An extra soul on Shabbat

by Rabbi Dr. Abraham Twerski

On Shabbat, we get an extra neshamah, soul. We know two things cannot occupy the same space at the same time. Although spiritual substances need not be subject to the law of physics, we might still ask, “Where does this additional neshamah fit? Was there previously a vacuum in the space it now occupies?” As Shabbat approaches, we create a place for the additional neshamah by discarding much of the weekday matter we have accumulated, to the extent that we rid ourselves of the weekday problems in order to receive the additional neshamah of Shabbat. We are instructed to approach Shabbat with an attitude that all our weekday work has been totally completed, and so nothing has been left undone that could cause us to think about it on Shabbat. Weekday activities relate to the means of living, while Shabbat represents the goal of life. It is the time when, freed from all other activities, we can direct attention to the study of Torah, to prayer and to contemplating what G-d wants of us. Vacating the thoughts, stresses and worries of weekday life leaves “space” for that extra neshamah.

Rabbi Dr. Abraham Twerski

Rabbi Dr. Abraham Twerski is a psychiatrist and founder of Gateway Rehabilitation Center in Pittsburgh, one of America’s leading facilities for addiction treatment. He is the author of more than 60 books, and lectures extensively on the topics of chemical dependency, stress, self-esteem and spirituality. Dr. Twerski is an ordained rabbi, and traces his ancestry to the Baal Shem Tov, founder of the Chassidic movement. Visit him online at

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