Let Us Make Man
By Rabbi Daniel Travis
The Almighty said, "Let us make adam (man) in our image and our likeness."
Why did God say, "Let us make man"? To whom did He make this statement, and
why? In His infinite humility, God consulted His Heavenly Court before
creating man.1 What advice could they possibly have offered to God?
The attribute of Kindness voted that God should create man, because man
would perform acts of kindness. The attribute of Charity concurred that man
should be created, because he would give charity. The attributes of Truth
and Peace, however, advised God not to create man, for he would ultimately
misuse his faculty of speech by lying and arguing.2 Since the "vote"
resulted in a tie, why did God decide to create man? God grabbed Truth and
hurled it to the earth, as the verse states, "And He shall cast truth to
the ground."3 This left the majority in favor of creating man.
Could God have eliminated the vote of Peace, leaving a majority ruling
against Truth, in favor of man's creation? Even if He had eliminated the
vote of Peace, the vote of Truth bears such powerful influence that it still
would have overruled the combined votes of Kindness and Charity. Even had
the entire Heavenly Court voted against Truth, Truth would outweigh all
other votes. For if the world lacked Truth, every attribute would be based
on falsehood and would have no genuine value.4
Truth is not only great in its own right; it heralds kindness as well:
"Kindness and truth have met together," declared King Dovid.5 God usually
responds to man measure for measure. However, when the Jewish People speak
truth, God reciprocates with Kindness6 even though kindness and truth are
generally opposing characteristics. In order to bestow kindness, God must
disregard the not-so-pleasant truth about our actions.
Why is kindness an appropriate reward for truth? God's sole intention in
creation was to bestow kindness upon His creation,7 but a precondition for
this is the world's continuity according to the guidelines He set up. Since
truth is one of the three principal foundations which the world rests upon,
a person who maintains an absolute commitment to speaking the truth is
paving the way for God to bestow His kindness upon man. He is thus rewarded
with abundant kindness.8
1. Rashi on Bereshith 1:26.
2. Bereshith Rabbah 8:5.
3. Daniel 8:12.
4. The Kotzker Rebbe-Ohel Torah page 16.
5. Tehillim 85:11.
6. Metzudath Dovid on Tehillim 85:11.
7. See introductory chapters of Da'ath Tevunoth of the Ramchal.
8. Pirke Avoth 1:18.
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