Betzelem Garinim

Betzelem Garinim

The Garinim (PreK-1st grade) entered week 4 of Textploration at Makom with an eager mind. We’ve been tackling the text of Bereshit 1, exploring the diversity of what God created on days one through six. God separated light from darkness, sea from land, created plants and fruits, sun and moon, the stars, and of course, the animals – but what did God create on day 6? Earthlings, of course! 

“‘Let us make earthlings in our image, after our likeness. They shall rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the cattle, the whole earth, and all the creeping things that creep on earth.’ And God created earthlings in the divine image, – in the image of God” Gen 1:26

To understand this text, we had to answer a crucial question. What does it mean to be created in the image of God? And, what does it mean to master the other things God created? Garinim’s answer was emphatic. As stated in the Bereshit 1 text, our role as “rulers” means that we have a responsibility to be kind to plants and animals. It means that we are duty bound to help things grow and increase goodness in our environment, not destroy it. 

They came to this conclusion not just through discussion, but through a hands-on activity of building a Garinim terrarium. We filled a jar with soil, rocks, sand and seeds and discussed the things we need to make it grow – water and sunlight. Garinim took turns feeling the natural materials and deciding where to place the jar at Makom where it had the best chance to grow. Then, much like God at end of the week of creation, it was time to rest; to sit back and watch our creation flourish.

Finally, the Garinim kiddos drew the comparison between Earthlings and God – being made in God’s image, in Hebrew –  B’tzelem Elohim, בְּצֶ֥לֶם אֱלֹהִ֖ים.

“God blessed them and said to them, increase!  fill the earth and master it; and rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and all the living things that creep on earth.” Gen 1:28

Together we were able to understand that like God, we are creators. We have the power to create things that wouldn’t exist without our effort – arts, plants, flowers, friendships – and we have responsible agency to care and watch over them as they increase, and multiply. 

PS – Since the terrarium needs ample light, you can check it out in the front window when you pick up your kiddos! 

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