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Of Man: Selections from the Genesis Rabbah, Part 1 of 2

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Today, it is an honor to present selections of the “Genesis Rabbah” from the book “The Sacred Books and Early Literature of the East, Volume 4: Medieval Hebrew.”

“The unity of God is at once set before us in the history of creation, where we are told He, not they, created. The Torah was to God, when He created the world, what the plan is to an architect when he erects a building. […]

The following are God’s presents, or free gifts, to the world: The Torah (Exodus 31:18), Light (Genesis 1:17), Rain (Leviticus 26:4), Peace (Leviticus 26:6), Salvation (Psalms 18:36), Mercy (Psalms 106:46). Some add also the knowledge of navigation.

When creation was all but ended, the world with all its grandeur and splendor stood out in its glorious beauty. There was but one thing wanting to consummate the marvelous work called into existence by the mere ‘let there be,’ and that was a creature with thought and understanding able to behold, reflect, and marvel on this great handiwork of God, who now sat on His Divine throne surrounded by hosts of angels and seraphim singing hymns before Him. Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our likeness, and let there be a creature not only the product of Earth, but also gifted with Heavenly, spiritual elements, which will bestow on him reason, intellect, and understanding.’ Truth then appeared, falling before God’s throne, and in all humility exclaimed: ‘O God, refrain from calling into being a creature who is beset with the vice of lying, who will tread truth under his feet.’ Peace came forth to support this petition.”

“Whilst they were pleading against the creation of man, there was heard, arising from another part of the heavens, the soft voice of Charity: ‘Sovereign of the universe.’ the voice exclaimed, in all its mildness, ‘vouchsafe Thou to create a being in Thy likeness, for it will be a noble creature striving to imitate Thy attributes by its actions. I see man now in Spirit, that being with God’s breath in his nostrils, seeking to perform His great mission, to do His noble work. I see him now in spirit, approaching the humble hut, seeking out those who are distressed and wretched to comfort them, drying the tears of the afflicted and despondent, raising up them that are bowed down in spirit, reaching his helping hand to those who are in need of help, speaking peace to the heart of the widow, and giving shelter to the fatherless. Such a creature can not fail to be a glory to his Maker.’ The Creator approved of the pleadings of Charity, called man into being, and cast Truth down to the Earth to flourish there; […]”
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