In “Experiencing the Divine: A Practical Jewish Guide,” by Rabbi Kalonymus Kalman Shapira (the Pieseszner Rebbe), translated by Yaacov Dovid Shulman, the Rebbe says, (p 28):

Every feeling that is connected to something of this world opens a spark of our soul, and our soul is revealed a little bit. Let us then consciously draw it out even more. Let us greet it with words of love, awe and pure, God-directed mindfulness. Since this feeling based on physicality has opened and revealed our soul a bit, we have something to begin with. We can now knock upon the door of our heart and summon our soul from behind the gates of bronze, where it stands imprisoned. “Open for me, my sister, my friend” (Song of Songs). “Come forth to serve God with purity and passion, with faith, love and awe.”

I find it difficult to believe that “Every feeling is capable of revealing part of” my soul. I imagine that my feelings are not always so elevated that they reveal my soul in a way that will result in me serving Hashem with purity and passion, with faith, love and awe.

So, I ask, is his idea that feelings reveal the soul rooted in the sources or is it a new idea of the Pieseszner Rebbe? Is this idea accepted by contemporary Orthodox thought?

  • 1
    Why can't you believe that negative feelings reveal a part of your soul also, a not-so-pretty part. That would make it even more important to react to them "with words of love, awe and pure, God-directed mindfulness."
    – Mike
    Jul 20, 2015 at 2:01
  • You are asking one of the old misnagdishe questions on chassidus. But for arguments sake, why are you assuming he doesn't require a level of kedusha and prishus, before allowing divination of desires?
    – user6591
    Jul 20, 2015 at 16:32

1 Answer 1


Rabbi Yitzchak Hutner explains that the yetzer hara has no substance inherently, only that which he has stolen from you where your 'spare' abilities were not utilised in the service of Hashem.

Therefore all your feelings are either a glimpse into your soul or a mirror-image of a glimpse into your soul, but nevertheless a portal.

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