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The additional soul we receive on Shabbat is an expression of a higher love for G-d.

Our Super Shabbat Soul

Our Super Shabbat Soul

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Our Super Shabbat Soul
The additional soul we receive on Shabbat is an expression of a higher love for G-d.

We are taught in the Talmud that on Shabbat Eve G-d gives a person an "Additional Soul," and at the conclusion of Shabbat it is taken from him. (Beitza, page 16; Taanit, page 27)

But what exactly is this Additional Soul? Does a person feel additional physical energy? Can he run faster and jump higher? Can he suddenly accomplish physical feats that would have been impossible during the week?

The Additional Soul…is a revelation from the deepest part of a person's essence….

Actually, the Additional Soul is not something that comes from outside of a person, but is a revelation from the deepest part of a person's essence.

Unity Soul

We are taught in the Midrash (Bereishit Rabba) that the soul is called by five names: Nefesh, Ruach, Neshama, Chaya, and Yechida. These names refer to five different levels and types of revelation within the soul of a person, with the highest level being the Yechida. This level of the soul is totally united with G-d. It is not a unity of two separate objects that were later united together. Rather, it is a unity that stems from the fact that the soul always was, and always will be, completely united with G-d.

With the coming of Shabbat, this deepest level of a person's soul, the Yechida, is revealed within the person. This is the Additional Soul we are given on Shabbat. It is not felt as an increase in physical life, but rather, an increase in the spiritual life force of a person.

Two Types of Love

But what is the actual experience of the Additional Soul?

There are two types of love for G-d….

We are taught that there are two types of love for G-d. One type of love is born out of contemplation of the greatness and oneness of G-d. This is a love that stems from our thoughts and, as a result, is limited in nature. For example, the more a person understands the goodness of something, the more his love for that thing increases. The love is therefore in direct relation to the quality of his intellect.

The other type of love is a love that is not born out of contemplation and intellect. Rather, it is a love for G-d that transcends intellect. It is not based on logic but is an expression stemming from a deep will and desire for G-d that is beyond reason. Just as a person's will to live is not based on reason but is rooted in his inner depths, so too this unbounded love for G-d is an expression of the deepest part of a person, the essence of his soul. This deep and unbounded love for G-d is the experience of our Additional Soul on Shabbat.

During the Week

Arousing the type of love born from intellectual contemplation is our work during the week. The Torah tells us, "Six days shall you work…," which, as is explained in Chassidut, is referring to our work of serving G-d. And, as the Zohar explains, there is no labor like the labor of love.

The Additional Soul is unable to be revealed … unless a person is a fitting receptacle for this revelation….

However, to create a love born out of intellect requires one to exert considerable effort in binding his or her thoughts to the oneness and greatness of G-d. Thus, for six days we labor, through deep contemplation, in arousing our love for G-d.

Yet, even though the Additional Soul is given as a gift from G-d, nevertheless, the Additional Soul is unable to be revealed within a person as an arousal of unbounded love for G-d unless a person is a fitting receptacle for this revelation. Our "work" of arousing an intellectually generated love for G-d during the six days of the week creates the vessel, the environment, which enables the Additional Soul to reveal itself within us on Shabbat.

Shabbat During the Week

Prayer is like a ladder….

In addition, the revelation of the Additional Soul on Shabbat will also affect the week to come. When we pray on Shabbat with a deep longing and desire for G-d, truly feeling the revelation of our Additional Soul, we are given the power to draw a glow of the Additional Soul into the coming week.

This revelation is felt in our weekday prayers. Through heartfelt and sincere prayer, we are able to experience this glow of the Additional Soul even during the week. Prayer is like a ladder, connecting the holiness of Shabbat with the six days of the week.

As a result, not only will the holiness of Shabbat be felt in our weekday prayers, but all our weekday actions will also be infused with the holiness of Shabbat.

[Adapted by Aaron Schmidt from Torah Ohr, parashat Vayakhel, pg. 87 with commentary Chassidut Mevu'eret.]

Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi (18 Elul 1745-24 Tevet 1812), known as "the Alter Rebbe," was one of the main disciples of the Maggid of Mezritch, and the founder of the Chabad Chassidism. He is the author of Shulchan Aruch HaRav and Tanya as well as many other major works in both Jewish law and the mystical teachings.
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