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What is the Reason: Levels of Souls & Permitting What Others Have Prohibited Print E-mail

What Is The ReasonI have heard you teach that God interacts with different souls at specific levels. What do you mean when you speak of levels of souls? Why does the level determine how God will interact? C.M.

We find this concept in Halacha. (Whatever is true in Hashkafa – Jewish Philosophy – is true in Jewish Law and prayer.) The Talmud (Chagigah 18) teaches that the garment of an average person is considered as afflicted with Tum’at Midras – impurity imparted by sitting on an impure bed – in his relations with people whose normal status is that of Perushim – a category of people who carefully refrain from contact with ritual impurity. The garments of the Perushim, on the other hand, are considered as afflicted with the same degree of ritual impurity when they come in contact with people whose level of ritual purity is so high that they are permitted to eat Terumah. The garments of those Kohanim who may eat Terumah are still considered as afflicted with Tum’at Midras when they come in contact with things that could only be consumed within the precincts of the Temple.

We see that different realities, in this case, Halachic realities, exist for different people. We also can derive that the above principle depends on the level at which a person chooses to live. The Am Ha’aretz – the average person – is a good person and is not doing anything wrong. However, he did not choose to live at the same level as the Perushim and therefore he has a different status in terms of ritual impurity.

The same principle applies to our interaction with God. God interacts with people who choose to live at higher levels of awareness in a different way, often with higher demands, than He does with people who are not living on that level.

I once heard that a Rabbi is not allowed to permit something that others have prohibited. Is that true? What are the specific ramifications? Does this still apply? M.H.

The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh Dei’ah 242:10) teaches: “There are those who have written that it is prohibited for a Halachic Authority to permit something about which other authorities are unsure, and his permission will appear as if he has permitted something that is prohibited.” The Sefer Beit Lechem Chaim (Y’D 242) rules that the law that ‘ a Sage may not permit something that has been prohibited by another does not apply in our times. There are so many unqualified people making Halachic rulings, that if a Rabbi has clear and strong proofs to permit something, he may do so, and assume that the one who prohibited did so only out of ignorance.
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