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Do animals have souls?

by Rabbi Naftali Silberberg


Library » Philosophy » Soul | Subscribe | What is RSS?


Every object which was created by G-d contains a divine spark which gives life and existence to that object. This spark is known as the "soul."

This soul is infinite and immortal, because it is a manifestation of the infinite G-d.


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Do animals have souls

Posted by: H. Forney, Westminster, MD, U.S.A. on Jun 26, 2005

This is a reply to the post below, "Do animals have souls?"

Are you saying that rocks have souls, too? How about the earth, moon and stars? What about dust and water? In Psalm 148 the Psalmnist says that all of G-ds creation is to praise him. But, I don't think that all things of G-d's creation has a soul.

Not to be insultive, but, that's like saying that the earth and all of creation was created by a "big bang".

Editor's Comment

The belief that every created object, even an inanimate creation, contains a soul, is a fundamental teaching of Kabbalah and Chassidut. See


Posted by: Joseph M Coleman, Seattle, WA, USA on Jul 19, 2005

Does this mean dogs can go to heaven? Also could you give me a scripture passage on animals souls. Thank you.

Editor's Comment

1. "Dog Heaven" is very different than "Human Heaven." Humans go to Heaven to receive reward for all the good deeds which they chose to do during their corporeal lifetime. Animals, however, do not have free-choice, and therefore cannot be rewarded (or punished) for their deeds. Their souls are, however, reunited with their divine source. 2. There are no scriptural references to animal souls. This concept was revealed in the teachings of Kabbalah.

animal soul

Posted by: Natalie, Frankfurt, Germany on Aug 24, 2005

Why animals donĊ½t have a free will ?? There are good dogs and bad dogs, there are inteligent dogs and stupid ones. I think that animal have free will but not as much as we human beings have.

Editor's Comment

See "Freedom of Choice: Natural or Supernatural?" (


Posted by: B. on Jan 18, 2006

Animals don't have freewill because they don't need freewill. They get along perfectly well without it - there are no 'good dogs and bad dogs'. Just dogs. But, oy, we have this blessing (and curse) of choice. Anyway, back to the souls, we all got 'em, just in different degrees. A rock has a soul, a plant has a rock soul and a plant soul, an animal has a rock soul, plant soul, and animal soul, and a human has rock, plant, animal and human (which is further divided into many complicated different aspects). In funky terms, The plant posesses the plant level of nefesh, the dog has the animal level of nefesh, the human's got the plant, animal, and G'dly levels of nefesh in addition to a ruach and a neshamah. Different schools of Kabbalah have different versions, but that's basically it.


Posted by: Ian on Apr 16, 2006

"Anyway, back to the souls, we all got 'em, just in different degrees. A rock has a soul, a plant has a rock soul and a plant soul, an animal has a rock soul, plant soul, and animal soul, and a human has rock, plant, animal and human (which is further divided into many complicated different aspects)."

Edited secular philosophy. Name of the philosopher? Aristotle.

The following passage is straight from wikipedia.

Aristotle contended that happiness could not be found only in pleasure or only in fame and honor. He finally finds happiness "by ascertaining the specific function of man." But what is this function that will bring happiness? *To determine this, Aristotle analyzed the soul and found it to have three parts: the Nutritive Soul (plants, animals and humans), the Perceptive Soul (animals and humans) and the Rational Soul (humans only).*

Editor's Comment

The fact that Aristotle was perceptive enough to reach this correct conclusion doesn't preclude the Torah from espousing the very same truth! Notice, however, the slight -- but very important -- difference between Aristotle's categorization of THREE soul-types and the Jewish view which contains FOUR soul categories. For a mystical explanation of this soul's purpose, see the first chapters of Shaar Hayichud v'Haemunah, the second book of Tanya (

clarifying "souls" issue....

Posted by: Yehuda, Monsey, NY on Jan 20, 2007

I wish to point out, that although you state that animals and all inanimate objects have souls, I believe that what you meant to say, was that everything in this universe has a "spiritual counterpart!" That is NOT the same thing as a soul! Only humans have "souls" in the true sense of the word.

In ancient times, the entire world had the capacity to "tap-in" to this realization and could sense the spiritual counterpart to every inanimate object! Hence - the idea of idol worship, which seems silly to us, actually was quite logical to humankind back then. That explains the desire to worship stones, trees, astronomical bodies, etc. (The Kabbalah and the Rambam can verify this approach.)

But - as far as a "soul" is concerned, G-d has implanted that unique "attachment" into humans only - as a way to establish a connection with him!

Editor's Comment

Today's understanding of the souls of inanimate objects has a lot to do with the spiritual purpose and function they serve in fulfilling the master plan. Some souls are "higher" than others, meaning that they play more of a central role in the fulfillment of G-d's purpose in creating the world. According to Chassidic philosophy, every created matter in this world has a function of some sort and plays a vital part in the master plan. The human being is the main actor in the story of the world; he therefore possesses a soul consisting of spiritual purpose far beyond the average tree.


Miscellaneous » Animals/Pets

It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.