Torah Or Vayeira-Selected teachings

The essence of soul versus its garments and soul powers:[1]

What is the essence of the soul? We find that the soul is described as containing intellect and emotions, known as Sechel and Midos. This can lead one to understand that the soul’s essence contains two parts, one being emotional the second being intellectual, and that this is its essential build up.  In truth, however, the soul has an essential level which is above all aspects of its soul powers, including being above and beyond its intellectual and emotional properties. Accordingly, the essence of the soul is a simple entity of divine light without any definition or parts, and its intellectual and emotional capabilities are like a mere garment that at weirs in order to express itself in those methods. The intellect and emotions of the soul are thus called “Tikunim,” as they fix the soul and help it expresses itself.  



The various particular aspects of the soul, which includes its intellect and emotions, are considered the garments of the soul and are not part of the essence of the soul.


The lesson in Avodas Hashem:

We’re naturally inclined to judge a person’s character by his current intellectual capabilities, accomplishments, and emotional attitudes that he expresses. While certainly this is a valid form of analysis of a person’s current conscious state, it is false to qualify the essence of the individual in accordance to what we see he currently expresses. The reason for this is because every person contains an infinite potential in the essence of his soul which can bring complete future change to his intellectual capabilities, emotional state of mind, and accomplishments. One of the greatest assets necessary for educators and parents is the belief in their child and student that they indeed contain the potential to strive and overcome their current misgivings.      


Difference between the various soul garments and why at times they are called the essence:[2]  

The soul contains many different types of garments, including the intellect the emotions it’s power of thought speech and action. The common denominator of all these garments is that they are all separate from the soul and are not considered part of its essence. They are all considered different tools that the essence of the soul uses to express itself. Nevertheless, within the soul garments there are various gradations in terms of their closeness and relationship with the essence of the soul. For example, the intellect and emotions are garments that remain with the soul constantly without having any failed time of expression. They are carried by the essence of the soul at all times and used by to express itself without any conscious decision. It is for this reason that the intellect and emotions are considered similar to the essence of the soul, as the soul is instinctively expressed through them, and is considered its very nature. This is in contrast to the garments of speech and action, which are similar to clothing and the wardrobe that a person may decide consciously to wear or not to wear, likewise a person can consciously decide when to speak and when to do an action. Furthermore, even the faculty of thought contains similar properties even though it is not possible to not think and thus from that perspective is similar to the intellect and emotions which is a constant garment that cannot be removed, nonetheless it is similar being that one can choose consciously what to think about what not to think about, while by emotions and intellect the matters take place primarily on the subconscious level and work automatically beyond one’s choice.


[1] Torah Or Vayeirah “Patach Eliyahu”

[2] Torah Or Vayeirah “Patach Eliyahu”

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