What is the soul? It is a critical part of each human being, the spiritual component which makes him a living person. It is the spiritual oxygen with which Hashem breathes life into a man every day from the moment he wakes up in the morning.
It is also like the man’s life blood which flows throughout his physical body. Just as the health of the body is reflected in the condition of the blood, so is the spiritual health of the human being reflected in the condition of his soul. Just as a doctor can diagnose the condition of the physical body by analyzing his blood, Hashem has given us a window into our own spiritual state.
כז = נֵר ה’ נִשְׁמַת אָדָם חֹפֵשׂ כָּל חַדְרֵי בָטֶן
(27) The soul of man is the lamp of Hashem
with which He searches all innermost parts.
In effect, Hashem has created a way of looking into every aspect of our spiritual health. Thus, the soul is the lamp of Hashem, the instrument by which our spiritual health can be seen and recorded on a day-by-day basis. For each person, the soul serves as his conscience, alerting him to spiritual deficiencies which need to be corrected. Unfortunately, not everyone is sensitive to the signals he is getting from his conscience. So, the obvious solution is to spend more time examining our conscience and reflecting on what it is telling us.
(27) The soul of man — נִשְׁמַת אָדָם
is the lamp of Hashem — נֵר ה’
with which He searches — חֹפֵשׂ
all innermost parts. —כָּל חַדְרֵי בָטֶן
When the time comes for a man to be judged by his Maker, his soul discloses the thoughts and intentions which were concealed in the innermost recesses of of his consciousness. (רש”י)
NOTE: For a PDF copy of this segment, please click on the blue title below.
This will enable you to print out the entire text of the article.
Mishlei 20-27 (Soul) PDF version