web analytics
August 28, 2015 / 13 Elul, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


Home » Judaism » Parsha »

Systems Of Human Perfection

The-Shmuz

“And a man from the house of Israel,
and from the converts who live with you, who shall consume any blood,
I shall place My face against the soul of the one who consumed blood,
and I shall cut it off from among your nation.” –
Vayikra 17: 10

 

The Torah warns us many times and with many different exhortations not to consume blood. The Kli Yakar points out that in Devarim the Torah tells us not to eat blood because “Consuming blood brings cruelty into the one who eats it, and the nature of the father is given over to his children to be like him. Therefore, the Torah warns us not to consume blood so that we don’t acquire this nature.”

It seems clear from the Kli Yakar that consuming blood will cause a change in the nature of the person who consumes it. His sensitivities and reactions will have changed, and he will become a different person. Not only will he become callous and pitiless, these traits will become part of his genetic transmission, so that any child that he then has will have this same predisposition towards cruelty.

This concept seems difficult to understand. Firstly, how does consuming blood make a person cruel? Second, how does that change affect the very hereditary transmission of a person so that his children will be pitiless as well?

To understand the answer to this, we need to focus on the basic makeup of man.

The Chovos HaLevovos (Sha’ar Avodas Elokim 3) explains that Hashem created man out of two very distinct parts – a nefesh ha’sichlis (intellectual soul) and a nefesh ha’bahami (animal soul). The “I” that thinks, feels, and remembers is comprised of two separate and competing parts, each one with its own nature, tendencies, and needs. The nefesh ha’sichlis desires only that which is good, right, and noble. It yearns to help others, it hungers for meaning and purpose, and more than anything, it needs to be close to Hashem.

Then there is the other part of man – the animal soul. It too has desires and inclinations, and it too hungers for things. One way to better understand the animal soul in man is to visit its parallel in the wild kingdom.

Hashem imprinted into the essence of each animal all the instincts necessary for its survival as well as for the continuation of its species. The animal doesn’t have a cognitive, reasoning element. It doesn’t have an “I” that is the master of the ship. But it does have a vibrant essence that is programmed to seek out its needs. That part is the nefesh of the animal.

That nefesh is pure instinct, drives, and passions – and is affected by both internal and external triggers. In the spring, birds fly north and engage in a fury of nest building and mating. The individual bird doesn’t purposefully choose its mate. Two robins don’t sit down and say to each other, “It’s time for us to settle down and raise a family.” The animal is attracted by the sight, smell, and sound of one of its species, and then will hotly pursue it – often becoming bonded for life. It is driven by instinct in a preset pattern.

Those instincts and desires are affected by various forces. A bird from a different species will not elicit the mating response, nor will even the same species of bird do so in a different time of the year. In the dead of winter, these desires are dormant. The change in season brings them forward to the extent that they take over the existence of that bird. They have been pre-programmed to respond to stimuli that allow for the success of the individual bird and the species as a whole.

The Answer to the Kli Yakar

This seems to be the answer to the question. The Kli Yakir is teaching us that when the Torah forbids us to eat blood, it is because consuming it would make a dramatic change in our inner essence. We would be ingesting part of the nefesh of that animal, and it would become part of our own nefesh ha’bahami. Our conscious reality would change because part of who we are is the animal soul, and we would thereby acquire cruelty. This change is so potent that if the person who drank that blood were to have a child, that child would also have cruelty as part of his inner makeup.

The Torah is teaching us that, much like certain chemicals can affect a man’s mood, that there are some properties that have a permanent effect on the nature of man. They change his nefesh, which changes the way that he thinks and feels.

Similarly, the mefarshim explain that none of the kosher animals are predators. The nature of a predatory animal is to hunt down and kill. If a person were to consume meat from such an animal, some part of the nefesh of that animal would enter into man’s soul and he would acquire an aggressive, violent nature. The Torah forbids it because it would damage the fine balance in man.

This concept is significant as it helps us better understand the Torah as the system of human perfection. Hashem is the Creator, and He wrote the Torah as the guidebook for human growth. Contained within it are all the tools necessary to reach greatness. Some of the tools are easily understood and some take years to fully comprehend, but the system is there. By following the guidelines, restrictions, and commandments, a person guarantees that he is headed in the right path – using his stay on the planet to grow and perfect himself.

About the Author: Rabbi Shafier is the founder of TheShmuz.com. The Shmuz is an engaging, motivating shiur that deals with real life issues. All of the Shmuzin are available free of charge at www.TheShmuz.com or on the Shmuz App for iphone or Android.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Systems Of Human Perfection”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Swiss Amb. to Iran Giulo Haas presents his credentials to Iranian Pres. Rouhani
‘US and Iranian Cartoon Doves’ Shown Defecating on Bibi by Swiss Amb to Iran
Latest Judaism Stories
Torat-Hakehillah-logo-NEW

The common translation of the opening words of this week’s parsha, Ki Seitzei, is: “When you go out to war against your enemy.” Actually the text reads “al oyvecha” upon your enemy. The Torah is saying that when Israel goes out to war, they will be over and above their enemy. The reason why Bnei […]

Rabbi Avi Weiss

The love between Gd & Israel is deeper than marriage; beyond the infinite love of parent for child

Q-A-Klass-logo

Question: When a stranger approaches a congregant in shul asking for tzedakah, should the congregant verify that the person’s need is genuine? Furthermore, what constitutes tzedakah? Is a donation to a synagogue, yeshiva, or hospital considered tzedakah?

Zvi Kirschner
(Via E-Mail)

Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

Since giving the machatzis hashekel will not change his financial situation, he is obligated to do so even though it is more than a fifth of his income.

Today, few people fast during the Days of Selichot, but the custom is to rise early to recite Selichot.

Each month is associated with a particular tribe. The month of Elul is matched up with Gad. What makes Gad unique?

Sanctions and indictment of the Jew, holding him to a higher standard, is as common and misplaced as ever.

To allow for free will, there are times when Hashem will allow a person the “opportunity to be the messenger.”

“There is a mitzvah to pay the worker on that day,” answered Mr. Lerner.

Be happy. Be grateful. God knows what he is doing. It is all happening for a reason.

We get so busy living our lives, handling our day-to-day little crises that we forget to go that one step deeper and appreciate our lives.

The promise for long life only comes from 2 commandments; What’s the connection between them?

Mighty Amalek deliberately attacked enemy’s weakest members, despicable even by ancient standards

If we parents fail to honor responsibilities then society’s children will pay the price for our sins

Consider how our Heavenly Father feels when He sees His children adopting all other parents but Him

More Articles from Rabbi Ben Tzion Shafier
Shmuz-logo-NEW

To allow for free will, there are times when Hashem will allow a person the “opportunity to be the messenger.”

Shmuz-logo-NEW

Everything you see – from the flower to the bee, from the oceans to the mountains, rivers, planets, the sun, the moon and the stars – all just sort of happened.

“When Hashem…will broaden your boundary as He spoke to you, and you say, ‘I will eat meat,’ for you will have a desire to eat meat, to your heart’s entire desire you may eat meat.” – Devarim 12:20   For forty years in the midbar the Jewish people ate mon. Guided by Moshe Rabbeinu, engaged […]

The farmer understands he didn’t bring the rain. It wasn’t his acumen that stopped the pestilence.

Man has conflicting wishes and desires. Man has forces pulling him in competing directions.

On Super Bowl Sunday itself, life seems to stop. Over one hundred million people watch the game. About half of the households in the country show it in their living rooms and dens.

We are affected by our environment. Our perspective on the world is affected by what those around us do.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/systems-of-human-perfection-2/2014/04/10/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: