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Touring Creation

by Rabbi Velvel Gurkow


Library » Philosophy » Creation | Subscribe | What is RSS?


"Let us make man in our image, after our likeness, and they shall rule over the fish of the sea and over the fowl of the heaven and over the animals and over all the earth and over all the creeping things that creep upon the earth" (Genesis 1:26).

Several years ago, my friend and I visited the Chobe Park game reserve.

The park is beautiful. Untouched by humanity for centuries, it is an artist’s dream and an environmentalist’s haven. Untamed beasts roam the picturesque grounds, and birds fly high overhead seemingly observing and mocking us earthly creatures.

Above the soaring eagle, the night sky is illuminated by millions of stars, gazing down upon our planet for centuries. My friend Sholom and I spent many nights gazing in to those stars, analyzing our universe upon the backdrop of nature.

“Here is to the supremacy of the human,” I exclaimed one night, holding out my glass. “No lion, eagle or shark can hold a candle to the power of man.”

“Here is to the supremacy of the human,” I exclaimed one night, holding out my glass. “No lion, eagle or shark can hold a candle to the power of man.”
Sholom turned to me, smiling playfully. He is a master debater, and loves to take on the most established rules of society and tear them to threads.

“You think so?”

Smiling, I accepted the challenge. “Well, not in brute physical strength, but in skill and ingenious creativity” I said confidently.

“Well,” he began, “would you agree, that supremacy is assessed by the ability to persevere despite challenges?”

“Usually,” I cautiously replied.

“Well then, creatures which are dependent upon others for survival are weaker then independent creatures. Is that true?”

“It is,” I said.

“If so, then we agree,” said Sholom. “A flower that is dependant on minerals for its survival must have a weaker constitution then the mineral does. After all, the mineral provides its own sustenance”

“That makes sense.” I sensed that I was falling in to a well-prepared trap.

“By the same logic, the animal who depends upon grazing, is weaker then the grass which nourishes him.

“The human who eats meat and vegetation must be weaker then all,” he triumphantly concluded.

Despite my discomfort, I had no choice but to agree. If the human’s needs amount to more then those of the others then he must be the most vulnerable of all.

“Yes, you’re right” I resignedly agreed.

I was, nevertheless, not ready to give up so easily. I sat for hours, quietly mulling over his logic, trying to find the weak link.

Finally, I found it. “Tell me,” I asked, “of all creatures, why do you suppose the human was created last?”


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G-d » Creation

(pl: Shabbatot). Hebrew word meaning "rest." It is a Biblical commandment to sanctify and rest on Saturday, the seventh day of the week. This commemorates the fact that after creating the world in six days, G-d rested on the seventh.
Black leather boxes containing small scrolls with passages of the Bible written on them. Every day, aside for Sabbath and Jewish holidays, the adult Jewish male is required to wrap the Tefillin--by means of black leather straps--around the weaker arm and atop the forehead.
Literally means "fit." Commonly used to describe foods which are permitted by Jewish dietary laws, but is also used to describe religious articles (such as a Torah scroll or Sukkah) which meet the requirements of Jewish law.
The first book of the Five Books of Moses. It records the story of Creation and its aftermath, and chronicles the lives of the Patriarchs.
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.