Today has been a day of reconciliation. I have reconciled files to databases to server folders to lists. I have reviewed, re-reviewed, updated, changed and then once again, double checked the reconciliation. It is no wonder then that since I have done some sort of physical reconciation, my brain starts to compare and contrast the body and the soul, and I turn to think about an internal reconciliation.
There are lots of soul theories out there. Some are well documented theological standpoints, and some are concepts which are considered, argued and reconsidered as they morph through time.
At My Jewish Learning, it states that "Judaism teaches that the body and soul are separate yet indivisible partners in human life. Rather than imprisoning or corrupting the soul, the body is a God-given tool for doing sacred work in the world. It requires protection, care, and respect, because it is holy." The soul is known by at least three different Hebrew words: neshamah, nefesh and ruah."
Neshamah "breath of life", nefesh "person, living being, ruah "wind, breath."
Literature of the Talmudic period gives us images of body and soul in harmony. "Just as the Holy One of Blessing fills the world, so does the soul [neshamah] fill the body. Just as the Holy One of Blessing sees but cannot be seen, so does the soul see but cannot be seen… Just as the Holy One of Blessing is pure, so is the soul pure" (Berakhot 10a).
Dr. Rachel Elior writes that "The kabbalistic doctrine of the soul is based upon three fundamental assumptions regarding the nature of man: (1) the divine origin of the human soul; (2) the idea that man is structured in the image of the sefirot (the ten eminations through which G-d himself), and that his soul reflects the hierarchy of the supernatural worlds; and (3) the idea that man can influence the world of the divine.
This to me is the ultimate reconciliation--the influence of man on the divine. The upper and the lower worlds. The interplay, the mirroring of. Does G-d even do a reconciliation, to make sure that our actions below are influencing correctly the world above? Who is in accounting, making sure the laws of the universe are properly enforced? Does my adherence to commandments really matter when it is all said and done? Does it affect the universe in a positive way?