ויאמר אלקים נעשה אדם Hashem said let us make man
Rashi explains this Pasuk to demonstrate that even though no one helped Hashem create man, the Torah uses language of “we” to teach humility: that one asks permission from others even if they are not as great as he is. Rashi further emphasizes that the plural was used with full awareness that this language provides an opening for a non-believer to deny the Oneness of Hashem. The Alter from Slabodka says that we see from here the importance of a person’s having proper character traits. The pasuk could have been written “I will make man” which would have left no room for anyone to question Hashem’s power. However, by doing so, it would not teach us the lesson in humility. By using the plural, we learn that the importance of humility takes precedence over avoiding the possibility of someone erroneously questioning Hashem’s sole power. Even though the Rambam writes that one who believes in two powers does not have a portion in the world to come, still the Torah felt it was more important to use this language to teach humility- even at the expense of one mistakenly thinking Hashem doesn’t have complete authority. We can see from this the overriding importance of proper character traits.
This concept is also demonstrated in the Medrash in Devarim. After Hashem tells Moshe that he will not be able to enter Eretz Yisrael, Moshe asks if it is because the time has come for Yehoshua to be the leader of the Jewish people. If so, Moshe suggested that Yehoshua could be the leader, and he, Moshe, would enter Eretz Yisrael as an ordinary citizen. The Medrash explains that Hashem listened to him and began to speak to Yehoshua – without letting Moshe hear. After Yehoshua finished speaking to Hashem, Moshe asked him what had transpired. Yehoshua responded (as Hashem had commanded him to respond) that when you spoke to Hashem you did not confer with me so why should I confer with you! At that moment, Moshe realized that it was better to die than to be jealous. Even though Yehoshua was the student of Moshe, and one is not jealous of one’s own student, meaning that there was only a small tinge at most of jealousy, still Moshe felt that if staying alive would ruin his character traits, he did not want this to happen.
We see from here the importance of developing proper character traits for us to use throughout our entire life, as well as how difficult they are to develop and maintain. May we be able to use this time in the beginning of the year and the beginning of the Torah to work on developing proper personal qualities.