Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

"Eight Chapters"

Chapter One (Part 1)

What drives us, at bottom? Most would say it's our motivations, dreams, fears, surroundings, and the like. But the truth is that it's our Spirit ("nephesh" in Hebrew) that drives us. But -- what's our spirit after all? The short answer is that it's our psyche, but there's a lot more to it as we'll learn. For one thing, though, it's not the immortal soul that wafts aloft to heaven when we pass (though the two are inexorably linked ... but that's a subject unto itself).

So let's explore the makeup of our Spirit as Rambam explains it and come to see what we're made of along the way.

Rambam is emphatic about the fact that we each only have one Spirit, which nonetheless has many different capacities. He apparently needs to emphasize that since many of the physicians and philosophers who were respected in antiquity claimed that we each have three, termed the "native", "dynamic", and "transcendent" spirits respectively. However, Rambam's larger point is that despite its complexity (which we'll explore) and regardless of our many inner contradictions, we each have only one Spirit.

The truth is even we in modernity tend to think we have more than one Spirit, as when we say things like, "I was *beside* myself" and "I took a deep look inside myself", etc. which seem to imply multiple spirits that are each separate and independent of each other. But the truth is that we're each of one Spirit -- which is decidedly multilayered and dynamic.

Now, it's especially important for us to know that, Rambam emphasizes, since self-refinement and spiritual excellence only come about when one "heals his Spirit and its capacities", and because we can only do that after first becoming familiar enough with the makeup of our Spirit to know what makes its "ill" in the first place and what would then "heal" it.

So we'll have to settle right now for the notion that our one Spirit is comprised of five “component parts”: the digestive system, the senses, the imagination, the emotions, and the intellect. We'll explain that next time.


Text Copyright © 2006 by Rabbi Yaakov Feldman and Torah.org


 






ARTICLES ON LECH LECHA:

View Complete List

Obstacles and Opportunities
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5763

That Fire Within
Rabbi Label Lam - 5765

And Swing with All Your Might
Rabbi Label Lam - 5760

ArtScroll

Take the Initiative!
Shlomo Katz - 5774

Genuine Kindness
Rabbi Shlomo Jarcaig - 5765

Location is Everything
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5763

Looking for a Chavrusah?

I Too Was Struck
Rabbi Label Lam - 5768

Worthy of the Brocha!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5770

From Egypt to Israel
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5766

> Bris Milah: Mark of Distinction
Rabbi Osher Chaim Levene - 5766

Enduring Lesson
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5759

Entering the Land of Canaan
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5770

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

That's Tzedaka!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5771

“The Place That I Will Show You!”
Rabbi Label Lam - 5767

Lucky Man
Rabbi Raymond Beyda - 5767

Out of This World
Rabbi Label Lam - 5769



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information