Let My People Know

"It has been maintained that in recent generations there are very few 'new' souls; most people are 'used' souls"


One of the problems of reception (or knowing) of the world is the rather inevitable distortion that goes into the process. 

If we could absorb in purity, without interpretation, we would be able to know genuine inspiration. 

We would then gain knowledge by self-repudiation. 

But since this is so seldom the case, the possibilities for genuine creativity are relatively small. 

A new idea is rare. 

A flash of inspiration is a novelty, and frequently, it is lost because there was no way of developing it within a particular time, place, or circumstance. 

The "eureka" of Archimedes is not an experience that no one else ever had; it is simply an insight that could or could not unfold and be put to practical use.

It is in this sense that the soul of Israel is a candle of God, a point where a certain ignition takes place, the direct result of wisdom as a source of Torah and people. 

Therefore we see the people as the vessel for the oil and the wick of the Divine light. 

The problem is the relation between the (ethereal) light and the (substantial) body. 

After all, the Divine light of Torah does not need to be dependent on anything, it is an inner light. 

Nevertheless, the giving of the Torah is the result of the souls of the people being in the body. 

They were not abstract essences. And only as material bodies can they carry out the Torah's commandments.

As an aside, it has been maintained that in recent generations there are very few "new" souls; most people are "used" souls. 

One of the aspects of a new soul is that it experiences everything afresh, as a novel configuration of events. 

Whenever a new soul comes into the world some thing unprecedented is brought into being, a certain unknown. 

The new soul sees everything in another way, vivid and unfamiliar. 

Used souls cannot do this; the "first time" cannot be repeated. 

Which does not mean that the second time is necessarily a lesser experience; in fact, it is likely to be of greater quality, less impressionable, and more meaningful. 

–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz

From "Implications of the Menorah" in The Candle of God by Rabbi Adin Steisnaltz