Created in the image of G-d, each individual is a spiritual being born with unlimited potential for goodness and growth. Since G-d is infinite, we are infinite. This constitutes our “infinite self”.
At the same time, we are unlike our Creator. We are physical beings limited by our natural tendencies and social upbringing. This constitutes our “finite self”.
Together these two selves constitute the soul. Our soul represents the full capacity of our psychology.
This bi-focal view of the individual highlights a fundamental difference between developmental psychology and Jewish teaching. Whereas developmental psychology sources self-actualization within our finite selves, Jewish teaching sources self-actualization within our infinite selves. While human beings develop out of the transaction between genetic constitution (nature) and social environment (nurture), ultimately we cannot rely upon nature or nurture as the source of our self-actualization. The infinite self is our potential to rise above natural and social parameters to actualize and transform our finite selves.
Jewish teaching provides a complete “map” of the soul which constitutes the essential “who” element of education.