Ruach (Kabbalah)

The Kabbalah posits that the human soul has three elements, the nefeshru’ach, and neshamah. The nefesh is found in all humans, and enters the physical body at birth. It is the source of one’s physical and psychological nature. The next two parts of the soul are not implanted at birth, but can be developed over time; their development depends on the actions and beliefs of the individual. They are said to only fully exist in people awakened spiritually. A common way of explaining the three parts of the soul is as follows:

  • Nefesh (נפש): the lower part, or “animal part”, of the soul. It is linked to instincts and bodily cravings. This part of the soul is provided at birth. (primary place: liver) The Chassidut teaches that it is possible to make holy even daily habits, such as eating and working.
  • Ruach (רוח): the middle soul, the “spirit”. It contains the moral virtues and the ability to distinguish between good and evil. (primary place: heart) “Knowing heart”— a heart that knows that whatever happens in the world comes from God.
  • Neshamah (נשמה): the higher soul, or “super-soul”. This separates man from all other life-forms. It is related to the intellect and allows man to enjoy and benefit from the afterlife. It allows one to have some awareness of the existence and presence of God. (primary place: brain) The initiation for the Kohen Gadol Aaron occurred in fact starting from the head.

With all your heart and with all your soul Only with the knowledge that one possesses, and according to that knowledge God will be love: if it is little, love will be scarce; if it is much, it will be abundant

— Rambam, Mishneh Torah

One of the ways of the soul is the good. Just as the goodness of human beings derives from the good, we can also say that love is the decisive consequence. In fact, Maimonides affirms that God supports with the good the one who loves the Torah and the Mitzvot with faith for the Tzaddikim and therefore for God. From this we deduce therefore that the good, the goodness and the love are different levels of same source: the peace.

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