Life is a shared body-soul experience. The pivotal issue, as we said, is which of the two is the most influential in shaping our lives. Will one’s life be defined primarily by the body with the soul being relegated to a cameo role, or will the soul be the star of the show with the body playing a faithful supporting part? The soul that has been breathed into every one of us is a priceless gem that becomes even more refined and sparkling when one chooses to live a soul-directed life. If, on the other hand, one lives more of a body-centered life, the soul becomes tarnished and loses some of its shine.
The soul that has been breathed into every one of us is a priceless gem that becomes even more refined and sparkling when one chooses to live a soul-directed life.
The nature of the body is that it decays and dies. The soul, however, lives on. When the soul departs the body it enters a spiritual world known as Olam ha’bah
, the “World to Come,” where the deep pleasure of G-dliness is infinitely more manifest than it is in the physical world. As the soul transitions into the spiritual world, it does so with both the beautiful luster and the unsightly tarnish it acquired in the physical world. The souls realization of what it achieved in the physical world and its experience of closeness to G-d is what Judaism calls “reward.” To fully experience the reward of pure G-dliness that awaits it, the soul needs to be cleansed of any tarnish and blemish. The realization that it became tainted while it was in the physical world, and the subsequent cleansing process, are what Judaism calls “punishment.”