Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Partzuf !

This morning I was particularly inspired by what I reviewed in “Otzrot Chaim” regarding the development of “partzufim”, i.e. the divine attributes, “sefirahs”, expanded into fully developed structures. These attributes have lights and vessels, which serve as their souls and bodies.

Rav Chaim Vital explains that the lights don’t need to develop, only the vessels do. This parallels what I have learned in Chabad teachings that the soul is already holy and pure. She did not descend so much for herself as much as to refine her body and by extension the portion of the world assigned to her.

In the process of the development of divine attributes into “partzufim”, the vessels develop capacity to express more and more of the soul, i.e. the light. The light has huge potential. However, this potential can only be expressed on a lower (less energetic) realm if there’s a vessel present to do so.

For example, an embryo already has a soul assigned to it. However, until the embryo develops eyes and ears, the soul’s capacity for sight and hearing cannot be expressed on the earthly realm. These potentials would simply remain latent within the soul. Once the body or vessel develops eyes and ears, these potentials can be expressed.

I would presume that if the body could be genetically or medically enhanced, even more potentials of the soul than are typically expressed today can be expressed. For example, let’s say the wavelength ranges which the eyes and ears can perceive are expanded. Or let’s say mental functioning is enhanced. Maybe, these are developments for tomorrow.

It seems to me that a person’s possessions are also part of his/her personal “partzuf”. By means of possessions a person has the ability to express more and more of his/her soul on the earthly realm. For example, If one has more wealth, one can give to more causes and to the needy. Or in a nice home, one can perfect the kindness of hosting guests. Or with a car one can travel to do deeds of kindness. The list goes on and on... Basically, the totality of one’s “partzuf” includes his/her possessions. In a sense, they are tools which extend what one can do with one’s bodily organs even further.

The path of Torah and Mitzvahs is the path by which the soul uses her earthly vessels to express herself. Additionally, through Torah guidance and refinement, the body and/or possessions continue to develop into an even more enhanced “partzuf” - leading to even further soul expression or download down the road.

As part of one’s possessions, technology also fits into this picture. The fact remains that technology manifoldly increased what the soul can express. For example, today we can reach further with kindness, conversation and Torah. One can publish a Torah thought which will instantly be seen around the world.

Since the soul is layered, it is best to use technology to express the highest level of soul one can access. Then we’ve truly used technology properly in the self of being a cohesive “partzuf”. If a person uses technology to express his/her animal soul only, then it’s a wasted opportunity. However, if one distills messages from the highest accessible reaches of the divine soul and shares those messages with the world, it is so worth it.

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