See the soul of your friend but never neglect their real life experience and concerns. * On the Hayom Yom entry for 23 Menachem Av
"In the winter of 5652 (1891-2), when my father taught me in Tanya, 'The second soul in Israel is actually part of G‑d above,' he explained that the connotations of the words 'above' and 'actually' are contradictory... This is the unique quality of the 'second soul,' that though it is the epitome of the spiritual it has an effect upon the most material of materiality."
Chassidus reminds us that every Jew exists within the primordial thought of Adam Kadmon, the primordial man ("machshava hakduma d'ak".) This profound concept evokes the idea that every Jew has an elevated source, deeply embedded within the innermost realms of the Divine.
Yet, as profound as this idea is, we are reminded of the practical teachings of our sages: to treat every Jew with kindness, love, and respect. Not just because of their lofty spiritual origins but due to their inherent worth as individuals in the here and now.
The Torah tells us in Leviticus 19:18, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Rabbi Akiva, as quoted in the Talmud, Yerushalmi, Nedarim 9:4, proclaimed this principle to be a major tenet of the Torah. It's not a commandment contingent upon esoteric knowledge or deep spiritual insight. Rather, it's a call for genuine, sincere love for one's fellow.
Rambam in his Mishneh Torah, Hilchot Avel 14:1, expands on this, emphasizing the practical dimensions of this love: helping each other in business, celebrating together in times of joy, and comforting in times of distress.
Taking these classic teachings, how do we merge the profound with the practical?
The answer lies in the fusion of our spiritual essence with our physical existence. While we acknowledge the high origins of every Jew, it's our duty to translate that awareness into tangible acts of kindness and love. By doing so, we actualize the principle from Hayom Yom, bridging the "above" with the "actually."
In the Tanya, Chapter 32, known as the chapter of Ahavat Yisrael, Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi delves deep into this. While he recognizes the sublime soul of every Jew, he stresses the importance of concrete love, urging us to transcend our differences and to unify through our shared divine spark.
To conclude, as we recognize the divine origins of every Jew in the thought of Adam Kadmon, let it not be an abstract concept stored away in the recesses of our minds. Let it inspire us to act, to love, and to connect. For in the fusion of the profound and the practical, we bring the light of the "above" into the reality of the "actually."