In keeping with these parshios of Avraham our patriarch, the first to teach and spread the concept of monotheism to the world, we present a letter in which the Rebbe explains – in clear and practical terms – the idea of monotheism to a chiropractor. The letter, written originally in English, is from the archives of the Rebbe’s trusted secretary Rabbi Nissan Mindel.
By the Grace of G-d
19th of Tammuz, 5720
Brooklyn, N. Y.
Greeting and Blessing:
After the very long interval I received your letter as also its predecessor.
First of all, I want to thank you for your thoughtfulness in letting me know the good news about your son’s position, especially as it is such that will not interfere with his convictions and world outlook. May G-d grant that your son, as well as you and all yours, go from strength to strength in your efforts to live up to the Torah, which is called Toras Chaim, the Law of Life, and the mitzvoth whereby Jews live, with joy and inspiration.
With regard to the question which you raised in your previous letter of June 21st, relating to my statement that the essence of Jewish monotheism is that there is unity everywhere, etc., which you question, in the light of neurology, which seems to indicate that there is a duality in the human nature between the physical and spiritual aspects of a human being.
Let me further elaborate that when I spoke of unity, it was not meant to imply that there is one substance. For there can be unity in multiplicity where the various component parts are united by one idea or force which unifying factor transcends the components and constitutes their true essence. Similarly, in the case of the human being. While it is true that a human being consists of a body and a soul, and they are clearly distinct, as is seen from the fact that when the body dies the soul survives and, moreover, the body itself consists of various parts, and when one limb is amputated G-d forbid, the rest of the body remains intact; yet this does not mean that the body is not a unity, for “unity” exists where the various parts are united and complement each other, although some organs are more vital than others.
A similar situation exists in the body-soul composition and their mutual attachment.
You are of course quite right that when the body is in a state of death, the soul is not affected, for it would be nonsense to say that a bullet could affect the existence of the soul. However, this does not deny the superiority of the soul, which is on an entirely higher level than that of the body, and the living body itself is proof of the fact that the soul animates and dominates it. This could not, under any circumstances, be considered as a duality, for the two elements, the body and the soul, are not equal, but the former is the vehicle for the other.
Similarly, in the case of creation, which is like a pyramid of a multitude of things, one above the other, rising to a point of highest level, and the higher one rises in the scale of creation, the greater is the degree of unity which is perceptible.
Here again, the microcosm can serve as an illustration of the macrocosm. For, on the lower level in the human being, one finds a variety of functions, such as eating, digestion, motion, etc., which apparently are separate functions, unrelated to each other. However, on a higher level there is the nervous system which brings all these various functions into motion, and where there is not such a degree of separateness. On a higher level still there is the very center of the nervous system in the brain, which Is still more unified, and so on.
By the way, this question is directly related with the principle of ‘There is no place devoid of Him ,” as is fully explained in the teachings of Chassidus, this year marking the 200th anniversary of its founder, the Baal Shem Tov.
Incidentally, since your field is chiropractic therapy, you must have applied the principle that through reaching to a higher level in the organism, it Is possible to bring about changes in various subordinate organs which bears out the point that I made in this letter.
With all good wishes, and hoping to hear good news from you always,