What's this "Jewish soul" Thing? Aren't We All One?

What's this "Jewish soul" Thing? Aren't We All One?

By Rabbi Aaron Moss

Question:

Why do you speak of a "Jewish soul"? How can you put souls in boxes?

I think that, at a certain point, the question every human being will ask is "Who am I?" Ultimately, we discover that there are no attributes. To me, that is the essence of spirituality: there is a transcendence that we can experience that is beyond Jewish or Christian or Islam or Buddhist or even Atheist. Isn't it absurd to think that a soul has attributes like Jewish or non Jewish or black or white, etc?

Gary

Answer:

Dear Gary,

The idea that all souls are the same is one of the biggest mistakes of modern spirituality. We are so used to thinking that definitions create barriers and barriers cause hatred that we are convinced that to be spiritual means to have no borders. From a Kabbalistic perspective, this totally misses the point of existence.

Before creation, G-d had unity. G-d was all there was; there were no borders, definitions or distinctions. If unchallenged unity is what G-d wants, He had it already. He would not have created the world.

Creation was an act of making borders. From unity came multiplicity. Ours is a world of divisions: body and soul, male and female; as well as the divisions of nations, families and individuals.

Why did G-d create multiplicity? Doesn't that go against the oneness of G-d? No, it doesn't. Because the deepest unity is unity found within diversity. If we are all the same, then unity is no big deal. So G-d gave us all particular souls, each with its unique and diverse chartacteristics. When each individual as an individual, and each nation from within its own culture and perpective, recognizes the same G-d, that is real unity.

In other words, a unity that is challenged by diversity yet emerges from that very diversity is an invincible unity. That is something G-d "couldn't" have without a world like ours.

To blur the boundaries between nations, genders and individuals is to avoid facing the challenge which lies at the very heart of G-d's purpose in creation -- to find unity in our differences.

For the unity of humankind we need one G-d; but for G-d's unity to be complete we need human diversity.

Jews should be Jews, non-Jews should be non-Jews, men should be men and women should be women. And every individual has to be himself. Only then can we learn from each other the wisdom that we ourselves lack.

The majesty of G-d is revealed when each individual and comunity connects with Him from his/her/their unique vantage point. There is a contribution that only you can make to G-d's master plan. That's why you were born as you are -- a Jew, a male, and and the other distintive spiritual chasracteristicts that make you "Gary."

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