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Strength In Numbers

This is the law of one afflicted with leprosy… he shall be brought to the Kohen… (14:2)

Even if the leper is himself a Kohen, he must go and consult with another Kohen. For "a man can see all afflictions except for his own."

- The Talmud, Nega'im 2:5

When Rabbi DovBer of Lubavitch was sixteen years old, his father entrusted him with the task of serving as a mashpia (a spiritual guide and mentor) to the young men in the chabad community.

Rabbi DovBer strongly encouraged his pupils to gather together in informal farbrengens to inspire, rebuke, and consult with one another in matters concerning the refinement of their character and their service of G-d. "Look at it this way," said Rabbi DovBer, "when two Jews get together and one tells the other what ails his heart, or if one notices a negative trait in his fellow and discusses it with him, the result is two G-dly souls taking on a single animal soul."

Every Jew possesses both an animal and G-dly souls. The 'animal soul' is driven by the self-centered aspirations of physical life, and the 'G-dly soul', by the selfless quest to serve the Almighty. But the animal soul, which is utterly self-oriented, has no interest in the triumph of her fellow animal soul; not so the G-dly soul, who's only desire is that the will of her Creator be fulfilled. So when a person grapples alone with his spiritual ills, what we have is a one-on-one struggle of his two selves; but when two Jews get together, the animal soul of each is overwhelmed by a double onslaught of the Divine essence of man.

 

 


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