Posted on January 7, 2003 By Rabbi Yaakov Feldman | Series: | Level:

Many of us work on the assumption that “human nature is human nature” and that our inner beings are no different from our ancestors’ were in antiquity, but that’s not so. Let’s see how.

Recall that originally there were “root souls” and “offshoots”. The root souls were to have regained Adam and Eve’s original high spiritual stature, their offshoots were to follow in their wake (i.e., to have “inherited” perfection, if you will), and all of humanity was to have remained on that exalted plane forever.

There were two stipulations, though. One was that there was to have been a fixed period in antiquity for this to have happened by, as we said: from the time of Adam and Eve themselves up to the time of the destruction of the Tower of Babel (see Genesis 1:26 to 11:1-8). The second stipulation was that *anyone* within that time period who strove to could have perfected himself and become a root soul, and all his descendants would have reaped the benefits of his efforts.

Now, this is a very important point for our purposes. There were indeed people at that time who strove for personal perfection — like Enoch, Methuselah, Shem, and Eber. What we’re to realize, though, is that they could very well have become roots souls to *their particular descendants*, who’d then have served as bearers of G-d’s message for mankind, as we Jews do. But none of those individuals did. Only Abraham, the father of the Jewish Nation, did. Which is why only we, his descendants, came to inherit his spiritual bounty.

Thus when the time-limit was up and there proved to be no one other than Abraham worthy of being a root soul in a spiritual sense, G-d saw to it that other individuals would serve as root souls to their offshoots only on a genetic, cultural level.

G-d is thus said to have *chosen* Abraham to be the sort of ideal root soul depicted above as a consequence of his having succeeded at elevating himself. And we Jews, his offshoots, have thus been “chosen” — chosen to glory in Abraham’s inheritance and to carry out his mission.

There came to be 70 primal nations in all (with many subsequent subdivisions). And each plays its own particular role in the larger scheme — while yet remaining on the level of man in his fallen state.

Thus while mankind may seem the same as it always has been, there’s actually a profound difference. For, again, up to the time of the Tower of Babel all of mankind existed in the age of potential root souls and was dealt with accordingly; while afterwards a new age began — the age of offshoots, which we’re still in the midst of.

This series is dedicated to the memory of Yitzchak Hehrsh ben Daniel, and Sarah Rivka bas Yaakov Dovid.

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