Research Query: Unspecified Zohar Citation in Menasseh ben Israel

Jacob Adler's picture

In Book 1, Chapter 1 of Nishmat Ḥayyim, Menasseh ben Israel writes as follows:

This term [nishmat ḥayyim, used in Gen. 2:7] alludes to the angels, as Rabbi Simeon bar Yoḥai explained: the Holy One blessed be He blew into man a soul of the nature of Separate Intelligences, who live and persist [eternally] as individuals. 

Menasseh is here interpreting the Biblical statement that God blew into Adam’s nostrils the breath of life [nishmat ḥayyim].

Does anyone know what passage—presumably from the Zohar—Menasseh is referring to here?

Many thanks in advance.


Jacob Adler
University of Arkansas
Philosophy Department
Fayetteville, Arkansas


For the question of Prof. Jacob Adler in regard to the text of nishmat ḥayyim, who is using the verse in Gen. 2:7, and is referring to a Derasha on Separate Intelligences –
see in this regard Zohar Vayikra 48b.

In general, on these ideas in the first Chapter of Nishmat Hayyim it is recommended to read the article of Yosef Dan, Torat haRa in Nishmat Hayyim le-Menashe ben Israel, in Mehkarim BaAggada uveFolklore Yehudi (Dedicated to Dov Noy), pp. 263-274.

Admiel Kosman
Potsdam University