Individual Postings 1st appeared(& were copied in html form) on the Email List Mail Jewish

From: rhendel@king.mcs.drexel.edu (Russell Hendel) Date: Tue, 27 Aug 1996 09:55:53 -0400 Subject: Jewish vs Non Jewish souls---A halachic Contribution Several recent postings in Vol24 # 80 discuss the possible difference between Jewish and non Jewish souls. I would like to supplement the discussion by quoting what the Rav Rabbi Joseph Baer Soloveitchick said on the matter. The Biblical Verse in Ki Taysay, "...Do not let his carcass "lie" on the tree..." requires *immediate* burial (except for delays for the deceaseds honor). The Rav said that this law applies to non jews as well. The rav then used this as a springboard to discuss the differences between Jews and Non Jews. When one person suggested "Jews are created in Gods image" the Rav responded by quoting Genesis 1 and noting that *all* humans are created in Gods image. However continued, the Rav, there is a difference between them. The Rav explained that Jews have KEDUSHAH while non Jews don't. He didn't elaborate but it is easy to point to a Myriad of halachas: temple laws, Kashruth, Niddah laws, Synagogue respect laws, etc which all point to a requirement of creating, maintaining and supporting a status or atmosphere of Kedusha. In terms of the Mail Jewish discussion I would like to make 3 points: 1) If both Jews and Non Jews are created in Gods image then it doesn't seem to makemuch sense to say that one soul has "more Divine image" than the other. 2) Alot of the sources quoted in MJ were from the mystical literature. The Rambam rightly prohibits reading mysticism till one is well versed in halacha and halachic methodology. The reason the Rambam gives is because "otherwise, the mysticism will be misinterpreted". In this particular case, people who *ignore* a Biblical verse stating that all humans are created in Gods image and follow some obscure mystical passage are grossly misinterpreting the mysticism and erasing a fundamental concept of Judaism (the divinity of all people). 3) The idea suggested by the Rav that Jews have more Kedusha is totally consistent with MJ suggestions that one has to "work" = do Torah and Mitzvoth, to achieve this status of Kedusha (albeit there is still a little Kedusha even if one doesn't work since the offspring of a Jewish women have jewish status even if unfortunately no Mitzvoth are done). I hope these thoughts help delineate exactly what we as Jews have and are suppose to do. Russell Hendel, Ph.d, ASA rhendel @ mcs . drexel . edu