Thursday, October 30, 2008
Do Pre-Conversion Gerim Have a Jewish Soul Hidden in a Gentile Body?
About a year before I converted, I was talking to a local educator back in Dixie, and I asked him, "I feel Jewish already. Could it be that I already have a Jewish soul, but that it is just in a non-Jewish body right now?" He answered me that he didn't think so, but that when a person converts, he gets a new Jewish neshama.
A Simple Jew pointed me toward an interesting footnote (Page 2, footnote 6) in the English Translation of Sefer Baal Shem Tov on Parshas Lech Lecha AVAILABLE HERE, which was quoting a piece in the Degel Machaneh Ephraim. The translator of the sefer and author of the footnotes, Rabbi Eliezer Shore, wrote that "before their [converts') conversion, their souls are trapped in a gentile body." ***
This seems to be a source for the idea that Gerim have a Jewish soul before they convert, but that it is hidden, or trapped, in a gentile body until that point. Does anyone out there know if this is a chidush or is it an accepted principal? Personally, I felt that this was true before my conversion, but hey, what do I know about the deeper spiritual aspects of reality!? Thanks for any insights!
UPDATE 10/31/08: See my follow up post with more detials on the nature of the non-Jewish soul (both preceeding conversion and not).
*** ASJ found the Sefer Baal Shem Tov's source online. The Degel Machaneh Ephraim that it quoted is available HERE, D"H "Oh Yomar."
(Picture courtesy of dkimages)
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