The Targum Yonathan on Isaiah 6:3 teaches that "the most exalted heaven is the dwelling place of His Presence". Likewise Isaiah 66:1 teaches that heaven is His throne.

But then I came acrosse these commentaries from the Sefaria website:

An alternate reading of a verse from Malbim (Rabbi Meir Leibush ben Yechiel Michel, a 19th Century commentator). He chose to read v'shachanti b'tocham, "I will dwell among them" as "I will dwell within them." He wrote: ". . . in them, the people, not in it, the sanctuary. We are each to build a Tabernacle in our own heart for G-d to dwell in."

Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, The idea is that the Tabernacle represents the resting of G-d's presence on the Jewish people as it says, "And I shall dwell amongst them" and it says, "a Temple of G-d it is." What is this need for a G-dly abode down below? Our Rabbis teach us Medrash Tanchuma: G-d desired a dwelling place in the lowest worlds. But does it not say that "the Heavens and Earth I fill"? But the concept is that this dwelling place is the revelation of G-dliness, Blessed be God's Name. The Lowest Worlds specifically should have this revelation, and these lowest worlds are not a place. After all, G-d declares to Moses "the place is with Me!" which means that both Above and Below are not places in the physical sense but represent levels in and expressions in G-dly expression. In this lowest of all worlds, it is the lowest of G-dly expression because it is the last rung of the levels of orders of creations of the worlds. Therefore, here, in this world, the conceptualization of G-dliness is understood in a way of hiddeness and great darkness. G-d desires that we light up the darkness specifically. How do we do this? Through mitzvoth and Torah. This explains a statement of our Sages: One hour of teshuva and good deeds is greater in this world than the whole world to come. This is because through one deed in this world, one can draw down more G-dliness than anything in the next world... We make this lowest of all worlds a dwelling place through making souls in bodies specifically on the level of being separate and unique. By being separate within a body, through mitzvoth, one can achieve the level of holiness of "I will dwell amongst you" and this is achieved through staying away from evil and attaching one's self to good.

Could one say that a piece of Heaven, HaShem, His Shechinah, could (figuratively) dwell/resides in us?


The Shechinah, Hashem's presence on earth, is typically understood to dwell on the Jew, or between the Jews as in

If a man and woman merit reward through a faithful marriage, the Divine Presence rests between them (Sotah 17a)

When three sit as judges, the Shechinah is with them (Brachot 6a)

The Shechinah dwells over the headside of the sick man's bed (Shabbat 12b)

There is however indeed a part of Hashem implanted in man, and that is the neshama. Or said in a different way, the neshama implanted in man has a divine source and connection.

In the words of the Tanya in chapter 2

The second soul of a Jew is truly a part of G‑d above, as it is written, "And He breathed into his nostrils the breath of life," and "Thou didst breathe it [the soul] into me." [...]

So, as it were, is it actually true of the root of every nefesh, ruach and neshamah in the community of Israel on high [...] Nevertheless they remain bound and united with a wonderful and essential unity with their original essence and entity; namely, the extension of Chochmah Ilaah (Supernal Wisdom).

I heard a beautiful idea related to the prohibition to count Jews one by one (KSA 15:3). Hashem's presence (the Shekhina) wants to reside in the world. For that it needs a recipient to dwell on/in. That recipient is Knesset Israel, the assembly of all Israel. When counting Jews one by one, one "breaks" so-to-speak the Knesset Israel and turns it from a unified whole into a series of individuals. In that series of individuals the Shekhina cannot dwell.

In that sense, the collective body of Israel is, "like Heaven, a place for His Divine Dwelling" as per your followup comment below.

(see also Tanya ch. 36 on how Hashem wants to dwell in this world and ch. 37 on how the community of all Israel can be a vehicle for this).

  • So a part of G-d and His Shechinah can be found within us, but can one say our body is like Heaven a place for His Devine Dwelling, comparable to a dwelling place of His Presence? – Levi Jun 1 '18 at 11:19
  • See last part of my answer which I added to - hopefully - address your comment. I think it is more the collective body of all of the people of Israel rather than individuals per se – mbloch Jun 1 '18 at 13:31

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