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"For Instruction shall come forth from Zion, The word of the L-rd from Jerusalem." -- Isaiah 2:3

Jerusalem

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GENESIS — 1:26 image 

That which separates the human being from all other creatures in the universe is his ability to choose his own path in life; only man has free choice.  This is what is meant by the Torah phrase “Man is made in G-d’s image.”  The first story in the Torah demonstrates man’s ability to choose. G-d commands man not to eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge, but man defies Him and eats anyway (Genesis 2:16-17, Genesis 3:1-6).  Seforno commentary, this verse.  Just as only G-d has freedom in the universe, so does G-d grant freedom only to man, that is, in His image. The first story in the Torah demonstrates man’s ability to choose. G-d commands man not to eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge, but man defies Him and eats anyway. (Genesis 2:16-7 and 3:1-6). Of course, there are always consequences for the choices man makes, whether in the moral or the amoral areas of life. But choice is granted as part of daily existence. Just as the Torah begins in the first story with a commandment, but, at the same time, it stresses man’s freedom to choose. By the end of the Torah, after almost all of the 613 commandments are given, G-d reaffirms man’s right to choose his own path in life. (Deuteronomy 3):15 and 30:19). AMEMEI 34
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GENESIS — 1:26 image 

There is a piece of G-d, as it were, inside every human being.  This makes man special as a species and makes each person a special, unique, and important individual.  The G-dliness inside every person gives him or her enormous value as, according to the Talmud, each person has incalculable worth, regardless of his or her identity or level of intelligence and accomplishment, since a single individual has the value of an entire world. Sanhedrin 37a.  This general awareness and knowledge should help every person think better of himself or herself.  Each individual is so special that he or she is just a little lower than the angels. Psalm 8:5-6.  But just one verse before this, man is described as “nothing.”  The Midrash Vayikra Rabbah 14a explains that when people have either a low or proper level of self-esteem, they should know that they have achieved a status so high that only angels are higher.  But if a person has excessive self-esteem and as a result thinks too highly of himself, G-d tells this person not to “think you are so great,” since G-d created the mosquito first.  AMJV 291
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GENESIS — 1:26 likeness

(Continued from Deuteronomy 10:19 stranger COHON 207-8). It is in the Priestly Code that the brotherhood of man may be said to have attained the status of a fundamental conviction. Here it appears in its characteristic form as corollary to monotheistic belief. The Divine process of creation reached its climax in Adam, whom G-d fashioned in His own likeness, and who became the father of the entire human race [this verse ff.; 5:1 ff). When in consequence of their corruption, his descendants were swept away by the destructive flood, the righteous Noah and his sons were spared to become the progenitors of the new humanity. Shem, Ham and Japhet are presented as the fathers of all the nations of antiquity (Genesis 10:1 ff). Consequently all men of whatever race, color or speech are basically brothers. The priestly genealogist seeks further to establish the bonds of kinship between Israel and the neighboring Semitic peoples, the Aramaeans, the sons of Keturah, the descendants of Ishmael, the offspring of Lot and the Edomites (Genesis 22:20-24; 25:1-18; 36). In addition the covenant relationships of the Patriarchs with a non-Semitic Philistines are stressed (Genesis 21:22-23; 26:26-31).  COHON 207-8
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GENESIS — 1:26 rule

… Rashi, the 11th-century scholar, comments on [this verse] that whatever dominion we have is conditional.  Where Genesis says that G-d planned to create humans “in our image” and to “let them rule over (yir’du) the rest of Creation, Rashi interprets, “If they merit, let them rule (rodeh); if not let them fall (yarud).”  A century later, Maimonides (Moreh Nevukhim 3:13) would say of Genesis that “dominion” is descriptive of a capacity in human nature, rather than prescriptive of the human role in the universe.  We do not have an unconditional mandate to dominate. AGTJL 319-21
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GENESIS — 1:26 rule

[A] fundamental Jewish attitude that shapes economic life is that we are tenants in the world, not owners. “Ladonay ha’aretz umelo’o, the earth and all that is in it belong to G-d,” proclaims the psalmist (Psalms 24:1).  Psalms 24:1 figures prominently in liberation theology. For this progressive religious movement of the past four decades or so, initially from Catholic Latin America, the rallying cry is “De Jehova es la tierra, y su plenitude (Psalms 24:1)”; nature’s wealth belongs not to multinational corporations or ruling elites, but to G-d, who loves the campesino and the Presidente equally.  We have an obligation to respect the wishes of the Owner, so we cannot do whatever we like with the property. In Hebrew there is no word that can be directly translated into “owner” or “ownership.”  Things can “belong” (shayakhut) to someone. One can be a “master” (ba’al) over something. But ownership as we understand it in English can refer only to the One owner – G-d – and we are merely stewards.  The implications of this idea are broad.  Perhaps the most obvious is that just as a tenant is not allowed to deface the apartment or office she rents, so we are not allowed to damage the environment intentionally and irreparably. Our traditional extends this notion much further, however. It suggests that the wealth of the world should be used on behalf of all its inhabitants. While Genesis describes humanity as having dominion over other creatures, Jewish ethics has never seen that dominion as having no limits; we are also stewards of the world with responsibility for it. Genesis describes humanity as having both dominion and the responsibilities of stewardship. These two attitudes are brought into relationship with each other in the very first biblical book. In a world where there is enough for everyone to eat, allowing anyone to go hungry is a violation of our stewardship as the rabbis understand it.  From a Jewish perspective, commitment to the just distribution of resources is the result of understanding the rights and obligations inherent in being human.  TEUTSCHEO  7-8
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GENESIS — 1:26 rule

[This verse] Note that there is no suggestion that anyone has the right to have dominion over any other human being. In Paradise Lost, Milton, like the Midrash, states that this was the sin of Nimrod, the first great ruler of Assyria and by implication the builder of the Tower of Babel (see Genesis 10:8–11).,” He was horrified: “O execrable son so to aspire above his Brethren, to himself assuming Authority usurped, from G-d not given: He gave us only over beast, fish, fowl Dominion absolute; that right we hold by his donation; but man over men He made not lord; such title to himself Reserving, human left from human free.” Paradise Lost, 12.64 – 71.  To question the right of humans to rule over other humans without their consent was at that time utterly unthinkable.  All advanced societies were like this. How could they be otherwise? Was this not the very structure of the universe? Did the sun not rule the day? Did the moon not rule the night? Was there not a hierarchy of the gods in heaven itself? Already implicit here is the deep ambivalence the Torah would ultimately show towards the very institution of kingship, the rule of man over men.” SACKS 6-7
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GENESIS — 1:26 rule

Because they lack free will, the Bible regards animals as being on a lower plane than human beings; it also teaches that G-d gave human beings dominion over the animal world.  In Genesis 1:28, G-d reiterates this idea in His blessing to humankind.  These verses are viewed in the Jewish tradition as a warrant for human beings to use animals for labor (for example, on farms), to benefit from animals (such as through using wool shorn for sheep, and through necessary medical experiences conducted on animals; and to use animals for food (though permission to do so was only given later).  On the other hand, because animals are sentient creatures with emotions and in many cases with strong familial feelings, they must be treated with compassion.  Dominion, as an examination of biblical and other Jewish teachings reveals, does not mean that human beings man rule over animals without restraint.  TELVOL 1:300-1
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GENESIS — 1:26 rule

Rashi, the 11th century scholar, comments on [this verse] that whatever dominion we have is conditional.  Where Genesis says that G-d planned to create humans “in our image” and to “let them rule over (yir’du)” the rest of Creation, Rashi interprets, “If they merit, let them rule (rodeh); if not, let them fall (yarud).”  A century later, Maimonides (Moreh Nevukhim 3.13) would say of Genesis that “dominion” is descriptive of a capacity in human nature, rather than prescriptive of the human role in the universe.  We do not have an unconditional mandate to dominate.  TEUTSCHEO  8
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