is given below this blog for this reason.

G-d has blessed Israel and revealed to them that they are a specific tool in His hands through which the world was formed. For it is via His Torah that He has taught the world how to enter into a connection with G-d and how man might best strengthen his traits in order to best radiate His image in the world.

By Angelique Sijbolts

Sources:

[1] See also the blog: The Hand of G-d?

Texts: Sefaria.org

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