By: Rabbi Shlomo Ezagui
As garments of the soul, a person’s thoughts are always the results of what he/she decided to think.
We are always accountable for our thoughts. Consciously or subconsciously, by intentionally inputting our thought pattern, or unintentionally allowing extraneous thoughts into our mind, we bear that responsibility.
Thought is a garment to the soul like speech and action and is therefore a tool of the soul, and not the soul itself. For this reason, even when we don’t feel like it, and/or we are not in the “mood”, we always have the ability to focus our mind in the direction of thinking whatever it is we decide to think and change our “mood”. However one very important distinction with thoughts is that, because thoughts and thinking is constant and internal, closest to the soul, therefore they are more deeply attached to the soul and affecting the soul. Thoughts have the strongest and greatest influence on a person. The mark and/or stain that come as a result of one’s thoughts, for the good or the opposite, will be deeper on one’s soul.
Many times we hear people saying, “Oh, I was just thinking about it, but didn’t act on it.” That is actually a grave mistake because what a person entertains in their mind besides the energy it creates around them, what we think will leave the deepest mark on the personality and character of a person.
Let us look at the physical counterpart to these “garments”, clothes. When a person puts on nice clothing over his body, they will actually change his mood according to the clothing he puts on. In the Talmud garments are called “my honor’. They help define the person and rightfully assign integrity to the person wearing them. An ordinary person, when he puts on honorable and luxurious clothing, he will feel and will be treated in that fashion.
So it goes with the garments of the soul. Every speech, action, or thought we decide to don upon ourselves, will influence and impact the actual soul positively or negatively.
With enough repetition, habits are formed (which can always be reformed if necessary), which will eventually mold and shape our actual souls in the direction and form of these garments for now, and all eternity. The spark of G-dliness inside ourselves the “I” inside which remains alive even after we leave this world, takes on the shape and style and becomes identified by the habits and garments we regularly decided to place over our souls.
A person’s life is judged not by the soul he was granted, but by the choices he makes regarding these garments of the soul. After a while and with enough routine and habit, the thoughts the speech and actions will express the character and nature of what our souls have become.
For a person who has decided to make a routine of being involved in wisdom, intellectual thought comes to his mind. A person who decided to think happy and joyous thoughts, cheerful and joyful thoughts will start flowing automatically. This becomes who they are. For some people, the thought to murder never enters their minds, for others, the thought to contribute to society in a positive way will never enter their minds. In the end, what we think is a result of how we trained ourselves to think.
The fact that thoughts ultimately manifest the personality and character traits of the soul, brings a special seriousness and attention to the content of one’s thoughts. Proper thoughts reflect a healthy soul. While empty, vain thoughts reflect an empty and confused soul. Even when these are irregular once in a while, thoughts become a reflection of the character of one’s soul.
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