Let Us Make Man… (Genesis 1:26)
The verse of Genesis 1:26 (as translated by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, The Living Torah , page 5) states: G-d said, "Let us make man with our image and likeness; let him dominate the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the livestock animals, and all the earth – and every land animal that walks the earth".
Rabbi Kaplan in a footnote there, explains Let us… G-d was speaking to all the forces of creation that He had brought into existence (cf. Targum Yonathan; Ramban). Now that all the ingredients of creation had essentially been completed, all would participate in the creation of man, the crown of creation. Others interpret "we" in the majestic sense, and translate the verse, "I will make man in My image" (Emunoth veDeyoth 2:9; Ibn Ezra)
Rashi (as translated by Rabbis Ben-Isaiah and Sharfman in The Pentateuch and Rashi's Commentary) has an alternate commentary. Rashi states:
Let us make man. The modesty of the Holy One, Blessed Be He, we learn from here: because man in the image of the angels was [to be] created and they would be jealous of him; therefore, He took counsel with them. And when He judges the Kings He [likewise] takes counsel with His Heavenly household; for so we find in the case of Ahab (1 Kings 22:19) to whom Mic(ai)ah said: "I saw the L-rd sitting on His throne and all the host of heaven standing by Him on his right hand and on his left," – Has [He] then a right and left [hand] before Him? But [it means that] there were those [angels] on the right for acquittal and those on the left for conviction, And so (Daniel 4:14): "The matter is by the decree of the watchers and the sentence by the word of the holy ones." Here also He sought permission with His [Heavenly] household. He said to them: "There are some higher beings, in my likeness. If there should be none in my likeness among the lower beings there would be jealousy among the works of creation." (Sanh. 38)
Let us make man. Even though they [the angels] did not help Him in His creation [of man] and it is in place for skeptics to disagree [with the use of the plural "us"], Scripture does not shrink from teaching us the way of the world [proper conduct] and the trait of modesty that the mighty should consult with and seek permission from the lowly. But if it [Scripture] had written: "I shall make man," we would not learn that He was speaking with His [Heavenly court] but to Himself. And the rebuttal to the heretics is written next to it [the following verse] "and He created man" and it [Scripture] did not write "and they created."
G-d Does Not Have A Body
It is a foundation of our faith to believe that G-d is absolutely incorporeal. The Torah therefore states, "Take good heed of yourselves, for you saw no manner of form on that day that G-d spoke to you at Horeb…" (Deuteronomy 4:15).
G-d is therefore not to be compared to any of His creatures, even to the highest of angels. The prophet thus declared, "To whom will you liken G-d? To what likeness will you compare Him?" (Isaiah 40:18). It is likewise written, "There is none like You, O G-d" (Jeremiah 10:6). The Psalmist similarly said, There are none like You among the Powers (angels), O G-d, and there are no works like Yours" (Psalms 86:8).
In many places, the Torah speaks of G-d as though He had a human body, using anthropomorphisms such as, "the hand of G-d" (Exodus 9:15), and "the eyes of G-d" (Deuteronomy 11:12). In doing so, the Torah is in no way asserting that G-d has a body, shape, or form. Rather, it borrows terms from G-d's creatures allegorically to express His relation to His creation.
Similarly, when the Torah states G-d created man in His image (Genesis 1:27), it by no means implies that G-d looks like a man. What it means is that man partakes of the same attributes that G-d uses when he interacts with His world. It also implies that G-d gave man the ability to use the same logic with which He created the universe. (quoted from Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan's , Handbook of Jewish Thought, pages 11,12)
For the Homepage of this site!