by Rabbi Aryel Nachman – 28 Shevat 5772
I was recently asked (paraphrased): “Have you ever done a teaching on the difference between feelings, emotions, moral dedication? Could you use the Hebrew words translated to English in a way that would help all of society. With a 50% divorce rate, it would be a greatly needed study.”
So my answer is: Yes, I have given lessons on this, but only to answer specific questions that were asked of me. Here I will try (BS”D) to answer the question in full.
The first thing we need to understand is that the soul is comprised of three parts: Nefesh, Ruach and Neshamah.
First we have the Nefesh, which is the “animal” part of the soul. It is that part which drives primal instincts; fight or flight, eating, drinking, sexual desires, etc.
Genesis 1: 30 “and to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is a living soul (Nefesh), [I have given] every green herb for food.’ And it was so.”
Next we have Ruach, this is the “emotional” part of the soul. All those things we experience each and every day: Mad, sad, glad, joy, anger, love, jealousy, hate, etc. Those emotions (for lack of a better term) that we must decide what purpose they will be turned (constructive or destructive).
Genesis 1: 2 Now the earth was unformed and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the spirit (Ruach) of God hovered over the face of the waters.