I’ve been told that Jacob is a “pure neshama” or pure soul but didn’t really understand what that means. I was given the following explanation and thought that maybe, on some level, it makes sense. You can make your own assessment:
G-d’s Handicapped Children
A friend gave birth to a baby with a rare condition that has rendered her severely handicapped. She is not expected to live much past her tenth birthday I can’t understand why G-d does that. If life has a purpose, what’s the purpose of such a short sad life?
Every birth is a gamble. A soul enters the world innocent and pure. But it may not stay that way. This world is a maze of diverging pathways, both good and evil and the choice is ours which way we go. Once a soul enters a body, it is free and therefore vulnerable to corruption while acts of good elevate the soul. Every act of evil makes a blemish on the soul.
Some souls are so pure it simply isn’t worth the gamble These souls are too precious to risk being compromised by life in a body. They are too high to come down to this world. But the other option, not to be sent down at all, to never reach this world, would mean that we would miss out on meeting these holy and lofty souls and hearing their message.
So these souls do come down. But in order to be protected from the potential evils of an earthly existence, they are sent down into a body that will not compromise their holiness. They enter this world in a form that is above sin above evil. From a purely physical perspective we call them disabled or handicapped. From the perspective of the soul, they are protected. They will never sin. Their sojourn in this world is often brief and, in terms of this world, may seem sad. But they have retained their purity. And they have fulfilled their mission.
These special souls remind us that true love doesn’t need a reason. We often love others for what they give us. We love our children because they are cute, smart and high achievers; we love our spouse for the pleasure and contentment they give us; we love our parents because they care for us. This is love, but it is not pure.
When a child is born that will never achieve worldly success, cannot provide the usual source of pride for her parents, all extraneous reasons to love her fall away and what’s left is the purest love that there can be. These children are lovable not because of what they do for you, and not because of what they will one day become, but simply because they are.
These pure souls remind us what love should be. Only such a pure and holy soul can elicit such a pure and holy emotion. We can only stand in awe of them, and the parents and friends who care for them. And we can only thank them all, for giving us a glimpse of what true love really means.