"G‑d then formed man out of dust of the ground, and He blew into his nostrils a soul of life, and man became a living being." (Gen. 2:7)

"G‑d then formed": We do not find any mention of "creation" in this verse, for both the body and the soul were formed of pre-existing matter: the body from earth, and the soul from the essence of G‑d. (Sefer HaMa'amarim 5748, p. 14) Adam (and Eve) were created in the form of mature, twenty-year old adults. (Bereishit Rabbah 14:7)

Man is the primary purpose of Creation while everything else is secondary and ancillary to him

"And He breathed": In contrast to the rest of Creation, which was created with G‑d's speech, man's soul was given to him through G‑d's breath. We all breathe constantly and can talk for hours on end. But after blowing for just a short time a person becomes exhausted. This is because when blowing, the breath comes from deeper in the lungs than it does with simple breathing or talking. Thus, the idiom of G‑d "breathing" man's soul into him indicates that man's soul originates from deeper "within" G‑d than the rest of Creation. This simply means that man is the primary purpose of Creation while everything else is secondary and ancillary to him. Man's divine soul is a spark - i.e. a part -of G‑d. This soul can never lose its intrinsic connection with G‑d. Man's challenge is to ensure that this connection remains manifested within his physical being. Just as when one blows, the air will only reach its destination if there are no obstructions, so can the G‑dly soul shine only if there are no obstacles that obscure it. (Tanya, ch. 2; Iggeret HaTeshuvah, ch. 4-5)

"A living being": this idiom is identical to that used of the animals (ibid 1:20, 21, 24). What distinguishes man from the animals is the "soul of life" G‑d breathed into him before he "became a living being". The fact that the blowing in of the "soul of life" precedes or perhaps even activates his being becoming "a living being" indicates that man's spiritual nature is meant to be ascendant over his physical nature.

G‑d created all other creatures in only one phase: He spoke and they came to be. In contrast, He created man in two steps. His body was first formed from earth lifeless and inanimate. Only afterwards was the soul introduced to give life. This is because in all other creatures there is enough of a relationship between body and soul that both may be formed simultaneously. The soul of man and his body, however, share no intrinsic connection. His soul is of a higher spiritual order than anything else in existence, while his body consists of non-living dust, inferior even to animals and plants. They are of such opposite extremes that G‑d "had to" create them separately. (Torah Or 3d)

This concept is also reflected in the name "Adam". On a simple level, the Hebrew word "adam" is derived from the word "adamah" (meaning "earth"), the origin of the body. However, it can also be etymologically linked to the word "adameh", which means "I will be compared". This signifies the destiny and capacity of mankind: to be compared - and comparable - to G‑d Himself. (Sefer HaMa'amarim Melukat, vol.1, pp. 295-6)

G‑d created man in this way for two reasons:

If an entity is to ascend, even its lowest part must ascend with it…

Firstly, if an entity is to ascend, even its lowest part must ascend with it. Similarly, in order for man to fulfill his destiny of spiritually completing and perfecting the world, he must possess a bond with every aspect of Creation. Therefore, man's body was formed of the lowest common denominator, so that even the lowest elements on the spiritual hierarchy can be rectified through him. (Torah Ohr, p. 7. Sefer HaMa'amarim 5714, pp. 126-7) This gives us additional insight into Rashi's statement that G‑d collected earth from all over the world to create man's body. By doing this, G‑d made man encompass the entire material world he was to elevate.

Secondly, humankind's mission is to combine two opposites: the spiritual consciousness of G‑dliness with the darkness of the physical world. By creating man through a similar fusion of extremes, G‑d infused him with the natural capacity to do this. (Hitva'aduyot 5750, vol. 1, p.301; Sefer HaMa'amarim 5721,pp. 343-4)

Man's creation from dust of the earth, as well as his being the last among all of creation, served to introduce humility into all of humanity. Although we are indeed the purpose of creation if we live up to our potential, if we do not we are left only with a body that was preceded both in time and level by all other creatures. (Sefer HaMa'amarim Kuntreisim, vol. 1, pp. 7-8)

This also serves as a practical lesson. In attempting to serve G‑d, we are often tempted to reach for great levels of spiritual feeling and insight. The Torah reminds us that the first facet of our being was dust of the earth. We must begin with a simple unassuming acceptance of G‑d's will, and only then can we aspire to "a soul of life." (Sefer HaMa'amarim 5744, p. 202)

This can also be taken as proof of man's connectedness with G‑d. Even though G‑d "blew into his nostrils a soul of life," this does not rule out the possibility that man somehow conceals and obstructs the Divine light. Therefore, the Torah continues and tells us that "man became a living being," i.e., that the G‑dly infusion was indeed successful, and that the Divine soul was fully manifest in man's being. (Sefer HaMa'amarim 5732, p. 154)

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