Responding to the timeless question, “Where is G‑d?”—the Kotzker Rebbe famously replied, “Wherever you let Him in.”1

Judaism teaches that G‑d isn’t to be found only in the ether, relegated to the heavens, inaccessibly distant and outside of us; rather, He can be found within each one of us.

Reflecting this spiritual truth, the Hebrew word neshamah, soul, shares the same etymological root as the word neshimah—breath.2

Unlike the rest of creation, which was brought into being through G‑d’s speech, as in, G‑d said: “Let there be light” and there was light,3 the soul of man was not spoken into creation.

Instead, G‑d breathed into his nostrils a living soul, and man thus became a living being.4 Our very soul is therefore rooted in G‑d’s breath, which originates from within His deepest depths.5

The difference between speaking and blowing is that in speech, the breath of life within is converted from its essence through the process of verbalization. Whereas the act of blowing merely transports the breath of life from within, passing it on unadulterated to its intended recipient.

The human soul is therefore not a creation of G‑d but literally a part of G‑d Himself.6

Just as a child is constructed from their parents’ DNA, so, too, as children of G‑d, each of us is made up of the Divine essence.7

Therefore, just as one cannot cease to be their parents’ child, even if they choose not to identify or live in accordance with them, similarly, at our core, we always maintain our spiritual essence regardless of the choices we make.

One of the major implications of the human soul’s uniqueness is that when we seek to develop a relationship with G‑d, we don’t need to establish a new connection; we need only access our innate spiritual core and give it expression. As opposed to other traditions, which believe that a person needs an intermediary to connect with G‑d, Judaism sees every human being as possessing an intrinsic bond with G‑d from birth. In truth, this Divine breath is who we are.

Contrary to the notion that we are “born in sin” and are therefore in need of “redemption,” Judaism teaches that we are “born in holiness” and always maintain access to that original state, regardless of our life choices or mistakes. As we say in the morning blessings as a daily reminder, “My G‑d, the soul that You have placed within me is pure.”8 We each have a point of indestructible goodness and G‑dliness at our core, by virtue of the fact that, at root, our soul is “a part of G‑d above.”9

It follows that this relationship with G‑d is not something that we can ever lose. Even when we are not in touch with our soul, our Divine essence lies dormant within us, awaiting expression.

The Big Idea

IIn order to forge a connection with G‑d, one doesn’t need to reach upward or outward but inward.

It Happened Once

A young musician on a spiritual quest once approached the Lubavitcher Rebbe as he was getting out of his car in front of Chabad headquarters.

“I have a question,” he exclaimed in the Yiddish of his youth.

“What is it?” the Rebbe asked.

“Where is G‑d?” he asked.

“Everywhere,” the Rebbe replied.

“I know,” the young man continued, “But where?”

“In everything and in every place,” said the Rebbe, “In a tree, in a stone…”

The young man persisted, “I know, but where?”

“In your heart—if that’s how you’re asking.”10