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Soul Matters: #2 - Unifying Souls

May 8, 2009 | by Rabbi Pinchas Winston

The five levels of soul channel the light of God into us, but our actions effect the flow of spiritual energy.

Did you every notice how two different friends can influence you in two totally different directions?

A more "spiritual" friend may cause you to act in a noble way, whereas a less-spiritual friend may bring out your more base instincts. Why is that?

If you recall, we discussed five levels of souls in the previous article:

  1. Yechidah
  2. Chiyah
  3. Neshamah
  4. Ruach, and
  5. Nefesh.

We can look at these five levels of soul as rungs on a spiritual "ladder," with Nefesh being the lowest rung and Yechidah being the highest rung. The Kabbalists look at Jacob's ladder, the one he saw in a dream (Genesis 28:12) in this fashion.

Now you might be asking: "Why FIVE levels of soul? Why isn't one level of soul enough?"

Why FIVE levels of soul? Why isn't one or two levels of soul enough?

The answer is that each level of soul acts as a kind of spiritual transformer, to conduct and calibrate the spiritual intensity of the light making its ways to our bodies from God -- the light which is meant to animate us and to give us life.

Without these "transformers" to spiritually adjust the intensity of this light, we could not physically exist, since our bodies could not handle this light in its pure form. It is simply too powerful for our physical bodies!

On the other hand, if we do something to short-out one or more of these transformers, then the amount of light coming down to us is lessened. The result? A person will feel less spiritual, perhaps to the point that he or she will no longer be able to sense the soul. Many people today doubt the existence of the soul for this reason.


Certain experiences and moments in time -- like prayer, for example -- by their very nature can turn up the transformers, and provide us with more spirituality. When this happens, the levels of soul are draw more closely together and unify with one another.

The more the levels of soul unify with one another, the more we can "feel" God's light down here, even in our bodies. Without going anywhere physically, we can climb spiritual mountains and grow considerably each time. The pleasure can be immeasurable!

Certain life activities, like being nasty to another person for example, can push the levels of soul apart.

Other of life's activities, on the other hand, by their very nature -- like being nasty to another person or simply "wasting" time -- can "push" the levels of soul apart, with the result being a lessened sense of spirituality.

The further the levels of soul become from one another, the less spiritual light we feel in life. When that happens, we find it more difficult to feel good about life. We tend to feel less inspired, and we become unable to sense our unlimited spiritual potential.

Having said this, we can now move on to a discussion about prayer itself -- to better understand how our prayers affect our soul, how our soul affects our prayer, and how to transform this daily chore into an extremely uplifting and rejuvenating experience, a real chance to connect up with the Creator of the Universe.

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