"The Way of G-d"
Part 1: "The Fundamental Principles of Reality"
Ch. 3: "Mankind"
We now delve further into the Soul World.
One fascinating picture Ramchal evokes of the situation of the soul in the
Soul World is that of a lover pining away for his beloved. After all, if body
and soul are a unit of two parts (as we'd indicated) that cannot fulfill its
purpose while separated, it only stands to reason that the soul would long
for the body while apart from it.
He does indicate, though, that while death does separate body and soul and
thus leaves the soul sad, alone, and unfulfilled for a time, it nonetheless
affects it for the good as well.
For while in the body, the soul associated with rank physicality and evil in
the natural course of things, and couldn't shake them off. It suffered as a
consequence, and experienced dimming and darkening. The way someone would
grow mad and dark-spirited if exposed to madness and chaos all the time,
despite himself. And any degree of perfection it attained in the performance
of mitzvot in this world was suppressed, and made to sit dormant in the
The soul becomes frustrated, if you will, as a consequence, since it can't
radiate the way it's capable of doing. (The body is frustrated, too, in that
instance. Since it can't be purified the way it would be if the soul *were*
allowed to radiate.)
In fact, if the soul were able to purify the body while the two were together
in this world (thanks to the mitzvot the person performed, which empower the
soul that way), the soul would have perfected *itself* in the process. Since
purifying the body would be an expression of the soulís inner being, and its
raison d'etre. For, as Ramchal puts it, "things achieve perfection when they
do what G-d decreed they do, and lose perfection as long as they don't."
(Once again Ramchal has allowed an eternal truism to flash before our eyes,
only to disappear forever unless we take it to heart, friends. Can we be said
to be doing what G-d decreed we do? Can one ever know? I dare say most of us
are not doing what we're supposed to be doing, simply because most of us
arenít perfecting ourselves, so much as *nourishing* ourselves. Consider the
difference. And I'd say that, yes, we *can* know if we're doing what's asked
of us if our skills match our tasks, and our tasks are rooted in-- or are at
least in alignment with-- true holiness.)
The soul's sense of frustration and suppression is nonetheless alleviated in
the Soul World. For there, the soul can radiate freely and to the degree
appropriate to it, in light of the mitzvot it performed in life. The soul
thus regains in the Soul World what it lost in life, and it also thus better
prepares itself for what it will ultimately do and was created to do-- purify
the body after the Resurrection, when the two will be rejoined.
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