Questions tagged [soul]

Questions pertaining to the soul.

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Nefesh, neshama and ruach as words for "soul"

All three words can mean something like "soul", e.g., neshama in גלגול נשמות, and ruach in וַתְּחִי רוּחַ יַעֲקֹב אֲבִיהֶם (Bereshit 45:27). So, what is the difference?
Lev's user avatar
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12 votes
2 answers
843 views

Reincarnation vs. resurrection of the dead

Some Jews believe in reincarnation. They are also supposed to accept the Resurrection of the Dead, where actual bodies are resurrected. In that case, for each soul, which body is resurrected?
Lev's user avatar
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9 votes
5 answers
740 views

Is the brain the seat of the soul?

There are disturbing ideas in the Feb 21, 2011 Time magazine cover article 2045: The Year Man Becomes Immortal. The article attributes to Raymond Kurzweil the prediction that within the next 25 years ...
jbustamovej's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
1k views

If the sages removed the desire for yetzer hora of avodah zora, what is left in terms of yetzer hara?

During the time of the second Beit HaMikdash, the 120 sages of the Great Assembly were granted the ability to rip out the desire for idolatry (yetzer hora of avodah zora) from the collective soul of ...
Daniel's user avatar
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11 votes
2 answers
998 views

Do converts represent a "farblondzshet" neshama?

Before our wedding, a mikvah lady learned that my wife was marrying me -- a convert to Judaism. Her response was that I must represent a "farblondzshet neshama" (a confused or a lost Jewish soul). ...
Bruce James's user avatar
7 votes
2 answers
815 views

What are the implications of karet?

Does karet mean the soul will not ever enter the olam haba? Can teshuvah rectify the transgression which lead to the karet? Can that soul in another re-incarnation rectify the blemish of karet? By "...
Rafael Linder's user avatar
13 votes
5 answers
2k views

What's "chelek Eloak mimaal"?

I have frequently heard the human (or only the Jewish?) soul referred to as "חלק אלוק ממעל", literally "portion/section/piece/allotment of God (from) above". What does this mean? Who's the first to ...
msh210's user avatar
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11 votes
2 answers
312 views

Is the "I" consciousness from the body or from the soul

Where does the sense of "I" (i.e. the sense of self-awareness) originate from? Is it from the physical body (the brain) or is it from the spiritual soul which wears the body (as brought down in ...
ray's user avatar
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7 votes
1 answer
546 views

Does anyone have a proof text that animals *don't* have spirits?

I've heard it said that animals don't possess a רוח However, Ecclesiastes 3:21 uses the phrase רוּחַ הַבְּהֵמָה. Is there any text that indicates that animals don't possess a spirit? Edit: Upon ...
Walrus the Cat's user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
4k views

What happens when the neshama has an aliya?

there is a common practice to learn torah for someone who is deceased 'l'iluy nishmato/a' - to raise her/his soul. There is also a common (american/ashkenazik?) custom for a relative of a deceased ...
rikitikitembo's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
298 views

Effect of knockout on my soul

I have experienced a knockout two times in the boxing ring during my active fighting career. At the time I was KO, I was conscious of nothing and then I woke up. I am interested in knowing what was ...
Derfder's user avatar
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3 votes
3 answers
501 views

Inner being: Soul or Spirit?

Bereshit (Genesis) 2:7 reads: 'vayipach beapav nishmat chayim vayehi ha'adam lenefesh chayah' Is my inner being a 'soul' or a 'spirit', or am I a 'soul' or am I a 'spirit'? Let me make myself clear: ...
Levi's user avatar
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-3 votes
2 answers
196 views

Why don't newborns speak? Why do we need to learn a language?

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) AFAIC, the soul ...
Al Berko's user avatar
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16 votes
7 answers
3k views

Am I a body with a soul or a soul with a body?

I've always thought that our true essence, who we actually are, our personalities are our souls. To me, bodies are just temporary "homes" for the soul. My body can perish, but my soul will continue ...
Gabriel12's user avatar
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12 votes
2 answers
614 views

What causes a person to remain in this world as a ghost?

A baraita on Berakhot 18b relates a story where a pious man sleeps in a cemetery and hears two spirits talking. One of them suggests they wander the world, and the other says she can't because she ...
Monica Cellio's user avatar
10 votes
5 answers
2k views

What is a summary of basic Jewish metaphysics or theology?

Whilst wishing no disrespect to any religion, various "basic concepts" are easily found summarised or explained in introductory texts or online. For example: Buddhist metaphysics would have to do ...
Stewart's user avatar
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9 votes
2 answers
1k views

Is there any proof of the existence of the soul?

Judaism asserts that a human being is a composite of a body and a spiritual soul (see Talmud Sanhedrin 91b for example) which lives on after death. Is there any way to prove the existence of the soul?...
ray's user avatar
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9 votes
1 answer
320 views

Unconsciousness in Jewish Thought

Yes, that pun was intended. We know that sleep is 1/60 of death, and dreaming is 1/60 of prophecy (Brachos 57b). This is because it's a partial death, in which a piece of the Neshamah leaves the ...
DonielF's user avatar
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9 votes
4 answers
539 views

Can the living negatively affect the dead?

As far as I know, living people can positively affect the dead. This is the reason we say Kaddish and learn Mishnayos for the souls of the deceased. (Feel free to comment with more examples of this.) ...
HodofHod's user avatar
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8 votes
3 answers
291 views

What is the importance of the human body after death?

On one hand, we are told that the body is a simply container holding our soul. We have to take care of it while alive because we are borrowing it for our time on Earth. It is widely believed that our ...
Nathan H's user avatar
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7 votes
1 answer
637 views

Can a soul be destroyed to non-existence?

Can a soul die (make choices that will lead to its being completely destroyed)? The Zohar 1:131a states that the souls of transgressors will became ashen cinders under the feet of the righteous. From ...
Daniel's user avatar
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6 votes
3 answers
3k views

Do spirits/souls have genders?

Bodies have genders (physical anatomy and genetics) and the brain has a gender (gender identity), but do the spirits/souls or our heavenly bodies have genders as well? Similar: Do we retain our ...
kenorb's user avatar
  • 283
5 votes
1 answer
378 views

Where does the Zohar hold the nefesh resides?

According to the Tanya, the part of the soul called "nefesh" resides in the heart (specifically in the left side of the heart): והנה מקום משכן נפש הבהמית שמקליפת נוגה בכל איש ישראל הוא בלב בחלל ...
Y     e     z's user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
1k views

What is the Yeshiva Shel Maala?

What is the "yeshiva shel maala" (literally yeshiva on high) that is found a number of times in Chazal's writings (ex. "whoever teaches his fellow's son Torah merits and sits in the yeshiva on High" - ...
ray's user avatar
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4 votes
3 answers
347 views

What distinguishes humans from animals?

Both Humans and animals seem to have: Flesh: (Bereshit 6:13) The ketz (end) of kol basar is come before Me. Nefesh Chaya: (Bereshit 1:30) wherein is a Nefesh Chaya Ruach Chayim: (Bereshit 6:17 & ...
J.Levi's user avatar
  • 1,079
3 votes
2 answers
631 views

Humans have 613 organs?

Does the human nefesh (nefesh haAdam) have 613 spiritual organs? Tanya CH.4 says that a soul has 613 organs like the "organs of the King". I'm assuming that since man is made in the image of G-d, then ...
EhevuTov's user avatar
  • 1,348
3 votes
2 answers
398 views

Does the Nefesh Behamis survive death?

Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan writes in his essay Immortality and the Soul that the Neshomo is effectively the data of our "memories, thought patterns and personality traits" and discusses the idea of ...
Moses Supposes's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
490 views

Belief in Yechidah

According to Chabad.org, Yechidah connotes the essence of the soul--its unity with its source, the singular essence of G-d. For the essence of the soul of man is "literally a part of G-d above"...
Malka S's user avatar
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3 votes
2 answers
257 views

How can Nefesh mean a dead person?

In Vayikra 21:1 it's stated that one should not defile himself for any (dead) nefesh (person). How can a word like nefesh which seems to be the force that animated the body and gave it it's life, ...
Levi's user avatar
  • 7,358
3 votes
0 answers
1k views

Is there a source in Torah that a soul chooses his parents before being born?

Many years ago, I read in a Jewish book that a soul chooses his parents before being born, but I cannot remember the name of the book. Is there an authentic Torah source that confirms this? Thank ...
Ploni Almoni's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
118 views

Soul residing in one's mind

I heard from someone that the soul resides in one's mind/ brain. Does anyone where the source for this can be found?
Chiddushei Torah's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
444 views

Does the Neshama (soul) choose the body?

I think i might have read in various places i just can't find where that the neshama chooses the body based on the life missions that it needs to accomplish so it chooses the most suitable conditions ...
TheTribeOfJudah's user avatar
0 votes
3 answers
307 views

Does the Torah discuss the difference between Jews and non jews?

I know that Jews are forbidden to marry non Jews. This leads me to believe that there is some intrinsic and apparently incompatible difference them. Regardless of this prohibition though, I wonder if,...
yalpsid eman's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
286 views

Jewish Meditation for Soul Travel? [closed]

I know that there is meditation and practices for a soul to transcend the body. I have found these meditations across many religions, however, I am wondering if Judaism has a specific meditation for ...
eli's user avatar
  • 163
0 votes
1 answer
120 views

How are angels categorized in Judaism?

Are they Neshamot or are they something else? Because if they are Neshamot they would be like us, so what forms a angel are they like Only Yetzer Hatov so they only have the desire to do God's will?
Daniel's user avatar
  • 11
-1 votes
2 answers
1k views

What are the five levels of Neshama according to the Zohar?

What are the five levels of the neshama for a Jew and the two levels for a non-Jew according to the Zohar? What are their meanings? What are their sources in the Zohar?
far22's user avatar
  • 1,550