Breisheit - Two Depictions of the Creation of Man

In this weeks parshah, the depiction of the creation of man is described in two different accounts. In the first instance, man is created on the sixth day - where man and woman are created together and then given the commandment to be fruitful and multiply.
Later in another account of the creation of man, G-d picks up dust and breathes into it, giving life to a single man. Then G-d sees that it is not good for man to be alone, and an extended narrative describes the creation of man's first companion - woman.

Rashi recognizes and proposes to reconcile these two differing accounts of the creation of man. He raises two interpretations. One, from Aggadah, describes the initial creation of a single being, but with two faces. Then in the later description, the single being is seperated into two entities - man and woman. The other explanation takes the simple meaning of the verses, where the creation occurred as described on the 6th day, creating man and woman. Then the Torah later goes into detail about the specific process involved in that act of creation.

Rav Joseph Dov Bear Soloveitchik takes this narrative and posits these two descriptions of the creation of man as fundamental archetypes in his seminal work - The Lonely Man of Faith.

The Rav sets the character of Adam 1 as the first description of the creation of man, saying that this the Man of Community. He is created with woman and given the essential commandment to be fruitful and multiply.
Then he sets the character of Adam 2 according to the second description of the creation of man. This Man of Faith. He is created alone, and maintains a direct relationship with G-d.

These archtypes serve to emulate two sides of our being - our relationship with our fellow man, and our relationship with G-d. Neither of these relationships are mutually exclusive. The trial of the Lonely Man of Faith is to carry through this life with a recognition of both these connections. The challenge and the ultimate success of serving G-d is as a man of community - not secluded in a desert. The ultimate success of the man of community is having the intimate awareness and perpetual relationship with G-d.

This hearkens back to the image of the being that Rashi describes - the entity with 2 faces. In striving to become the lonely man of faith we become that being - living as a single entity with the face of faith, and the face of community.

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