The Unity of Self

Man in dessertHuman beings are not simple, but complex things rarely are. From a Torah (Biblical) perspective, human complexity begins with Genesis, that is to say, the two very different descriptions contained in the book of Genesis describing Adam’s (the first of our kind) creation. In short, part one (of the narrative) describes Adam’s creation as lowly, a derivative of dust and earth  - “The Lord formed man from the dust of the earth” (Genesis 2:7).

In contrast, part two (of the very same verse) describes his origins as lofty, a derivative of the Divine “breath” - “And God breathed into his (Adam’s) nostrils a living soul.” So which are we, dust or spirit, heaven or earth? Kabbalah explains that we are in fact both, and it is because we are both that complexity/confusion arises. Specifically, it is from our “dust” (physical consciousness ) that worldly appetites, e.g. food and drink, are formed. In contrast, it is from our source in the “Divine breath” (the Godly soul within) that Godly instincts, e.g. charity and prayer, arise.

It is painfully obvious that when these two “sides” of our psyche collide (each demanding the other yield), “complexity” (struggle) arises. Question? Is this duality inevitable or can peace be brokered between the “warring parties”? Are we “hybrids” of heaven and earth condemned to suffer eternally, one moment touching the stars above and the next, falling lifeless to the earth below? Or, is there a better way, a path to harmonize/unite the forces within? To answer the question we turn to a famous Talmudic principle (the last of Rabbi Yishmael’s 13 principles) which states, “When two verses contradict, a 3rd verse comes to resolve the contradiction.” In simple terms, when two verses in the Torah (Bible) contradict (point, seemingly, toward opposite truths), there is always a 3rd verse that comes to resolve the contradiction. In the language of Kabbalah, this “resolving force” is termed “Kav Haemtza” (“The Middle Line”). Kabbalah explains further, that just as a “Middle Line” exists in Torah (resolving apparent scriptural contradictions) so, too, in life-- in our spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical experiences. To say it another way, there is no challenge of body or soul that can’t be resolved, provided we tap (reach) the “Middle Line”. Why? Because the power to “resolve” (“Middle Line” consciousness) derives from a source higher than the initial conflict itself.

If so, what is the “Middle Line” strategy to resolve our physical/spiritual tensions? How do we bring together the dust and stars within? Answers Kabbalah, Torah - the Biblical path (613 Commandments for Israel and 7 Commandments for the nations). Here’s why; Torah is sourced in Godliness (as stated explicitly in the Holy Zohar that “God and Torah are one”), and Godliness is neither spiritual nor physical (“physical” and “spiritual” are creations of Divinity, not Divinity itself). Meaning, when Divinity becomes revealed, both body and soul, “vessel” and “light” in the terminology of Kabbalah, “submit”-- become nullified to their Divine source. Hence, when we tap into Torah consciousness, the “Middle Line” of creation, we infuse our “dust” and “stars” (body and soul) with Divinity itself, transforming completely the once incessant duel into a duet!

So study harder, pray with greater intensity ,and carry out good deeds......your inner duet is fast approaching! 

Always Check The Mirror

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