The Jewish Eye
Vilna Gaon on Yonah: Part 9 - The Neshama Is Interrogated By The Body
1:8 Then said they (the limbs) unto him (the neshama): 'Tell us, we pray thee, for whose cause this evil is upon us: what is your occupation? and from where do you come? what is your land? and of what people are you?'
For whose cause this evil is upon us - Who will be punished with you? Which organ and which power of the nefesh (lower neshama, needed for the lifeforce of the body)?
What is your occupation? - Which occupation did Hashem give you when He sent you to us?
And from where do you come? - From which place are you hewn, because you must do actions which return and reflect to your root, and not affairs of this world at all. (i.e. since the neshama comes from the spiritual world, it must do actions of a spiritual nature in this world.)
What is your land? - From which land did you come out to here, as written in the Zohar, on the verse (regarding Gan Eden) "to work it and to guard it" (Bereishis 1), which refers to positive commandments and negative commandments, on the land of Chaim (life) (gan eden) which from there you went out and to there you will return (if you had acted properly).
And of what people are you? - Because all your days, you did not go in the way of Yisrael. And even within Yisrael, just like some of them come from the Erev Rav or the Amalekim as written in the Zohar.
And likewise (as written in the Midrash Neelam on the verse in Bereishis 12:1) "go to yourself from your land, and from your birthplace..to the land that I will show you", 'your land' refers to the lower Gan Eden, and corresponding to it (the sailor asked) "What is your land?". 'and from your birthplace', correspondingly (the sailor asked), "from where do you come?", then "to the land that I will show you", means there I will show you what to do. Corresponding to that (the sailor) asked "what is your occupation?"
1:9 And he said: 'I am a Jew; and I fear Hashem, the Hashem of heaven, who has made the sea and the dry land.'
And he said 'I am a Jew '(Ivri - literally "side", since Abraham the first Jew, stood opposite the whole world against idol worship) - as written in the Zohar on the pasuk "on the side of the river, your forefathers dwelled", also there is to say on Gan Eden above (in the spiritual worlds), because from there is the "Kavod" and from there you were hewn which is from the side of the River Dinur (the mystical river of fire in Daniel 7:10), as is known that one must pass through it first (before coming to this world). And this answers on two questions.
And I fear Hashem, the Hashem of heaven - This is my occupation. This is the answer to "what is your occupation?"
Who has made the sea and the dry land - refers to this world, and the next world and gan eden to prepare in it to dry land (i.e. I come from gan eden and am here to prepare things to bring there). And this is the answer to "what is your land?"
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