A question I received: What is the fundamental difference between humans and other creatures?
My Answer: Unlike animals, we humans have the opportunity to attain a connection higher than our bodies. There are two forces or desires at my disposal: I feel my “self” or my life, and I also feel the need to find the source of my life – the Creator.
In the physiological sense, humans do not differ from animals in any fundamental way. Man originated from the animate level. At some point in the past, we used to be apes, and we later developed into “modern apes.” Everything happened due to the development of the Reshimot in us. For more on this, see Part 3 of Talmud Eser Sefirot.
So, there is no difference between humans and animals, except for the spiritual desire that is instilled in us. This desire is a part of the Creator, and it is above and beyond our lives. If this desire awakens in me, then I become a human being. Meanwhile, in every other respect, I still remain an “ape.”
Granted, it’s an ”ape of the best sort” – one that’s more complex and more adapted to carrying out the human function: to attain the Creator through its desire. Our bodies are smarter and more sensitive than animals’. Yet, whatever a person in this world has that is above and beyond the animate level, he needs it for only one thing: to develop and understand what his soul desires.
You have received a point of spirituality that bears absolutely no relation to the body. It will remain even if you were to replace all parts of the body. It would still want to advance forward!
(From Part 2 of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson, on Baal HaSulam’s “Introduction to the Book, ‘From the Mouth of a Sage’”)