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What is in G-d’s image and in His likeness?

Question:

Rabbi,
As a simple Jewish man, I have a question for which there are no good answers from many Rabbanim.
As Hashem has no image, likeness, substance, form or anything visible, what is He referencing in Genesis 1:26-27?

B”H

Answer:

Thank you for your question.
The verse you are referring to, is when Hashem made man, the verse says that man was created in Hashem’s “image”. One of the fundamentals of Judaism is that Hashem is not physical, and that us mortal man cannot have a clear understanding of Him. The question however is asked, how is it that we find numerous verses that allude to Hashem’s “hand” Hashem’s “eyes”, Hashem’s “nose” etc.?
The answer is that of course Hashem doesn’t have a physical hand as we do, nor a physical nose of a physical eyeball as we do. When the verse refers to Hashem’s eye, it is referring to Hashem’s capability to see, when the verse refers to His Hand, it means His capability to do things, make changes, and show strength. When the verse says that man was made in Hashem’s image, it means that man was made with the capability to appear like Hashem, and gain a certain similarity to Him. Namely, that man has the capability to think, to understand spirituality, to be able to understand God (to a certain degree). Additionally and more important, man was given the capability to choose, to perfect is character traits, and to make himself “Godly”. Our sages teach us that we are commanded to emulate Hashem, i.e. “the same way that he is kind, so too we should be kind”. By performing the mitzvos we slowly gain perfection, and make ourselves more close and similar to Hashem perfection. By using our intellect and performing the mitzvos we have the ability to form our own “image” and make it have similarities to God Himself. This is what is meant by having the image of God.
Best wishes

 

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