According to biblical anthropology, human beings are composed of body and soul. The question arises, however, at what moment does the body of the embryo possess a spiritual element? Can the breath of God visit the created and already developing in its own biological rhythm embryo? The key issue here is the moment of animation - the origin of a living being, which is created in the image and likeness of God. This article presents various Jewish points of views on the animation of the human embryo, all of which attempt to determine the exact moment at which the soul is breathed into the human body. Rabbinical authorities distinguish five different moments in this process: conception, the forty first day after conception, the birth of the child, the moment of circumcision and the moment in which the child is able to say 'Amen.' The first three mentioned cases have the most supporters. The first refers to the simultaneous animation, while the other theories argue for successive animation.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.