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The word נפש is not limited to mean strictly "souls." It often means something along the lines of "life force" or "being." When someone kills someone else, the Torah refers to it as having struck the נפש - as in אדרוש את נפש האדם of Bereishit 9, or מכה נפש of Bamidbar 35, or רצחו נפש of Devarim 22. נפש תחת נפש (Vayikra 24) seems to mean "a life for a ...


Many Jewish thinkers have actually challenged your assumption that the body is merely a "vessel" for the soul. I'll just copy and paste from an answer of mine elsewhere: R' Yaakov Weinberg in Fundamentals and Faith explains that the resurrection of the dead implies a profound and fundamentally necessary understanding of the relationship between the body ...

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