In Jewish mysticism the Chamber of Guf (also Guph or even Gup) Hebrew for "body", also called the Otzar (Hebrew for "treasury"), is the Hall of Souls, located in the Seventh Heaven[citation needed]. Every human soul is held to emanate from the Guf. A possible (though not a literal) reading of the Talmud, Yevamot 62a, is that the Messiah will not come until the Guf is emptied of all its souls.

The mystic significance of the Guf is that each person is important and has a unique role which only they, with their unique soul, can fulfill. Even a newborn baby brings the Messiah closer simply by being born.

In keeping with other Jewish legends that envision souls as bird-like, the Guf is sometimes described as a columbarium, or birdhouse[citation needed]. Folklore says sparrows can see the soul's descent and this explains their joyous chirping.

The peculiar idiom of describing the treasury of souls as a "body" may be connected to the mythic tradition of Adam Kadmon, the primordial man. Adam Kadmon, God's "original intention" for humanity, was a supernal being, androgynous and macro-cosmic (co-equal in size with the universe). When this Adam sinned, humanity was demoted to the flesh and blood, bifurcated and mortal creatures we are now. According to Kabbalah, every human soul is just a fragment (or fragments) cycling out of the great "world-soul" of Adam Kadmon. Hence, every human soul comes from the guf [of Adam Kadmon].

Within the Tanakh, there is a passage used to teach that the spirit within humans did not pre-exist, but was created within each person in the womb:

"The burden of the word of the LORD concerning Israel. The saying of the LORD, who stretched out the heavens, laid the foundation of the earth, And formed the spirit of man within him" (Zechariah 12:1. The Holy Scriptures: JPS. Copyright 1917 by the Jewish Publication Society of America)


See also



  • Dennis, Geoffrey, The Encyclopedia of Jewish Myth, Magic, and Mysticism, Llewellyn Worldwide

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

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  • guf — sb., fet …   Dansk ordbog

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  • GUF — Guyane française Französisch Guayana Flagge Frankreichs Wappen …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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  • guf — ISO 639 3 Code of Language ISO 639 2/B Code : ISO 639 2/T Code : ISO 639 1 Code : Scope : Individual Language Type : Living Language Name : Gupapuyngu …   Names of Languages ISO 639-3

  • GUF — abbr. Generic User Folder …   Dictionary of abbreviations

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