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Messilas Yesharim 12/21

Ramchal continues his chapter on the role of man in this universe. Ramchal argues that no sensible person could really believe that the purpose of creation is for our existence in this world. If you think about it, an intelligent creator would not possibly crate the world that we live in as the primary place of existence. People suffer much of their lives and no one dies with their desires and dreams completely fulfilled. The system is constantly in break down mode! No one actually gets what they want. Further argues Ramchal there would no point in creating a soul which does not get any pleasure from our physical world. It seems like cruel joke on the soul! The soul was happy to stay in a spiritual place – why burden the soul with being created in to a physical world?! The only explanation that is sensible is that the soul and all of creation is truly created for its existence in the post physical eternal spiritual world. There the soul can enjoy the benefits of all it accomplished in this world. The soul is thus willing to go through the travails of this physical world in order to gain the pleasure of the next world. The way that the soul earns that pleasure is by perfecting the physical imperfect body that it inhabits. The way we achieve that perfection is by the performance of Mitzvahs. Practicing mitzvahs gives our souls the key it needs for entry into the next world where it can enjoy its place in the spiritual realms.

This soul talk prompted some lively discussion regarding the nature of the soul. The soul has a mission and while it is here it is our body’s job to assist the soul in accomplishing that mission. When the mission is accomplished the soul remains in its eternal home for eternity. If the mission is incomplete then the part of the soul that has not achieved what it was meant to do returns to the physical world. The cycle continues until the soul has done its job to completion. The current souls are all fragments of the original souls which appeared at Sinai for the giving of the Torah to the Jewish people and the rest of the world. The Jewish soul was infused with its mission at that time and therefore the Jewish soul originated at the point which that mission was delivered.

To us humans the soul is an enigma but if we are confident in the existence of the soul then Ramchal makes a strong argument that our ultimate purpose it greater than just the physical life in which we find ourselves.

Click below to listen to the entire class (45 minutes)


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December 2008

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