Soul Hijackers

Restlessness is discontent and discontent is the first necessity of progress. Show me a thoroughly satisfied man and I will show you a failure. -Thomas Alva Edison

There is comfort in the status quo. You may not always like it, but it is predictable, it is safe. Change requires risk. There is danger. The results may even be worse than what you’ve become accustomed to.

Therefore, I am often surprised and even amazed by people who change their circumstances: a brooding personality who tackles a new project with zest; a person that takes on an entirely new career; and in recent years, I’ve been astonished by people who would have never dreamed of Aliyah (immigration to Israel) yet suddenly find themselves living in the Promised Land, in total contravention to their personality, plans or expectations.

The Ohr Hachayim (on Deuteronomy 26:8) may provide a hint as to why people might do positive things, seemingly almost against their nature. He claims that every soul has an obligation to fulfill all of the commandments. However, this is typically impossible. There are commands that can only be fulfilled by women, others that can only be fulfilled by men, some can only be done by a Kohen, a significant portion can only be done when the Temple stands in Jerusalem, and many can only be done in the Land of Israel.

What is a lacking soul to do, that did not manage to perform all the commands during its lifetime? Simple. It hitches a ride on a living person that has the capacity to do the command they missed out on. This ghostly soul hangs about our living carrier and may even gently nudge or persuade the unsuspecting person to do its bidding. That way it racks up its commandments count. (How many souls can attach themselves to a person? How do they choose a person? How much influence do they really have? What if they choose the wrong horse? Can they hop off and choose someone more promising? What about the commands that we still can’t do? Is there a waiting area for all those unfulfilled souls? Lots of questions on this whole concept…)

For millennia, Jews were unable to perform the commandments that depended on the Land of Israel. Finally we are able to. Is it any surprise then that people feel that tug to come to Israel and somehow, almost against their will, find themselves arriving at Ben-Gurion Airport?

What souls are hanging around you, where do they want to take you, and what are they whispering to you to do?

Shabbat Shalom,



To the marriages of Yakira Wiesel to Michael Azulay and of Michal Shimoni to Ronen Paz. May the souls of each new couple intertwine and may they know bliss, happiness and much joy in their new directions.

About the Author
Ben-Tzion Spitz is the former Chief Rabbi of Uruguay and a candidate for the Knesset for the Zehut party. He is the author of three books of Biblical Fiction and hundreds of articles and stories dealing with biblical themes. Ben-Tzion is a graduate of Yeshiva University and received his Master’s in Mechanical Engineering from Columbia University.