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Can someone recommend an edition of Nefesh HaChaim? I am looking for a nice edition with clear type and explanatory notes.

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  • Nefesh Hatzimtzum
    – sam
    Jan 21 at 0:23
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    When asking these questions, it would be helpful to specify if English or Hebrew
    – mbloch
    Jan 21 at 7:55

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I am unclear if you are looking for Hebrew or English. If the latter, then Avinoam Fraenkel has translated the entirety of Nefesh Hachaim (unlike some of the other translations which skip content or full chapters).

His translation, Nefesh Hatzimtzum comes out in two volumes and has lots of commentary, explanations and massive amount of footnotes. It is extremely clear and well-done. Volume 1 has the full translation, volume has related writings and a long essay on the concept of tzimtzum. Volume 1 has the full Hebrew text as well (newly typeset in perfect font). See the haskamot on the site as well.

Happy to share some page pictures if helpful.

Other translations into English include R Avraham Yaakov Finkel's (but there is no Hebrew and no translation of the Kabbalistic matters) and Eliezer Lipa Moskowitz's which is more complete and includes facsimiles of the 1837 edition (in ktav Rashi).

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I have this edition at home - the print is very clear and it has an explanatory commentary entitled U'vecharta Bachaim - you can see sample pages here.

However I have also seen this version which is very nice with a commentary by Rabbi Yisrael Eliyahu Weintraub called Biyur Yiras Chaim. You can see samples here.

Finally when searching further, you might be interested in this edition which has explanations entitled Peirush Meir HaEtz from Rabbi Yehoshua Lipschitz - see samples here

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  • Very helpful. Thank you!
    – Bs234570
    Jan 20 at 23:09
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Sefaria offers the online English-version of Nefesh HaChayim from Rabbi Chaim of Volozhin. I would recommend the version/translation called "The Soul of Life, translated by Leonard Moskowitz, Teaneck, NJ 2012 [Rev. 1.5]". You can choose this by clicking on "translations".

See also this related post: English Translation of Rabbi Chaim Volozhin's Nefesh ha-Chaim?

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