1. In our dualistic approach, the soul is one that possesses the knowledge of a/the language (not clear to me if all souls speak Hebrew or just 70, like the angels or just any language)
  2. AFAIC, the soul comes from God readymade, not "baby-soul" or "soul-cell", unlike the body that develops.
  3. Once a newborn is out and breathing (or say, during the first year) he should be able to speak as an adult because the soul does not need to learn to speak and he has all the organs needed.


  • Maybe the soul does not know how to control the tongue and the vocal cords, but once the baby figures out she should be talking like an adult.
  • Maybe the Tora-teaching angel slaps too hard that the fetus forgets language, but I'm not aware of the gentile practice of learning and slapping.
  • Maybe some souls are fresh-new "baby-souls", but ARIZ"l proposed that nowadays there are no "new" souls coming down but only "recycled" ones (second-hand or grown-up, so to say).

Of course, the question might be extrapolated to other intellectual or spiritual activities, but I currently focus on speech. So, why do we need to learn a language??

  • Do you think that concepts such as 'language' apply to a soul? Good to have you back!
    – user16556
    Commented Oct 17, 2020 at 22:15
  • 1
    For the same reason we have to learn anything else.
    – user18041
    Commented Oct 19, 2020 at 5:48
  • 1
    Please provide sources to support your assertions that (1) the soul possesses knowledge of language and (2) the soul does not develop. Commented Oct 19, 2020 at 18:26
  • @AvrohomYitzchok Well, then it is worth finding out. I thought it was obvious, but then posted those two questions, thanks to you
    – Al Berko
    Commented Oct 19, 2020 at 23:01
  • @AlBerko Thank you; I eagerly await the responses. Commented Oct 20, 2020 at 7:48

2 Answers 2


The Chovos Halovos (no longer remember where)says that babies are born with no intelligence because it would be devastating for them to realize how helpless they are. Without intelligence there is no reason for them to speak. Adults say enough foolishness already. The Mishnah in Pirkey Avos 3:10 talks about the danger of Sichos Yeladim. Imagine adding babies to the mix.

Why are babies born without knowledge and so dependent? Probably because otherwise their parents would never be able to raise and guide them.

  • Thank you. Did you mean Hovas Halevavos? Anyway, you try to address the question "why" like "for what" while I intended to ask "How come", or "what's the mechanism", as everyone can make up his own reason, like "that would frighten his parents". What does it mean "without intelligence"? Intelligence comes from the soul and nowhere does it say that the soul loses it in the process of birth.
    – Al Berko
    Commented Oct 26, 2020 at 18:26
  • In a similar vein - "כי יצר לב רע מנעוריו"
    – Dov
    Commented Oct 27, 2020 at 7:53

Contrary to what many think, there is no such thing as reincarnation. Second, the rabbinic tale about a baby being struck on the nose by an angel and forgets what it learned is not to be taken literally.

  • 1
    How do you think the rebuke of reincarnation and language are linked to each other?
    – user16556
    Commented Oct 25, 2020 at 22:22
  • @Ilja Doesn't the question presuppose the existence of reincarnation?
    – Turk Hill
    Commented Oct 25, 2020 at 22:27
  • Not too sure about that one. Personally, I think that a very physical thing such as "language" or anything else one can learn and aquire over time in this world totally do not apply to the neshama. I think that the very timely Parshah of Noach can share light on the subject of language - specifically the tower of Babel and the following split of languages, one into many
    – user16556
    Commented Oct 25, 2020 at 23:16
  • @Ilja You konw the tower of Babel episode was a metaphore.
    – Turk Hill
    Commented Oct 26, 2020 at 4:37
  • I don't think so
    – user16556
    Commented Oct 26, 2020 at 9:08

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