By: Rabbi Shlomo Ezagui
Inside of us, living in our bodies, everyone has a soul, a spark of G-d that animates every nook and cranny of our entire bodies. This spark, is who we really are. This is the real “I” “Me”.
This soul inside ourselves is granted three garments — thought, speech and action. Through the use of these three tools we call garments, we express different aspects and characteristics of our soul. As a result of these expressions communicated through the “garments” people judge us, and rightfully so! It’s not always who we really really are, but it is how we have decided to let people outside ourselves view “us”.
These garments we choose to wear over our soul have the power to make us, either feel good or the opposite, just like cloth influence how we feel. Although the soul is revealed through these garments, these garments never become one with the soul, and always remain an external instrument, with the possibility of either helping or hurting the essential nature of the soul.
In the same way that we can choose as we please the garments we don upon ourselves, the same is also true for the garments of the soul. A person can think, speak or act in line with his true nature, such as a rich man putting on rich cloth or a hard working individual putting on the appropriate clothing which honestly reflects his status. Or a person can decide to think, speak and act for whatever reason he has in mind not in line with his soul’s true character. Much like a poor person putting on luxurious clothes.
While it’s true a person does not get to choose the kind of body or soul they have, we always have full control over the garments of thought, speech and action we place in our lives and over our souls. G-d gave everyone full control over ones soul garments and it is possible for a person to put on clothing not compatible or exactly reflective of his soul many times even at the expense of their own soul and many times to help improve and steer ones soul to a better place. A “dirty” soul always retains full capability to put on clean clothing, and a clean soul can always choose to put on dirty clothing.
A person can do (action) a favor for someone, even when his heart tells him to do the opposite. A person can say (speech) nice things, even when his heart feels differently. And in thought, a person can think positively, even when he is inclined to thoughts of sadness and hopelessness. While free will and total opportunity is always present to think, speak and do as a person chooses, it takes extra effort at the precise moment that it does not feel natural, to conscientiously and deliberately put on an incompatible thought, speech or action over the soul for its’ very own benefit.
That is why the instructions and commandments to be moral, ethical and G-dly are satisfied always through the garments and not by the tendencies of the soul itself and its own essential characteristics. G-d expects us and rewards us for doing things that are within our power to fulfill. It would not be fair for G-d to expect something a person could not deliver. A person has full control over his garments, even against the feeling of his own heart or what he or she believes is a natural tendency of their own soul.
To read more articles from Rabbi Ezagui visit him at http://koshercaffeine.blogspot.com/