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Soul, levels of

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Soul, levels of: The five terms Scripture uses to refer to man’s soul; each denotes a different gradation of the soul — in ascending order from Nefesh to Yechidah: Nefesh is the basic life-force or natural soul in general, and specifically relates to the soul’s basic or external manifestations in terms of the faculties of thought, speech and action. Ruach (Spirit) and Neshamah (Soul, Breath) are the spiritual life-force in man, relating to the Middot and Mochin respectively. Chayah (Living), often also referred to as Neshamah leNeshamah (Soul of the Soul), is the sublime root for the lower three grades. Yechidah (Only One; Unique) is the quintessence, the Divine spark as it were, the ultimate source of the soul — compounding yet transcending the lower grades. The higher grades of the soul are latently presenting the Nefesh, in proportionally increasing concealment, but it will become ever more manifest — to the point of conscious awareness — by man’s continuous self-improvement and spiritual ascent.
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