Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak of Lubavitch (1880-1950)
It was summer of 1896, and father and myself were strolling
in the fields of Balivka, a hamlet near Lubavitch. The grain
was near to ripening, and the wheat and grass swayed gently
in the breeze.
Said father to me: See G-dliness! Every movement
of each stalk and grass was included in G-d's Primordial Thought
of Creation, in G-d's all-embracing vision of history, and
is guided by Divine providence toward a G-dly purpose.
Walking, we entered the forest. Engrossed in what I
have heard, excited by the gentleness and seriousness of father's
words, I absentmindedly tore a leaf off a passing tree. Holding
it a while in my hands, I continued my thoughtful pacing,
occasionally tearing small pieces of leaf and casting them
to the winds.
The Holy Ari, said father to me, says
that not only is every leaf on a tree a creation invested
with Divine life, created to specific purpose within G-d's
intent in creation, but also that within each and every leaf
there is a spark of a soul that has descended to earth to
find its correction and fulfillment.
The Talmud, father continued, rules
that a man is always responsible for his actions, whether
awake or asleep.
The difference between wakefulness and sleep is in the inner
faculties of man, his intellect and emotions. The external
function equally well in sleep, only the inner faculties are
confused. So dreams present us with contradictory truths.
A waking man sees the real world, a sleeping man does not.
This is the deeper significance of wakefulness and sleep:
when one is awake one sees Divinity; when asleep, one does
Nevertheless, our sages maintain that man is
always responsible for his actions, whether awake or asleep.
Only this moment we have spoken of Divine providence, and,
unthinkingly, you tore off a leaf, played with it in your
hands, twisting, squashing and tearing it to pieces, throwing
it in all directions.
How can one be so callous toward a creation
of G-d? This leaf was created by the Almighty towards a specific
purpose and is imbued with a Divine life-force. It has a body
and it has its life. In what way is the I of this
leaf inferior to yours?
 Kabbalist Rabbi Isaac Luria, 1534-1572.
 I.e. cardiac and respiratory functions, digestion,
cell replenishment, etc.