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Imitation of God

Imitation of God is the Jewish way of expressing the human obligation to imitate God in his actions. According to the Genesis account of Creation humans were made in the image of God and accordingly, they are commanded to "walk in his ways" (Deuteronomy 10:12). The idea of the imitation of God is found in rabbinic sources such as Hama bar Hanian, who gave the following explanation of the Deuteronomic verse: "How can a person walk after God?...What is meant is that one ought to walk after the attributes of God. Just as the Lord clothes the naked, so you shall clothe the naked (Genesis 3:21). Just as he visits the sick, so you shall visit the sick (Genesis 18:1). Just as he comforts mourners, so you shall comfort mourners (Leviticus 16:1). Just as he buries the dead, so you shall bury the dead (Deuteronomy 34:6)." (B.Sota 14a)

The Codifers made a similar point; Maimonides lists among the Commandments "to emulate God in his beneficient and righteous ways to the best of one's ability." A.G.H.


Bowker, John, The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions, New York, Oxford University Press, 1997, pp. 469-470

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