WELCOMING SHABBAT

Shabbat is more than a day of refraining from worldly activity.

When experienced to its spiritual fullest, its holiness enlightens all other days of the week.

We invite you to enhance your Shabbat with these words of Torah.

 

Meaning of Five

“[On Parashat Beshalach is written:] ‘And the children of Israel went up armed from the land of Egypt’ (Exodus 13:18). [What is the meaning of the use of the word ‘armed?’]

 

Rashi explains that the root word for ‘armed’ is the same as that of the word ‘five’, … [and then interprets it as] ‘one-fifth.’ The Midrash [suggests that during the plague of darkness, four-fifths of the Jews perished, leaving only one-fifth redeemed from Egypt].

 

The soul has five names: nefesh, ruach, neshamah, chayah, and yechidah (Bereishit Rabbah 14:9).

 

Kabbalah and Chassidut explain that the five names depict five ascending soul levels.

 

Nefesh, the lowest soul level, refers to what is commonly named ‘the animal soul,’ the instinctual, behavioristic drives most associated with the body that guide human actions.

 

Ruach, ‘spirit,’ is related to the emotions; neshamah, the inner soul, is deemed the seat of the intellect; chayah, ‘the living one,’ the interaction between consciousness and its super-conscious origin; and yechidah, ‘the single, unique one,’ relates to the Divine aspect of soul.

 

Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh explains that according to Chassidut when [one] seeks… to ascend from one level of spirituality to a higher plane, the four lower levels of soul need [to remove ego] so that the fifth…  is then free to ascend to the next level. Only through such a nullification of the lower self can the Godly essence of the soul be truly redeemed.”