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Can you describe the Jewish soul?

by Rabbi Shlomo Chein

  

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Question:

Please define for me the Jewish soul, but on simple enough terms so that I can understand it in relation to the things I do every day.

Thank you,
Steve 


Answer:

The Jew is created for and with a special mission: to bring G-dliness into this materialistic world. It is not sufficient for the Jew to be good; he must be G-dly. The Jewish soul is the energy given to the Jew to be able to carry out this mission.1

A person is known as a "miniature world"2. The soul can perhaps be explained as a "microcosm of G-d". By allowing his G-dly soul to be expressed within his own existence the Jew can bring G-d into all of existence.

The Hebrew word for "world" is Olam, which means concealment. The nature of the world is to conceal G-d's existence. Many ask how we even know G-d exists. The Jew may ask the same thing. He may wonder how will I ever bring G-d into a world that wishes to deny Him. He may question the feasibility of his mission.

That's when his soul kicks in and says "of course G-d can enter the world; as a matter of fact, I am already here, just reveal me, and let me be exposed".

It is this soul that gives the Jew the power to be G-dly in a human world, and supernatural in a natural universe.

So the next time you face adversary, feel ostracized, or question your ability to carry out your Divine mission of Judaism, remember, G-d is not only with you, He is in you.

(See also What is the purpose of Judaism?)

Footnotes

  • 1. All humans are expected to be good and charged with the mission of making the world a better place; thus the standard human soul possesses the necessary means to enable goodness and progress. But the Jew has an additional mission, and therefore an additional soul.
  • 2. Midrash Tanchuma Parshat Pikudei chapter 3. Further expounded on by Rabbi Isaac Luria and Chassidic writings.

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