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Fiery Souls

I keep being forcibly cheered-up. About two weeks ago, I was in a very bad mood as I was walking in to work. An elderly Hassidic man and wife were walking toward me on the sidewalk. I’m accustomed to the Hassidim of the area more or less ignoring gentiles like myself, at most exchanging brief nods to one another from across the cultural gap. On this occassion, though, it was not to be. The couple stopped in front of me and the gentleman looked in my eyes and pointed his curved finger at me imperiously while saying, “You have a good day. And that’s an order!” Then he and his wife gave me two of the most sincere smiles I’ve ever seen and kept on their way past me. I was not able to be grumpy for the rest of the day.

My fiancé and I were recently in a harsh conflict with one of her housemates who took it upon herself to be needlessly abusive. Without going into too much detail, suffice it to say that I was angrier than I have been in some years, and for several days in a row at that. On Friday night when everything was coming to a head and I was expecting a real conflict as my fiancé returned to the house to retrieve her more important belongings, I waited outside so as not to make things worse by my temper. I was vaguely aware at this point of a group of three Hassidic men walking up the street in the gloom. When they got close to me, they stopped, and out from behind the two younger men in front stepped a particular elderly man who pointed his curved finger at me and said, “And that’s an order!” He then chuckled and all three men continued on their way. I think the two younger men were quite taken aback by their elder’s mysterious gesture and words toward a strange gentile, but the old man and I shared a moment then which brought a smile to my lips, a laugh to my throat, and tears to my eyes.

On the Tree of Life, there are Holy Names, Archangels, and Angelic Choirs associated with each of the states of being known as the Holy Sephiroth. The sephirah at the bottom of the Tree, Malkuth (Kingdom), has associated to it the Angelic Choir called “Ishim” (AYShYM) which translates as “Fiery Souls”.

Who are the Ishim? Well, you are one of them. Or, at least, you can be. In Kabbalah, the Ishim are said to be the souls of humanity when we are inflamed with love for God and each other.

That Jewish gentleman improved my life, possibly forever. If I never see him again, I’ll always have the memory of his visits and I think that it’ll always make me smile. That’s what being a Fiery Soul is about. We all can be heavenly angels just by loving, and spreading the love. You don’t have to be perfect; you just have to improve lives in any way you can. The argument of “grace versus works” is solved: God is most active when we let His grace flow into the world through our works.

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