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Nisan 25

He called their names Adam on the day they were created (Genesis 5:2).

The Biblical term for a human being, adam, has a dual origin. It derives from the word adamah (earth), indicating that man was fashioned out of dust, and also from the word adameh (to emulate), indicating that people are capable of emulating God.

This dual nature is not contradictory, any more than is the raw material, the clay from which sculptors form a work of art, a contradiction to the completed work. The artist's idea of her work is an abstraction, something which exists only in her imagination. The pure idea cannot be enjoyed or appreciated, and only when the artist forms the clay into the finished work can others share in the beauty of her idea.

When we observe tzaddikim in their daily lives, how they champion truth, have love for others, easily forgive when they are offended, and see only the good in everything, then we can begin to have a concept of God. The tzaddik is the being that was created in the Divine image. Although God is completely beyond comprehension, His attributes are known to us, and when we emulate the Divine attributes, such as kindness and compassion, we achieve our mission of making other people aware of Godliness. We thereby achieve the adameh, being like unto God. If we fail to do so, we remain nothing but the adam, the lifeless dust from which we originated.

People are capable of achieving the highest heights, but they can also descend to the nethermost depths of being.

Today I shall...

try to exercise my potential for spirituality, and emulate God by behaving according to the Divine attributes.

With stories and insights, Rabbi Twerski's new book Twerski on Machzor makes Rosh Hashanah prayers more meaningful. Click here to order...

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