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You Are Important

Wednesday, 15 October, 2014 - 12:56 pm

Guest Author: Mrs. Chana Rachel Schusterman

Parsha B’reishit tells of G-d’s creating the world ex nihilo, out of nothing. He brings each unique creation into the world. The most special and unique, however, is the ultimate of the created beings, man and woman; Adam and Eve were created “in the Divine image.”

Mankind, personified in Adam, was created alone, as one person, not as a couple. The Talmud says, this is to teach us the importance of each individual person. In the beginning Eve was within Adam, until they were divided, able to marry and to bring the future generations of humanity into the world. Thus the Talmud teaches us that each person is an entire world. A main teaching of Judaism is the sacredness of human life. 

Human uniqueness lies in the power of free will. Everything else is part of nature, acting in its instinctive way. But the human being was given the ability to transform his or her inherent nature. G-d, who makes us, guides us. Through the Divine commands, the mitzvos, we have the ability to utilize our free choice to bring out our inner essential self, our way of expressing the Divine image within us.

The basis of civilization is the sacredness of life, the respect for each individual's potential to bring goodness into the world. The first descriptive creation in B’reishit is, “let there be light.” Our Torah, with its many mitzvos, gives the Jewish people the ability to transform our situation and environment, even as it appears dismal, to light. Each act of goodness and kindness brings more light into the world, affecting others whose light must also shine.

We wake up each morning in a world that is created new each day, for nothing is rote. G-d is involved in His world, making it and each of us new each day and each moment. Every human being can make a difference in the world through his action. 

B’reishit is the first parsha, inaugurating a new cycle of learning G-d's Torah. It is up to us to use our free choice to discriminate between darkness and light, thereby revealing G-d’s light. We need to distinguish between what to avoid because it brings more darkness, and what to embrace, because which brings us to the fulfillment of G-d’s purpose for the world. When we exercise our free will to choose light and life, we transcend our own nature and reveal the Creator in His world. 

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