The Sefas Emes writes how the body is impure as it is subject to death. The neshama is connected with life, as it says in the second chapter of the Torah, ויפח באפיו נשמת חיים. Hashem blew into the soul “chayim“, life. (Beraishit, 2:7)
This act of Hashem blowing a living soul into Adam, is the root of life for all the neshamos. He then says that all of “tahara” is empowered by the power of the neshama. This is what he says it means when we say in the morning, אֱלֹהַ-י נְשָׁמָה שֶׁנָּתַֽתָּ בִּי טְהוֹרָה, (Elokai Neshama).
On Shabbos we can access this and therefore we say נשמת כל חי תברך (Nishamas Kol Chai).
He then says that the more one can internally strengthen oneself so that his or her neshama is stronger than the body, the more one will be zoche to Tahara.
On Matan Torah the Neshama became new when Hashem said “Anochi Hashem Elokecha”., the first dibros.
Which is what it means when Hashem says, “אֲֽנִי־אָ֭מַרְתִּי אֱלֹהִ֣-ים אַתֶּ֑ם וּבְנֵ֖י עֶלְי֣וֹן כֻּלְּכֶֽם” I said you were Elokeem”. Meaning when you transformed yourselves so that you are God like when you overcame the physicality or the body that is subject to death.
He says when that happened it was considered “Life”, or חיי”ם. The word Elokim, and Chayim also share the same gematria of the number 15.
All the Mitzvos are rooted in this concept, of attaching the body which is represented by death to the life of the neshama. So the body becomes a vessel through the mitzvos we do.
Another interesting point to me, is that water is considered life, (Mayim Chayim) and when we pour it on the earth , then life forms and grows. Water therefore seems like the soul to the body or earth. So too the the Tahara process, when we pour the Torah, the Neshama water on the body, we are purifying ourselves.
He then says that one who toils in Torah can restore the body to life to its optimum , to the point of ויפח באפיו נשמת חיים.
I think these ideas are most appropriate now during sefira when we have special access to Hashem purifying us with His Tahara waters to prepare for Shavuos, for Matan Torah.
For me, what I am understanding from his words, is that every time we are doing mitzvos and toiling in Torah we have an opportunity to experience the ultimate Tahara of וַיִּפַּ֥ח בְּאַפָּ֖יו נִשְׁמַ֣ת חַיִּ֑ים וַֽיְהִ֥י הָֽאָדָ֖ם לְנֶ֥פֶשׁ חַיָּֽה, of Hashem literally blowing in us a breath of new life, of a new existence and to transform into a ‘nefesh chaya” . A soul that went through a tahara process that now empowers the body.
This also seems to me that at this particular time of Sefira, it is a special time we get to practice infusing Shabbos during the week to activate this life called , the ‘living soul”. This is perhaps why it is understood that if Adam Harishon would have sanctified Shabbos in Gan Eden after the sin, he would not have had to leave the garden.
May it be so for all us during this sefira, and a Shabbos time when the body has no jurisdiction over the soul, for a united healed Klal Yisroel Biezras Hashem Hamitaher Osanu.