Why the Soul


Why the Soul


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The Soul in this World

By Chaim Lazer

   Where was your soul before it came into this world? Before it's descent into this world, the soul let a lofty life. It was in orbit, like a moon, swirling around G-d, enjoying the infinite warm bliss of the revelation of G-d into the entity of finite creation. Its reality was that of a purely spiritual life that consisted of absorbing the ultimate of unfathomable and endless pleasure in the most sublime spiritual sense - and from the source of all infinite life.

   When its time came to descend into this world, it was jerked from its enjoyment of extreme bliss and pleasure, from in front of the infinite radiator of life, and incarcerated into a confining, constraining, and non spiritual physical body. The new abode of the soul was not a comfortable environment, as the soul was soon to learn. Not only did the body not have any real appreciation of the spiritual, but rather it had a strong attachment and desire for the physical. The body had basically no ability to perceive Godliness.

   If it were not so bad that the soul was in a unfeeling foreign body, The soul itself could no longer relate to its former state of bliss. It was cut off from its source. In addition to this, the soul was given a task to due down in this cold dark planet. Failure to complete the task could result in a severe punishment.

   What was the purpose in all of this? What was gained by the extreme descent from a lofty spiritual high into a low and purely physical world? Would not it had been better for the soul if it remain in a secure and blissful environment, rather than chancing a punishment which might last all eternity?

   The answer to this question is very deep and interesting.

   True, the soul did leave a very fertile environment. Just like the baby that leaves the secure and warm womb of the mother and comes into the insecure environment of this world. A world that the new born baby neither knows, nor relates to, so the soul leaves the place of its creation and descends to this world. Together, mated for life, the body and soul are to go through life's experiences sometimes sharing with each other, sometimes at odds. Yet this strange pair, like the he-man male and the feminine female, two opposites, must learn to live together in harmony. All of this, of course, is for a greater purpose, as will soon be explained.

   In the environment of the physical, the body soon becomes the dominant partner. The body possess the senses for understanding the physical world, the soul does not. The physical body and the physical world are natural attractions. But later, as life develops, the spiritual yearnings of the soul become apparent in the body. As the body matures and becomes more sensitive, it realizes that the soul yearns for the spiritual. The body feels the tug of the soul, longing for the spiritual pleasures that it enjoyed prior to its descent into this dark and cold physical world.

   The rest is history. The body desires, the soul desires. They pull in opposite directions.

   Who wins?

   Still the major question has not yet been answered. For what purpose has the soul descended into this world?

   The answer is that the purpose of the soul is two fold. One is to guide the body through the difficult terrain of the physical world to complete its purpose And, two, for the soul to earn a reward for its job well done. Free unearned enjoyment is an embarrassment, compared to one who has labored to enjoy a reward. If the soul is successful, it will reach a greater pleasure in the next world. If it fails, it may be punished.

   What is the job of the body in this world?

   According to the mystical traditions and teachings, before this world was created, another world was created but that world did not endure. It exploded, causing "pieces" of G-dliness to descend into this, the lowest world. A crude physical body was created that can function in this world. A sublime soul, which connects the body to the upper world, was installed with in the body to give the body its life force.

   The job of the physical body is to raise up those "pieces" - holy sparks that fell down during the creation of prior worlds.

   This is similar to a deep-sea diver. When ancient wooden boats carrying treasure chests of rare jewels and coins sank in the deep waters of the oceans; no man could swim down deep enough to retrieve the treasures. Only with the aid of a modern pressurized deep sea diver's suit with a self contained air supply could some one descend down to the depths of the sea. When the diver raises up the treasures, he is rewarded for his work. If he goes astray down at the bottom of the sea, inspecting all the rare fish and vegetation, he is liable to be punished.

   The deep-sea divers suit is like the body, the man inside is like the soul. When the man carries out his job diligently, the soul is rewarded by given an even higher place in the next world. But know, too, that the body is also rewarded, for that is the purpose of the resurrection of the dead.

   Both the body and the soul, the two partners in this world, will receive rewards if they carry out their tasks properly. That is the purpose of the soul in this world, to guide the body. That is the reason it had to leave a lofty and spiritual place, to cause it to become a vessel in which holiness may come to rest.

from the January 2000 Edition of the Jewish Magazine




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