Gen. 10 – Origins
Dear family and friends, The last Scripture in Genesis Ten Informs us about the generation of Noah’s descendent’s, where they migrated to and how the Earth was divided among them according to their languages. Chapter 11 discusses how Earth’s unity was divided by language. God Willing we will discuss that next week.
The Torah Teaches that each of us descend from Noah and his wife, through their three sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth. The theory of evolution is in direct conflict with the Biblical account of creation. Scientists claim that they can trace DNA back to Noah. That supports creationism. Studying our descendants can be fascinating. The physical part of our creation is our body. Our body was created from the dust surrounding the eventual area of The Holy Altar. Through DNA we can trace our body back to it’s place of origin. Our body is going to die and return to the earth. When Messiah comes God will resurrect our bodies. One of the foundations of the morning prayer is Elohai Neshama.
The soul that You, my God, have given me is pure.
You created it,You formed it,
You breathed it into me,
You protect it within me,
and You will some day take it from my body
and return it to me in the world-to-come.
As long as my soul is within me,
I give thanks to You Adonai,
my God and the God of my ancestors,
Master of all Creation, Lord of all souls.
Praised are You, Adonai,
Restorer of souls to bodies that have died.
What about our soul? Rebbetzin Revi wrote a brief explanation of The Five Levels of the soul that I would like to share. So often our focus is on our physical part. Chassidus shares about our soul. So I thought we would offer a light focus on our spiritual ascendancy.
‘Ancient Midrashic sources (Bereishit Rabbah 14:9) of Kabbalah and Hassidism speak of five levels or gradations of the soul:
1) Nefesh (“creature” — the lower soul) relates to behavior and action. Nefesh is the particular name of the lowest in the five levels of soul described in Kabbalah, associated with physical vitality.
2) Ruach (“spirit”) relates to the emotions. Ruach is the second of the five levels of soul, associated with the vitality of one’s emotional life.
3) Neshamah (“inner soul”) relates to the mind and intelligence. The Neshama is the breath of life that G-d Breathed into the first man; this third level of the five levels of soul is associated with the vitality of intelligence.
4) Chayah (“living one”) relates to the bridge between the first flash of conscious insight and its super-conscious origin. Experiencing awareness of G-d as continually creating the world.
5) Yecidah (“single one”) relates to the ultimate unity of the soul in G-d, as manifest by pure faith, absolute devotion and the continuous readiness to sacrifice one’s life for G-d.
Of all the teachings received from the Ba’al Shem Tov, perhaps none are as important or essential as the notion that:
1) the Jewish soul “is an actual portion of G-d above” (chelek Elokah me’mal).
2) a spark of the Mashiach is contained within each individual soul.
Each of us, each of our souls has something it should accomplish in this world. In order to bring tikkum olam – to restore this world to it’s original state we must work to refine our souls using mussar practices. Our souls journey is up to us to discover. Take some time to reflect on where you are in life. Are you satisfied with the progress your soul has made so far?
May we each be careful to observe all the Commands of our Creator. May we be careful to guard Torah Observances. May we stand up for morality, ethics, lovingkindness, goodness and righteous living in our world.
Blessings and peace,
Dr. Akiva Gamliel