Let “Us” Make Man

Question

Who was God addressing when He said, “Let US create man in our image”? Who does “us” refer to?

5 months

Answers

  1. The language that the Torah uses does seem strange. God says “Let Us Make Man,” and, as a result, the following dialogue is recorded in the Midrash: When Moses wrote down the Torah and came to this verse, which is written in the plural and implies that there more than one Creator, he said, “Master of the Universe! Why do You furnish a pretext to the heretics to maintain that there is a plurality of divinities?”

    “Write!” God replied. “Whoever wishes to err will err….Instead, let them learn from their Creator Who created all, yet when He came to create man He took counsel with the ministering angels.”

    From this we learn just how important it is to always consult with others before embarking upon major new initiatives. God was not deterred from
    by the possibility that some might choose to find a sacrilegious interpretation in the verse. The implication of God’s response is that is that one who truly seeks the truth will see it; one who looks for an excuse to blaspheme will find it.

    The Targum Yonatan, a translation of the Torah into Aramaic by Yonatan ben Uziel who was the greatest of Hillel’s students, circa 165 CE, paraphrases the verse to read, “And God said to the ministering angels who had been created on the second day of the Creation of the World, ‘Let us make man.’”

    The Abarbanel, Don Isaac Abarbanel, a late fifteenth century commentary and authority, explains that this verse teaches that man was created
    with great deliberation and wisdom. Instead of creating man the way He had created the rest of the world, God brought man into existence with the deepest involvement of Divine Providence.

    Best wishes from the AskTheRabbi.org Team