You need look no further than the candidates for president of the United States, the superpower country of the world, to see that we are all truly imperfect. Whether you want to look at their politics or character, neither man represents a flawless human being by any means.
Yet, in the beginning of the Torah, (Genesis 1:27), which we read last week:
G-d created man in his image.
Well, if we are in G-d’s image, shouldn’t we be perfect?
Clearly, from the President on down to each and every one of us, we can be certain that none of us is perfect. However, G-d put us here, precisely, to have the opportunity to repair our imperfections. In this earthly world, our soul is tested, and we thereby have the opportunity to come out stronger and better because of it. The challenges in this world provide the “purification by fire” that our souls need to elevate themselves from past mistakes or imperfections. In essence, G-d in his ultimate benevolence — of love, kindness, and giving — bestows on us, His children, the chance to learn and grow and to realize our potential!
Recently, I learned in the book The Coming Revolution, by Zamir Cohen, that not only are our souls’ divine elements of G-d, but also our bodies are truly in the image of Hashem. If you look, for example, at G-d’s name: Yud, Hei, Vav, Hei, you can see that the head and neck of man is in the shape of the Yud (י); the hands on each side with five fingers on each are represented by each of the letters Hei (ה), which are equivalent to the number five; and the spine of the person is represented by the Vav (ו). If you put this together, you have a stick figure representation of a human being precisely in the image of G-d’s very name.
It is magnificently fitting that G-d houses our souls, the spiritual element of Himself, within a physical body that is also in His image. Both the body and soul are created in holiness, and G-d thereby gives us every opportunity in this earthly world to become as Noah, in this week’s Torah portion (Genesis 6:9):
This is the legacy of Noah, Noah was a righteous, wholehearted man in his generation; Noah walked with G-d.
The connection between the first and second portions of the Torah is incredible– from the opportunity afforded to our souls to the very fulfillment of the souls’ potential. In the first parsha, Genesis, Hashem creates man and gives him the worldly presence and opportunity to refine and purify himself. Then, immediately, in the second parsha, Noach, G-d shows us what this purification looks like in a man, such as Noah, who was righteous, wholehearted, and walked with G-d, in spite of the very corruption of mankind all around him at the time.
In short, while our elections leave us a lot to be desired in terms of the candidates for the highest office of this great land, we can see from the presidential candidates on down to the citizens of this country and to those around the world that there is both shortcomings and the potential for becoming the people that G-d knows we can really be. How deep the shortcomings of the candidates are is another matter entirely, and takes us yet spectacularly again to the third Torah portion, next week, of Lech Lecha, when G-d tells Abraham (Genesis 12:1-2):
“Go from your land…to the land [Canaan] that I will show you…and I will bless you.
Here, G-d reminds us that in the end, there is no true perfection for us in exile, and therefore, to the the Promised Land we must eventually go in order to achieve the refinement and purity of our souls that is our purpose from The Beginning.