Soul – Hebrew: Neshama


When Elohim breathed the ‘breath’ of life into Adam, it was His ‘holy breath,’ or Ruach haKodesh. This ‘life’ breathed into the soul is called the neshama. The neshama sets mankind apart from the animals as a ‘living spirit.’

The neshama seeks a relationship with its Creator. The neshama is self-aware and desires spiritual nourishment like “the deer pants for living water” (Psalm 42:2). The neshama gains wisdom from listening to the Word of God. Adam and Havah sinned against Elohim by listening to their carnal desire and lost the ability to ‘hear’ His voice. Consequently, though we are all born with a ‘soul,’ it does not contain the ‘holy breath’ of God.

“But My servant Caleb, because he has had a different spirit and has followed Me fully, will bring into the land which he entered, and his descendants shall take possession of it” (Numbers 14:24).

Caleb had a different ‘spirit’ and followed God fully. This meant that his neshama was alive through the Ruach haKodesh. He heard the voice of God and obeyed.

“Then Adonai, God, formed a person from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life [neshama], so that he became a living being” (Genesis 2:7).

“For I will not fight them forever or always nurse my anger; otherwise their spirits [neshama] would faint before me, the creatures I myself have made” (Isaiah 57:16).

“Let everything that has breath [neshama] praise Adonai! Halleluyah!” (Psalm 150:6).

After the fall in the Garden of Eden, the neshama of man had ‘died’ and had to be restored. This was why the Ruach haKodesh had to be poured out again into man. To begin the restoration of mankind the carnal old man of the flesh must die and become a ‘new creation.’

In the garden, the neshama –– the spiritual man ruled over the flesh man (nefesh). When Adam sinned, this spirit/soul relationship flip-flopped. The flesh man (nefesh) began to rule over the spiritual man (neshama).

As long as we live in this fallen world, there will always be a spiritual battle between the nefesh and the neshama. The Ruach haKodesh gives each of us the power to keep the spiritual neshama ruling over the flesh (nefesh).

Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self [nefesh] with its evil practices, and have put on the new self [neshama] who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him...” (Colossians 3:9-10 NASB).

“In reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self [nefesh], which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit [neshama] of your mind, and put on the new self…” (Ephesians 4:22-24).

“It teaches us to renounce godlessness and worldly pleasures [nefesh], and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives now [neshama], in this age …” (Titus 2:12).

Hebrew Word Pictures

נ Nun – A Fish means ‘life.’

ש Shin – A Tooth means ‘consume’ or ‘destroy.’

מ Mem – Water means ‘chaos’ or ‘mighty.’

ה Hey – A Window means ‘reveal’ or ‘behold.’

The Hebrew Word Picture for neshama: life consumes mighty revealed.

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