The question is about the concept not the song.

I noticed an interesting difference in the lyrics of two versions of the song "Ribon" by Beri Weber. The original English version contains the line "although we are not worthy." However, when sung by certain Chabad singers like Benny Friedman and Avraham Fried, the line is changed to "And though we don't feel worthy."

This alteration seems to reflect a theological distinction. The original implies that we are objectively not worthy, whereas the modification suggests that while we may not feel worthy, there is an inherent worthiness bestowed upon us by virtue of our being created by Hashem.

What is source for this second perspective - that human beings have an inherent worthiness or entitlement stemming from their status as Hashem’s creations? Any mekoros would be really appreciated !

2 Answers 2


I think a good example of both sides of the debate is Kiddushin 36a:

״בָּנִים אַתֶּם לַה׳ אֱלֹהֵיכֶם״, בִּזְמַן שֶׁאַתֶּם נוֹהֲגִים מִנְהַג בָּנִים – אַתֶּם קְרוּיִם בָּנִים, אֵין אַתֶּם נוֹהֲגִים מִנְהַג בָּנִים – אֵין אַתֶּם קְרוּיִם בָּנִים, דִּבְרֵי רַבִּי יְהוּדָה. רַבִּי מֵאִיר אוֹמֵר: בֵּין כָּךְ וּבֵין כָּךְ אַתֶּם קְרוּיִם בָּנִים, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: ״בָּנִים סְכָלִים הֵמָּה״, וְאוֹמֵר: ״בָּנִים לֹא אֵמֻן בָּם״, וְאוֹמֵר: ״זֶרַע מְרֵעִים בָּנִים מַשְׁחִיתִים״, וְאוֹמֵר: ״וְהָיָה בִּמְקוֹם אֲשֶׁר יֵאָמֵר לָהֶם לֹא עַמִּי אַתֶּם יֵאָמֵר לָהֶם בְּנֵי אֵל חָי״.

The verse: “You are the sons to the Lord your God,” indicates that when you act like sons and cleave to the Holy One, Blessed be He, you are called sons, but when you do not act like sons you are not called sons. This is the statement of Rabbi Yehuda. And Rabbi Meir says: Either way you are still called sons, as it is stated: “They are foolish sons” (Jeremiah 4:22). And it also states: “Sons in whom there is no faithfulness” (Deuteronomy 32:20). And it states: “A seed of evildoers, sons who deal corruptly” (Isaiah 1:4). And it states: “And it shall come to pass that, instead of what was said to them: You are not My people, it shall be said to them: Sons of the living God” (Hosea 2:1).

Note, from context this is about ones value as a Jew, not as a human. I think perhaps the greatest source on our value as humans is the idea that we are created Btzelem Elokim, in God's image, an idea repeated no less than 3 times in Bereshit, perhaps most famuosly at 1:27, where the Torah states:

וַיִּבְרָ֨א אֱלֹהִ֤ים ׀ אֶת־הָֽאָדָם֙ בְּצַלְמֹ֔ו בְּצֶ֥לֶם אֱלֹהִ֖ים בָּרָ֣א אֹתֹ֑ו זָכָ֥ר וּנְקֵבָ֖ה בָּרָ֥א אֹתָֽם׃

And God created humankind in the divine image, creating it in the image of God— creating them male and female.

And in fact, the Mishnah itself, in Avot 3:14, links these two, that humans, as being in God's Image, are inherently valuable, and Jews, as God's children, have an even higher intrinsic value:

הוּא הָיָה אוֹמֵר, חָבִיב אָדָם שֶׁנִּבְרָא בְצֶלֶם. חִבָּה יְתֵרָה נוֹדַעַת לוֹ שֶׁנִּבְרָא בְצֶלֶם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (בראשית ט) כִּי בְּצֶלֶם אֱלֹהִים עָשָׂה אֶת הָאָדָם. חֲבִיבִין יִשְׂרָאֵל שֶׁנִּקְרְאוּ בָנִים לַמָּקוֹם. חִבָּה יְתֵרָה נוֹדַעַת לָהֶם שֶׁנִּקְרְאוּ בָנִים לַמָּקוֹם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים יד) בָּנִים אַתֶּם לַה' אֱלֹהֵיכֶם.

He used to say: Beloved is man for he was created in the image [of God]. Especially beloved is he for it was made known to him that he had been created in the image [of God], as it is said: “for in the image of God He made man” (Genesis 9:6). Beloved are Israel in that they were called children to the All-Present. Especially beloved are they for it was made known to them that they are called children of the All-Present, as it is said: “you are children to the Lord your God”

  • The sources you brought are about the love Hashem has for us, which I don’t think anyone would argue with. The question is about deserving. Your sources do not necessarily mean we do or do not deserve anything. In fact we say לא על צדקותינו not because of us. Nov 29, 2023 at 15:05

Possibly the famous dictum from Chazal:

בשבילי נברא העולם

The world was created for me (Sanhedrin 37a)

In other words, even if we don't feel worthy, we must know that the world was created for us all individually and we thus have a worthwhile role to play.

  • Is that about man's worthiness? Or man's significance? Nov 30, 2023 at 4:18
  • I would argue both @chessprogrammer
    – Dov
    Nov 30, 2023 at 6:47
  • Perhaps you are right. My understanding of Rashi is significance. I think Rashi is pretty clear but of course there can be other interpretations. The commentaries I am seeing seems to explain it teaches how each action can have a huge impact on the world. Nov 30, 2023 at 18:43

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .