"Moshiach is ready to come now-our part is to increase in acts of goodness and kindness" -The Rebbe

Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Intellectual Soul (pt. 3): The Boost from the Divine Soul

The Intellectual Soul (pt. 3)
The Boost from the Divine Soul

Rabbi Yehoishophot Oliver

(Continued from The Intellectual Soul, pt. 1 and The Intellectual Soul, pt. 2.)

But if so, how is the Intellectual Soul of a Jew any better? It too consists of worldly, human intellect; by what virtue does it also “sense spiritual refinement”?

Rather, the Jew’s Intellectual Soul itself is not inherently different from the non-Jew’s. However, since the Jew possesses the Divine Soul (a.k.a., Nefesh HoElokis) that transcends the world completely, and the Nefesh HoElokis becomes vested within the Nefesh HoElokis, this proximity subdues the Nefesh HoElokis’ natural sense of ego and enables it to “sense spiritual refinement” in a way that makes it possible for the Jew to attain true objectivity in intellectual judgments, and thus fully fulfill the potential of the Intellectual Soul. It emerges that the verse, “The spirit ... of man rises upwards” refers primarily to the Jew’s Intellectual Soul.

Perhaps this is comparable to the difference between two people of equal intelligence. One constantly keeps the company of a very spiritual, inspired, and sagely rabbi, while the other keeps no such company, and so he is left to live a life focused on materialism. All things being equal, the former will be much more spiritually inclined than the other.

This explains the double expression in the Mishnah cited above: “Beloved is man ... it is by special divine love ... ”

The first phrase refers to the Intellectual Soul within all mankind, while the second phrase refers to the Intellectual Soul within the Jewish people. “Beloved is man ... ” tells us that the non-Jew is beloved to Hashem because of his Intellectual Soul. In contrast, “it is by special divine love that he is informed that he was created in the image of G–d” tells us that a Jew is beloved to Hashem because of his Divine Soul. Because of this belovedness, Hashem also gives the Jew an Intellectual Soul.

The Jew’s responsibility to elevate the nations

This is also the reason that Torah instructs, and even obligates the Jew to influence non-Jews positively by teaching them the Noahide laws, as the Rambam rules explicitly: “Moshe was commanded via a direct divine revelation [to tell the Jewish people] to compel all the world’s inhabitants to undertake the laws commanded to Noah’s descendants.”[1] The Tosafos Yom Tov explains[2] that the expression “compel” also includes the imperative to use verbal persuasion, to explain to someone resistant the necessity to adhere to the Noahide laws. Of course, [3] at the same time one should be careful to influence non-Jews in a pleasant, peaceful manner, for it is written of the Torah, “Its ways are ways of pleasantness, and all its paths are peace.”[4]

Why was the Jew in particular assigned with this mission? Because provided that the Jew is refined and G–d-fearing, his more sensitive Intellectual Soul enables him to serve as a true guide for the non-Jew, elevating him above the limitation of his Intellectual Soul, and bringing him to relate to the world, and to the moral choices he is constantly called upon to render, in a manner that is truly objective, and therefore truly correct and truly ethical.

Based on the Rebbe's Likkutei Sichos, Vol. 15, pp. 58 ff.

[1] Mishneh Torah, Laws of Kings, 8:10.
[2] Tosafos Yom Tov, Avos 3:14.
[3] Hisva’aduyos 5747, Vol. 1, p. 82.
[4] Mishlei 3:17.

This article was dedicated by Moshe Maaravi and family as a merit for the refuah sheleimah of Yehoshua ben Sheva.

Dedicated in the merit of a speedy release for the captives Yonasan ben Malka (Jonathan Pollard), Jacob Ostreicher (Yaakov Yehuda ben Shaindel), Alan Gross (Aba Chonah ben Hava Chana), Sholom Mordechai Halevi ben Rivka (Sholom Rubashkin), and Zeva Rochel bas Chaya (Wendy Weiner Runge).

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