Kenneth Cohen

Let Us Make Man

When the Torah describes the creation of Adam, the language used is, נעשה אדם, “Let us make man.” The usual explanation is that Hashem was showing His humility, by making it seem that He was seeking the help of the angels.

Obviously, He did not need anyone’s help, and man was created by Hashem alone.
The כלי יקר has a different explanation as to why it says, “Let us make man.” He writes that help was needed from the earth to complete him. Hashem would provide the soul, and the eternal part of his being, but He did require the help of the earth to create his material, or חמרי, side.

The emphasis of the Keli Yakar, is not to imply that the Eternal, needed help. It was to remind each individual of his own composition. He has a physical side, with very real needs and desires. But he must not forget that he possesses a part of godliness within himself.

The goal is to elevate the physical, so that every action has a bit of spirituality in it. But man must understand that he achieves meaning and purpose when his focus is on the soul and coming closer to Hashem.

This is the clear description of man’s struggle in this world. Is he going to let the physical control him, where he lives a life of pampering and self indulgence? Or, will he overcome these temptations, and be one who gets satisfaction by giving to others, and easing their lot in life.

There is a very clear, right and wrong. We all need the strength to do what’s right, and connect to the spiritual side, and not give much attention to the physical. After all, the earth was only needed to complete man. But he is meant to go higher and higher.

About the Author
Rabbi Cohen has been a Torah instructor at Machon Meir, Jerusalem, for over twenty years while also teaching a Talmud class in the Shtieblach of Old Katamon. Before coming to Israel, he was the founding rabbi of Young Israel of Century City, Los Angeles. He recently published a series of Hebrew language-learning apps, which are available at