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12
votes
7answers
26k views

Nefesh, neshama and ruach as words for “soul”

All three words can mean something like "soul", e.g., neshama in גלגול נשמות, and ruach in וַתְּחִי רוּחַ יַעֲקֹב אֲבִיהֶם (Bereshit 45:27). So, what is the difference?
11
votes
2answers
903 views

What does it mean for one's soul to “be like dust to everyone”?

From the end of the Amidah: "To those who curse me, let my soul be silent; and let my soul be like dust to everyone". What does it mean, for one's soul to be like dust? And why is it a good thing?
11
votes
8answers
2k views

Am I a body with a soul or a soul with a body?

I've always thought that our true essence, who we actually are, our personalities are our souls. To me, bodies are just temporary "homes" for the soul. My body can perish, but my soul will continue ...
11
votes
2answers
194 views

Is the “I” consciousness from the body or from the soul

Where does the sense of "I" (i.e. the sense of self-awareness) originate from? Is it from the physical body (the brain) or is it from the spiritual soul which wears the body (as brought down in ...
11
votes
4answers
411 views

What's “chelek Eloak mimaal”?

I have frequently heard the human (or only the Jewish?) soul referred to as "חלק אלוק ממעל", literally "portion/section/piece/allotment of God (from) above". What does this mean? Who's the first to ...
10
votes
2answers
492 views

Is there really a distinct “Jewish soul”?

I have heard many times about Jews having a "special soul" or a "Jewish soul" - a soul which is either lacking and/or fundamentally different than that of non-Jews. However, the sources which are ...
9
votes
4answers
302 views

Can the living negatively affect the dead?

As far as I know, living people can positively affect the dead. This is the reason we say Kaddish and learn Mishnayos for the souls of the deceased. (Feel free to comment with more examples of this.) ...
9
votes
2answers
310 views

Reincarnation vs. resurrection of the dead

Some Jews believe in reincarnation. They are also supposed to accept the Resurrection of the Dead, where actual bodies are resurrected. In that case, for each soul, which body is resurrected?
9
votes
2answers
258 views

Do converts represent a “farblondzshet” neshama?

Before our wedding, a mikvah lady learned that my wife was marrying me -- a convert to Judaism. Her response was that I must represent a "farblondzshet neshama" (a confused or a lost Jewish soul). ...
7
votes
5answers
390 views

Is the brain the seat of the soul?

There are disturbing ideas in the Feb 21, 2011 Time magazine cover article 2045: The Year Man Becomes Immortal. The article attributes to Raymond Kurzweil the prediction that within the next 25 years ...
7
votes
2answers
376 views

Is there any proof of the existence of the soul?

Judaism asserts that a human being is a composite of a body and a spiritual soul (see Talmud Sanhedrin 91b for example). Is there any way to prove the existence of the soul? Either by deducing from ...
7
votes
2answers
388 views

How to make amends for my previous mistakes?

According to the Talmud... "Whoever destroys a soul, it is considered as if he destroyed an entire world. And whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world." - Mishnah ...
7
votes
3answers
131 views

What is the importance of the human body after death?

On one hand, we are told that the body is a simply container holding our soul. We have to take care of it while alive because we are borrowing it for our time on Earth. It is widely believed that our ...
6
votes
1answer
78 views

Can a soul be destroyed to non-existence?

Can a soul die (make choices that will lead to its being completely destroyed)? The Zohar 1:131a states that the souls of transgressors will became ashen cinders under the feet of the righteous. From ...
6
votes
2answers
129 views

What is the tzror hachaim (bond of life)?

On tombstones one finds the acronym for t'hay nafsho/ah tzrurah b'tzror hachaim (may the soul be bound to the bond of life). What is this bond of life? Do we have any sources which explain what this ...
6
votes
2answers
252 views

What are the implications of karet?

Does karet mean the soul will not ever enter the olam haba? Can teshuvah rectify the transgression which lead to the karet? Can that soul in another re-incarnation rectify the blemish of karet? By "...
6
votes
1answer
265 views

Does anyone have a proof text that animals *don't* have spirits?

I've heard it said that animals don't possess a רוח However, Ecclesiastes 3:21 uses the phrase רוּחַ הַבְּהֵמָה. Is there any text that indicates that animals don't possess a spirit? Edit: Upon ...
6
votes
0answers
109 views

What is the timeline of the connection of the soul to the body after death?

Speaking to the Rabbi who runs the chevra kadisha in my neighborhood recently, regarding the pending cremation of the mother of a friend, he mentioned several interesting concepts with respect to the ...
5
votes
3answers
135 views

How does punishment in the World to Come make sense?

If a person is able to make choices in this world, and especially if a person is able to disbelieve that there is a Divine order of any type, how does it make sense for a person's soul to be punished ...
5
votes
1answer
423 views

What is the original source that a soul is split in half before conception?

Does anyone knew of the original source (from a sefer) for the idea in this quote: "According to Jewish thought, a husband and wife were originally one soul before birth, split into two halves when ...
5
votes
2answers
212 views

Parable of man visiting diamond-filled island

I've read and heard many times a parable about a poor man who visits an island where the roads are paved with diamonds and/or jewels. Over time, however, he starts amassing what's valuable there - ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

Do spirits/souls have genders?

Bodies have genders (physical anatomy and genetics) and the brain has a gender (gender identity), but do the spirits/souls or our heavenly bodies have genders as well? Similar: Do we retain our ...
4
votes
2answers
146 views

Soulmate for someone who died unwed

I had a friend who was dating a woman. They were close but not "in love". Anyway, he passed away and she moved on. Well, she met someone new and they are in love. My question is, what does G-d do ...
4
votes
2answers
113 views

Role of the soul in living things

Are the bodies of living things (bacteria, plant, animals, humans) running like a purely physical machine or are they coupled with some kind of spiritual soul to breathe life into this machine. Our ...
4
votes
2answers
91 views

Kiddush, Learning and Mitzvos for dead/niftar neshamos

I seek an early source that giving Kiddush (so others will make a bracha for the zchus of the neshama) or other such actions that can positively affect the neshamos of those who have departed.
4
votes
0answers
107 views

What happens to the soul when dozing for a minute or ten?

Tradition tells us the soul leaves the body when sleeping. Is the same true when drowsing in a chair, which is usually not a deep sleep and you are still aware of background noise?
3
votes
3answers
354 views

Why do we need a neshama yesera?

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?
3
votes
1answer
105 views

A reference to the soul of a Tzaddik like an eyelash in milk

I know that somewhere in something I have read there is a comment that someone (Yaakov avinu?) was so spiritually pure/holy that his soul did not cling to the earthly shell that was his body but came ...
3
votes
2answers
226 views

How did Chazal know they were right about “who is a Jew”?

My question is predicated on the assumption that Jews were created by God as fundamentally different from non-Jews. (I am referring, for example, to the idea that Jews have a special type of soul. And ...
3
votes
1answer
58 views

Yom Kippur - Soul or Body

The Torah (Vayikra 16:31) says "וְעִנִּיתֶ֖ם אֶת־נַפְשֹֽׁתֵיכֶ֑ם, You shall afflict yourselves." - this is a reference to Yom Kippur. Artscroll translates נַפְשֹֽׁתֵיכֶ֑ם to mean yourselves, but ...
3
votes
2answers
46 views

How can Nefesh mean a dead person?

In Vayikra 21:1 it's stated that one should not defile himself for any (dead) 'nefesh' person... How can a word like Nefesh which seems to be the force that animated the body and gave it it's life, ...
3
votes
1answer
157 views

Where does the Zohar hold the nefesh resides?

According to the Tanya, the part of the soul called "nefesh" resides in the heart (specifically in the left side of the heart): והנה מקום משכן נפש הבהמית שמקליפת נוגה בכל איש ישראל הוא בלב בחלל ...
3
votes
1answer
66 views

“The feelings reveal the soul.”(Pieseszner Rebbe). Is this idea accepted by contemporary Orthodox thought?

In “Experiencing the Divine: A Practical Jewish Guide,” by Rabbi Kalonymus Kalman Shapira (the Pieseszner Rebbe), translated by Yaacov Dovid Shulman, the Rebbe says, (p 28): Every feeling that is ...
3
votes
3answers
123 views

What distinguishes humans from animals?

Both Humans and animals seem to have: Flesh: (Bereshit 6:13) The ketz (end) of kol basar is come before Me. Nefesh Chaya: (Bereshit 1:30) wherein is a Nefesh Chaya Ruach Chayim: (Bereshit 6:17 & ...
3
votes
1answer
88 views

'Removal of the evil inclination is like removal of the soul'

I saw recently (here) in the name of the Chazon Ish that 'removal of the evil inclination removes the soul'. Is there a written source for this (either in the writings of the Chazon Ish or elsewhere)?
2
votes
2answers
154 views

Humans have 613 organs?

Does the human nefesh (nefesh haAdam) have 613 spiritual organs? Tanya CH.4 says that a soul has 613 organs like the "organs of the King". I'm assuming that since man is made in the image of G-d, then ...
2
votes
1answer
244 views

Belief in Yechidah

According to Chabad.org, Yechidah connotes the essence of the soul--its unity with its source, the singular essence of G-d. For the essence of the soul of man is "literally a part of G-d above"...
2
votes
2answers
111 views

Rebbe maamer modifying Tanya on non-Jew's soul root?

I heard from a friend that the Rebbe gave a maamer somewhat modifying the statement in Tanya that all non-Jews' souls are from the klippot. Can anyone provide the exact source for it?
2
votes
3answers
165 views

Inner being: Soul or Spirit?

Bereshit (Genesis) 2:7 reads: 'vayipach beapav nishmat chayim vayehi ha'adam lenefesh chayah' Is my inner being a 'soul' or a 'spirit', or am I a 'soul' or am I a 'spirit'? Let me make myself clear: ...
2
votes
1answer
228 views

Effect of knockout on my soul

I have experienced a knockout two times in the boxing ring during my active fighting career. At the time I was KO, I was conscious of nothing and then I woke up. I am interested in knowing what was ...
2
votes
1answer
44 views

Does the concept of ibur exist today?

The shaar hagilgulim frequently addresses the concept of iburim, that souls from passed on people may enter new bodies. For source, see for example shaar hagilgulim 1.8: "According to this, you can ...
1
vote
1answer
58 views

Zohar and Maharal on the soul and face

1) I heard from someone say in the name Zohar haKadosh that the eyes are the "mirror to the soul" - that to those who are able to read such things a person's eyes are very revealing. Does anyone know ...
1
vote
1answer
236 views

Does eating non-kosher meat incur the punishment of Kareth?

This question is not about standards of kashrut -- which are of course a serious topic -- but rather the question of "grave sins" for which the death penalty is prescribed, or the consequence of "...
1
vote
3answers
180 views

Do Amalekians not have souls?

I remember reading once (in Sender Zeyv's novel Ten Lost), that some Jewish sources say that Amalekians don't have souls. Obviously, this might not be so reliable, coming from a work of fiction, so I'...
1
vote
1answer
34 views

Unconsciousness in Jewish Thought

Yes, that pun was intended. We know that sleep is 1/60 of death, and dreaming is 1/60 of prophecy (Brachos 57b). This is because it's a partial death, in which a piece of the Neshamah leaves the ...
1
vote
0answers
27 views

At Techiyas Hameisim what will happen to reincarnated souls? [duplicate]

At Techiyas Hameisim what will happen to all the bodies that had souls that came down again as gilgul (that the soul had already been in another body)? Which body will arise by Techiyas Hameisim if ...
1
vote
1answer
33 views

Where in Judaism does it describe the journey of the soul in the afterlife? [duplicate]

Where in Judaism does it describe the journey of the soul in the afterlife? Sources, that I am looking for stem from kabbalah teaching or the zohar. Also,I am searching for primary sources, so if they ...
1
vote
0answers
91 views

Souls (Neshamos) of converts

When I was in Yeshiva many years ago I heard one of the rebbeim (teachers) of the yeshiva speaking to a young man that had converted to Judaism and that was very successful in learning about "his ...
1
vote
0answers
52 views

Our bodies aren't here for the long haul?

I seem to have learnt something a long time ago. In basic terms that after the coming of Moshiach and the resurrection of the dead there will be a time where we won't need our bodies and we will live ...
0
votes
1answer
49 views

Soul residing in one's mind

I heard from someone that the soul resides in one's mind/ brain. Does anyone where the source for this can be found?