~ [What m“ WHAT is man? ‘ IS' MAN? That may be the 64,000 dollar question, but it is the most important of all questions. For unless we understand ourselves and one another, we cannot make a right use of our lives, We cannot map out our destiny, we cénnot live together satisfactorily, we cannot make wine decisions. Any religion, therefore} indeed any "13m" which purports to tell man how he should live, must be judged. by the wa‘y it answers this question, must be Judged by~1ts doctriyxe of man. will neither underestimate man nor overestimate him. A sound doctrine It will not disguise his shortcomings, but neither will it belittle his potentialities. It: will be at once realistic and idealistic. Judaism offers such a doctrine, and in the two passages we.h&ve read from the Bible its whole ' basis 13 to be round.] Judaism recognises the dual nature - the paradoxical nature - of man. On the one hand he is small, an mfinitesimally small part or the physical un1Verse. “When I look at thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars which thou hast getablished, what is man that thou art mindful of him, and the son of .man that thou dost care fcffmlfnﬁégl-s He is a mere animal, a puny creature, subject to hunger and thirst, to rear and pain, and to death. In the varied imagery of the Bible, he 13 a worm, a grésshoppei', a drop from a bucket, dust which must return to dust, a blade of grass which withers 1n the sun, a flower of the field which flourishes but briefly, when the wind passes ovér at and it is gone, and its very piece knows it no more. “orally too manls behaviour is often despicable. He is selfishﬂg’goéegy, dishonest. unjust. LEO hr. '1 ' nr‘f“: C)» ‘ A »~" / t l- ) ' -2: He 1193, :vbs, plunders, kills. - D 4’ He bombs citiqggtperpetratea racial riots and lynchings, minds gailows and'gas-ohambers. "And the Lord saw that the'W1ckedness of man was great in the earth, and that every of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continuallyfi That is one side of the story, and Judaism does not disguise it. Despl‘ize But thexfe is another side. his smallpess, man possesses a power out of all From the beginning, the Bible tells us, he was given dominion over the fish of the sea, and the bims of proportion to his size. the air, and every living thing that moves upon the earth. “Thou hast given his dominio'rg $733319 works of thy hands; thou hast put 511 things under his feet."L And the history of man 13 the history of, his growmg mastery over nature. He builds dams, scales mountains, sells the oceans, flies faster than sound, and is about to embark on the conquest of outer space. He observes the most distant stars and peers into the secrets of tﬁe tiniest molecule. for his use the hidden forces of heaven and earth. He harnesses There seems to be no limit to the control which hg can gain over his enviromént. He is skilful and creative, prgducing miracles of technology and even greater marvels in music, literature and art. He trangcenda even his yemporal limitations, being able to study the past and to predict .. less certainly - the future. Despite thé brevity of his life, he feels that life to be full of significgnce, and he has the vision of its continuance beyond bodily degth. And though he is guilty or moral perverseness and brutality, yet he is also capable of the o -3highest integrity, the purest justice; the tenderest kindness, and ’ the most self-sacrificing love, This, the higher-aide of Imman nature, iatsummed upgin Jhdaism own’ ma‘ge, that ‘he m} the declaration that God made man in his Ibestomad on him a portion of his own d1v1ne spirit. The whdle first chgptez- of Genesis 15 wrnten rim that point of view. Man 15 the crown of creation, the masterpiece oflthe Creatér. It is almost as 11‘ the o‘ther creative acts were merely intehded to set the scene for Only then wga the world complete. only then is it said that "God saw everything that he had madé, and behold, it was ver'y- gooafzﬂxrléyghe Psalmist takes up the theme. Man .13 infinitesimal the creation of man. 1n the astronomicn universe, yes. But nevertheless, and that 13 the marvel of it, God is mindful of him, he does care for hm. "For thou hast made him little less than 66d, and dost cream him with glory and honourﬁfﬁlgcgﬁg there is} possesses infinite value, a divine spirit in men, therefore man And value is independgnt of 3126, A pound note is smaller than a newspaper, but it is worth more. ‘So also the divine spirit in man raiées his valu.e ‘above that of, thousands of rams and myriads of stars, It redeems his life from insignificance, despite its brevity, because of the magnitude of the achievements which it makes possible even in so short a duration, and because of the pmmise of immortality which it holds out. But Judaism does not content itself with stating the phradox. It also seeks to resolve it. way. So does Christiantiy, but mﬁa different Christianity resolves it by its doctrine of the Fall of Man and ' ‘ I v -4. its consequence of origingl sin. .According .to this doctrine the higher nature of man, though a faét at the time creation, was destroyed by Adam's sin and can be regained only by the special way of redemption which Qhristianity offers; Judaism does not countenance this doctrine. It has never drawn such drastic concluatllons from the Biblical story of Adam and Eve. 'On the contrary, it has generally interpreted the story as depicting, not the fall of man, but the rise of man, not his descent, but his ascent. It has taken 11: to represent the advance of 'man from the lower stage 0: unreflecting innocence to the higher stagé of conscious choice. Adam's action, _on this View, did notmaan the trump}: of evil over goodness, but the emergence of the first possibility of either. It am not condemn all subsequent generations , but opened up for them the possibility of the moral life, the battle of conscience against impulse, of right against wrong. Judaism reéclgves the paradox, or rather makes sense of the duality of human nature, by pointing out that the battle is not over, that it 15 not yet won. We must View inani not statically, but dynanically, not at any given moment development. of‘ time, but. in process of Then We are able to see that the divine image is a constant reality, striving to assert itself, that the higher side of human nature can be culﬁvated and the lower mastered. We see that man can acquire in growing measure the moral understanding and the moral strength to qurb hi: selfish instinctg and to realise his noblest potentialities. "God," says the Talmud, "created the evil inclinatmn, but he also created the Torah as an antidote to it; f 11' -5; you occupy yourselves with the Torah you into its power." (K1d.30b) \71 What emerges, then, is that man was created for apiriturl gmwth. Th ‘attainment of goodness was not to be an accomplished fact, but an adventure. adventure, but not in 11 not be delivered God helps man in the uch a way as to dash-6y its adventuroua nature. He wants man to fulfil himself in freedom. Does this mean that mgnyis able to save himself? Yes and no. I No, because man needs God's help. He is the source of the revelation, the inspiration, the guidance and the strength which man needs to conquer sin. He is the Saviour. For the divine image saviour. is Yet in another sense man is his own part of man; it 13_not outside him. The View Which regards man as impotent leaves out the divine element in him. Itthéreforéguses‘thewwnrd human in a disparaging sense. Everything Weak, everything selfish, everything perverse 15 described man, theéerora, can be redeexged only by a power mdeyendezit of hmnelt’. But Judaism teaches that God is within us, in the divine as human. spirit with which he has enaqwed' us. wrote in a memorable article, if it is also human to be strong. Therefore, as man Drattuck to be weak, gt 1.8 Indeed the more human We become, the more fully we realise ogr human potentialities, the more closely do we approximate to God. It is, therefore, in the last resort human to be divine. He is small, but he is also great, He 15 week, but he 15 also strong. He is evil, but he is alsogood; Such, than, 13 man. He 16 creaturely, but he is also creativs. He is mortal, but h. 13 V ' ’y, ‘ also immortal. -6_‘. ’ He is a citizen of the natural world, but he is also a citizeh of the supernatural world. He is beastlike, but he 1: ‘ also god-like. All this would remain paradoxical, all this would add up to no more than a tray-comedy, if it were‘ not for the possibility of progress, 1t 1t wezfe not for the vision of la obnsumnation, a dénouemont, in Which the 1rlnperfeot will be made pérfect, in which the divine image will finally emerge tmmhapt. Judalsm makes sense of what man is by pointing out what he may become: ‘a 96.9 but faithful reflection of his Maker who' is P'erfect RighteOEEness.
© Copyright 2021 Paperzz