Photo Credit: Jewish Press

When we think about our emotions, our speech and our character attributes, the inner dimensions of our soul may not be the first thing that comes to mind. However, our tradition teaches us that an essential aspect of our soul – ruach – manifests in these areas of potential human experience and expression. Ruach is an animating spirit. If we choose to qualitatively elevate our emotional energy, words, and way of being in this world, then we are in essence linking our complete soul, our ruach, with the other aspects of our soul – nefesh and neshama – to draw ourselves closer to Hashem. Or, chas v’shalom, we have creative license through these manifestations to weaken that connection and face the prospect of spiritual alienation.

Connecting our ruach to its source requires our avodas Hashem to not be confined to theological abstractions or routine religious observances. It requires us to purify ourselves, to be in a continual process of refinement of our character traits, of our expressed emotions and our speech. This understanding should not lead us to feel intimidated by any perceived gulf between Hashem and where we are at any particular time in our life. It should give us hope of a tangible path toward connectedness with the Source of all being, the source to which our ruach calls out for union with. Let’s live intentionally that the expressions of our mouth and the thoughts of our heart find favor before Hashem.

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Dr. Yehudah Pryce is a clinical social worker who resides in Irvine, California with his wife and four children.