The Wikipedia entry for "Holy Spirit (Judaism)" identifies this English term with the Hebrew term Ruach HaKodesh1, but also indicates that Ruach HaKodesh can mean a higher spiritual state of an individual. I am looking for clear and concise English terms for the various meanings2 of this phrase as it's used in Judaism.

1. Which also motivated this related question: "Ruach haKodesh and Shekinah?"
2. If there are more meanings than the two I mentioned, please add those, too.

  • 3
    You could improve this question a great deal by editing in more information about where you've seen or heard this term in each of the senses you mention. Also, and maybe more importantly: If, in fact, the term has multiple meanings, why would it be desirable or possible to have one "best English translation"?
    – Isaac Moses
    Commented Dec 24, 2014 at 16:48
  • I've reopened this question per NBZ's edit and my subsequent one. The first half of the comment by @IsaacMoses remains true, though, IMO: you'd do well to include in the question more info on the meaning or context of the phrase as you understand it.
    – msh210
    Commented Dec 25, 2014 at 4:19
  • 2
    Note also that it's not literally "holy spirit": that'd be ruach k'dosha. More on that at judaism.stackexchange.com/q/10164.
    – msh210
    Commented Dec 25, 2014 at 4:20
  • @msh210, WP (which I've edited into this post) certainly seems to make that identification. Not saying it's right, just that it's a valid premise for this question.
    – Isaac Moses
    Commented Dec 31, 2014 at 20:21
  • I, for one, have reversed my downvote on this question. I think it's in decent shape now.
    – Isaac Moses
    Commented Jan 1, 2015 at 3:29

1 Answer 1


The English translation I've seen most for Ruach HaKodesh is "Divine inspiration." This translation is consistent with its usage in Jewish texts, as described concisely in this Everything2 entry, to refer to a kind of sub-prophecy or Divinely-provided intuitive sense. This sense is consistent with the various uses of this concept in the Talmud, cataloged in R' Gil Student's WebShas.

The word "inspiration," whose sense of "a person, object, or situation which quickens or stimulates an influence upon the intellect, emotions or creativity" apparently derives from its more basic meaning of "a single inhalation" via "a supernatural divine influence," fits nicely with the Hebrew ruach, which literally means "wind."

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