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What does it mean for one's soul to "be like dust to everyone"?

Most undertand this to be a prayer for the trait of humility; specifically as expressed by ignoring the abuse of others. This is implied by the Chovos Halevavos (Shaar Hac'nia ch. 10): והששי כי ...
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12 votes

What is a summary of basic Jewish metaphysics or theology?

Over a period of about five hundred years, various medieval Jewish scholars wrote books attempting to systematically address many issues of Jewish theology and metaphysics. Saadia Gaon (882-942) ...
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11 votes
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Am I a body with a soul or a soul with a body?

Am I the soul or the body? The answer is yes. The mashal is given of a blind man and a lame man in the king's orchard. The blind man put the lame man on his shoulders. The lame man steered the blind ...
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11 votes
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Are there any references from the schools of Shammai and Hillel that support belief in the soul separating from the body at death?

First source: "...Another thing: "A kindly man benefits himself", this refers to Hillel the Elder, that when he departed from his students, he would walk and they would walk with him. ...
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10 votes
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What causes a person to remain in this world as a ghost?

R. Ezekiel Landau discusses this aspect of the tale in his commentary there. He explains that the spirit cannot leave the body until the body decomposes, and that is why we conduct burials in a manner ...
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9 votes

What does it mean for one's soul to "be like dust to everyone"?

One interpretation is that given by Tosafos (B'rachos 17a, s.v. ונפשי כעפר): ונפשי כעפר לכל תהיה. מה עפר אינו מקבל כליה לעולם כן יהי רצון שזרעי לא יכלה לעולם כמו שהוא אומר והיה זרעך כעפר הארץ ...
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9 votes

Does Judaism teach that the soul cannot rest until the body turns to dust?

The Zohar (2:151) states that the soul is subject to judgment until the body has decomposed.
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8 votes
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Do spirits/souls have genders?

The Zohar writes that the Patriarch Yitzchok had the soul of a female. Additionally, the Arizal explained that Michal wore tefillin because she had a male soul. So it seems that souls do have ...
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8 votes

Is there any proof of the existence of the soul?

Kaballah says that the soul enclothed within the body and it is the reflection of the Divine Form, called the tzelem (tzelem Elokim). This can be described as the spiritual mold of man's physical form,...
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Chatam Sofer and soulmates

Teshuvos Chasam Sofer Volume 7 is a collection of (until recently) unpublished responsa from the Chasam Sofer. It's under copyright from the Machon Chasam Sofer, so you won't find it on Sefaria. ...
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7 votes

Do converts represent a "farblondzshet" neshama?

In a Teshuva of the Maharam MiRottenberg (#19) he writes that the angel in charge of conception chooses souls from a chamber (that needs to be emptied before Moshiach can come) to place in the womb. ...
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7 votes

The Gra's "70 Abilities of the Soul"

In the Gra's commentary on Isaiah 11:1 (Mosad HaRav Kook ed.), he writes: ויצא חטר מגזע ישי. אמרו במדרש שבפסוק "וירק את חניכיו" שהם רמ"ח אברים וע' כחות The Gra also enumerated these 70 kochot, ...
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6 votes

Nefesh, neshama and ruach as words for "soul"

The names of nefesh, ruach, neshamah, yechidah, chayah (in that order) is from Bereishis Rabba 14:11. I wish to add two more positions to the discussion. The first is Rav Saadia Gaon's (Emunos ...
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6 votes

Does Judaism teach that the soul cannot rest until the body turns to dust?

Shabbat 152b א"ר אבהו כל שאומרים בפני המת יודע עד שיסתם הגולל פליגי בה רבי חייא ור"ש ברבי חד אמר עד שיסתם הגולל וחד אמר עד שיתעכל הבשר מאן דאמר עד שיתעכל הבשר דכתיב אך בשרו עליו יכאב ונפשו ...
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6 votes
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What is a summary of basic Jewish metaphysics or theology?

Maimonides' Thirteen Principles of Faith attempted to boil them down. The existence of G-d. G-d's unity and indivisibility into elements. G-d's spirituality and incorporeality. G-d's eternity. G-d ...
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6 votes

What is a summary of basic Jewish metaphysics or theology?

One wonderful book which addresses all these questions is Gesher HaChaim by R Yechiel Michel Tucazinsky but it might not be so easy to find these days. An alternative would be to start with books by ...
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5 votes

Zohar and Shabbos Yoma D’Nishmasa

Vayakheil 205a: האי יומא יומא דנשמתין איהו ולאו יומא דגופא English: This day is a day of souls and not a day of the body.
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5 votes

Do spirits/souls have genders?

No. A soul is a spiritual entity and has no gender. However according to Kabbalah there are two worlds where souls can come from. A "Masculine" world and a "Feminine" world. The Lubavitcher Rebbe Z"L ...
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5 votes

What's "chelek Eloak mimaal"?

Executive Summary The first source for that expression is the Alshich - first published 1593, but likely said significantly earlier. The concept is older. According to Tanya it means that the soul ...
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Yom Kippur - Soul or Body

The word נפש is not limited to mean strictly "souls." It often means something along the lines of "life force" or "being." When someone kills someone else, the Torah refers to it as having struck ...
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Am I a body with a soul or a soul with a body?

I asked R' Tzvi Berkowitz this question. He said that when one sleeps, 4 parts of the soul leave, while the lowest part of the soul remains with the body. The "me" in this prayer is that lowest level ...
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Convert attached to another gilgul?

This concept is explored in the Arizal's Sha'ar HaGilgulim 1:10 (An English translation is available by here) The Chabad website gives a nice overview here and then continues into the follow section 1:...
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How does punishment in the World to Come make sense?

This sounds similar to Antoninus's question to Rebbi on the bottom of Sanhedrin 91a. [Antoninus asked Rebbi:] The body and the spirit can each get out of punishment. The body will say the soul sinned!...
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4 votes

What is the Yeshiva Shel Maala?

Ramban writes the following in Sha'ar Hag'mul of his Torat Ha'adam: שכר הנפשות וקיומם בעולם הנשמות נקרא לרבותינו גן עדן, ופעמים קורין אותו עליה וישיבה של מעלה The reward for souls, and their ...
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4 votes

where does the feeling of shame come from?

The Orehot Tsaddikim (Shaar 3) writes that shame is unique to humans since it always accompanies intellect (unique to humans): אמרו חכמים: השכל הוא הבושה, והבושה הוא השכל...וכן כל בעלי חיים זולתי ...
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3 votes

What is the importance of the human body after death?

Many Jewish thinkers have actually challenged your assumption that the body is merely a "vessel" for the soul. I'll just copy and paste from an answer of mine elsewhere: R' Yaakov Weinberg ...
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Humans have 613 organs?

There are indeed several sources among the works of Chassidus and later kabbalistic works which describe the soul as being a spiritual counter-shape to the shape of the physical body. In other words, ...
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3 votes

How does punishment in the World to Come make sense?

the person's human intellect is granted free choice. His soul, therefore, has little influence on his physical body's actions. The question seems to assume that the soul is an outside force, whereas ...
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What are the implications of karet?

To answer the first part of the question, the Rambam in the introduction to Chelek writes: והמקמה הגמורה היא שתכרת הנפש ותאבד ושלא יהיה לה קיום והוא הכרת האמור בתורה. וענין הכרת הכרתת הנפש ... וכל מי ...
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Where does the Zohar hold the nefesh resides?

The תניא מבואר compiled by Rabbi Avraham Alashvili quotes the Lubavitcher Rebbe as sourcing the statement in Tanya as follows: ראה ע"ח ש"נ פ"ד. ר"ח שער היראה פ"ג. ומקורו בזהר ...
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