Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Elements of Man’s Form

Elements of Man’s Form - Chapter 6
(tidbits comment: a MUST read sefer: Song of the Soul

Kabbalistic scholars have assigned names to the elements of man’s form. They are nefesh, ruach, neshama, chaya and yechida.

Nefesh is the spirtual force which is the most inferior of the five elements of man’s form. Nefesh activates and is responsible for the functioning of the dimension of vitality. The dimension of vitality contains within it the cohesive force mentioned above in connection with the inanimate, the growth and sprouting force found in vegetation and the force described above as vitality found in animals. Thus man contains within him the qualities of the inanimate, vegetation and the animal. The element of nefesh is the spiritual force that brings the dimension of vitality into being and keeps it alive because such is the continual ratzon of the Creator. The Kabbalists determined that the liver symbolizes the nefesh and as such is described as the “dwelling place” of the nefesh.

Ruach is an element of form which is on a higher spiritual level than nefesh. It is responsible for human emotions and characteristics. Ruach is the force that arouses desires, lusts, ambitions, and indeed all human characteristics. The capacity to choose between good and evil stems from ruach and all the components of action and activity are also connected with ruach. The heart symbolizes ruach and as such is described as the “dwelling place” of ruach.

The neshama is a spiritual-intellectual force which guides human beings. The neshama’s task is to guide and correct evil traits, to overcome lusts, and to harness one’s powers to serve the Creator. The brain is described as the “dwelling place” of the neshama.

We shall elaborate on chaya and yechida, which are higher level spiritual forces, further on.

The Connection between Nefesh, Ruach and Neshama.

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