web analytics
February 1, 2015 / 12 Shevat, 5775
 
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


Home » Judaism » Parsha »

The Greatness Of Man

The-Shmuz

If a man shall commit a crime whose judgment is death, he shall be put to death, and you shall hang him on a tree.”Devarim 21:22

 

Of the four capital punishments in the Torah, the most severe is s’kilah. After being killed, the criminal is hanged publicly for all to see so that others will learn not to do as he did.

Yet the Torah warns us that his body should not remain hanging for too long. He must be buried that day because it is an embarrassment to the King to let him hang.

Rashi explains: “It is an embarrassment to Hashem to have a human being hanging because man was formed in the image of Hashem. Since the Jewish people are called ‘sons of Hashem,’ the shame is even greater. Therefore, the body must be taken down that day before sunset.”

Rashi then gives a mashol of identical twins. One brother rises through the ranks and eventually becomes king. The other brother turns to a life of crime. Eventually, the hoodlum is caught and hanged. Since he is identical to the king, anyone passing by would proclaim, “Look! The king has been hanged!” not realizing it is actually his twin. Rashi explains that it is for this reason the Torah commands us not to leave the body hanging too long. A person is made in the image of Hashem, and it is an embarrassment to Hashem to leave His likeness hanging.

This Rashi is very difficult to understand. The mashol implies that one passing a hanging human would on some level mistake him for Hashem.

This seems preposterous. No one would mistake man for Hashem. Hashem created the heavens and the earth; man can barely make it through his day. Hashem lives on for eternity; man puts his head down to sleep, not knowing whether he will ever awaken. How can anyone mistake man for the Creator? What is Rashi trying to teach us?

The answer can be found by understanding a different perspective of man.

Replica Versus Representation

If you ride the elevator to the 86th floor of the Empire State Building, you will find a gift shop selling models of the very building you are standing in. Those are replicas. A replica reminds a person of the original. Granted it is in miniature, and granted no one would mistake it for the original, but it carries, almost in caricature form, some semblance of the original.

A flag, on the other hand, is not just a piece of cloth that reminds us of a particular country. It stands for and symbolizes the nation itself. It is a representation of the county. So too a throne is more than a seat the king sits upon. It embodies the distinction and nobility of the king. If one sits on the king’s throne, it is an affront to the king’s honor.

If the Torah were teaching us that man is a replica of Hashem or even a representation of Him, it would be a huge change in the way we view man. Rashi seems to be saying that man is far more than a replica of Hashem, and even more than a representation of Hashem. Man is in a completely different category. To understand this Rashi, we must understand the role Hashem gave man in the universe.

Chazal explain to us that all physical manifestations have a spiritual counterpart. The spiritual counterpart of Creation is maintained by man. If he accomplishes his mission in the world, he elevates himself and the world along with him. If he doesn’t live up to his role, both he and the world that depends upon him become damaged. In the case of Adam, one sin caused a radical change in the destiny of the world and mankind. Hashem placed the “keys of Creation” into man’s hands.

About the Author: Rabbi Shafier is the founder of the Shmuz.com – The Shmuz is an engaging, motivating shiur that deals with real life issues. All of the Shmuzin are available free of charge at the www.theShmuz.com or on the Shmuz App for iphone or Android.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “The Greatness Of Man”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Jeremy Bird, working for Israeli campaign outfit V15, shown at Ted Talk, May 20, 2014.
Likud Charges Opponents with Illicit Funding Through US-backed V15
Latest Judaism Stories
Staum-013015

People often think that all they are missing is “just a little more” and then they can be truly happy.

Torah-Hakehillah-121914

The Midrash is teaching a fundamental message of what it means to be a religious person.

Rabbi Sacks

Torah opposes slavery; G-d desires the free worship of free human beings, yet slavery’s permitted-?!

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

France allowed Islamists to flourish despite their loyalty to Islamic sharia law not French values

Approximately 18 years ago, my uncle called me into his office saying he had an urgent matter to discuss. I didn’t know what he had in mind.

“Where is God?” asked the Kotzker Rebbe “God is not everywhere but only where you let Him enter”

An Explosion In The Trench
‘With A Glowing Hot Knife’
(Yevamos 120b)

Her first tactic was tefillah; she immediately began to recite one perek after another of Tehillim.

When a miracle occurs that transcends nature, Hashem has broken the laws of nature to create the miracle.

“How could you have expected my glasses to be there?” argued Mr. Weiss. “You shouldn’t have to pay.”

Rather than submit to this fate and suffer torture and humiliation, Shaul decided to fall on his sword.

How can the Da’as Zekeinim say this was Hashem’s plan to allow them to become the Torah Nation? We know it was actually a punishment.

A strange midrash of fruit trees surrounding the Nation of Israel as they walked to freedom

Leading by example must be visible, regarding where, when and how-like Nachshon entering the Red Sea

Rabbi Yaakov Nagen, a Ram at Yeshivat Otniel, notes that the verse is suggesting that retelling the story of the Exodus is so important that Hashem is performing ever-greater miracles specifically so that parents can tell their stories to future generations.

More Articles from Rabbi Ben Tzion Shafier
The-Shmuz

How can the Da’as Zekeinim say this was Hashem’s plan to allow them to become the Torah Nation? We know it was actually a punishment.

The-Shmuz

How is it possible that the clothing was more valuable to them than gold or silver?

It is exactly like that of an animal, with all of the passions and desires necessary to drive man though his daily existence.

How did their hatred toward the Jews make their own lives disgusting? It’s the Jews they hated, not themselves.

When Hashem made man, He created two worlds – this world and the World to Come. Each has its purpose.

Because we see these events as world changing, as moments in history, they become part of us forever.

Our right to exist and our form of self-government were decided by the ruling parties.

If Hashem is watching tzaddikim, why couldn’t He just save Yosef from all the suffering he was about to endure?

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/the-greatness-of-man/2014/09/04/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: