When G-d drove Adam from Paradise, he retained part of his soul to remain there. On Shabbos, G-d releases that part and gives it back to man. This is our extra soul of Shabbos. On this day we are given the opportunity to return to Paradise.
There is a tradition within Judaism that on Shabbat we all receive an extra soul with which to enjoy the Sabbath. As I said in a previous post, in the past I had found this idea intriguing and even beautiful, but I didn't see any way to integrate it into the rest of my beliefs. However, recently an idea occurred to me which I want to share with you.
Now, I must be satisfied with Paradise on Shabbos; in the future we hope to be brought to Jerusalem of High.
The Talmud says that Shabbat is "a taste of the world to come." (Berachot 57b) The author of the letter to the Hebrews made a similar point when he or she wrote "So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God." (Hebrews 4:9a) The point is the same: the Sabbath is a sign pointing not just to the past, but also to the future.
So what about this second soul? Well, if in order to experience the joy of Shabbat, God gives us each week a neshama yiterah, a second soul, how much more does this imply that we should receive a neshama yiterah gedolah in order to experience the joys of the world to come, where we will enjoy an even greater rest and know an even greater delight?
In fact, since the sages say in that same passage of Talmud that "Shabbat is one sixtieth of the world to come," then that implies that the neshama yiterah we receive on Shabbat must be one sixtieth of the neshama yiterah we receive from God in order to enter into the World to Come!
I believe this is in fact a teaching of Yeshua, when he said in a discourse to one of the teachers of Israel:
Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God. (John 3:3)Yeshua taught that in order to see the kingdom of God, a person had to receive from God a second soul. This is no less than the fulfillment of the promise God made to Israel through the prophet Ezekiel
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you. (Ezekiel 36:26a)So, when we sanctify the Shabbat, let's thank God for the little neshama yiterah with which we can enjoy the beauty of the day. And let it also remind us each week to thank God for the greater neshama yiterah by which we will one day enter into the great Shabbat which is the World to Come.
Shabbat shalom, friends.