“For a human being stamps many coins with one stamp, and all of them are alike; but the King of the kings of kings, the Holy One, blessed be He, has stamped every man with the stamp of Adam the First, and nevertheless not one of them is like the other. Therefore every man may say: The world was created for my sake, hence I must be upright, just, etc....” - Babylonian Talmud (Tractate Sanhedrin, Chapter IV, Mishna III)
During our morning services today, the topic of discussion was how we humans were created b’tzelem Elohim - in the image of God, as it is phrased so eloquently in the Scriptures. But what can this mean? Our Deity is eternal and invisible, without form or body, unlike we mortal humans. How can we claim to be made in the image of God?
It occurred to me that God, though He cannot be seen directly, can nevertheless be seen by reflection. [In this manner we see that God is the exact opposite of the Transylvanian vampire.] And we - we mortal humans - are the reflected images of God.
The quality of that reflection, of course, is highly variable... because every individual is reflected in a different, unique mirror. Some of those mirrors are nearly flawless, but that is the exception. Most of us are reflected through mirrors that are cracked or distorted... in some cases, veritable funhouse mirrors, the shiny surfaces of which may be obscured by grime, bespattered (so to speak) with an encrustation of sins and misdeeds.
There’s good news: We all have the capability of doing good, of helping to repair the world in a myriad of small ways, of being better people... and when our actions take us in those directions, we scrape away some of the crud that diminishes our reflected images. Spiritual Windex, you could say. And if our personal mirrors are warped or cracked, what of it? We can still try to keep them as clean as possible, for even a distorted reflection carries the image of God within it. Humans don’t need to be perfect, after all - what is required of us is that we do the best we can.