“Our souls are not hungry for fame, comfort, wealth or power. Those rewards create almost as many problems as they solve. Our souls are hungry for meaning, for the sense that we have figured out how to live so that our lives matter, so that the world will be at least a little bit different for our having passed through it.” -Rabbi Harold Kushner
Souls, just as objects, can be distinguished by those in motion and those at rest.
When navigating the spiritual realm, it may be useful to know the pecking order of the various categories of spirits floating around.
The Ohr Hachayim (Number 16:22) provides exactly such guidance, as follows:
1. God enjoys the singing and praise of the ministering angels, who do his bidding.
2. Above the angels, are the innocent human souls of those yet to be born, untainted as yet by sin.
3. Above the unborn are spirits of the righteous who have already negotiated the challenges of human life and whose souls have returned to the heavenly abode.
4. However, the highest level of spirit, the one that God loves the most is none other than the still-living human soul. He loves the person who is struggling with the material world, who does not see God clearly, who has hints as to His presence, but who nonetheless strives to do His will, to grow closer to God. That spirit is considered to be at the highest spiritual levels, above the perfect angels (1), above the innocent unborn souls (2) and above even the souls of the departed righteous (3).
Hence, a living, breathing soul, a soul in motion, is the most precious within the hierarchy of spirit-states.
May our spirits move ever higher.
To my nephew, Yoel Epstein, on the occasion of his Bar-Mitzvah. May he rise from strength to strength, his spirit soaring high.