Thursday, August 28, 2014
Judaism's Top 40: Elul 4, #37 Tzelem Elohim
Judaism's Top 40!
Today: Elul 4 - and #37 of Judaism's Top 40:
Tzelem Elohim - the creation of every human being in the image of God. ”And God created the human being in His image, in the image of God He created him; male and female he created them.” [Genesis]
"We are created in the image of God, if you will, and we are obliged to return the favor." Rabbi Arthur Green
Erica Brown writes: Rabbi Art Green's quote is taken from his book "Seek My Face" in an essay about God's image. Looking back at his quote, we ask ourselves what it means to be created in God's image. It is not only a description of our creative powers; it is also a statement of responsibility about the way that we treat others. Do we see God in them? Do we recognize that all people are created in this image, not just famous people or people who can serve us in some way? Rabbi Green continues and elaborates on this responsibility: "The inner drive to imitate the ever-giving source of life calls forth in us an unceasing flow of love, generosity of spirit, and full acceptance, both of ourselves and of all God's creatures." In the ideal sense, if we truly believe we are all created in God's image we have to recognize everyone around us at all times.
I pose this question to my students: If I truly believe that each one of you is made in the image of God, then how will I treat you? How should we treat one another if we believe this is true? They understand what I'm saying; they know that I am talking about treating others with loving-kindness, respect, and dignity.