Let’s get metaphysical for a bit. All this stuff is true, you know. This is how our mind connects to and relates to itself, the body, and the physical universe. And all this is symbol/metaphor for something in the world, our thought, and how those things relate.
“Woe to the man who sees in the Torah only simple recitals and ordinary words… Every word of the Torah contains an elevated meaning and a sublime mystery.” Zohar iii, 152b
One of the Chassidic sages – but I cannot find the source right now – has said that a person should not take all these things literally. G-d is NOT a line within a circle. A person is a fool if he cannot understand that these are metaphors, metaphors for the human mind or the body or the universe or something immanent or transcendent or all these things. Woe to the man who takes everything literally and cannot get the metaphor. And even if you can’t get the metaphor it’s ok. There is a larger truth there somewhere.
(Consider this. Though there is One G-d, One People and One Torah, there are different weaving paths, ways of walking, through that Torah – collections of Halakha, interpretations, voices, sages, ways – and the following has been cobbled together from some of these.)
Consider transmigration (otherwise known as reincarnation, the passage of one soul through multiple lifetimes):
Simply put, there is the body and there is the soul. The body is our connection to the physical universe. The soul is our connection to the Transcendent, to G-d. On a deeper level these things are all One. The analytical is an illusion. The reasons for the analytical goes back to the story of Genesis and the first sin, the Breaking of the Vessels. But that is another metaphor.
Adam – the Adam Kadmon – is the primal man, and it is from here where all souls are derived. So, as I understand it, Adam/Eve were connected to each other and with G-d in the Garden of Eden. All were One. The first sin – “eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” – meant that the Universe broke into man and woman, body and soul, man and God, good and evil… The Vessels Shattered. All became separate. All became analytical.
So the soul of Adam came from the Breath of G-d and G-d was engaged in the world through Adam. With Adams “sin” he Adam “broke that Unity”. Adam shattered into all the souls of the world. At it’s Source each soul is identical, has that Divine Spark which is a part of G-d in the world. What gives us “identity” in this world is our “cloak of ego”. In each transmigration we take on a different identity. A man, a woman, a gentile, a Jew… We are trapped within the physical manifestation – this cloak of ego – we cannot feel our connection to each other or to The Divine, but through transmigration – by tracing all our transmigrations back in time – we all return to Adam and so to G-d.
If we see this manifestation of time and space as an illusion we can understand/feel our connection to each other. Schopenhauer describes this (wiki):
For Schopenhauer, human desiring, “willing,” and craving cause suffering or pain. A temporary way to escape this pain is through aesthetic contemplation (a method comparable to Zapffe‘s “Sublimation“). Aesthetic contemplation allows one to escape this pain—albeit temporarily—because it stops one perceiving the world as mere presentation. Instead, one no longer perceives the world as an object of perception (therefore as subject to the Principle of Sufficient Grounds; time, space and causality) from which one is separated; rather one becomes one with that perception: “one can thus no longer separate the perceiver from the perception” (The World as Will and Representation, section 34). From this immersion with the world one no longer views oneself as an individual who suffers in the world due to one’s individual will but, rather, becomes a “subject of cognition” to a perception that is “Pure, will-less, timeless” (section 34) where the essence, “ideas,” of the world are shown.
On a purely physical level Einstein describes time and space as being relative. One can move back and forth from Schopenhauer to Einstein (from mind to body) and perhaps this illusion of time and space begins to crumble. Perhaps not.
The Zohar further analyzes the structure of the soul into three parts. The Nefesh, Ruach, and Neshama. Lurianic Kaballah and Tanja will further explain this. The Jewish kabbalistic view is that, after Adam’s sin, the soul was so terribly entangled in the physical world that the Divine Spark was lost amidst the “broken shells”. Basically speaking, the non-Jew does not have a neshama, that aspect of the soul which connects them with G-d.
The Jewish people are a later development in the transmigration of souls from Adam. The Torah was given to the Jews specifically to heal the Universe, to complete creation. Torah is The Way, the Path to finding connection to each other and with G-d. Tikkun Olam (healing/completing Creation) is the mission of the Chassidic Jew. It is the goal of the Chassidic Jew to raise the sparks, to bring man closer to G-d and G-d into the world.
The paradox here, as I see it as a non Jew: We all contain a Divine Spark. We are all children of Adam and children of Noah. The Divine Spark within us is that aspect which facilitates ALL existence. Without it we would not exist – Existence would cease. G-d creates/re-creates the world every moment. And each moment is a miracle and everything is new and possible. And, it would seem, it is the souls of the goyim – the Diving Spark lost amidst a great deal of broken glass – that need the greatest lifting.
I believe, through transmigration, some souls pass through Adam and Noah and Abraham and Isaac and Jacob/Israel and back and forth in an attempt to heal the world. So I believe there are Jewish souls in non-Jewish bodies scattered throughout time and space.
Now, I cannot know the nature of my own soul. Knowing is an action of the ego. I can only yearn. Yearning is an action of the heart/spirit.
But consider the great joy a soul separated from G-d and Creation would feel to discover/rediscover Judaism as if for the first time. It is one thing to BE. That is Joy. That is wonderful. It is another thing to BECOME. Perhaps that is a greater joy. Perhaps that is to be engaged in The Act of Creation itself.