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    Elokai N’shamah – Ask the Rabbi

    Q. Why do we say Elokai N’shamah (“O my God, the soul you placed within me is pure”) every morning?

    ElokaiNeshamaA. It is a Jewish answer to the Christian doctrine of original sin, which argues that because Adam (and Eve) sinned, all their descendants are born tainted.

    In Judaism the belief is that if we sin it is not because we are sinners but because we sometimes miss our way and succumb to temptation.

    Christianity says that sin can only be overcome by belief in Jesus; Judaism insists that if we sin we can overcome it by penitence and good deeds.

    Reciting the Elokai N’shamah passage during the early morning blessings acknowledges that every day we are re-born with the opportunity of keeping our slate clean.

    Samson Raphael Hirsch points out that this prayer is said in the morning after the Asher Yatzar blessing which speaks of the union of the body with the soul. Elokai N’shamah is its counterpart or even its continuation, speaking of the union of the soul with the body.

    In addition, says Hirsch, it “makes man aware of the nature of his soul as he awakens to a new day”.

    Body and soul should combine to make a moral and spiritual success of the day that lies ahead.

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