Wednesday, June 20, 2007

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Body and Soul

Rabbi Noson Weisz has a great article on the weekly parsha over at Aish, here. Here's a cool excerpt...

(From Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzatto, zt"l, in his work "Derech Hashem.", Part 1, Chapter 3.) He compares the union of the body and the soul to a shotgun marriage. The soul is permeable to Divine light and desires nothing more than to bask in the great spiritual joy it experiences when it connects to the Divine light that emanates from God's essence. No other possible experience of any sort could match the intense joy that can be experienced by connecting to the Divine Presence; consequently the soul finds attachment to material things repulsive. Such attachments weaken its ability to connect with the Divinity and cause it pain and frustration.

The body as it is originally formed is entirely impermeable to Divine light and does not experience any sensation at all when it comes into contact with it. Unlike the soul, which rejects any sort of union with the body, the body is not repulsed by the soul or by the Divine light to which it is attached; it is merely totally insensitive. The body is only interested in the material, because it is only the material world and the physical pleasure and pain that it provides that have the capacity to stimulate it. It is pursuing stimulation, not physicality as such.

The purpose of the arranged marriage between these opposites is two-fold. First of all, the inner struggle that results from being pulled in opposite directions transforms the human consciousness into a battleground and compels human beings to exercise their free will powers through every waking moment. But this marriage of opposites also has enormous positive potential. It is the body-soul bond that enables us to experience our ultimate reward in the World to Come.

Read the whole thing.


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