“GOD SAID, ‘LET US MAKE HUMANS’” Genesis 1:26
Jews traditionally study Scripture as part of an ongoing study group or class. This way each person can learn from the insights and experiences of others. We also use commentaries from the sages of the past as well as those of our own generation.
First, everyone reads these Torah verses: “God said ‘LET US MAKE HUMANS’ Genesis 1:26-31. People offer their own ideas about the meanings of the text which tend to be fairly literal and unimaginative.
Then we begin to explore the varied insights (13 in this case) of our sages.
Try it yourself with a few friends or with your family.
1- Rabbi Levy said: There is no consulting here. It is only royal style.
2- Rabbi Ammi said: with His own heart. i.e. creation is a result of thought and love.
3- Rabbi Berekiah said God foresaw that both righteous and wicked would descend from humans and deliberately disregarded the wicked. i.e. God partners with good people to be in order to create humanity as it should be. (an ongoing process)
4- Rabbi Hanina said God took counsel with the angels. They asked about human nature and God only told them about the good qualities humans would have.
5- Rav said God consulted the angels. They asked about human actions, and when God told them, the angels opposed the creation of humans. God overrode their objections.
6- Rabbi Aha said God took counsel with the angels. They asked about human nature and God told them that human wisdom would exceed their own because humans would have free will and be able to learn from their mistakes..
7- Rabbi Huna the elder said While the angels were arguing for and against the creation of humans, God went ahead and created humans anyway.
8-Rabbi Joshua ben Levy said God partnered with the works of heaven and earth.
9- The Zohar says: Creation during the six days prior to humans was the result of natural elements in the heavens and on the earth. Now God told the natural elements He will be their partner. You produce the body and I will provide the soul. Elsewhere the Zohar says I will give humans a soul and the earth will bestow on them the primal elements.
10- Pirke d’Rabbi Eliezer says God consulted the Torah. She advised God that humans would be short-lived, easily angered, and sinful. Unless You are patient with humans, it would be better not to create them. So God proclaimed his character traits, “The Lord God is merciful, gracious and long suffering…Exodus 34:6 A good example for parents.
Rabbi Maller adds 3 things.
1-God partnered with humans. Thus, of ten million plus species on earth, only humans can influence their own evolution culturally, genetically, and spiritually. It is our duty to help make ourselves grow into the image of God.
2- God also asked the fish, birds, mammals and insects if they wanted a dominant animal to rule them. They agreed as long as humans agreed to act responsibly and were responsible to replenish the earth. Thus God commanded humans to be fruitful, multiply and replenish the earth. Genesis 1:28
3-Finally, from this verse we learn that a husband should never act unilaterally and undertake a major activity without consulting his wife. After all, if God consults with others how much the more should humans do so. As it says in Pirke d’Rabbi Eliezer “Husbands, follow the opinion of your wives.”
So the Talmud states, “If your wife is tiny, bend down and whisper for her counsel.” Bava Metzi’ah