Vayikra

"If a person among you brings an offering to God" Leviticus 1:2


By Rabbi Pinchas Hackenbroch, March 10, 2011
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Rashi notes that the Torah uses the word adam for person rather than the more frequent ish; he explains that just as Adam did not serve God with anything acquired dishonestly, because nothing in the world belonged to anyone else, so must a person who brings an offering make certain that the offering was honestly acquired.

There may be an additional significance of the word adam to designate man. Rabbi Dr Abraham Twersky suggests that the first human was called Adam because his origin was from earth, adamah. This term connotes man's humble origin, as expressed by the patriarch Abraham," I am but dust and ashes." A person must always bear in mind that he is a mortal being of little significance in the cosmos.

However, man has another component, the vital spirit that inhabits his body. The word adam also relates to the word adameh meaning "I shall be similar", implying that man bears a semblance to God in emulating His character traits. As praiseworthy as humility is, it may conceivably result in a person feeling so insignificant that he gives no serious consideration to his actions. Of what consequence can this body be if it originated from dust and will return to dust? This may result in a carefree attitude of abandon.
To counter this, a person must remember that he was created in the image of God and therefore that he is immeasurably great, with his own particular role to perform during his journey through life. Indeed, every move he makes is tremendously significant. Therefore a closeness to God can be achieved only when a person appreciates and implements both aspects of adam.

    Last updated: 10:40am, March 10 2011