Avos, chapter 3, reads in part:

הוּא הָיָה אוֹמֵר חָבִיב אָדָם שֶׁנִּבְרָא בְצֶלֶם חִבָּה יְתֵרָה נוֹדַעַת לוֹ שֶׁנִּבְרָא בְצֶלֶם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר כִּי בְּצֶלֶם א׳ עָשָׂה אֶת הָאָדָם

Sefaria's translation (which I'm not certain is correct, but let's go with it because I can't do better):

He would say: Beloved is man, since he is created in the image [of God]. A deeper love - it is revealed to him that he is created in the image, as it says: "for in God's image He made man."

He cites Noach 9:6, "שֹׁפֵךְ דַּם הָאָדָם בָּאָדָם דָּמוֹ יִשָּׁפֵךְ כִּי בְּצֶלֶם אֱלֹהִים עָשָׂה אֶת הָאָדָם", as evidence that man was נברא בצלם. Why not cite instead the earlier verse where man was in fact נברא בצלם, viz B'reshis 1:26–27, "וַיֹּאמֶר א׳ נַעֲשֶׂה אָדָם בְּצַלְמֵנוּ כִּדְמוּתֵנוּ… וַיִּבְרָא א׳ אֶת הָאָדָם בְּצַלְמוֹ בְּצֶלֶם א׳ בָּרָא אֹתוֹ"?

Credits: Thanks to Sefaria for the vowels for Avos, and to Rabbi Avi Kannai from whom I heard this question.

  • One reason that seems very reasonable to me is that unlike Gen. 1, Gen. 9 explicitly states that this fact has practical ramifications.
    – mevaqesh
    Nov 6, 2016 at 6:05
  • @mevaqesh, that was in fact part of R. Kannai's answer and may also be what Rashi means. Note though that 1:26 also seems to (possibly) include a practical ramification: "וירדו וכו׳". But please post an answer if you have one.
    – msh210
    Nov 6, 2016 at 6:10
  • I don't have a source at the moment. || a) I don't know why you assume that ruling the animals is related. b) even if it were, the idea of universal human importance/dignity (Gen. 9) is much more relevant to the point of the Mishna (the preciousness of Man), than Man's possibly inherent ability to catch fish.
    – mevaqesh
    Nov 6, 2016 at 6:16

2 Answers 2


It seems to me that the key is "חִבָּה יְתֵרָה נוֹדַעַת לוֹ שֶׁנִּבְרָא בְצֶלֶם"

In Bereishit 9, G-d is directly commanding mankind not to kill people, because they were created in the image of G-d. in other words, "נוֹדַעַת לוֹ".

In Bereishit 1, G-d is either speaking to angels, or recording the fact, not directly telling it to us.

I just saw the Midrash Shmuel quoted as saying the same thing here (by the Pirush Tosafot Yom Tov):

ובמדרש שמואל פירש בשם החסיד ז"ל שלכך הביא זה המקרא, לפי שבו הודיע לישראל בעצמם שהם בנים, שמו שכתוב: "בנים אתם" וגו'. וכן לעיל: "בצלם אלהים עשה את האדם" – הודיע לבני האדם בעצמם. וכן לקמן ל"לקח טוב נתתי לכם". עד כאן.

  • I think that it is chiba yetera firstly. In the verse of Bereshit there is no indication of chiba
    – kouty
    Nov 6, 2016 at 13:34
  • @kouty: it sounds like you're saying that G-d telling man to to kill each other (or themselves) is because He loves us. If that is what you're saying than I like that Diyuk
    – Menachem
    Nov 7, 2016 at 2:29
  • I mean man is chaviv =>killing man is punished ; the second step is to say the law killing man =>punishment ; the third step is to explain. First step is חביב; third step is חיבה יתרה. That's what I tried to say :)
    – kouty
    Nov 7, 2016 at 4:56

Answer misvara:

It seems that:

  1. the verse in parshat Noach (Bereshit 9, 6) told about tselem as a reason for punishment because of sheding human blood contrarily to animal shed blood. This is not only teaching a law. This is presented as _the rational of the law . This is חביב אדם שנברא בצלם

  2. Thus, this is a proof for "chaviv adam" , not of chiba yetera.

  3. Hashem gave the law which says that a killer would be punished.

  4. Hashem in this law explained the reason (taam hamitsva). This is חיבה יתרה נודעת להם שנברא בצלם. Because to say someone this reason is to reveal him that we love him.

  5. from the other verse (in Bereshit1, 26) you see nivra betselem but without "chavivut" . Because you don't know what this imply.


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