We have been discussing the status of the human body in the eyes of Judaism, in the last column explaining that the upper spheres created by God are in the spiritual image of the body of man. We left off with the question of: Why would the Al-mighty establish His hierarchy of spiritual worlds in such a fashion?
Please fasten your seatbelts!
The Kabbalists explain that God did so because He desired that mankind would be God’s partner in the perfecting of the universe. Man’s choices should not merely make a local impact within each individual’s recognizable sphere of influence.
Man’s actions should, rather, have a global impact, making a difference throughout the universe. Man is referred to, in the words of the early Sages, as a microcosm, a living miniature of the entire universe. The Mishkan, or Portable Temple, is also referred to as a microcosm of the universe in space. Every limb, organ and sinew of Man corresponds to a vessel, stitch or panel of the Mishkan, which was created as a miniature universe of holiness within the larger universe which is stained by impurity and misdeeds.
The fact that every part of the body of Man corresponds to a part of the universe, including the upper spiritual worlds, endows Man with immense influence over the entire universe through his choices and actions. In order to empower Man with such a magnitude of influence, the Al-mighty did not merely create the body of Man to correspond to the upper worlds and universe. He, rather, created Man at the very end of creation (on Friday, the final day), in order to include some fiber of every part of creation within Man. Man and the universe are hence inextricably interwoven into one unit. The uppermost fragment of the soul of Man towers above all other spiritual worlds to ensure that the actions of Man will impact all of the spiritual worlds, as Man’s soul traverses all of those worlds from its highest place down to the body of Man himself. Depending on what type of action one does, which part of the body takes part either in the mitzvah or, God forbid, the misdeed, that action will very specifically affect the part of the world or universe connected to that part of the body.
This is the meaning of the statement of the Talmud that the number of mitzvos of the Torah corresponds to the number of body parts. The mitzvos, which are the specifics of the Torah which the Zohar calls the “blueprint of the world,” are deeply connected to every part of our body and are the “wires” which connect our bodies to every part of the world and universe.
A further corollary to this is that our bodies are not merely arbitrary vessels which are attached to our souls. Rather, each body is custom-made to its soul, fine-tuned to its intricacies. The human body is the instrument by which each soul plays its unique music as an integral part of the orchestra of life. It is the vehicle by which each distinctive soul plays out its unique mission during its time in this world.
This understanding opens the door for us to begin to fathom the spiritual distinctions between the male and female bodies. The physical contrasts and dissimilarities between the male and female bodies express a spiritual divergence. As we have seen, every minute iota of our bodies hints to a supernatural connection to the highest of spiritual worlds. This is certainly true with regard to the polarity, in many respects, between the male and female bodies.
Before we can justly explore the question of “gender fluidity” and the transferral of one’s body to reflect the gender of one’s choice, we must first understand the diverse spiritual messages which are broadcast by the two bodies.
We will attempt to examine these messages in the following column.