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On shabbos we get an additional soul (tannis 27b) - what is the utility of this soul? Is it the same one every week? Why would we need an extra soul?

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Why do we need the first soul? –  Double AA Dec 14 '12 at 17:17
    
@DoubleAA to animate our flesh (per Genesis) but we seem to do pretty well with just one the rest of the week –  user2110 Dec 14 '12 at 17:18
    
@DoubleAA I think I remember reading in Michtav MeEliyahu that he heard from his father that it's possible to lose your soul. (I don't remember exactly where and I don't have the book in front of me, but I am pretty confident that it's in volume 1, madur ri'shon.) –  b a Dec 14 '12 at 18:32
    
@DoubleAA -- judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/ask –  Yehoshua Dec 16 '12 at 13:32
    
@DoubleAA Page 72. I just looked at it in my shul's library. –  b a Dec 23 '12 at 2:01

3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

neshama yeterah doesn't literally mean "an extra soul", it means "extra soul" as if the amount of soul that you have is continuous. the conceptualization is for example that you have less soul when you are tired or angry and more soul when you are at rest. see footnote 5 on neshama yeterah in the tenth chapter of The Sabbath by Heschel here.

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Hebrew doesn't have a word for the indefinite article, so I'm not sure your diyuk is at all meaningful. –  Double AA Dec 14 '12 at 19:23
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@DoubleAA, I read this as more an assertion than a diyuk. –  Isaac Moses Dec 14 '12 at 19:35
    
it is a diyuk and the point is that yeterah doesn't only mean "another", it also means "more" –  honi Dec 14 '12 at 20:22

Rashi in Maseches Beitza 16a writes that the neshama yesera is:

רוחב לב למנוחה ולשמחה ולהיות פתוח לרוחה ויאכל וישתה ואין נפשו קצה עליו

This very roughly means that it expands his heart so that he has a greater capacity for rest and joy and is able to eat and drink more without overdoing it.

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+1, See Likkutey Sichos (vol. 31 pg. 191) where the Lubavitcher Rebbe explains that there are two distinct explanations for the concept of "neshama yesera", that of the revealed parts of Torah, and that of the hidden parts. The Rashi above is consistent with the answer according to the revealed parts, while my answer tries to explain the esoteric meaning. –  Michoel Dec 16 '12 at 2:50
    
No calories on Shabbos, right? –  Double AA Dec 16 '12 at 2:58
    
"[W]ithout overdoing it" to me means "without eating exceedingly much" whereas "ואין נפשו קצה עליו" to me means "without becoming disgusted [by the food]". –  msh210 Dec 16 '12 at 3:22

Rabbi Shnuer Zalman of Liadi explains the idea of the Neshama Yesera in Torah Ohr (Parshas Vayakel pg. 87). The discourse is elucidated in the Chassidus Mevue'res series (Shabbos pg. 23), and is adapted in English here.

The basic explanation is as follows: Midrash Rabba writes that the soul is called by five names: Nefesh, Ruach, Neshama, Chaya, and Yechida. These names refer to five different levels and types of revelation within the soul of a person, with the highest level being the Yechida. This level of the soul is totally united with G-d. With the coming of Shabbos, this deepest level of a person's soul, the Yechida, is revealed within the person. This is the Additional Soul we are given on Shabbos.

It is not felt as an increase in physical life, but rather, an increase in the spiritual life force of a person: There are two types of love for G-d; one type of love is born out of contemplation of the greatness and oneness of G-d. The second is a love that is not born out of contemplation and intellect. Rather, it is a love for G-d that transcends intellect. This deep and unbounded love for G-d is the experience of our Additional Soul on Shabbos.

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