At what point in the Neshamah: Levels of Soul Consciousness is the separation between Jews and Non-Jews?


1 Answer 1


In regard to the exact difference in the level of Soul Consciousness, Rav Shneur Zalman Liadi writes in Tanya (Likkutei Amarim, ch. 1-2) that the Jewish Nation has both a Godly Soul and an Animalistic Soul whereas Gentile's have only an Animalistic Soul. Furthermore, the nature of the Animilatic Soul of a Jew is inherently different than that of a Gentile. A Jew's Animalistic Soul is from the place known in Kabbalistic literature as "קליפת נוגה" - "the Illuminated Shell" which represents the potential for both Good and Evil and thus has an element of Good within it, it is thus compared to the "עץ הדעת טוב ורע" - "The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil." A Gentile's animal soul however is seen to stem from a place that is purely evil and thus even the Good found within it is ultimately self-centered, as the Talmud (Bava Basra 10b) writes:

תַּנְיָא אָמַר לָהֶן רַבָּן יוֹחָנָן בֶּן זַכַּאי לְתַלְמִידָיו בָּנַי מַהוּ שֶׁאָמַר הַכָּתוּב צְדָקָה תְרוֹמֵם גּוֹי וְחֶסֶד לְאֻמִּים חַטָּאת נַעֲנָה רַבִּי אֱלִיעֶזֶר וְאָמַר צְדָקָה תְּרוֹמֵם גּוֹי אֵלּוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל דִּכְתִיב וּמִי כְּעַמְּךָ יִשְׂרָאֵל גּוֹי אֶחָד בָּאָרֶץ וָחָסֶד לְאֻמִּים חַטָּאת כׇּל צְדָקָה וָחֶסֶד שֶׁאוּמּוֹת הָעוֹלָם עוֹשִׂין חֵטְא הוּא לָהֶן שֶׁאֵינָם עוֹשִׂין אֶלָּא לְהִתְגַּדֵּל בּוֹ כְּמוֹ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר דִּי לֶהֱוֹן מְהַקְרְבִין נִיחוֹחִין לֶאֱלָהּ שְׁמַיָּא וּמְצַלַּיִן לְחַיֵּי מַלְכָּא וּבְנוֹהִי

"It is taught in a baraita: Rabban Yoḥanan ben Zakkai said to his students: My sons, what is the meaning of that which the verse states: “Righteousness exalts a nation, but the kindness of the peoples is sin” (Proverbs 14:34)? Rabbi Eliezer answered and said: “Righteousness exalts a nation”; these are the people of Israel, as it is written: “And who is like your people Israel, one nation on the earth?” (I Chronicles 17:21). “But the kindness of the peoples is sin,” meaning that all the acts of charity and kindness that the nations of the world perform is counted as a sin for them, since they perform them only to elevate themselves in prestige, as it is stated: “That they may sacrifice offerings of pleasing aroma to the God of heaven, and pray for the life of the king and of his sons” (Ezra 6:10). Even though they donated offerings, they did so only for their own benefit."

  • So if the gentile nations perform acts of kindness and charity and it’s considered a sin, since it’s derived from selfish reasons, what’s the point of being kind and performing charity for them? Do non-Jews have no part in Tikkun Olam? How is the world going to heal if non Jews showing loving kindness and charity is a sin? Does that mean Jews are only obligated to do acts of kindness and charity only for other Jews?
    – Jewish Art
    Jan 23, 2022 at 23:26
  • On the surface, that passage from the Tanya doesn't sound so nice. Is there a charitable understanding of this concept somewhere? What does R. Steinsaltz say in his comments on this section?
    – Bs234570
    Jan 24, 2022 at 0:27
  • See this link for a charitable understanding of this concept: judaismsanswer.com/The%20Soul.htm
    – user16403
    Jan 24, 2022 at 15:45
  • Plus note that the Tanya quotes the Gemara, it is not a innovation of the Tanya.
    – user16403
    Jan 24, 2022 at 15:51
  • 1
    Check the following note on the end first chapter of Tanya: chabad.org/library/tanya/tanya_cdo/aid/7880/jewish/… "It should be noted that among the nations of the world, there are also to be found those whose souls are derived from kelipat nogah. Called 'the pious ones of the nations of the world,' these righteous individuals are benevolent not out of selfish motives but out of a genuine concern for their fellow". (Siddur Im Dach. (Shaar Chag Hamatzot 287c; Likkutei Biurim by Rabbi Hillel of Paritch 47b.)
    – user16403
    Jan 24, 2022 at 15:54

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