11 Kislev 5779 / Monday, November 19, 2018 | Torah Reading: Vayishlach
 
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More Soul Than Body    

More Soul Than Body



What if we could actually bypass a person’s material layers that obscure the soul and reach the purely spiritual part of that person? Could it be possible?

 



What if we could converse directly with a person’s soul?
 
I’m not talking about communicating with a dead person (besides being creepy, the Torah forbids it). I’m talking about cutting through the physicality of a living person and speaking directly to the soul.
 
And then having that soul communicate directly with us.
 
We all know each one of us is made of two parts: body and soul. Yet it’s the soul where you’ll find the real person. And it’s the soul, according to Rebbe Nachman of Breslev, that “perceives and understands extremely lofty levels, while the body remains ignorant of them” (Likutey Moharan I, 22:5).
 
Then what if we could actually bypass all a person’s materialistic baggage that’s obscuring the soul and reach the purely spiritual part of that person? Can it be possible?
 
It can. But it depends on the brain.
 
Rabbi Eliyahu Dessler (1892 - 1953) writes in Michtav M’Eliyahu that the brain is where the soul resides in the body. Not only that, the brain also acts as a filter for the soul, limiting the soul’s spiritual powers. Rabbi Dessler goes on to say that if someone has a cerebral impairment, the soul’s filters can actually become weakened (Michtav M’Eliyahu, Volume 4, p. 163).
 
Which means that a mentally impaired person can effectively become more soul than body — even though that person is very much alive.
 
This sheds a completely different light on how we can look at — and communicate with — our family members, friends and neighbors who have suffered a debilitating stroke or who are living with autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome and other conditions. Though we see their apparently diminished mental capacity, we can also realize that underlying it is an unimaginable spiritual awareness. With their soul-filters weakened, they may be acutely aware of the spiritual realm and its metaphysical truths.
 
To put it bluntly, when the brain kicks out, the soul kicks in.
 
Nearly two years ago, my mother suffered a massive stroke. It caused permanent damage to her brain, robbing her of the ability to walk, speak and follow a complete conversation. Always active and expressive, my mother was now unable to even nod to yes-or-no questions.
 
On most visits to the nursing home where my mother now lived, my mother would greet me with a huge smile, convincing me she recognized me. She would then start moving her wheel chair with her one good hand. The main way she maneuvered the wheel chair was by backing up. During entire visits, she would back up her wheel chair through hallways, dining rooms and patios. As long as she sat in the wheel chair, she would constantly be on the move, backwards — unless she backed herself against a wall or was eating.
 
I wanted to communicate with my mother. Of course I spoke to my mother during my visits, but I wanted the communication to go deeper. Knowing the stroke had weakened my mother’s soul-filter, I wanted to reach her soul. I wanted to somehow help her on a soul level.
 
One day, I had my mother to myself. There were no other family members or nursing staff around. This was my chance to really reach her on a spiritual level. So I did something I never did with her before, not even before her stroke. I took out a Chumash, the Five Books of Moses, and started reading the week’s Torah portion aloud to her.
 
What happened next was amazing.
 
Instead of backing up the wheel chair as usual, my mother slowly moved the wheel chair forward to where I was sitting. Then she stopped and looked at me.
 
While I was reading and explaining the Torah portion, my mother was engrossed. She didn’t back up the entire time, and her eyes didn’t leave my face. She even moved closer to me, taking my hand and kissing it as though to say “Thank you for feeding my hungry soul with Torah.” She then moved her head closer to the Chumash I was holding.
 
After twenty minutes, I asked my mother if she wanted me to continue. She nodded “yes” while looking straight into my eyes.
 
I was blown away. I hadn’t seen my mother nod as an appropriate response since before the stroke. It was something her neurologist said she wouldn’t be able to do.
 
I continued reading and explaining the Torah portion. And my mother continued sitting still and listening, engaged. When I was finished, I closed the Chumash. In an instant, my mother was once again on the move, backing her wheel chair across the room.
 
Though my mother was always spiritually connected, this was the deepest experience I had shared with her. A soul experience. I was able to communicate to her soul, and she communicated back.
 
When most of us see stroke victims like my mother and other mentally impaired individuals, we tend to focus on the physical limitations. We often perceive these people as diminished while we view ourselves as whole. Yet in the world of spirituality, who are the ones who are more diminished and who are the ones who are more tuned in?





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  Grat Article
Anonymous,6/17/2013 9:45:40 PM
     
 

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