This is a follow on from this question. I was always under the impression that the Nefesh Behamis is responsible for our physical desires, such as hunger for food. If it is immortal, does that mean that we continue to have those desires even once the body is no longer alive? If that's the case, surely that's like torture?

  • See this answer for a partial answer: judaism.stackexchange.com/a/137511/31534. If nobody else does, bli neder I'll give a more direct answer today
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Commented Nov 30, 2023 at 9:22
  • Yes correct. See (I think) Maharsha on בשכבת זרע רותחת (he.wikisource.org/wiki/…).
    – The GRAPKE
    Commented Nov 30, 2023 at 11:24
  • At the end of the chapter "Ein Omdim," what is meant by "Eye has not seen"? Rabbi Joshua ben Levi said: "This refers to the wine preserved in its grapes since the six days of creation." Resh Lakish said: "This refers to the Garden of Eden, which no eye has ever seen... Commented May 1 at 11:45

1 Answer 1


Based on Chapter 6 of Tanya, for example, there are 3 ways to eat:

  1. Leshem Shamayim
  2. Just to alleviate hunger
  3. To satisfy physical desire

Our job in this world is to accustom ourselves to 1. 2 is neutral, but also still worth avoiding (see Kuntres Etz Hachaim 3), and 3 is very detrimental and something to overcome; if one habituates oneself to it, one indeed will experience a very painful torture after life. The kaf hakela is there to purify our nefesh from this after life.

Will there be physical needs in the next life? After Moshiach comes, yes, there will be for at least a certain amount of time, but there won't be a desire for the physical in the same way. The desire will be only for Hashem, and we will eat exactly as we should - Lishma.

In the long term Olam Haba that our nefesh bahamit is destined to go to, we have very little information. Ramchal doesn't mention what physical needs, if any, will exist in that time (if time is even understood in the same way!), although he holds that it will be a physical existence, like the Arizal and Chassidus.

  • What's the difference between 2 and 3? Is 3 to indulge physical desire like gluttony? Is it even possible to purely do 1 without any elements of 2/3 in as part of it? Commented Nov 30, 2023 at 11:49
  • @MosesSupposes it's a question of intention. The Ramchal explains 3 levels in Mesilat Yisharim: 1. Not sinning at all, and doing everything right. 2. Doing the same, but not for any selfish benefit but because it's the right thing to do. 3. Doing the same but to please Hashem. Interestingly, between 1 and 2 is a chapter on "abstinence".
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Commented Nov 30, 2023 at 11:51
  • is it really possible to eat (when you are hungry) without any level of intent to satiate your physical desires though, or you are talking about what the primary intent is? Commented Nov 30, 2023 at 11:52
  • @MosesSupposes yes it is, although we've debated this in the past and I haven't convinced you yet :P It can be quite simple actually and we can achieve it even in this generation by admitting that we never gave ourselves a desire to eat, Hashem did, so every time we eat we are fulfilling His will, not ours. We can reach the point where we feel that eating is beneath us and undignified (hunger is a handicap, and its like we are begging a vegetable to give us pleasure??), and it will definitely help get rid of 3 to a large degree...
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Commented Nov 30, 2023 at 11:55
  • ...Can even still enjoy the food, as again, we are talking about intention, not pleasure
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Commented Nov 30, 2023 at 11:56

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