This Shabbos we read Parshas Beraishia. The Parsha describes the creation of the world, and the creation of man. The Torah tells us that when man was created, the Almighty called him Adam. Why is he given this name? On the one hand we are told that this was to indicate that man is from a very low source, from the lowly earth. On the other hand this is to indicate what man strives for, Adama lelyon – that I may be just like the Almighty.
I once heard a question raised; so which one is it? Which idea are we to focus on? Are we supposed to focus on the fact that we are lowly creatures, composed of the dust of the earth, who will one day return to the dust of the earth? Or are we supposed to focus on the greatness of man, the ability we have to resemble our very Creator, the remarkable thought that we could even dare to contemplate some sort of similarity to an Omnipitent Creator?
The answer, of course, is that both are true. As one famous Jewish teacher expressed it, every Jewish person must have two pockets: One must have in it the greatness of man. If we ever feel down, if we ever doubt our ability to accomplish in this world, if we ever lack confidence in how special we are, we must pull the idea of Adama lelyon – that I may be just like the Almighty, out of our pocket. We must reflect upon the amazing ability of man to resemble His Creator, and we must feel the amazing strength that we have within ourselves.
On the other hand, if we ever feel haughty, if we ever feel proud and that we are better than anyone else, then we must reach into the other pocket. We must realize that no matter how much we accomplish in life, we still are mere mortal humans who come from dust and who will return to dust. We share this fact with the lowest creatures on earth.
Hopefully this simple message given to us as we start the Torah, can inspire us to succeed in life as we travel through the year and absorb all the messages of the Torah.