The first human being at the time of Creation is named Adam. We see the word “adam” comes from the Hebrew word “adamah.” “Adamah” means dirt, the ground. The next time someone calls you a piece of dirt, tell him he’s right, because we all come from the ground. Why was the first person called “dirt”? What a derogatory name! We couldn’t find a better name?? Just as when we water the soil, care for it, and give it the right sunlight, it turns into fruits, flowers, and vegetables, so, too, with a person: If a person doesn’t take care of himself, he will be nothing. But if a person stays near good people and has the “right light,” he can grow into something great.
We know that, in Parshas B’reishis, when Hashem created the world, it says “Vayar Elokim ki tov.” With everything that was created, the Torah writes “it is good.” With the human being, it doesn’t say “it is good.” Does that mean that all the animals are good, but the humans aren’t? We can learn from here that when the Torah writes “it is good,” it means that’s how they were made and that’s what they will be. On the other hand, we human beings need to prove that we are good by doing mitzvos and g’milus chasadim. That way, after 120, he will look and say that he is good.
We all know the story of Kayin and Hevel. Hashem asks Kayin: Why did you kill d’mei achicha? Why did the Torah use the plural in this expression? We see that when you kill one person, you’re not only killing him, you’re also killing his children and grandchildren.
There was a famous story about a class in Yeshiva Chaim Berlin that usually had 20-30 students. On one very snowy day, only three or four students showed up. The rebbe still gave his class with energy. One boy asked the rebbe why he’s not giving a calmer class since most boys weren’t in class? The rebbe explained that he is not only teaching these boys, but he’s also teaching their children and grandchildren.
When you save a person, physically or spiritually, you’re not only saving that person, but you’re also saving the whole world, as we see from Adam HaRishon. If we work at it, we will become great.