The human being faces an intense contradiction. One the one hand, his body is made of earth - physical substance - and it’s the nature of earthly physical things to disassociate (pull apart). On the one hand, his soul (his core) is an agent of the most high, a “portion of God from above” (Job 31:2). The contradiction is rather obvious and it begs the question: How do such intense opposites, body and soul, coexist?

The answer, explain the Sages, lies in their seeking out commonality, or, their unification toward a common goal (motivated by a mutual interest). And what is the common “passion” that links our body and soul? God! Kabbalah explains that our physical needs/desires are nothing more then masks hiding a much deeper truth, that our all (our totality) needs God. You see, bodily passion in all of its forms, explains the holy Ba’al Shem Tov, is nothing more then an indicator as to where one’s spiritual mission lies. For example, a love of money (of accumulating wealth) has historically created a barrier to meaningful spiritual growth (hence, intensely spiritual people have renounced it). That being said, there is a story told of the holy Ari’zl, Rabbi Issac Luria, standing at attention before a wealthy man so as to give him honor. When questioned about his conduct, the Ari’zl explained that his standing before the wealthy individual was not, God forbid, to honor the wealth (the physical money itself) but, rather, its amazing potential - to fund houses of worship, educational institutions, and charitable programs focusing on a Godly objective! Hence, the physical passion for wealth and money need not be a spiritual antithesis, for its energy can become a “servant” of the soul (a useful tool to fulfill a Godly agenda). Explains the Ba’al Shem Tov, passions are nothing more then an indicator as to where man’s most valuable assets lie - which bodily powers/tools he can use to carry out the soul’s agenda - to build a Godly world. Be it the use of sexuality to bond (healthily) to one’s mate and build a family, or, the channeling of desire for food and drink toward honoring the Shabbat and festivals (by purchasing a rich assortment of meats, wines, and cakes for their honor), all passions can, potentially, be utilized for Divine service.

By fusing the needs of the body with that of the soul, we conquer “gravity,” the force pulling us downward toward a purely physical existence, and resolve their contradiction.