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Heaven and Earth

"Hashamayim shamayim l'Hashem, v'ha'aretz nasan li'vnei adam." Psalm 115 verse 16 states, "As for the heavens, the heavens are G-d's. But the earth He has given to mankind.". The previous verse states that G-d made both heaven and earth. In Psalm 8 verse 7 it reads, "You gave him dominion over the works of Your hand. You placed everything under his feet." While man cannot control the celestial bodies, on earth man was granted freedom to determine both his actions and his beliefs. (Maharit). But this will only work only when man recognizes the that the entirety of creation belongs to G-d. For instance, we bless the food we eat based on another Psalm that states, "L'Hashem ha'aretz u'mlo'o", "G-d's is the earth and its fullness."

We see that the Torah is telling us that there must be an awareness that this world does not belong to man. Once this awareness is accompished, however, it is important for a person to take responsibility. The term "Li'vnei adam", to mankind, refers to man as "adam." There are a number of hebrew words for man, and "Adam" is the highest, referring to man's roots in Adam the first man. Adam had intense, deep awareness of the Creator and the secrets of creation. A person who sees the world for its depth should take responsibility by doing things like owning real estate. The Talmud in Tractate Yevamos pg. 63a derives from "The earth He has given to mankind" that it is important for a person to own a piece of real estate.

- adapted from the Artscroll Psalms pg 1382

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