Tzelem Elokim

Home Forums Bais Medrash Tzelem Elokim

Viewing 7 posts - 1 through 7 (of 7 total)
  • Author
  • #593316

    What is it and who has it?


    The simple reading of the Mishna in Avos is that all people are chaviv on account of having been created b’tzelem elokim. I believe there are opinions that it is only talking about yidden, however, it seems the normative position based on the simple reading is that it is talking about all people.

    Now, tzelem elokim is understood by the Baalei mussar to mean the koach ha’bechira.

    To me that means that the ability to choose right and wrong is what makes us special, because it is that ability which makes us able to lift ourselves up and makes our actions matter.


    No one knows what it is.

    Everyone has it.

    Just be a mentsch.


    Chazal say that an animal doesn’t attack a person unless he appears to it like another animal. This is what Baalei Musser usually bring up, to point out that most people don’t have one. The fact that Adam was created that way doesn’t mean that we all have it regardless of our actions.

    Would you say that Lo Sallin applies to any human being? How’s about Hassoter Loyo Shel Chaveiro, and welcoming a guest, do they also include all mankind as if you did so to Hashem?

    I’d agree that there are different explanations, or different levels of understanding it; according to the level of understanding, it applies to different people. The Maharal on Avos, after a threefold Biur, writes that it only applies to Klal Yisroel but everyone has something. Any human is created in the same shape, hence they also look like the Tzelem Elokim. The Mishna says Chaviv Ha’adam because it wasn’t given to Klal Yisroel per se, but only to the ones on the level of Adam. What does mod 80 hold?


    We all have it, the question is, how well we wear it.

    My take? Its to what degree a person displays the image of one whose life is governed by torah.


    It’s weird that basic concepts in Yiddishkeit are up for grabs, and people would rather think up original meanings or depend on a Pasuk when there are Sefarim available. It’s fine if you found an approach that you can relate to and you go by that, but to say you saw a word in the Pasuk or just what sounds sweet is where the trouble starts.

    The Rambam didn’t make his Hilchos Dayos based on articles that he read or an inspirational email he got (that originated from a Christian website). He was Me’ayin in the areas of the Torah that those Midos can be learned. The same goes for all other Sefarim that deal with De’os. Even though you’ll find quotes from outside of the Torah, that is for technical support. They checked those opinions first against the Torah. They through out the window anything that didn’t echo the Torah’s perspective.


    The Rambam right at the beginning of Moreh Nevuchim explains at length that the tzelem eloykim refers to the mind of a person and to C”VS say that Hashem has a body.

    The Nefesh Hachaim starts off explaining this pasuk and bases his whole sefer upon it.

    ??? ???? ??????? ???? ????. ??? ?????? ??????? ????? ?? ???? ???? ???? ??? ???? ??????? ?????. ???? ??? ???? ???? ??? ???? ??????? ???????? ?”? ?? ???? ???? ??? ?????? ???????:

    Others add in that the pasuk is also referring to the body of a human which is made of 248 limbs corresponding to the mitzvos eseh. (By the way, I think that ???? ????? is gimatria 248 limbs)

Viewing 7 posts - 1 through 7 (of 7 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.