the best way to a man's soul is through his body

People want spiritual experiences. They do. I don't know why, maybe because they're seeking something out of the ordinairy. So, to get there, they ignore their bodies, they sit there, fast, abuse their bodies in all kinds of ways, take all kinds of substances, all in the attempt to experience things beyond what the body is able to supply.

Even though it seems like to get to the spirit we have to surpass the body, this is backwards thinking. Most of what we do in seeking spiritual experiences actually makes the body thicker, more corporeal, more substantial, essentially blocking true spiritual experiences.

Rebbe Nachman explains in Likkutei Moharan I:22, that the soul is constantly experiencing the most amazing spiritual journeys, observing the most awesome sights. Ok, that's pretty cool, but it doesn't quite blow our minds. How about this? He says that the soul is constantly trying to transmit these exeperiences and insights to our bodies, but our bodies aren't picking up the signal. That's wild. Our souls are trying harder than we are to furnish us with the spiritual experiences we seek. The problem is our bodies. Instead of trashing our bodies and ignoring them, Rebbe Nachman explains, we need to purify and rectify them.

How to rectify the body? He doesn't go into detail, he only says two things, (1) sighing cleanses the body. (To make sense out of that statement you have to look earlier in Likkutei Moharan, to understand that sighing and drawing out your breath will undo all of the trauma of kotzer ruah shortened breath. To understand what this means, you will have to actually look it up in Likkutei Moharan--I don't remember where it was exactly, but it's definitely in one of the first 20 lessons. (out of almost 300 lessons that narrows it down pretty well))

(2) Rebbe Nachman goes on to say that perfecting our mitzwah performance also cleanses our body. Something that makes sense in light of the introduction to the Notzer Hesed, where he says that in order to purify each of the 248 limbs and 365 sinews of his body, the Rebbe M'Komarna wrote a sefer that delves into the performance of each of the 248 positive mitzwoth and 365 negative mitzwoth on the levels of pshat, remez, drash, and sod. (simplicity, hints, derivations, and secrets respectively) [for more about the Notzer Hesed's introduction see this post from June 06.]

That's pretty radical for all those people from the (so-called) Kabbalah Centre and the like who say (idiocy like) we don't need the Torah, we just need the Kabbalah. Instead, Rebbe Nachman is telling us that if you want to experience the upper worlds, you need to perfect your mitzwah observance. [Similarly from the Notzer Hesed we also see that he combined the Kabbalah (the sod, the secrets) along with the other three more physical and mundane levels of pshat, remez, and drash.]

[updated incorrect likkutei moharan reference, should have been I:22 instead of I:21]


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