We will begin with what the rabbis wrote that the Nefesh has five names.

From the bottom up they are Nefesh, Ruach, Neshama, Chaya, and Yechida.

Translated, they are:




Life (Force)






(that which has come to) Rest

Each of these levels represents a different level of light that originated from Ein Sof, the Infinite light emanating out from G‑d. On the level of Yechida, the light is still very sublime and unified; on the level of Chaya, it is less so, but it is considered to be the life force of all that comes after it. "Neshama" is derived from the word "neshima," which means breath, because this level of soul is said to be like a breath in the mouth of G‑d, so-to-speak. Ruach is the soul-light as it leaves the stage of Neshama, like a breath blown out of the mouth of a person. The soul-light comes to rest on the level called Nefesh, which is in the blood of a physical human being, and therefore it acts as an interface between the spiritual and the physical.

When a person performs righteous deeds, it unifies the levels of his soul

Certainly, these names have not been ascribed by chance or convenience. Rather, know that the person himself is the spiritual element within the body, while the body is only a garment for the person - not the person himself. This is what is written, "It shall not be smeared on human flesh..." (Ex. 30:32), as is noted in Zohar, Parashat Bereishit, 20b.

In other words, "flesh of man" implies that the flesh belongs to man, but it is not the man himself. "Flesh of man" is only the body and exterior garment; it is not the real man. It is, therefore, not worthy to be anointed.

Since man connects all four worlds of ABY"A...[an acronym formed from the initial letters of Atzilut, Beriya, Yetzira and Asiya]

Correspondance of the Four Worlds and the Parts of the Soul:













A very important concept is implied by our text here. Even though a person’s physical body is miniscule compared to the physical world, his spiritual soul spans all five spiritual worlds that emanate from Ein Sof. Since there is a direct and automatic correlation between the levels of soul and the levels of worlds, man’s actions, besides having a direct impact on his soul, have a direct impact on the corresponding spiritual worlds. When a person performs righteous deeds, it unifies the levels of his soul, and hence, the four worlds as well; the opposite is true if a person sins.

Since man connects all four worlds of ABY"A, by necessity, there has to exist within him sections from all four worlds, and each section is called by one of the five names: NRNCh"Y (Nefesh, Ruach, Neshama, Chaya, and Yechida), as we will explain. [To link to a related article, The Glassblower Analogy, click here.]

[Commentary by Shabtai Teicher.]

[Publisher’s note: An integral part of Kabbala study is to review the material a number of times.]