Too often we hear the term “Jewish soul” expressing baseless, Jewish arrogance. Others accept the heretical belief that God literally blew a “piece” of Himself” into man: “And He breathed into his nostrils a living soul” (Gen. 2:7) and, “And God created man in His image; in the form of God He create him [man]…” (ibid, 1:27) Certainly, if Maimonides, Ramban, Rashi, Unkelos and literally all other Rabbis rendered such anthropomorphisms as false and heretical, we must fully understand why these genius minds reinterpreted these verses, and then adopt these truths.
Maimonides teaches that since God is not physical, He possesses no physical qualities or accidents, such as “division”. (13 Principles; Principle III; Yesodei HaTorah 1:7) All Rabbis agree; God has no “parts”; thus, metaphors like the “Tzelem Elokim” (“Form of God”) placed in man, must be understood differently: simply indicating the “higher status” which humans possess over all other creations. As a Rabbi taught, God called our soul Tzelem “Elokim” – including His name – to underscore the great potential of our souls. For only with our souls, can we learn about God. But in no way can God have parts, and therefore, man’s attempt to abandon responsibility by feeling God is “inside” him, is a fallacy. (This pantheistic view led Jews to believe that God existed even inside sin, and other absurdities.)
Ironically, these arrogant Jews contradict themselves, basing their view of a Jewish “superior” soul, on those verses above…which address the “gentile” Adam the First. Continuing with the Torah’s lessons, God’s selection of the convert Ruth as the forerunner of our future Messiah, and Kings David and Solomon, clearly teaches that God finds no favorite in the Jew. In fact, God created man only once, and all humans are direct descendants of that first gentile couple. God never re-created man or the soul, giving the Jew a “new and improved model”. We all share the exact same design and potential. It was only due to mankind’s idolatrous sins and Abraham’s monotheistic lifestyle, that God selected Abraham and his children to receive and guard the Torah…for “all” mankind. God’s plan was, and remains, that “All sons of flesh call His name”. (Alenu Prayer) Furthermore, since God planned to give His Torah to descendants of gentiles, this means that gentiles are fully capable of practicing Judaism and obtaining Torah perfection. The born Jew has no advantage.
It is not the “receipt” of Torah that perfects humans, but our adherence to the commands…and this applies to Jew and gentile alike. Human perfection is not a Jewish birthright, but an accomplishment, available to all God’s creatures. And if a gentile is wise, he will love the Torah as does a knowledgeable Jew, and he will take on more than his mere seven Noachide laws. He will see that God’s commands perfect a human, and he will wish to share in that lot. Gentile converts throughout history showed themselves as the wisest members of their cultures – and ours – many becoming great, Jewish leaders.
Those seven commands are not a “limit” for the gentile, or as some say, “their” system. A Rabbi once taught: the Noachide laws are the bare essentials that entitle a human to retain his right to life. It is not “his” system, or a perfection system. Rather, Noachide laws are a starting point – not an exalted destination. Since the gentile is no different than the Jew, he too benefits equally by adhering to the Torah’s commands, as the Torah teaches: “One Torah and one statute you shall have for yourselves, and the convert who dwells among you.” (Numb. 15:16) This proves all humans share the identical design and potential.
The foolish view that converts always had some Jewish “spark” is equally arrogant, and baseless. For all the Talmud means by “future Jews and converts stood at Sinai” (Shavuos 39a) is that any person, who sees the truth of Torah, is “as if” he or she witnessed Revelation, which proves Torah beyond all doubt. Just as witnessing Sinai removed all doubt of God’s existence and the Divine nature of Judaism, those today who realize this truth are viewed “as if” they stood at Sinai. Equally true: a Jew today who abandons Torah is “as if” he wasn’t at Sinai.
Abraham was no more Jewish than Sodom’s sinful inhabitants annihilated by God. But Abraham’s difference was in his use of his Tzelem Elokim, extricating himself through reason alone from an idolatrous youth, and discovering and teaching monotheism to his fellow man. He viewed all humans as equal expressions of God’s will. All men are created equal.
Abraham was a prophet, and more perfected than anyone alive today: Jews and Rabbis included. He was not Jewish, yet God loved him. Talmud Sanhedrin 59a states: “A gentile who studies Torah is akin to a High Priest.” And the prophet Isaiah 2:2 teaches that in messianic times, gentiles will literally stream to Jerusalem to learn Torah. But gentiles cannot simply wake up one day and desire Torah, and thus, Moshiach cannot arrive…if Jews hide the Torah from gentiles by voicing acceptance of other religions. No, that deludes them into believing that we view their religions on par with Torah. However, the Torah teaches, “From a false matter distance yourself.” (Exod. 23:7) Hence, we must be honest and clear: Judaism views all others religions as imposters, since no other religion was God given. This explains why others preach faith, and not proof, as does Judaism. Our core tenet is that Judaism alone is Divine, proven by the mass witnesses at Sinai…the same manner in which all history is proven. Such a mass revelation is absent in literally all other religions, and why we do not accept their baseless claims. Furthermore, if we recognize any other religion, we violate God’s words: “Do not add to it [Torah] and do not subtract from it.” (Deut. 13:1) All other religions defy this fundamental directive of God in their addition to, or subtraction of Torah law. Again, God said, “One Torah…for yourselves, and the convert.” This means no other laws are acceptable, for any people.
One other popular misquotation is from Job 31:1,2: “A treaty have I made with my eyes; for what shall I gaze at a virgin? And what portion of God above shall I have, and an inheritance of God on high?” Job rightfully defends himself, claiming that he never gazed at a woman for any other reason than examining her qualities, to determine if she was a fit bride for his sons. For by gazing longer, it would be out of lust, and he would forfeit his share of God’s reward. But many Jews and a popular, chassidic work misquote this verse, illiterately isolating the words “portion of God above” (“chelek Elokim mimaal”) to mean that God placed a part of Himself into man: truly an inexcusable corruption of Torah. This is also an outright denial of our greatest Rabbis who state such beliefs forfeit our Olam Haba, our afterlife. And this is all in the name of feeling that as Jews, we are better? Since when does illiteracy and denial of God’s Torah and Rabbis elevate one’s soul over the gentile?
In truth, the arrogance of these Jews, is the exact opposite trait which Ruth the convert expressed, and earned her great status, and the role as ancestor to Messiah and our great kings. God did not create gentile and Jew; rather, He simply created “man and woman”.