Here's a great tip:
Enter your email address and we'll send you our weekly magazine by email with fresh, exciting and thoughtful content that will enrich your inbox and your life, week after week. And it's free.
Printed from

Are we animals?

Thursday, 12 August, 2010 - 12:00 pm

Hu man (hy m n) adj. Having or showing those positive aspects of nature and character regarded as distinguishing humans from other animals.

What makes the human different from an animal? What is the defining difference between man and animal?

The significant human "positive aspect” would seem to be the "intellect"; that man can think for themselves. By looking at a verse in this week’s torah portion, we may be able to decide. It is written: "the tree of the field a man" Deuteronomy 20;19 Our sages say this teaches us that the defining difference of man is in his similarity to a tree.

According to Kabbalah Adam, the Hebrew word for man, symbolizes intellect , and a tree that grows symbolizes emotion. Therefore the defining attribute of man is when he is “like a tree”. Just like a tree (food) sustains man who is greater then a tree, so too man must make sure that his emotions sustain his intellect. That his intellect should effect his action and he too will give back to society. It is not ok to be immoral with lofty ideas, one must be moral and make lofty plans that effect our lives on a practical level. This must be so ingrained that the “emotion” will cause the intellect to be richer and deeper.

We can do this in our own lives; by working to add an aspect of what we know is right and correct and implementing it in our lives. It can be working on our relationships with our spouses or children, it can be helping the poor man on the street, it can be lighting Shabbat candles to bring light into the world or it can be telling another local Jew about Chabad of Harford County ;).

Have a wonderful and meaningful Shabbos.

You should be inscribed in the book of life.

Rabbi Kushi Schusterman

Comments on: Are we animals?
There are no comments.