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Isn't it pretty?

Friday, October 24, 2003

Parshas Bereishis

I wanted to put a little dvar Torah up, because I realized that we are now starting the cycle again with Bereishis, and I figured I should start the year out right. I will preface this by saying that it is my own thoughts, so accuracy might possibly be lacking, I apologize in advance. In my class this past week, we were speaking about friendships and whether a relationship with an animal can be considered friendship. Many in the class pointed out instances in which their pets showed displays of affection, emotion and even reason in regards to the relationship with their owners. I could relate to this, as I know that my cat has a habit of eating very little when I am not home and certainly seems to show affection or even distress when he does not see me often enough. Another person in my class told over a story in which one of their pets actually tricked another pet into getting the "good bed" in the house, showing the ability to reason and use some form of problem solving. So the question is asked, what makes our relationships with animals different from our relationships with humans? The Torah says, in Bereishis, Chapter 2, Verse 7, "Hashem then formed the man, dust from the ground, and He blew into his nostrils the breath of life. And so man became a living soul." (Thanks to Tachash.org for the text.) I believe it is this "breath of life", what we usually call the neshama, that makes such a huge difference between man and animals, what makes the relationships so much greater between man and man, than between man and animal. Hashem made humans "a living soul," not a living body. As humans, we crave to connect with other souls, rather than hollow sentiment that is not based in a soul, which is the only thing that an animal can offer. Hashem, in his incredible kindness, gave us this soul to be higher than animals, and to yearn for more than the average animal can offer. And in yearning for more, hopefully we will be able to use Hashem's great gifts to benefit others. As we begin reading the Torah again this year, may the lessons enclosed therein cause our souls to strive for greatness in Hashem's eyes. Shabbat Shalom.

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