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What Is The Soul...

Q: Dr. Guterson, you talk alot about the soul. Maybe you can help me understand what the soul is? A: We’ve been talking about the soul for a number of weeks now. As I wrote last week, everything in existence has a soul - humans, animals, plants, and even inanimate objects. However, the human soul is on a totally different level because, unlike anything else, G-d breathed His essence into us. In past weeks, we’ve discussed the six essential features of the soul and more recently about the delicious battlefield of the soul residing within the body, which gives life it’s dynamism. But what is the structure of the soul? According to Chassidic philosophy, our soul has ten levels; three are intellectual and seven are emotional. In a spiritually and mentally healthy person, intellect drives emotion, not the opposite. People get themselves into all sorts of trouble when the opposite happens and, sadly, that can lead to misery, psychiatric hospitalizations, and crime. In life, we certainly first experience our feelings and it is crucial to be aware of our feelings. But then, when it comes to healthy behavior, intellect needs to drive our emotions. That is why, as I have written before, in the famous movie, “Wizard of Oz”, it is the Scarecrow, the one who represents the brain, who emerges as the leader of the trio (scarecrow, tinman, lion). It is also why, in my judgment, that Dorothy says to the Scarecrow near the end of the movie, “I think I’ll miss you most of all.” To be continued. Next week to talk about the three intellectual levels of the soul….

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