I know this was asked before as a joke, but it really IS a serious question. Psalm 150 says:

כֹּ֣ל הַ֭נְּשָׁמָה תְּהַלֵּ֥ל יָ֗הּ
Everything that breathes praises God.

This includes cats, dogs, and cockroaches.
How DO they praise God?

I am aware of Perek Shirah, but would like to hear more.

  • וְיאמַר כָּל אֲשֶׁר נְשָׁמָה בְאַפּו: ה' אֱלהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל מָלַךְ. וּמַלְכוּתו בַכּל מָשָׁלָה:
    – rosends
    May 7, 2019 at 19:50
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    You may be missing a small but importance nuance in the verse. The word תְּהַלֵּ֥ל is in the future tense. So it means, "They will praise God". I think that translation implies a sense of universal understanding, esp. as it applies to humans. But, it may apply to all creatures. I'm inclined to think that the term ַנְּשָׁמָה is a reference to the inner soul of humans.
    – DanF
    May 7, 2019 at 20:06
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    I think, "I would like to hear more" is not a valid question here please focus on what exactly bothers you. Why do you think dogs can't praise G-d if Perek Shira explicitly says that?
    – Al Berko
    May 7, 2019 at 22:36
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    Who says"This includes cats, dogs, and cockroaches."? The posuk says "נשמה", animals don't possess נשמות but only נפש.
    – Al Berko
    May 7, 2019 at 22:39

1 Answer 1


There are some interesting explanations to כֹּ֣ל הַ֭נְּשָׁמָה that you will find here. All of them refer to humanity, not to animals:

Ibn Ezra views the entire Pslam in terms of its original aspect that it was sung and played on the harp (with probably accompanying instruments such as the ugav, cymbals, etc.) as stated in the words of the Psalm itself. There was a choir singing along and it followed the harp's melodies according to high notes, low notes, short and long rhythms. Thus, this last verse is an instruction to the musician to play with "all its soul", probably a metaphor for playing loudly and with full strength.

Ibn Ezra also cites Rabbi Shlomo Hasfardi who says that this is an allusion to a person's "higher soul" that is in heaven. (I'm not sure what that concept means.)

Rada"k says that the neshama - ones "soul" begins to praise G-d when it reaches a level of understanding of God's handicraft.

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