appear to the person that when he commits a sin his Judaism remains intact?
MAN’S DEPENDENCE ON PHYSICALITY, IN BODY AND IN SPIRIT
3. The answer will emerge from a discussion of the dependence of man on the mineral, plant, and animal kingdoms (when he commits a sin with physical things or when he uses them in order to refine them and use them for a G-dly purpose, etc.). A person requires the physical things he consumes and interacts with for the sake of his subsistence, his survival. The mineral, plant, and animal kingdoms are also dependent on man, for specifically through being utilized for man’s
is their purpose achieved. (As is known, the mineral kingdom achieves its purpose when it is consumed by plant life; plants achieve their purpose by being consumed by animals; the purpose of animals is fulfilled by being consumed and utilized by human beings; and through man – by means of his service of G-d
– the animal kingdom is subsumed within G-dliness.) But the dependency of the mineral, plant, and animal kingdoms on man is only for the sake of their elevation and achieving their purpose, not for their subsistence, whereas man’s need for the three lower kingdoms is not only for the sake of his
and for fulfilling his purpose, but also for his subsistence and survival.The three lower kingdoms preserve man’s bodily life by keeping the soul attached to it. In this respect, man’s need for physical things resembles the need of fire for fuel. The nature of fire, of course, is to ascend. Only by means of its connection to the wick [or some form of fuel] does it remain below. Similarly, the soul, of its own accord, wishes to [leave the body and] ascend, cleaving to its source and point of origin, etc. (as explained in
, Ch. 19, beg.), but the consumption [of food and drink comprised] of the mineral, plant, and animal kingdoms serve to ground the soul in the physical body, keeping the body alive.
HUNGRY FOR “THEIR SOULS”
Man’s dependence on the three lower kingdoms, however, is not only for the sake of his body, but also for the sake of his soul. The
needs the spark of G-dliness contained within physical things, as the Alter Rebbe teaches in
, on the verse, “man does not live on [the physical aspect of] bread alone but on all that issues forth from the mouth of G-d [i.e., the sparks of G-dliness] does man live” (Eikev 8:3). In
Kesser Shem Tov
the Baal Shem Tov cites, in the name of the Arizal, the difficulty of the Chokrim in understanding the soul’s need for physical consumption: It is apparent that the soul needs physical food, for without it the soul departs from the body. But why is the life of the soul, which is spiritual, dependent specifically on physical foods? The Arizal answers that their error is apparent in their question, for the soul does not require the physical aspect of food, but the sparks of G-dliness it contains.The Baal Shem Tov elaborates that this sheds light on the verse, “They are hungry and also thirsty; their soul is garbed within them.” Here Scripture questions why man is hungry and thirsty for physical things, and it answers because “their soul is garbed within them”: “Their soul” referring to the G-dly spark within them [within food and drink]; “is garbed” – for it is hidden within them. It is the role of man to reveal this spark, being within his sphere of influence. Thus, he is “hungry and also thirsty” [to fulfill his mission and reveal the spark of G-dliness within his food and drink].There, in
, the Alter Rebbe observes that, at first glance, it is still difficult to understand: Although the hunger and thirst of man for food is not on account of its physical aspect, but for the G-dly spark within it, nevertheless, the difficultly persists, for there is a G-dly spark also within (man and) the body of man (in particular). So why does he specifically need the spark contained within the mineral, plant, and animal kingdoms? [He already possesses G-dliness on his own!] The Alter Rebbe answers that the G-dly spark within the three lower kingdoms is greater, loftier. In any case, from all the above it is understood that man needs the three lower kingdoms (not just for the sake of his physical survival but) also for the sake of his spiritual subsi
ence. This point, however, requires further elucidation.(To be continued be”H)
“Their soul,” the G-dly spark, “is garbed,” hidden within food. It is the role of man to reveal this spark,
being within his sphere of inuence.
Thus, he is “hungry and also thirsty” to
fulll his mission and reveal the spark of
G-dliness within it.