View Full Version : Self: the core

27-01-2011, 10:43 PM
Having read a few articles I decided to forward this along in an attempt to understand self. More or less how the Chrisitan view of self pertains to our daily lives. I posted this here because of an interest in Judaism and wouldn't mind hearing from those who participate in this forum in reply. Please bare with the lenghty content of this post, there is much that I have read and would like to share.

Romans 13:9-10, "The commandments, ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not covet,’ and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law."

Love is different as described in the Bible than from the love espoused by the world. Selfless and unconditional are taught in the Bible as opposed to the world's love which is characterized as selfishness. First hand love is that, that can only be experienced by one who has experienced the Love of God.

On one hand based on the abiding love God has for us, we share in it in response with all whom we come in contact with-our neighbors. An argument in fact could be that to not love ourselves would be an act of sin, in essence it would be rejecting the love of God, which can not be done outside of experiencing the love of God in the first place and accepting what that love is, that is revealed to ourselves. Self-worth too often is based on what is told to us in regards from others. The true authority of self-worth is Jesus Christ having given up his own life for us by dying on the cross. That in turn should tell us how vauable we really are.

On the other, the altar of materialism is worshipped to feed our need to build egos through more and more stuff. Filled with all manner of possesions our homes are built bigger filled with all manner of possessions ect. This insatiable desire is covered in the tenth commandment that says "You shall not covet your neighbor's house. Exodus 20:17 You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything belonging to your neighbor.

We symptomatically worship at the altar of pride and ego. Often the form of obsession with jobs and careers. As King Solomon said, “For a man may do his work with wisdom, knowledge and skill, and then he must leave all he owns to someone who has not worked for it. And in Ecclesiastes "this too is meaningless and a great misfortune. What does a man get for all the toil and anxious striving with which he labors under the sun? All his days his work is pain and grief; even at night his mind does not rest. This too is meaningless.”

Half way from both, we idolize mankind through an extension of ourselves through naturalism and the power of science. We fall in the illusion that we are lords of our world and build esteem of the self to godlike proportions. We reject the discription of God's word and embrace the goddess of enviromentalism and think we are not fools by the acceptance of the nonsense of evolution and naturalism. We warp our thinking into the preservation of the earth when the declaration of God has said the earth has a limited lifespan until the end which will last only of the age. He will destroy all that was made and create a new heaven and new earth.

2 Peter 3:10-13
But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

Our focus should not be on the worship of enviroment but on living lives holy for the return of our Lord who alone deserves worship.

1 John 2:16
“For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.”

Three lusts all idolatry of self at the core of the lie first told to Adam and Eve, as many propagate prosperity gospels built on the idol of self esteem.

Matthew 22:37
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind

When we love the Lord and others with everything that is in us, there will be no room in our hearts for idolatry.

Am I missing something here? the core of most issues appears to be the self. It appears that the self is the enemy of God and one cannot side with the world or else. Now realizing that the responses in this forum appear to be slow, or just well thought out, so please take your time, I am patient.

28-01-2011, 05:58 PM
I'm not actually sure what the question is that you ask. Is it that whether the self is the obstacle to the path of God?

The self vs God is certainly a huge hurdle for each of us to cross. Somehow our self needs to fit in with God. But all too often God is pushed away by the self....!

LOVE is the key here. If one can learn to love the self and God then I think one has reached the right answer.

28-01-2011, 08:17 PM
today I am thinking about this:

Romans 6:6
For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin--

and that:

Ephesisans 4:22
You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;

and for the first time have been understanding what Paul has been speaking of-- I think. Kind of stuck between this carnal self or is it the "ego" of our being that we're unable to deliver ourselves from?

Maybe I'm not making much sense and just need to go out and do something today. :hiding:

28-01-2011, 08:37 PM
What do you consider to be at the heart of the issue which you are considering? Can you articulate it?

02-02-2011, 07:18 PM
Just to get the discussion going, I found several links on a quick search of Judaism and the self. I'll post an excerpt on each. This is by no means exhaustive. And I'm certain there will be some overlap....:smile: But just as a starter...
I'll add some excerpts from Frankl if it's not covered below...

1. Forum I: On the Ethics of Self in Judaism: Searching for the Middle Ground Between Selflessness and Selfishness.

www.policyarchive.org/handle/10207/10735 (http://www.spiritualforums.com/vb/redir.php?link=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.spiritualforums.co m%2Fvb%2Fredir.php%3Flink%3Dhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww .spiritualforums.com%252Fvb%252Fredir.php%253Flink %253Dhttp%25253A%25252F%25252Fwww.policyarchive.or g%25252Fhandle%25252F10207%25252F10735)

2. The Wicked Son: Anti-Semitism, Self-hatred, and the Jews (Jewish Encounters)

Mamet marshals his passion and mastery of language to argue that only religious observance is an authentic, non-self-hating expression of Judaism

http://www.amazon.com/Wicked-Son-Anti-Semitism-Self-hatred-Encounters/dp/0805242074 (http://www.spiritualforums.com/vb/redir.php?link=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.spiritualforums.co m%2Fvb%2Fredir.php%3Flink%3Dhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww .spiritualforums.com%252Fvb%252Fredir.php%253Flink %253Dhttp%25253A%25252F%25252Fwww.amazon.com%25252 FWicked-Son-Anti-Semitism-Self-hatred-Encounters%25252Fdp%25252F0805242074)

3. Judaism: God-Conscious Self-Esteem (http://www.spiritualforums.com/vb/redir.php?link=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.spiritualforums.co m%2Fvb%2Fredir.php%3Flink%3Dhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww .spiritualforums.com%252Fvb%252Fredir.php%253Flink %253Dhttp%25253A%25252F%25252Fwww.jewish-people-unite.com%25252Fjudaism_self_esteem.html)

Judaism: God-Consciousness is necessary for health self-esteem.
www.jewish-people-unite.com/judaism_self_esteem.html (http://www.spiritualforums.com/vb/redir.php?link=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.spiritualforums.co m%2Fvb%2Fredir.php%3Flink%3Dhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww .spiritualforums.com%252Fvb%252Fredir.php%253Flink %253Dhttp%25253A%25252F%25252Fwww.jewish-people-unite.com%25252Fjudaism_self_esteem.html)

4. Judaism - Human Nature and the Purpose of Existence

http://www.patheos.com/Library/Judaism/Beliefs/Human-Nature-and-the-Purpose-of-Existence.html (http://www.spiritualforums.com/vb/redir.php?link=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.spiritualforums.co m%2Fvb%2Fredir.php%3Flink%3Dhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww .spiritualforums.com%252Fvb%252Fredir.php%253Flink %253Dhttp%25253A%25252F%25252Fwww.patheos.com%2525 2FLibrary%25252FJudaism%25252FBeliefs%25252FHuman-Nature-and-the-Purpose-of-Existence.html)

02-02-2011, 09:17 PM
Forum I: On the Ethics of Self in Judaism: Searching for the Middle Ground Between Selflessness and Selfishness.



An examination of the Biblical and Talmudic teachings reveals that there are at least three ideal selves:

1-the Halachic norm of self-realization coupled to living virtuously and helping others,
2-]the self of mutual sharing and loving, and
3-the altruistic self of risk and sacrifice in order to help others.

All three are facets of every self and can be realistically expected of the average Jew.

Halachah... - Realise the Self

In referring to the traditional teachings
about the realization of self and its limits
in Judaism, one generally starts with the
widely quoted aphorism of Hillel from
Pirke Avot, the talmudic treatise known
popularly as the Ethics (or Wisdom) of the
Fathers: "He used to say: "If I am not for myself,
who will be for me? And being for
myself alone, what am I? And if not now,
when?" (Pirke Avot, 1:14).

The text supports the contemporary understanding that
calls for self-realization coupled to the
creed of sharing and generosity and demanding
immediacy of action. In short,
more than one philanthropist has been
praised as the living embodiment of Hillel's

Yet, upon reading the traditional commentaries
on Pirke Avot, which have been
edited and translated by Judah Golden
(1957) in The Living Talmud, one becomes
aware of an entirely different context, a
world view not connected to the realization
of the mercenary self that animates the
contemporary interpretation of this saying.
It is not wealth that I need to acquire in
order to be for my self, it is merit.

...if the pursuit of merit, the
doing of good deeds, is the way in which
I will realize myself, what then is one to
make of the follow-up demand that "being
for myself, what am I." It is clear that it is
inadequate for the doer of good to concentrate
only on his or her own path of
goodness, as Golden (1957, p. 70) translates:
"It is therefore not enough that he
see to it that he himself walks in upright
ways; he must also direct others along the
right path." The last phrase, "And if not
now, when," can be interpreted as meaning,
"Let no man say. Today I am busy
with my work; tomorrow I will turn to the
task of perfecting myself " (Golden,
1957, p. 70).

03-02-2011, 12:57 AM
from same article

Forum I: On the Ethics of Self in Judaism: Searching for the Middle Ground Between Selflessness and Selfishness.

www.policyarchive.org/handle/10207/10735 (http://www.policyarchive.org/handle/10207/10735)

Mutuality - Share the Love

...idealization of selfless love not only
misleadingly exaggerates the valid principle
of unselfishness, it rests on an unsatisfactory
concept of God. Mutual love or reciprocity
is the only appropriate fundamental norm
for interrelations, and for the divine-human
encounter as well. The idealization of self*
less love inevitably obscures divine suffering,
a serious negative consequence that has yet
to be adequately considered. Divine love, so
often understood as the perfect example to
which human love must conform, is mistak*
enly interpreted as containing no element of
self-concern. This view is based on the false
assumption that the divine neither needs
nor seeks the mutual good of fellowship
with humanity (Post, 1988, p. 113) .

Post points to Judaism as defining love
as "fellowship" or shared experience. Juda*
ism is neither a religion of "self-satisfaction"
nor one of "self-annihilation." What Post
insists on is that the goal of love is not to
be sought only in the giving of self, but
in mutuality —the sharing of self. Even
divine love is self-concerned and seeks
response, and in this regard Post calls to
our attention Abraham Joshua Heschel's
impressive set of scriptual quotes.

From God's plaintive call to the hiding Adam,
"Where art thou" (Genesis 3:9) to Job's
complaint to God, "Thou dost hunt me
like a lion" (Job 10:16) , Heschel points to
the fundamental premise of biblical faith:
God is in search of man, and human faith
is to be found in the response to God's
search (Heschel, 1987, pp. 136-137) .

Yet, Post then asks why the Christian
tradition has had "considerable difficulty
acknowledging the moral excellence of
mutuality, as evidenced by a perennial
strain that advocates the false ideal of self*
less love" (Post, 1988) . It is his contention
that the image of Jesus has been misinter*
preted to emphasize his being beyond all
self-concern. Jesus sought reciprocity for
his love through his teachings and actions
and his life "presents no normative model
for love that violates the principle of
reciprocity" (Post, 1988) .

It is Post's intent to retrieve the ideal of
mutual love between humans and between
God and human as superior to self-sacrifice
and self-abnegation. The prophetic tradi*
tion—of needing God and being needed
by God—must be recovered as there is
both human and divine pathos. He also
seeks in the writings and teachings of fem*
inist writers the corrective antidote, not to
the sin of self-assertion that preoccupies
male theologians, but the sin of self negation.

The antidote to that sin is a
"fitting affirmation of self in the mutual
good of participation in reciprocal love"
(Post, 1988) . There is a normative ideal of
"mutual love in which human beings ex*
perience joy, a secure sense of well-being
and identity, as well as the affirmation of
the self that encourages the giving of the
self (Post, 1988) . The Christian emphasis
on God imitation rather than on the moral
society, which constitutes the halachic norm
of rabbinic Judaism, causes the Christian
theologian to turn to Hebraic sources and
Judaic teachers in Buber and Heschel to
posit a notion of divine need and partnership
in mutual giving, sharing, and love.

03-02-2011, 01:12 AM
from same article

Forum I: On the Ethics of Self in Judaism: Searching for the Middle Ground Between Selflessness and Selfishness.

www.policyarchive.org/handle/10207/10735 (http://www.policyarchive.org/handle/10207/10735)

Altruism -- The Ordinary is Extraordinary

Is there such an ideal as an
"altruistic personality" that emerges, when
called upon, out of the normative personality
because it is in its own way a realization of the self?
If so, what does it teach us about the elements of the ideal self?

A major research project on The Altru*
istic Personality (Oliner & Oliner, 1988)
has been published recently. The book
jacket features the eye-riveting question,
"What Led Ordinary Men and Women ro
Risk Their Lives on Behalf of Others?" This
is obviously intended to be taken as an
unusual act of courage as evidenced by the
subtitle: Rescuers of Jews in Nazi Europe.

The Oliners interviewed over 700 individ*
uals, both those they classified as rescuers
and as nonrescuers who lived in Nazi occupied Europe during World War II.
Behavior was characterized as altruistic
when "(1) it is directed towards helping
another, (2) it involves a high risk of sacrifice to the actor,
(3) it is accompanied by no external reward, and (4) it is voluntary."
The Oliners attest that "rescue behavior in
the context of the Holocaust meets these
criteria" (Oliner & Oliner, 1988, p. 6).

In the concluding chapter of this fasci*
nating work, the researchers take sharp issue
with the usual reasons given for heroic ac*
tion, which are based on an individualism
rooted in a sense of moral autonomy, or
what might be termed the "Lone Ranger
syndrome." They challenge the popular
belief that the true hero acts alone, based
on his or her own independent moral rea*
soning. Rather, they offer the view that if
we need to rely or depend upon only the
"few autonomously principled people . . .
then the future is bleak indeed" (Oliner &
Oliner, p. 2.60).

What characterized the rescuers, who
were ordinary people before the war from
different walks of life and religious faiths,
"were their connections with others in rela*
tionships of commitment and care" (Oliner
& Oliner,1988) . These connections were
extensive (the authors title this concluding
chapter, "Moral Heroism and Extensivity"),
and they were initially established in the
patental home by close family relationships
in which loving parents set high standards
fot moral behavior.

Parents provided con*
tinuous "explanations of why behaviors are
inappropriate, often with reference to their
consequences for others" (Oliner & Oliner,
1988, p. 2.60). Children who mature out
of these solid family relationships tend to
internalize their parents' values, which pro*
vide for them the basic value structure for
assessing right and wrong and acting upon
these assessments. Those individuals estab*
lish networks of caring relationships and,
as a result of their aiding others, develop
high self-esteem, reinforcing the original
personality characteristics that led to their
willingness to help in the first place.

The altruistic personality that led rescuers
to risk their lives to help Jews and others
escape from certain death may seem to be
an extreme model for the ideal self, espe*
cially in the more normal setting of peace*
time life, but it points to an attitude
toward life and self that is significant in
all circumstances. The rescuers refused to
accept the prevailing value system; they
refused to see Jews as beyond help nor
themselves as helpless.

In the powerful final sentences of the book,
"They made a choice that affirmed
the value and meaningfulness of each life
in the midst of a diabolical social order
that repeatedly denied it.
Can we do otherwise?" (Oliner & Oliner, 1988, p. 16o)

03-02-2011, 04:45 PM
Shim hello BTW!...I am unable to edit msgs these past few days...LOL...and so have not been able to add my hello at the top...

I think your question is a v good one...and the research promises to be interesting...hope it answers some questions and leads to others...???

Peace & blessings,

A Glass named Esther
03-02-2011, 06:02 PM
7L, I'm trying to read through all of the information. Some interesting points but its going to take a while to digest:wink:


During the first century B.C.E. a great rabbi named Hillel was asked to sum up Judaism while standing on one foot. He replied: "Certainly! What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor. That is the Torah. The rest is commentary, now go and study." (Talmud Shabbat 31A.)

It's clear that the emphasis is placed on selflessness by focusing on others in relation to yourself. However, the Torah doesn't promote a "love is all you need" philosophy. In fact, there are more negative commandments than positive ones. So, it becomes clear that respect (awe) is a crucial component to achieving selflessness.

There is a spiritual concept of yesh, ayin, yesh (something, nothing, something). Think of a fruit on a tree. That fruit is something...it's a fruit! Then the fruit falls and it decomposes. It becomes nothing. But because it became nothing, it could then reach the next stage of growing into a tree...a "something" that is even better!

Love on its own does not give people the feeling of nothingness. Quite often we feel "full" of love. But respect balances out the equation. When you feel like nothing compared to something much greater than you this is when you can "loose your self". Then you can grow a new self...a self that is in harmony with pleasing G-d in love and awe.

Our "animal" self is not an enemy. Yes, it desires all sorts of pleasures that are not G-dly. But we need our inner animals to assist us in serving G-d. Without our "animal" we have no sacrifices. We need sacrifices to build our inner "temple" for G-d to dwell in.:smile:

03-02-2011, 06:27 PM
Hi Esther...basically that's what the 1st article says...LOL...you said it more succintly :D

It says...
1) self is relationally defined...duties to God/self, and duties to God/others.

2) there is a mutuality of love that is shared between the human and the divine.

I really like the explanation of the mutuality of love...love isn't all you need, unless you have already internalised the ethics, realised the self, and are an active channel for the love in intent, thought, and deed.

God is love, yes...and we can seek union with the One as respite...but we are here in this existence to join heaven and earth...not to deny either one...and as individualised consciousnesses, we are in a relationship of love and mutuality with God.

3) altruism is the purview of everyone...thank God...
so even though it's not "required by law", it's commonplace or we wouldn't have made it this far...

The altruism factor...just rang true for me. It's nothing special...but life requires it of us all...and everyone will be expected to rise to the occasion at some point in their lives, in some fashion, perhaps on behalf of another...

...so as usual it's the ordinary is the most extraordinary. I thought it was a nice touch with the understood reference to the collective...and how we all rely on one another for support and survival...sometimes very directly.


03-02-2011, 06:57 PM
Hello there 7L. :smile:

Thanks very much for all the replies. There's much with an earnest effort to study. Thanks for clarifying Hillel. Actually last night I had looked into it to find more and came about Hillel as a liberal minded school that defined things in the most broadest terms.

And I came across ayin half a year or so ago, had having thought that I took notes on it from psalms, I was mistaken, thanks for the reminder A Glass named Esther! These two psalms came to mind after reading your post, much thanks, now back to being on track, off to study.

Psalm 39
And my lot is as nothing before You.
Mere breath is each man standing.

Notes: Strong's number 369 אַ֫יִן ayin, to be nothing or not exist; a non-entity.

"Nothing," is what human transience must ultimately come to, and it is precisely the word with which the poem ends.

Psalm 42

These do I recall and pour out my heart:
When I would step in the procession,

Notes: Nafshi, "my life breath" or "my very self."

04-02-2011, 03:45 PM
LOL...so you want to go there? It's a little off topic...but not so much :)

My translation is different, so I'll just discuss ayin. There is more...I just cut the most general stuff below here. Sight is the sense associated with ayin. The spiritual blemish of ayin is coveting as an extension of sight...coveting is considered the precursor to wrong action of many kinds. Only when one has overcome this challenge is the first level of spiritual sight, or wisdom, gained. That is, this is the internal foe that must be overcome in order to see truly, to focus, and to deal wisely and effectively with external challenges to the individual or the group.

"Nothing," is what human transience must ultimately come to, and it is precisely the word with which the poem ends.

Ayin: Divine Providence
http://www.inner.org/hebleter/ayin.htm (http://www.spiritualforums.com/vb/redir.php?link=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.spiritualforums.co m%2Fvb%2Fredir.php%3Flink%3Dhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww .spiritualforums.com%252Fvb%252Fredir.php%253Flink %253Dhttp%25253A%25252F%25252Fwww.spiritualforums. com%25252Fvb%25252Fredir.php%25253Flink%25253Dhttp %2525253A%2525252F%2525252Fwww.spiritualforums.com %2525252Fvb%2525252Fredir.php%2525253Flink%2525253 Dhttp%252525253A%252525252F%252525252Fwww.spiritua lforums.com%252525252Fvb%252525252Fredir.php%25252 5253Flink%252525253Dhttp%25252525253A%25252525252F %25252525252Fwww.inner.org%25252525252Fhebleter%25 252525252Fayin.htm)

The right eye looking up at the sky; the left eye looking down at the earth.

The full spelling of the letter ayin equals 130 or 5 times 26, 26 being the value of the Name Havayah. In Kabbalah this phenomenon is understood to mean that the eye possesses five Divine powers. The right eye possesses five states of kindness, whereas the left eye possesses five states of severity or might.

In Psalms we find two verses in relation to God's Providence over man. One verse states: "The Eye of God is on those who fear Him." The other states: "The Eyes of God are on the tzadikim."

The attribute of fear of God refers to the consciousness of the sefirah of malchut, "kingdom," likened to the woman of valor, "the woman who fears God, she shall be praised." Malchut is constructed and directed by the five "mights," the secret of the left eye of God. For this reason, in the verse "the Eye of God is on those who fear Him," "Eye" is in the singular, referring to the left eye alone.

In the "male figure," corresponding to the six emotive attributes of the heart, Providence reflects the balance of both the five kindness together with the five mights of God. So, in the verse "The Eyes of God are on the tzadikim," "Eyes" appear in the plural form, referring to both the right and left Eyes of God.

We are further taught in Chassidut that the singular eye of the first verse possesses a hidden reference to the "ever-open eye" of keter, the superconscious. Here the singular is the secret of "all right," as "there is no left in the Ancient One, all is right." The fear of God which is the vessel in the soul to contain and reveal this most concealed and supernal level of Providence, is the awe in face of the awareness of the Transcendent Light of God, permeating each point of reality, as taught in the secret of the letter samech.

In the Divine service of the soul these three levels of Providence correspond to the three stages of service: submission, separation, and sweetening, as taught by the Ba'al Shem Tov. All relate to his most fundamental and all inclusive teaching in regard to "particular Divine Providence."

The initial experience that even the minutest of one's deeds is observed and recorded Above brings one to a state of submission and fear of the Kingdom of Heaven, whose Law and Order control the universe.

One then experiences the Eyes of God lovingly watching over and guarding each one of his children Israel. This brings one to sense the existential separation of the holy from the profane, the righteous from the unrighteous, and to identify with the good.

Finally one experiences the Infinite Eye of God directing every created being to its ultimate fulfillment of purpose in Creation, thereby bringing all Creation to realize its Divine Purpose. Here, one's awe itself is in the face of the revelation of God's Infinite Love for all ("all is right"). This is the secret of sweetening.


04-02-2011, 04:05 PM
Here's something on the path of the soul...per the last part of your post.

nefesh - breath of life, chi
ruach - self-aware consciousness
neshama - awakened or realised consciousness, contains all other aspects


From the teachings of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai (http://www.spiritualforums.com/vb/redir.php?link=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.spiritualforums.co m%2Fvb%2Fredir.php%3Flink%3Dhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww .spiritualforums.com%252Fvb%252Fredir.php%253Flink %253Dhttp%25253A%25252F%25252Fwww.spiritualforums. com%25252Fvb%25252Fredir.php%25253Flink%25253Dhttp %2525253A%2525252F%2525252Fwww.chabad.org%2525252F search%2525252Fkeyword.asp%2525253Fkid%2525253D104 45)

Rabbi Yitzchak commented on the verse: Thus said the Merciful Lord, the Creator of the heavens and He who stretches them out. He who spread forth the earth, and that which comes out of it, who gives breath [Neshama] to the people on it, and spirit [Ruach] to those who walk upon it. (Isaiah 42:5)

Come and see. When the Holy One Blessed be He created the first man, He gathered soil from the four corners of the world.
These correspond to the four sefirot of chesed, gevura, tiferet and malchut, which are the four fundamental spiritual elements, the source of the four physical elements. The Ruach is that part of the person that rules over the animal instincts of the Nefesh…

He then fashioned him at the place where the Holy Temple was to stand physically in this world [the Temple Mount in Jerusalem]. He then drew down into him the breath of life [Neshama] from its source in the spiritual Holy Temple above it. This Neshama was composed of three levels, which is the reason why there are three names for the components of the Neshama, reflecting the secret of their spiritual source. The names of these three levels are Nefesh, Ruach and Neshama. The Nefesh is the lowest grade, as we have explained elsewhere. The Ruach is that part of the person that rules over the animal instincts of the Nefesh. It is a higher level of consciousness than the Nefesh and sustains the animal soul with everything that it needs to exist. The Neshama is at the highest level of spiritual development, and it rules over and sustains the other two levels. These three spiritual levels are contained in all people who become a fit vessel for them through purifying themselves in the service of their Creator.

Once he is complete in consciousness …then a person is called a beloved one of the Holy One…

When he is born, a person is accredited with a Nefesh. This Nefesh has a holy function because it gives a person the strength to purify himself and raise up his condition from the physical to a more spiritual level. When a person has purified this animal level within him he is adorned with the next level - the Ruach. This is a more holy level that prevails over the Nefesh, and adorns a person who has made himself worthy of it.

Once a person has elevated himself through the Nefesh and Ruach and has entered into the service of his Master as is fitting and proper, he then is suffused with the Neshama that is a higher, holy level, that masters the other levels. Once he is adorned with this holy spiritual level [which is the level of bina], and once he is complete in consciousness of all of the ten sefirot which make up his spirit, then a person is called a beloved one of the Holy One Blessed be He. This is the meaning of the verse [I]"That I may bestow true existence on those who love Me." (Proverbs 8:21) Who are "those that love Me"? They are those who have in them the holy Neshama.

Zohar, Page 205b, 206a; translation and commentary by Simcha-Shmuel Treister

http://www.chabad.org/kabbalah/article_cdo/aid/379824/jewish/Soul-Steps.htm (http://www.spiritualforums.com/vb/redir.php?link=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.spiritualforums.co m%2Fvb%2Fredir.php%3Flink%3Dhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww .spiritualforums.com%252Fvb%252Fredir.php%253Flink %253Dhttp%25253A%25252F%25252Fwww.chabad.org%25252 Fkabbalah%25252Farticle_cdo%25252Faid%25252F379824 %25252Fjewish%25252FSoul-Steps.htm)


07-02-2011, 07:36 PM
Hello there 7L. :smile:

Thanks very much for all the replies. There's much with an earnest effort to study. Thanks for clarifying Hillel. Actually last night I had looked into it to find more and came about Hillel as a liberal minded school that defined things in the most broadest terms.

And I came across ayin half a year or so ago, had having thought that I took notes on it from psalms, I was mistaken, thanks for the reminder A Glass named Esther! These two psalms came to mind after reading your post, much thanks, now back to being on track, off to study.

Psalm 39
And my lot is as nothing before You.
Mere breath is each man standing.

Notes: Strong's number 369 אַ֫יִן ayin, to be nothing or not exist; a non-entity.

"Nothing," is what human transience must ultimately come to, and it is precisely the word with which the poem ends.

Psalm 42

These do I recall and pour out my heart:
When I would step in the procession,

Notes: Nafshi, "my life breath" or "my very self."

Actually last night I had looked into it to find more and came about Hillel as a liberal minded school that defined things in the most broadest terms.

LOL...I'm sure nearly freezing to death before a fire was lit on Shabbat for him...may have opened his mind and heart to the more compassionate line of interpretation. Secretly I think many wish we had gone with Shammai on most things. But I still favour Hillel. It's more a philosophical difference than of almost anything in terms of practice or observance. But there are one or two things.

I see the need to allow some reintrepretation of the law as critical. Because our
understanding of the Law is always evolving...we hope.
Now...God made me a woman (hmm...Baruch Hashem or Gam zu l'tova? :smile: LOL...)
...and for the record, I am very happy being a woman.
But...since God made me a woman, learned men of law are not going to persuaded by my opinion....LOL....

Nonetheless...that doesn't mean it's wrong or irrelevant...
My big issues...are just the really basic ones...the things you can't change.

Is it humane or realistic to ask people not to love each other, to abstain or just live together because they can't marry even if they are both Jews?

I'm not gay, but in the same spirit, is it humane or practical to expect that gays can do without intimacy and love, even though that's not realistic or desirable for the rest of us, over the course of a lifetime? Many avoid congregations because they don't feel welcome even for communal prayers.

We ask people to live with integrity and take responsibility. Yet the ways in which we feel we would compromise our integrity has changed over time, I think. Partly as a result of having more social and economic options...and partly as a result of recent historic events...we are changed & influenced by them whether we realise it or not...and we are freer to recognise our need for individual spiritual integrity...to attend to our duties of the heart to ourselves.

In the past, ppl commonly didn't marry for love...now they commonly prefer to. Of course you still also need commitment, character, trust, honesty, and faith. But in the past, ppl may have deserted, neglected, abused or committed adultery against (one of the biggies) their spouse as a result of the emotional scars of not marrying for love. Divorce was always an option in untenable situations, and has become relatively common as a result of many reasons, but it often boils down to people being poorly matched..often someone just leaves or opts out..it's a shame, but is it my place to judge or is that between them and God?

Marriage is for spiritual nourishment and companionship as much as for creating family. And unfortunately much in life is out of our control...including what spouses do or don't do, and whether we can survive it or tolerate it is also another matter. Much of our spiritual growth in life is about learning through tolerance and acceptance, forgiveness, letting go, and moving forward. Sometimes it means moving forward alone.

So what this will mean for some is that they don't marry at all (live "in sin" or are uncommitted), or else they marry outside the faith, or else they get a divorce, etc., in order to avoid what they feel is a situation they can't live with...a marriage that lacks a deeper bond of soul communion.

For Judaism, with our small numbers...not allowing Jews to marry Jews in select circumstances is unfortunate...almost tragic in light of recent history...even worse if they turn away or feel distanced from God. Even for gay couples who don't officially marry, keeping them and their children in the community is, I feel, important to our future as Jews and for humankind. No one is expendable. Granted it's my opinion only. But as parents if one of our children said, I'm gay, wouldn't we still want them to remain close to us, their faith, and God?

I don't have the "final solution" to anything...but I think that in general, the spirit of Hillel is, as always, conducive to the future of Judaism...and when you've been faced with the fallout of final solutions...I think it's ok to have interim solutions :smile:...just as I think learning how to accept ourselves is a process...even as we always strive to be and do better.

Peace & blessings,

A Glass named Esther
17-02-2011, 01:47 AM

It is precisely BECAUSE G-d made you a woman that almost any man can be persuaded by you :wink:

As for the rest of what you say, I agree that every Jew needs to feel welcome in a Jewish community. It doesn't matter if that Jew eats pork, ignores Shabbat, or has prohibited intimate relations. Every Jew is important and every Jew needs the opportunity to work on his/her relationship with Hashem and not feel excluded by other Jews.