This infographic portrays, what every thoughtful person realizes, that man is the chosen of creation.
The primary uniqueness of man lies in the fact it is the only creature in creation that possesses free choice between good and evil. This fact is self evident, as every person knows they have a good side and a dark side. The duality in human nature becomes evident when we examine the way man was created as described in the Torah. All creatures are comprised of both body and soul. While all other creatures were created alive - body and soul simultaneously by a single divine utterance - it was only man that was first created as an inert lifeless clod of earth after which G-d imbues this clod with the 'breath of life.'
Understanding our source in comprising a 2 step process sheds light on the reality of mans dual nature - our capacity for free choice.
All other creatures that were created in one step (a single utterance) have only a singular nature. The nature of spiritual beings is that they are nullified to their source in G-d, for which reason angels are sometimes called in scripture by one of G-ds names as they see themselves as merely extensions of him. Animals on the other hand, comprise of a singular nature to the other extreme, namely self preservation. An animals entire life revolves around serving the self. Man, a creature which the Jewish Sages speak of being 3 parts angel and 3 parts animal, possesses both these potentials.
So how is it that man can be greater than the angels and yet worse than the cruelest of animals?
The logical answer is, since its natural for angels to serve G-d its also far easier. But for man to overcome his ego and natural animalistic urges and choose to do the right thing is much more cherished and impressive in the eyes of G-d. Likewise since man was created with the potential to do what's right, when one disregards this potential and instead chooses to act like animal it is considered far worse than an animal that lacks free choice whereas man does and therefore a higher standard of behavior is expected.
A closer examination of mans creation process gives us another deeper answer. Mans first stage of being was a lifeless clod of earth. This state of being is far more coarse and gross than all the other creatures that were created alive. Furthermore of the 4 elements that comprise physical reality, earth is the lowest.
In keeping to the universal law that the 'higher something is the lower it falls,' the only force capable of refining this clod at the lowest levels of physicality must come from the highest levels of spirituality, namely 'G-d's breath' that was 'blown into mans nostrils.' Now while the Torah speaks in anthropomorphic terms to 'calm the ear' the Zohar comments on the significance of the term 'blowing,' that 'one who blows, blows from within.' This indicates that the soul of man emanates from the inwardness of G-d thereby transcending anything else in creation even the highest of angels that still nevertheless stem from the level of 'speech.'
And so man is comprised of the 2 most extreme opposites - extreme material and extreme spiritual and this is why we see such disparity in humanity from monsters to heroes.
The question we are left with is, what is the purpose of mans uniqueness?
In a nutshell the answer is we are here to bring heaven down to earth, to spiritualize and refine the material, to bring peace between these 2 most extreme opposites, thereby making this world into a dwelling place for G-d. Man - a composition of these 2 opposing forces, is perfectly suited to the task of refinement, starting with ones self, surroundings and circle of influence. By doing so, man becomes a partner with G-d in bringing creation to its ultimate state of completion - the Messianic era.
- Based on the Rashab's Kuntres Umaayan, Discourse 15