"The Way of G-d"
Part 1: "The Fundamental Principles of Reality"
Ch. 3: "Mankind"
We come now to the end of the chapter entitled "Mankind", and concentrate
this week upon the soul itself.
As we'd indicated, the soul becomes immeasurably empowered by the mitzvot we
do in this life. Nonetheless Ramchal's point in this chapter is that the soul
had a "life"-- i.e., a presence, purpose, and wherewithal-- even before it
entered the body. And that it enjoyed a high degree of *intrinsic* perfection
and brilliance then, even before becoming further empowered by mitzvot.
The soul's intrinsic perfection was already powerful enough to accomplish its
ultimate task, which is to purify a body (as we said). And it was already
powerful enough to transform the combination of body and soul into a
Nonetheless, G-d saw to it that the soul's intrinsic perfection be
suppressed, and that the soul not accomplish its goal -- yet. That is, before
the World to Come. As such, the soul had to stay in place, if you will, and
sit silently and alone by the waysides before it could enter a body -- until
its time would come.
Thus the soul could be said to be all potential at this point. It's already
primed to do great things, it has it within it to express itself radiantly
and mightily, and yet it's not allowed to yet. The way an athlete all primed
and pumped up might be asked to "sit it out" despite his or her talent and
power. Simply because it's not his or her turn.
The soul's time will come after the Resurrection, when it will be allowed to
express itself fully. When nothing and no one will hold it back. That
is when it will re-enter the body in all its glory and might, and will
*immediately* begin to purify the body. This initial process won't be a slow
and deliberate one, like a child growing and maturing. But rather an
It would be the moment that the soul had been waiting for, for so very long,
which it had been primed and trained for from its inception, and which it had
been honed for by a lifetime of mitzvot, which it can finally experience.
But that's not to say that body-and-soul couldn't evolve even further. For it
could. It's just that the body itself (that's to say, the renewed body, and
the ego and self that once identified with it as well) will enjoy a far
greater degree of enlightenment at that very first instant of reconnection
with the soul than it ever could in its lifetime. It's just that the *degree*
of that evolvement will all depend on the number and merit of mitzvot the ego
and self had performed in his or her life, while still embodied, and
accompanied by its (suppressed) soul.
The final point is that the greater number and depth of mitzvot accomplished
in this world, the higher the degree of enlightenment would the body-and-soul
experience immediately at the point of resurrection. And that degree of
enlightenment will then serve as a starting point for even further elevation
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