Let My People Know

Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz: “In the Garden of Eden the soul is allowed to see.”


There is a difference between a person in this world who keeps mitzvot and his soul in the Garden of Eden.

The difference lies not in the extent of the person’s clinging to God, but in the extent of his awareness of this clinging.

A person who performs a mitzva or learns Torah in this world cannot see its effect and thus he is not properly aware of the significance of what he is doing.

Therefore, he does not always enjoy it.

His thought, which is engaged with the Torah at that moment, is in another world, soaked in attachment to God as much as it would be if he were in the Garden of Eden.

However, since the person himself is in this world, which is very far from that realm, he cannot take pleasure in the attachment.

When a person’s soul is in this world, in his physical body, it is “deafened” by the noises created by our senses and physical experiences, until it becomes unable to perceive spiritual sensations except in their lowest form.

Only after his life in this world has ended, when his soul has separated from his body and all of these noises are silenced, does it begin to hear and see.

Then, little by little, another world is revealed to it. 

In this world, the act of a mitzva gives an appearance comparable to a rudimentary sketch that does not yet display an image.

A person gives charity to the poor, and apart from a very limited perception of cause and effect, he does not see what he has accomplished or the significance of his act, including how it plays out in other worlds.

In contrast, in the Garden of Eden the soul is allowed to see.

It sees these same things, but in a completely different way.

The lines of the sketch connect to one another and take on meaning.

This sketch becomes a silent, black-and-white movie, and then the frames take on color and sound.

Suddenly, everything is different.

Everything becomes clear.

What was important before is no longer important, and what was unimportant before is now the center of everything.

Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz