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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) ...
Alex's user avatar
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11 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 ...
Alex's user avatar
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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. ...
Harel13's user avatar
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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.
Jay's user avatar
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8 votes
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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Teshuvos Chasam Sofer Volume 7 is a collection of (until recently) unpublished responsa from the Chasam Sofer.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. ...
robev's user avatar
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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, ...
wfb's user avatar
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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 ...
Alex's user avatar
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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 ...
mbloch's user avatar
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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 ...
Shalom's user avatar
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5 votes

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:...
Dov's user avatar
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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 ...
mevaqesh's user avatar
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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 ...
mevaqesh's user avatar
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4 votes

Does everyone end up with their 'soulmate'/bashert?

We do say that Hashem finds a match for everyone, as in Maseches Sotah 2A. Skip the next paragraph if you already know that Gemarah. Here's a simple summary of the relevant part of that Gemarah. ...
Ethan Leonard's user avatar
4 votes
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The physical and spiritual halves of man in the Yerushalmi

Seems to be from Yerushalmi Kilayim 8:3: הַלּוֹבֶן מִן הָאִישׁ שֶׁמִּמֶּנּוּ מוֹחַ וַעֲצָמוֹת וְהַגִּידִים. וְהַאוֹדֶם מִן הָאִשָּׁה שֶׁמִּמֶּנָּה הָעוֹר וְהַבָּשָׂר וְהַדָּם. וְהָרוּחַ וְהַנֶּפֶשׁ ...
Joel K's user avatar
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3 votes

Learning one mesechta l'ilui Nishmas for two people

Upon further investigation I found in the Rivevos Ephraim Chelek 8:128:2 that it is better to learn one Mishna for one person separately, and if one did learn one Mishna for two people it still works. ...
sam's user avatar
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3 votes
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Does the Neshama (soul) choose the body?

The blessing we say in the morning, אלק״י נשמה שנתת בי says clearly the opposite. G-d is the one who determines which body the Neshamah enters. My G-d, the soul which you placed in me is pure. You ...
Yaacov Deane's user avatar
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3 votes

How can Nefesh mean a dead person?

The word here (and in Lev 19:28) appears to refer to the tomb. For example, a few verses later in the same chapter (Lev 21:11) appears the phrase “resting places of the dead” (נַפְשֹׁ֥ת מֵ֖ת). The ...
Joseph's user avatar
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3 votes

What does it mean to "kill a soul"?

This is an idiom for killed a human being. As we see in various other places as well. That is why the Rambam, the gemara and other places including tanach use that term when referring to the death of ...
sabbahillel's user avatar
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3 votes
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What is a human?

This is a very complex topic about which books have been written, but I'll try my best to give a quick introduction. Part of the confusion stems from the fact that in Hebrew some words can be used ...
N.T.'s user avatar
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3 votes

What is breathing for, according to sages?

Bereishis Rabba 14:11 רַבִּי לֵוִי בְּשֵׁם רַבִּי חֲנִינָא אָמַר, עַל כָּל נְשִׁימָה וּנְשִׁימָה שֶׁאָדָם נוֹשֵׁם צָרִיךְ לְקַלֵּס לַבּוֹרֵא, מַה טַּעַם (תהלים קנ, ו): כֹּל הַנְּשָׁמָה תְּהַלֵּל יָהּ,...
Chatzkel's user avatar
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3 votes

According to Rambam, where do the souls of the righteous dwell in the period between the death of their bodies and the resurrection?

The same place. The Rambam only recognises two worlds, this world, which includes era of Moshiach, and Olam Haba (i.e. Olam HaNeshamot, Gan Eden). Souls without bodies exist in the latter, before they ...
Rabbi Kaii's user avatar
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3 votes
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Is it possible for a person to become so evil that they lose their soul? Like is it possible for a person to be missing their soul?

Moreover, is it possible for someone to become so corrupt and evil that they literally are born with a soul but lose it in the process? Difficult question to be honest. The Alter Rebbe, in his magnus ...
Shmuel's user avatar
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3 votes
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A set number of souls which can be born

Yes. Yevamot 63b (with Steinsaltz translation and interlinear commentary: אָמַר רַבִּי אַסִּי: אֵין בֶּן דָּוִד בָּא עַד שֶׁיִּכְלוּ כׇּל הַנְּשָׁמוֹת שֶׁבַּגּוּף, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: ״כִּי רוּחַ מִלְּפָנַי ...
Rabbi Kaii's user avatar
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3 votes
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Does the Nefesh Behamis survive death?

Rabbi Kaplan translated Derech Hashem, and seems to have explained things here as Ramchal explains them in Part 3:1:1-2, i.e. that the Vital Nefesh of a human is of the same kind as animals, but ...
Rabbi Kaii's user avatar
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2 votes

Zohar and Maharal on the soul and face

Rav Yitzchok Hutner says that the פנים (face) reveals what is בפנים (inside). The face reveals your inner emotions. Rav Hutner was an avid scholar on the Maharal's works.
yosefkorn's user avatar
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2 votes

What's "chelek Eloak mimaal"?

R. Yosef Yaavetz (c. 1440-1508) uses this phrase in his commentary on Avos 1:18: ב' חלקים יש בנו, חלק המלאכים והוא השכל, וחלק אלוה ממעל, כי רוח מלפני יעטוף, והדבור שליח השכל, והמעשה שליח החלק ...
wfb's user avatar
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2 votes

“The feelings reveal the soul.”(Pieseszner Rebbe). Is this idea accepted by contemporary Orthodox thought?

Rabbi Yitzchak Hutner explains that the yetzer hara has no substance inherently, only that which he has stolen from you where your 'spare' abilities were not utilised in the service of Hashem. ...
pcoz's user avatar
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2 votes
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Does the concept of ibur exist today?

Rav Moshe David Wali (18th century) writes in the ספר הליקוטים page 26 (חלק א'‏): ועוד לו המשכה פרטית מן הפרטית בין בתלמוד בין במעשה שבא לו סיוע מנשמותיהן של צדיקים ושל חכמים, ואם הוא מעיין ...
Y K's user avatar
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2 votes

How can Nefesh mean a dead person?

R' Samson Raphael Hirsch translates1 "לְנֶפֶשׁ לֹֽא־יִטַּמָּא בְּעַמָּיו" in Leviticus 21:1 simply as "regarding no person among his people may he render himself impure." "...
Isaac Moses's user avatar
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2 votes

Does one get back his neshama in the exact form when resurrected?

I am not entirely sure what we mean when discussing the "state" of a neshama, but the Ramchal in several places discusses the concept that when the neshama comes back to the body it will be at a much ...
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