Two Creations of Man

Moshe Ben-Chaim


Dear Rabbi Moshe ben-Chaim,

In Bereshis 1:27 there is written: "Va´yivra El-him et-haadam betzalmo... etc." while in Bereshis 2:7 we read: "Va´yitzer Ad-nay El-him et-haadam... etc." The problem is in using of two different verbs. The word "bara" means to create something from nothing (ex nihilo), while the word "yatzar" means to shape, to form something. Why are there used these two different words? Isn't it a contradiction? I mean when in perek aleph there is written, that adam ha-rishon was "created ex nihilo" and in perek bet, that he was formed from "ha-adama". What is the purpose of using these different verbs?



Your observation is of an intended distinction which, as is the case with all areas, is to yield new knowledge.

Bara is used by G-d when dealing with man as he was created from nothing, as done with all other creations. The Torah uses 'bara' in connection with "tzelem elokim". Perhaps to teach that THIS is what was created from nothing, ie., the man made of intellect. This is man's mark of distinction over all other creations, and is rightfully mentioned in connection with bara, as when G-d 'creates' a thing, what defines it AS a specific 'thing' at creation, is it's sole peculiarity which no other thing has. Thus, G-d created water, and therefore that object must include properties sole specific to water, and this is why it IS water. G-d as well created man, meaning, that thing which solely partakes of tzelem elokim.

Yatzar is used to denote the form of a thing. Thus, once 'man' exists, (which means the tzelem elokim man) then, other formations may take place upon the core man, such as the nishmas chayim which is distinct and added onto the tzelem elokim. The living man is a further development of the real man. As man returns to the dust at the end of his life, we see his physical, animalistic state of a living being is not his pure state. So the animalistic state of man is super added onto the tzelem elokim man, the core man, which survives death.

Again, the first instance of man is the actual man as he is in his purest form, an intelligent being. The second man is yatzar, as once that the pure form exists, G-d adds on features fitting for Earthly existence, but it is only temporary.

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