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The soul's descent to the physical is so that it may be elevated still higher.

Surrounded by Light

Surrounded by Light

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Surrounded by Light
The soul's descent to the physical is so that it may be elevated still higher.

Translated by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan from Likutei Torah 38d Before the soul comes into the world… love and fear are limited by the amount of perception that the soul has…

Before the soul comes into the world, it is in a state of "standing". It is thus written, "As G‑d lives, before whom I stood" (Kings I 17:1). It is likewise written, "I will give you a place to walk among those who are standing here" (Zachariah 3:7). It is only through the commandments that one observes in this world that one can attain a state of motion and walking, and the prophet was thus told, "I will give you a place to walk."

The concept of standing is that of, "[You shall love the Lord your G‑d…] with all your soul". (Deut. 6:5) In this state, love and fear are limited by the amount of perception that the soul has, as well as by its attachment to the Living G‑d.

Angels are therefore said to be standing, as it is written, "Serafim standing" (Isaiah 6:2). The reason for this is because angels permanently stand on one level. Thus, for example, the archangel Michael is always on the level of Love, while Gabriel is on the level of Fear. This love and fear depend on their level of perception, this being the Light of the Infinite that fills all universes. This light fills each universe according to its level and status.

This is also the state of souls before they come to the world. They are also said to be standing, since during this entire period they constantly stand on one level, depending on their intrinsic level and status in each world. In this state, they only have access [to the Light that] "fills all worlds", each according to its particular status. The physical world is a world of action where a person can change his nature…

The physical world is a world of action where a person can change his nature from evil to good, and bring his heart from one extreme to the other, "transforming darkness into light". On a physical plane, the world [in Hebrew, "olam"] hides and conceals [also in Hebrew, "olam"] G‑d's light which fills all worlds, so that it is not revealed as it is on high. Therefore, the Light of the Infinite which "surrounds all worlds" must rest upon the soul, enveloping it from above…

The power of this enveloping light, derived from the aspect where it "surrounds all worlds", is very great, and it can alter and even reverse man's nature and essence on high. Through this, the soul can progress in its perception and attachment to the Living G‑d. It can transcend the state in which it was originally created, which only included the aspect [of Light that] "fills all worlds".

The concept of illumination that emanates from the enveloping light, which is in a state that "surrounds all worlds", is called "moving". It moves and progresses from one level to another, drawing the concept of enveloping Light which depends on the observance of the Torah and Commandments.

("The Chasidic Masters", Moznaim Press)

Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan was the Bronx-born renowned author of over 50 books. In addition to his brilliant success as a youthful prodigy in various yeshivas, as a university graduate student, he was described in a scientific "Who's Who" as the most promising young physicist in America. In the field of Kabbala in English, he translated and elucidated two of the oldest and most important texts: Sefer Yetzira and Sefer Habahir, and his Meditation and Kabbala is still the classic in the field. The Jewish people suffered a tragic loss when he passed away suddenly in 1983 at the age of 48.
Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi (18 Elul 1745-24 Tevet 1812), known as "the Alter Rebbe," was one of the main disciples of the Maggid of Mezritch, and the founder of the Chabad Chassidism. He is the author of Shulchan Aruch HaRav and Tanya as well as many other major works in both Jewish law and the mystical teachings.
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Paz Los Angeles, CA via January 29, 2010

Nefesh, Ruach, Neshama (NaRa As far as I know they are distinct entities in as much as they are distinct animating drives with distinct appetites and directions. The nefesh unites with the blood itself and focuses in the appetites of the organs that lie below the diaphragm, essential for keeping the body alive both individually and beyond the individual. The ruach focuses in the torso and directs the emotional drives for love, thrills, and connection. The Neshama focuses in the head and extends to heart, driving the mind to perceive and conceive the Truth, and can, therefore, be transparent to the Light beyond, Chaya, and it's source, the Yechida. Only emotional and active connection to the Yechida unites all the otherwise disparaging drives as they are rooted of a single Essence of full and complete Being. Reply

Anonymous winnipeg, canada via October 5, 2009

souls Can you comment on the nefesh/Animal soul and Ruach and Neshama/G-dly soul. Are they three souls or levels or components of one soul ? Reply

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