Have you ever wondered why Hashem created the world? Have you contemplated the reason for which man was put on earth? I used to wonder the same until it hit me.
Hashem created the world for the Torah and the Jewish people. That’s why He created us on the sixth day of creation after the rest of the creations were complete. Inside each Jew is a neshama, a soul, a pure part of Hashem that was cast into this world in order to fulfill a special mission; to make the world a better place for Hashem to dwell within. But without something physical the neshama can’t accomplish anything, because each mitzvah is associated with something physical; tefillin with the arm, tefillah with speech, limud Torah with the mind, etc. Therefore Hashem created the body to serve as a vessel for the neshama when down here on Earth. The body is the only way that the neshama can accomplish its mission and fulfill its goal.
The Neshama being spiritual wants to do only spirituality, whereas the body (Nefesh Habehamis) wants physicality. Naturally, one would think that we need to train our bodies to listen to our souls. However in Parshas Chayei Sarah Hashem tells Avraham “כל אשר תאמר אליך שרה שמע בקולה.” (Listen to Sarah in whatever she tells you.) The Zohar interprets this passuk as Sarah being the body and Avraham being the neshama. Why then would Hashem tell the neshama to listen to the body? Shouldn’t one try to make their bodies’ batul to their neshamos instead of the neshamos to the bodies?
The passuk states “כי תראה חמור שנאך רובץ תחת משאו.” (When you see the donkey of your enemy kneeling under its burden – don’t ignore it, on the contrary, help it.) When the body and soul were first put together they were enemies, the body wanting physicality whereas the soul wanting spirituality. The passuk says, when you – the neshama – see the donkey of your enemy -the physical body – kneeling under its burden – the mitzvos for which to accomplish she came into this world. Hashem is telling Avraham, “Don’t ignore the body, don’t destroy it, work with it – אעזוב תאזוב עמו.”
The body and soul were put together so that the soul can work together with the body to serve Hashem. Hashem wants us to do the physical mitzvos together with our neshamos.
Some people think that secluding themselves from the world will help them serve Hashem without distraction. They think that just doing ruchnius is the best way to go about their lives. But that isn’t true! Hashem wants to see us to work and still find time to learn, He wants to see us hold back from lashon hora while in a room with a crowd. This is how we accomplish the אעזוב תאזוב עמו. Through working with our bodies and souls together we will accomplish our ultimate goal, bringing Moshiach now!