Jewish tradition honors both the body and the soul.

The ancient rabbis understood that, as human beings, we experience the world through the body. Our senses, our physicality, our material self. They taught us to treat the body with respect, to view the body as a gift from God, and to be mindful of how we treat our bodies. There are laws pertaining to what we eat, how we can and cannot manipulate and mutilate our bodies, how we deal with sickness and healing, and of course circumcision. The body was and is a source of great power and concern.

The same goes for the soul. These same rabbis viewed the soul as a reflection of the Divine. The soul comes from God and when we die, the soul returns to God. The soul learns, the soul feels, the soul speaks, the soul listens, the soul advises, the soul manifests the inner landscape of our being. The soul implanted in each of us is pure and holy.

In the Reform Jewish prayerbook the prayer for the body and the prayer for the soul follow one another. While they are two distinct prayers, their sequential placement demonstrates the unique and dynamic relationship between the body and the soul.

You can learn more and recite Judaism’s blessing for the body here. And Judaism’s prayer for the soul here.

Jewish Body, Jewish Soul