According to the book "Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel" by Israel Shahak the Lubavitcher Rebbe allegedly said in the 1965 book "Gatherings of Conversations" (Probably mean "Likkutei Sichot"):

"Two contrary types of soul exist, a non-Jewish soul comes from three satanic spheres, while the Jewish soul stems from holiness"

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    Any quotation from Shahak, who is a known and self-admitted liar, can be assumed to be false until proven otherwise.
    – Meir
    Commented Aug 3, 2020 at 14:32
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    Unless you can point to a valid source in Likutei Sichos this question is a violation of the halacha os shmiras halaxhon Commented Aug 4, 2020 at 1:44
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    @sabbahillel there is value in refuting the words of people like Mr. Shahak who willfully distort and defame Judaism (please click on the wikipedia link provided by @Meir; the claim regarding Mayim Achronim as "worshipping the devil" would be particularly amusing if it weren't done on purpose Commented Aug 4, 2020 at 3:27
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    Judaism does not believe in the Satan as an autonomous demonic force. That is more of a Christian thing. So it is unlikely that the Lubavitcher Rebbe said that.
    – The GRAPKE
    Commented Sep 25, 2020 at 0:02
  • The Zohar and all Chazal explain the nefesh of goyim are due to Adam's mistake and the Fallen Sparks. Sometimes things get mixed but that's the ikkar. Commented Apr 8, 2022 at 22:16

3 Answers 3


Werner Cohn 26 years ago reviewed this book by Israel Shahak and showed how Israel Shahak completely fabricated stuff about what Jews said and did. Read this article showing how Shahak just makes up lie after lie.


The Rebbe never said that. In fact, he says the exact opposite in Sichos Kodesh Shabbos Pinchos year 5741 section 6 based on R. Hillel Paritcher in the name of the Baal HaTanya & the Mitteler Rebbe clarifying the statement in Tanya end of chapter one.

I’ll paraphrase part of the Rebbe’s words: “in reference to the souls of the nations Sefer HaTanya speaks of the idol worshiping majority who’s souls come from the 3 impure husks, however the souls of the righteous amongst the nations who keep the 7 Noahide Laws come from the good of the 4th shining husk and therefore have a place in the World to Come”.

(Nevertheless, the Rebbe does say there that although both the נפש of חסידי אומות העולם and a Jew’s נפש הבהמית come from קליפת נוגה, even a Jew’s נפש הבהמית is בעין ערוך to that of חסידי אומות העולם).

The quotation in the question from Israel Shahak is a mistranslation of Tanya at the end of chapter one which is based on the Ari z”l as cited there. The correct translation of “nefashot umot ovdei gilulim” is "the souls of the IDOLATROUS serving nations” (ovdei GILULIM) emanate from the rest of the impure husks (there is no word for “satanic” in Lashon HaKodesh).

See Likkutei Sichos vol. 13 pg. 230 in the notes.

You can also find this idea in Lessons in Tanya which was edited by the Rebbe himself “It should be noted that among the nations of the world, there are also to be found those whose souls are derived from kelipat nogah. (33) Called “the pious ones of the nations of the world,” these righteous individuals are benevolent not out of selfish motives but out of a genuine concern for their fellow. (33) See Siddur Im Dach. Shaar Chag Hamatzot 287c; Likkutei Biurim (by Rabbi Hillel of Paritch) 47b”

See חב״דפדיה for an in-depth article. http://chabadpedia.co.il/index.php/אומות_העולם

In-depth shiurim on this topic:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=yIZihqVzR0o Minute 27:07


Letter of the Rebbe:

Good Shabbos Menachem


Mr. _ Brooklyn, New York

Greeting and Blessing:

I am in receipt of your letter, in which you refer to a discussion that you had on the question of whether or not Gentiles have a neshama . . . .

I cannot see where there could have been any difference of opinion on this matter, inasmuch as it is explicitly stated in various sources, and statements are also found in various sections of Tanach (Isaiah 42:5, 57:16), to the effect that Gentiles also have a neshama . . . . It seems to me, therefore, that you may have been arguing at cross-purposes, and that perhaps the question related more to the fact that there are different levels and qualities of soul. Now if this was the point of contention, then it is true that the soul of the Gentile and the soul of the Jew differ in their nature, this being connected with one of the basic principles of the Torah – the fact that the Jews are a people chosen from among the nations of the world. This chosen-ness originates in the fact that when G-d was about to give the Torah at Mt. Sinai, He first offered it to all the other nations of the world, who refused to accept it. The Jewish people did accept it. Needless to add, this is in no way inconsistent with the statement of our Sages, to the effect that the righteous among the Gentiles have a special status and, according to the Rambam, also have a share in the World-to-Come.

Judging by your letter, it is surely unnecessary for me to emphasize to you what has already been indicated above, namely, that our belief in the chosen-ness of the Jewish people is not a matter of chauvinism or fanaticism, but rather the deep-felt realization that this uniqueness carries with it great responsibilities and special obligations. This is why, for example, Jews have to fulfill “Taryag (613) mitzvoth,” whereas Gentiles are not obligated to observe kashrut and various other restrictions connected with the idea of holiness, holiness being the essential aspect of the Jewish soul.

If I allude here to the special obligations which are incumbent upon a Jew, as a Jew, it is only for the sake of emphasizing that what is at issue is not whether a Jew should meet minimal, or even average standards, but that it is in fact incumbent upon him to attain the very maximum. In truth, this is self-evident for, inasmuch as G-d has given us the innate capacity to attain the very heights of the spiritual and the holy, it is only right that we learn how to recognize this incomparable Divine gift; while any lack of effort to utilize it to the utmost would be in the nature of a derogation. And if, in one’s business or profession, one always tries to give of one’s very best – for to do less would be to risk being branded a failure – how much more so in regard to spiritual capacities, which are of vital benefit not only to one’s self, but also to one’s surroundings and the world at large.

With blessing, [Sign.]


Hello Adin and welcome to Mi Yodeya.

Without more specific details in terms of the quotation from the Rebbe in Likkutei Sichot, it is difficult to pinpoint what the exact discussion was about.

But it sounds like the Rebbe was quoting and explaining the end of Chapter 1 in the first section of the Tanya (Likkutei Amarim) from the Alter Rebbe which says:

מה שאין כן נפשות אומות העולם, הן משאר קליפות טמאות שאין בהן טוב כלל, כמו שכתוב בעץ חיים-שער מט-פרק ג. וכל טיבו דעבדין האומות לגרמייהו עבדין, וכדאיתא בגמרא (בבא בתרא י ב) על פסוק (משלי יד לד): "וחסד לאומים חטאת", שכל צדקה וחסד שאומות העולם עושין אינן אלא להתייהר כו'.

And which quotes Rabbi Chaim Vital in Eitz Chaim, Sha'ar 49, Chapter 3 which says:

וגם הטמאים עיין פ' פנחס דף ר"מ ובזה תדע נפש הבהמית שבאדם מה הוא והוא יצר טוב ויצר הרע שבאדם ונשמתן של הגוים הם מג' קליפות רוח וענן ואש שכולם רע וכן הבהמות וחיות ועופות טמאים אך נפש הבהמית דישראל ונפש הבהמית דבהמות וחיות ועופות הטהורים כולם מנוגה

The Tanya is not discussing the Satan there, but it is quite possible that Israel Shahak, out of a lack of understanding, may have taken it to mean that because the Angel of Death, Samael is mentioned explicitly in Eitz Chaim.

This is not an innovation of the Rebbe, nor of the Alter Rebbe, but a teaching that comes directly from the Ari z'l via Rabbi Chaim Vital quoting the Zohar.

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    So what does this passage mean? What does it mean that the souls of non-Jews is "unclean"? Commented Aug 4, 2020 at 9:47
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    @עדיןחייקין What you ask in your comment is a completely different question. What you want is an explanation of what the Ari z"l is teaching in Eitz Chaim. This isn't really the forum for such a broad subject. What you really need is a teacher to learn this subject privately. But to paraphrase the statement from the Alter Rebbe quoted above, it essentially means that all actions by the nations are done for their effect. Or to put it a different way, there is no altruism amongst the nations. And the consequence of this on a deeper level is division and separation which comes from 'Gevurah'. Commented Aug 4, 2020 at 14:15
  • I learned recently the first Purim maamir in Torah Ohr by the Alter Rebbe (author of Tanya) on page 90. In the last paragraph he discusses how Amalek/Haman is absolute evil unlike the souls of gentiles (non-jews) which have good and bad togather (Klipas Nogah, which is also the source of Jewish souls.) He goes on to explain how even Amalek/Haman has a good side. So it seems things aren't so simple. Never paint with a broad brush. Commented Mar 31, 2023 at 4:47
  • @NaftaliTzvi I would need to review the exact wording of the Alter Rebbe that you are paraphrasing. But it sounds like you may have some of it mixed up. Another excuse to review it again. Only blessings for a happy and kosher Pesach! Commented Mar 31, 2023 at 12:35
  • @YaacovDeane The maamar (the main ideas) is reputed to have been related to the Alter Rebbe at seudas purim by R Michal Slotchover in the name of his father in law the Besh"t. So this maamar goes all the way back! Commented Mar 31, 2023 at 18:33

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