Thursday, 8 October 2009

Parshah B'reisheet - Na'aseh Adam

There are many interesting interpretations [and apologetics] for the meaning of the First Person Plural

While Notzrim allege a multi-faceted Divinity, [Heaven Forbid! L'havdil]

RSR Hirsch counters with the Royal We reading.

Rashi favours Hashem u'veit Dino - due to HIS Humility.

I have a simple read. I.E. Hashem partnered with all that had already been created. Thus Hashem created Adam as the SUM of all that went before, and contained components of every step of creation.

Adam is thus, part Light, water, earth, reptile, bird, beast etc. - as well as heavenly and angelic. HKBH is "quarterbacking" or exhorting the entire "team" of creatures to pull together to make Adam Harishon.

And so Na'aseh is addressed to All Creatures, heavenly and earthly to pitch into the process.



Rabbi Jason Rosenberg said...

I believe I first heard this view proposed by Rabbi Harold Kushner, who suggested that "we" addressed the animals. God was essentially saying that He was going to create something which was something like a God, and something like an animal (in our image). Kushner then goes on to say (channeling Heschel, although I have no idea if it was intentional) that implicit in this is a challenge - which side do we want to accentuate? If we want to be nothing more than hairless apes, then we've got that in us. If we want to be one step below the angels, we have that potential as well. The choice is ours!

Rabbi Ben Hecht said...

Interestingly, there is a medrash in Bereishit Rabbah that implies a similar thought -- that the "we" refers to God taking elements from the lower realms and elements from the higher realms in order to create Man so that if he acts properly, the higher elements will become dominant and he will live forever but if he sins, the lower elements will take over and he will die.

Rashi seems to be concerned with the use of the word Na'aseh, Let us make, but something that I now see from this brief discussion is the challenge in the word d'miteinu, our images, for which Rashi's answer would seem to be less applicable. These other thoughts would seem to better explain the use of this word.

Rabbi Ben Hecht

Rabbi R Wolpoe said...

I am saying the simple PESHAT of Naaseh is addressing CREATION in its totality, Animals alone is unsatisfactory for many reasons, including that animals have no reason!

Imagine an engineering firm that made cars, boats and planes. And then the Pentagon approached them, pull it all together and make ONE product containing the elements of everything you have ever engineered so far! It will ride on wheels, ply the waters, and fly high in the sky!

So too Adam was the sum, the Alpha and Omega of the creation process and everything else was a prelude. And it was this prelude, this everything else, that was the audience to "Na'aseh"

That includes Rashi's "beis Dino" AND Kushenr's animals, in fact it MUST have animal and angel in order to truly reflect man.

But it's also all the elements, all the collective creativity etc.
Everything had a share in the process.

Good Shabbos

Rabbi Ben Hecht said...

You may find the Ramban on this verse most on point.