Volume 24 Number 96
                       Produced: Wed Sep 25  3:52:53 1996

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Jew and non-Jew souls (2)
         [David Kaufmann, Benjamin Waxman]
Jewish and non-Jewish souls
         [Eliyahu Segal]
Jewish vs non-Jewish Souls
         [Micha Berger]
Jews and non-Jews
         [Yacov Dovid Shulman]


From: <kaufmann@...> (David Kaufmann)
Date: Wed, 28 Aug 1996 10:35:51 -0500
Subject: Jew and non-Jew souls

>From: <mordy_gross@...> (Mordy Gross)
>>I was asked if there is an intrinsic difference between the soul of a
>>Jew and that of a non-Jew, and if so, prove it.  I refered him to a
>>passage in Tanya (last section of ch.1; first section. of ch.2).  He
>>then asked 1) do all orthodox believe this (that Jews and non-Jews are
>>different in essence, not just in codes of behavior or even in
>>chosenness)?  and 2) If yes, is there a more normative, universally
>>accepted source that makes the point.  Can you help on this?

As of #84, no one responded to the wording of this request. While it is
not only legitimate, but desirable, to search the sources on a
particular subject, I personally find the phrasing of point 2
offensive. Given that Chassidism is as normative as any other
halachically acceptable viewpoint, and Chabad is as normative within
Chassidism, how is it possible for there to be a "more normative"
source? Further, in what way is Tanya not "universally accepted"? I
realize, of course, that there are those who disagree with the
perspective and concepts in Tanya. But disagreement hardly constitutes a
standard of acceptability. Further, if we imagine that Tanya was the
only source on the subject, would that in any way affect the
"normativeness" or acceptability of the concept? Is it too much to ask
that, whatever our personal 'orientation,' all legitimate sources be
treated equally?

>From: <orotzfat@...> (Yehoshua Kahan)

[I found the earlier material - here deleted for space reasons -
interesting and well-presented; though I'm not sure I agree with all the
points,the piece is 'normative enough.'

>        I recall many years ago visiting in Tzfat before I ever even
>dreamed of moving here, and spending a Shabbat meal with a family in
>Kiryat Chabad.  In response to hearing for the first time this notion of
>non-Jews lacking a "nefesh elokit", I asked my host how it was possible
>that one might convert to Judaism.  His response was that the successful
>approach of a "non-Jew" to Judaism indicates retroactively that this
>person really possessed all along one of the scattered, shattered sparks
>of the soul of Adam Harishon, reconfigured only partially in post-Egel
>Yisrael.  To me then, as now, this smacked, l'havdil, of a Calvinistic
>determinism unbefitting the tradition which understood free human choice
>as the pinnicle of "tzelem elokim".  I prefer Rav Kook's response.  It
>throws for me brilliant light on Rut's unforgettable words, "Amech ami
>[and only then] v'elokaich elokai".

I would like to try to clarify the host's response and perhaps a
misunderstanding. (What follows is not meant as any comment on Rav
Kook's response. But I don't yet see any inherent contradiction between
the positions.) First, it seems to me a crucial point of difference is
missed.  In Calvinistic determinism, free human choice is an
illusion. Not only is the source a l'havdil, but so is the concept. The
very basis of Tanya is free human choice. In simple terms, possessing
something and actualizing it are separate 'enterprises.' If I may be
permitted an analogy, I may own a valuable tract of land, but if I don't
choose to develop it, its potential remains unrealized. Further, I think
the statement that the souls of all future converts were also standing
at Sinai precedes the Chassidic movement.

Considering how emphasis the Alter Rebbe placed on Ahavas Yisroel, it
seems to me that Rut's statement quoted above supports as well the
Chassidic understanding of the spiritual aspects of conversion. I also
think some knowledge of the details of the Chabad/Chassidic
understanding of the soul is an important prologue to this topic.

From: Benjamin Waxman <benjaminw@...>
Date: Mon, 09 Sep 1996 07:47:59 +0200
Subject: Re: Jew and non-Jew souls

The question as to whether Jews have a greater intrinsic holiness than
NonJews is one dealt with in a variety of sources.  You correctly
surmised that according to the mystical sources there is a difference in
their souls.  If you would like an opposing view look at the Rambam's
Guide to the Perplxed and his Letter to Yemen.  In both of these sources
the Rambam makes it perfectly clear that in his opinion the only
difference is that Jews do mitzvot and Non Jews don't.

There is no universally accepted guide to beliefs, including the
Rambam's 13 Principles.

The Rambam did not prohibit learning mysticism until one is welll versed
in Halacha; he prohibited learning philoshophy.  He didn't hold by
mysticism of any sort
 Ben Waxman, Technical Writer
<BenjaminW@...>, www.livelink.com
        Tel. +972-2-6528274, Fax. +972-2-6528356


From: Eliyahu Segal <segaleli@...>
Date: Mon, 9 Sep 1996 19:12:32 +0300 (IDT)
Subject: Jewish and non-Jewish souls

	I don't know about the Taania, but the way I understood the issue 
is that basically only the Cuzari thinks that there is a difference.  
Additionally I read in an article by Rav Shachter(RH of YU and Talmid of 
the Rav) who quotes Rav Kook as explaining that Cuzari like this:  The 
soul of baby jew (I added baby) and a baby goy are the same, but the the 
sum of Jewish souls that make up the Jewish Nation is qualitatively 
different than an Non-Jewish nation.  In other words, the sum of parts is 
equal to the parts in a Non-Jewish nation but not in the Jewish Nation.


From: <micha@...> (Micha Berger)
Date: Mon, 9 Sep 1996 08:40:35 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Jewish vs non-Jewish Souls

Rabbiner SR Hirsch discusses the symbology of the numbers 6, 7, and 8 in
halachah. (By symbology we mean how Hashem uses these numbers as symbols
in His communication to man.)

Six represents the physical world created in 6 days, the seventh is the
added spiritual component of that world. Eight, however, is to begin anew
on the next octave. It represents "the spiritual calling of the Jew" to
"built the shamayim chadashim and eretz chadashah" (new heavens and new
earth) of Isaiah. Which is why eight is associated with Shmini Atzeres,
and Bris Milah.

Similarly, adom, yaroq and techeiles (red, green/yellow, and blue/violet
-- according to Hirsch). Adom is nearest to adamah, the physical
universe, while techeiles is the high end of the spectrum, which is why
it is the color of tzitzis, the Second Beis Hamikdosh (blue marble), and
why the Divine "Throne" is described as being sapphire.

Either way, it seems clear from the way Hirsch uses these symbols that
the element represented by 8 or techeiles is not unique to Jews. What is
unique is our obligation to /develop/ it.

Micha Berger 201 916-0287        Help free Ron Arad, held by Syria 3512 days!
<micha@...>                         (16-Oct-86 -  9-Jul-96)
<a href=news:alt.religion.aishdas>Orthodox Judaism: Torah, Avodah, Chessed</a>
<a href=http://aishdas.org>AishDas Society's Home Page</a>


From: <YacovDovid@...> (Yacov Dovid Shulman)
Date: Sun, 11 Aug 1996 23:12:57 -0400
Subject: Jews and non-Jews

     Yrachmiel Tilles posted a comment,
>Do all orthodox believe that Jews and non-Jews are different in
>essence, not just in codes of behavior or even in chosenness?
>And if yes, is there a normative, universally accepted source
>that makes the point?

     Tilles made reference to a statement in the Hasidic classic and
central text of Lubavitch Hasidism, which (though he didn't mention it)
states that the soul of a gentile has no good in it and that any good
that a gentile does is self-interested.
     Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto's Derech Hashem (The Way of G-d),
differentiates gentiles and Jews as (in Aryeh Kaplan's translation) two
"species."  And R. Yehudah Halevi's classic The Cuzari also
differentiates in this basic way between Jew and non- Jew.
     I have discussed this question with a friend of mine who is quite
knowledgeable, who recalls seeing in one of the modern commentaries on
Tanya the statement that the state of a gentile's soul is variable,
depending on how much he strives.  The obvious question (particularly in
regard to the statement in Tanya referred to above) regards converts to
Judaism and chasidei umot ha-olam--the righteous of the nations.  My
friend basically agreed with a statement I made (speaking more from
intuition than knowledge of texts) in my THE SEFIROT: Ten Emanations of
Divine Power: "On the individual level...there are immoral Jews and
highly-evolved non-Jews.  Individual Jews an cut themselves off from the
source of their souls.  Non-Jews can draw themselves to a higher level
of soul.  The non-Jews of our day, who seek ethical relationships with
people and meaningful relationships with G-d, are not comparable to the
nations of this or, especially, previous times" (p. 50, footnote).
     Numerous mainstream sources make it clear that the differentiation
(however it is formulated) between Jew and non- Jew does not imply
hatred, contempt, lack of appreciation or even lack of love for
     For instance, Tosafot Yom Tov points out that Rabbi Akiva's
statement that "Beloved is man, for he was created in the Divine image"
refers to all humanity.  Also, the Sforno points out that the biblical
phrase calling the Jews "a nation more special than other nations"
implies that other nations are also special.
     A number of statements on this topic by Rav Kook are quoted in
Mishnato shel Harav Kook, pp. 305-07.  For instance: "There are
tzaddikim who are so extraordinarily great that they cannot contract
themselves into the community of Israel alone, but constantly are
concerned with and seek the good for the entire world.
     "Nevertheless, they too are tied in their inner essence to the
community of Israel, because the community of Israel is the condensation
of the good and exalted in all the world, and with love and goodness
that comes to the community of Israel, it then surrounds all creation.
     "Such tzaddikim cannot be nationalistic according to the
superficial aspect of the word, for they can bear no hatred or
injustice, no contraction or constriction of goodness and
lovingkindness, and they are good to all, like the way of G-d, Who is
'good to all, and His compassion is on all His acts....
     "When a person is illumined in purity with the light of faith, he
loves all creatures without any reservation whatsoever, and all his
ideal is their improvement and perfection..." (Arplei Tohar).
     And here are two relevant quotes from Orot Hakodesh:

     ...The value of equality is much higher and lasting than the
value of separation....
     As a result of recognizing the preciousness of equality, all the
secondary encrustations that separate nation from nation to the point of
war and inherited hatred break apart.  The particular gifts of each
nation become clear.  They learn how to live at each others' side, in a
manner that perfects everything.  Each receives and gives to the other.

     There is a person who sings the song of his soul.  He finds
everything, his complete spiritual satisfaction, within his soul.
    There is a person who sings the song of the nation.  He steps
forward from his private soul, which he finds narrow and uncivilized.
He yearns for the heights.  He clings with a sensitive love to the
entirety of the Jewish nation and sings its song.  He shares in its
pains, is joyful in its hopes, speaks with exalted and pure thoughts
regarding its past and its future, investigates its inner spiritual
nature with love and a wise heart.
     There is a person whose soul is so broad that it expands beyond the
border of Israel.  It sings the song of humanity.  This soul constantly
grows broader with the exalted totality of humanity and its glorious
image.  He yearns for humanity's general enlightenment.  He looks
forward to its supernal perfection.  From this source of life, he draws
all of his thoughts and insights, his ideals and visions.
     And there is a person who rises even higher until he unites with
all existence, with all creatures, and with all worlds.  And with all of
them, he sings.  This is the person who, engaged in the Chapter of Song
every day, is assured that he is a child of the World-to-Come.
     And there is a person who rise with all these songs together in one
ensemble so that they all give forth their voices, they all sing their
songs sweetly, each supplies its fellow with fullness and life: the
voice of happiness and joy, the voice of rejoicing and tunefulness, the
voice of merriment and the voice of holiness.
     The song of the soul, the song of the nation, the song of humanity,
the song of the world--they all mix together with this person at every
moment and at all times.
     And this simplicity in its fullness rises to become a song of
holiness, the song of G-d, the song that is simple, doubled, tripled,
quadrupled, the song of songs of Solomon--of the king who is
characterized by completeness and peace.

     Yaacov Dovid Shulman


End of Volume 24 Issue 96