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What Are the Seven Types of Souls?

What Are the Seven Types of Souls?

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Question:

I've heard it said that the seven branches of the Menorah (candelabra) in the Holy Temple represent the seven types of souls. Can you please tell me the unique characteristics of these different souls?

Answer:

Man was created "in the image of G‑d" (Genesis 1:26). Among the many meanings inherent in this statement is that our souls' composition is the likeness G‑d's divine attributes.

There are seven middot (divine emotive attributes) -- Kindness, Severity, Harmony, Perseverance, Humility, Foundation, and Royalty. While every soul possesses all seven of these middot, one of these traits is most dominant, shaping the individual soul's unique service of G‑d.

Here is a brief description of the seven types of Jewish souls:

Chesed (Kindness) -- A soul whose service of G‑d is characterized by a calm and flowing love. This soul is also overflowing with love for his fellows.

Gevurah (Severity) – A soul who serves G‑d with awe and a flaming passion. This soul is also highly disciplined, with high expectations of himself and others.

Tiferet (Harmony) – The soul who has achieved a perfect synthesis of Kindness and Severity. This is accomplished through the study of Torah. Tiferet is also the source of the soul's capacity for compassion.

Netzach (Perseverance) – A soul who is constantly battling and struggling, but is ultimately triumphant.

Hod (Humility) – The soul who exemplifies self-abnegation in favor of allowing itself to be overwhelmed by G‑d's goodness.

Yesod (Foundation) – The soul whose unique talent is establishing giving relationships, intellectually or otherwise.

Malchut – (Royalty) The soul who serves its Creator in a majestic manner.

In the Tenple's menora, all seven branches were hewn from a single block of pure gold. We may have different dispositions and different methods of serving G‑d, but we are essentially one. We have one purpose and one mission, with different ways to accomplish the same goal -- serving our creator and being a menorah -- a guiding light -- for the entire world.

Rabbi Menachem Posner serves as staff editor for Chabad.org. He lives with his family in Montreal, QC.
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Discussion (20)
March 18, 2012
temporary status
The animal soul, nefesh, and the G-dly part of the soul, neshamah, would be merely an abbreviation of the more complex 5 aspects of the soul. The "49 aspects" refer to the divisions within the 7 lower Sephirot that are within that persons "nefesh-neshamah" or soul.

When a nefesh incarnates, generally speaking, it has a "TYPE" of soul connected to one of G-ds divine attributes through the system of planetary and zodiacal influences in that particular incarnation, as explained in DERECH HA-SHEM by the RaMChaL. As Rabbi Posner indicated, by TORAH study and observant living, a nefesh can bring equilibrium to all the middot in his soul. So, the "types" are only temporary states. There are positive archetypes of the middot, and there are negative expressions too, when an aspect is too excessive. Equilibrium nullifies excess.

Nevertheless, a Jewish soul is "ain mazal", meaning his or her soul has direct access to G-d and can bypass the system of planetary and astrological influence.
Eleazar Shlomo ben Yakov Goldman
Guanajuato, Mexico
April 14, 2011
seven types
Do the seven types corolate to the colors on Gods throne. If so what colors represent the 7 types shown above.
Anonymous
sicklerville, NJ
September 4, 2009
soul
Hello again Rabbi - I have been thinking more about the issue of souls. You can check me if I am wrong, or, just let my interpretation stand, as I am in the early stages of learning about souls.
I interpret The Alter Rebbe as meaning the Animal soul and G-dly soul as two parts of one soul. Similarly with the 5 levels of soul, Nefesh Ruach, Neshuma, Chayya, Yechida ... again one soul, five individual features/functions.
The soul that gives me pause to consider is the ' extra/second ' Shabbat Soul. It sounds separate , but could be an expansion of the soul we carry throughout the week.
Any light that you can shine o the above will be appreciated.
Good Shabbos !
Anonymous
winnipeg, canada
August 31, 2009
oh i get it
Thanks Rabbi. I was caught by the title and question. I did not read your answer properly. I suppose that there are 7 Archtypes posited by the Alter Rebbe. Every human being would be a unique combination of dominant and recessive traits.
Thanks for your patience.
Anonymous
winnipeg, canada
August 30, 2009
To Anonymous in Winnipeg
Please read the article again and you will understand what I wrote. Each of our souls is comprised of the seven emotional aspects described in the article. Now, every person is different. Hence, different aspects are more dominant in different people. Following this teaching, the Alter Rebbe concludes that there are seven types of people—each with a different type of souls where another aspect is dominant.

This is not the same as the two souls which we all have. These seven souls belong to seven unique individuals.
Menachem Posner for Chabad.org
August 29, 2009
Tauber
In your Chabad.Org Ideas and Beliefs, I chanced upon an article by Yankl Tauber. The title is " What is a soul ? " I was told that your Alter Rebbe source Torah Or : 33 is in Hebrew and that the text is fairly complicated. Notwithstanding my inability to translate Hebrew, Tauber also uses references to the Alter Rebbe. Tauber interprets The Alter Rebbe 's writings as one soul with two parts, Animal Soul and G-dly Soul.
The point I make here is your use of the word types, as in seven types of souls, is not accurate. The Alter Rebbe refers to two parts. Regarding the seven attributes that lodge in these two types, each attribute, Chesed, Gevurah etc. stores all seven types of attributes within their individual realms. t These seven attributes storing seven types of attributes produces 7x7=49 combinations. For example, one can start with Chesed. Chesed will have Chesed Chesed, Chesed Gavurah, Chesed Tiferet etc.
My opposition to "types" is for clarity, and not winning an argument
Anonymous
winnipeg, canada
August 27, 2009
To Rabbi Posner regarding Torah Or :33
Unfortunately I could not find the source on Google. Would you kindly tell me how I can read the Torah Or: 33 for myself ? When it comes to the Alter Rebbe, his pivotal book is Tanya. In it he defines two elements of the human soul, Animal and G-dly. Kabbalah and Chassidus go into 5 levels of the soul : Nefesh, Ruach, Nashuma, Chayya and Yechida. Until I read your source, the word type remains a red herring. Attributes are not types. Attributes are traits or paths. All seven attributes are present in each soul level. Every human being has a unique mixture of all seven, and they can be modified. An earlier commentator spoke about 600,000 types of souls. I reckon that he is referring to the 600,000 souls that were present prior to Creation. Even here I think that the word unique is a better fit. However, it does show how loosely the word type gets fuzzy, whether used to describe 7 or to describe 600,000.
In any case, I will try to get the reference/interpretation which you pointed out.
Anonymous
winnipeg, canada
August 26, 2009
To Anonymous in Winnipeg
This answer was based on the teaching of the Alter Rebbe found in Torah Or 33:c.
I am assuming that this is what Gershon was referring to as well. Gershon, if you have another similar source, please share it with us.
Menachem Posner (author)
August 26, 2009
Thank you Gershon
Kindly post your reference source for the 7 types of souls. Somehow I have learned that the Alte Rebbe based his writings on only two souls, Animal soul and G-dly soul. I am not a Torah scholar, but I still am confused that Rabbi Posner listed the seven attributes/sefirot from the Tree of Life, and used the word soul. I may be at a loss in Hebrew as I don't know the language, but in English, words have an individual precise meaning. There are synonymns, but no two words are identical. Notwithstanding this factoid, it will be intersting to read your source.
Thanks again.
Anonymous
winnipeg, canada
August 25, 2009
how do we know hich soul we have?
michael penkar
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