Have Questions or Comments?
Leave us some feedback and we'll reply back!

    Your Name (required)

    Your Email (required)

    Phone Number)

    In Reference to

    Your Message


    Worrying More About
    Our Souls Than Our
    Bodies During the Ten
    Days of Repentance
    There is a halacha in
    Shulchan Aruch
    Orach Chaim, Siman
    603: “Even someone who is not meticulous

    about abstaining from bread baked by non-
    Jews (the rest of the year), should be careful

    about this during the Asseres Yemei Teshuva
    (Ten Days of Repentance).” Many people do
    eat “pas akum” (“non-Jewish bread”)
    throughout the year. The Talmud discusses
    whether or not the Rabbis formally adopted
    such a rule on a permanent basis. The bottom
    line is that if one buys kosher bread from a
    non-Jewish baker, it is permissible to eat it.
    Nevertheless, between Rosh Hashanah and
    Yom Kippur, the Shulchan Orach says that
    we may only eat Jewish baked bread.
    This ruling is somewhat anomalous. Which
    way is it? If pas akum is forbidden, it should
    be prohibited the whole year and if it is not
    forbidden, it should be permissible the whole
    The Tolner Rebbe tries to explain this strange

    halacha in Shulchan Aruch.
    Many times, the Shulchan Aruch uses the
    terminology “A baal nefesh (e.g. – a person
    concerned for his soul) should be strict in the
    matter.” This means that something can be
    perfectly permissible, but there exist certain
    spiritually sensitive souls who should shun
    any practice that is in any way questionable.
    The term baal nefesh is not synonymous with
    “chossid” or “tzaddik“, both of which are
    terms that express righteousness and piety
    beyond the norm. What exactly is a “baal
    nefesh“? Where does it come from?
    Rashi (Niddah 16b) defines a baal nefesh as
    someone who is “fearful and abstains from
    even a question of transgression.” It is the
    type of person who is diligent when it comes
    to avoiding even a doubt of prohibition, even
    though according to the bottom line
    halacha, the action is 100% permissible.
    The Sefer HaManhig defines a baal nefesh as
    “one who rules over his soul.”
    In short, a baal nefesh is a person who is
    worried about his soul. There is constant
    tension between a person’s body (guf) and
    soul (nefesh). Most people worry about their

    bodies more than their souls.
    Regarding ruchniyus (spirituality), we say,
    “Nu, I have bitachon (confidence).”
    Regarding gashmiyus (materialistic matters)
    – we are not so religious that we always say,
    “I have confidence.” We are worried more
    about our materialistic needs than our
    spiritual needs. A baal nefesh is a person who
    is concerned about his nefesh, concerned
    about his soul.
    The Rambam writes in Hilchos Teshuva 7:6
    as follows, “How exalted is Repentance.
    Yesterday he was separated
    from Hashem, the G-d of Israel… he cries
    out and is not answered…and today he clings
    to the Divine Presence… he cries out and is
    immediately answered.”
    When a person repents, he becomes a
    different person. Just yesterday, he was
    distant from the Ribono shel Olam and today
    he is close to Him. That is why the Shulchan
    Aruch says that during the Ten Days of
    Repentance, we should be particular about
    eating only pas Yisrael. During these holy
    days following Rosh Hashanah, we become
    different people – baalei nefesh. At least
    during these 10 days, we are worried about

    our souls. Let our bodies take care of
    themselves – we will worry about that later.
    Our main concern during this period of time
    is “What is going to be with our souls?”
    A baal nefesh is a person who is worried
    about his ruchniyus (spirituality).
    Therefore, once a person experiences Rosh
    Hashanah and is transformed into this
    different person, an entire new set
    of halachos in Shulchan Aruch apply. The
    rest of the year, kosher “Pas Akum” is
    perfectly permissible. However, for a “baal
    nefesh,” throughout the year and for every
    one of us during the spiritually auspicious
    time between Rosh Hashanah and Yom
    Kippur when we become “baalei nefesh,” the
    Shulchan Aruch provides us with a more
    demanding standard.