Romance and Reincarnation

From the teachings of Rabbi Yitzchak Luria; translated and edited by Moshe Yaakov Wisnefsky

Kabbalah explains how soul-mates sometimes reincarnate together.

Sometimes a person will reincarnate in order to marry his soul-mate…

Sometimes a man will reincarnate in order to marry his soul-mate because he did not merit to do so the first time. Sometimes he may have already married his soul-mate, but he sinned and must return to rectify it, as was explained above. In this case he will come back alone, as Sabba of Mishpatim has written (Zohar 105b) on the verse, "If he came by himself…" (Ex. 21:3) Sometimes he has merits, and even though she does not need to reincarnate she returns with him. This is the secret of the verse, "…his wife will go out with him". (ibid.)

The last two possibilities are opposite of each other. Either he sinned alone and returns alone without his soul mate, or he may have merit and she will return with him even though she has no need to reincarnate on her own.

Sometimes, a man did not merit to marry his soul-mate the first time, but a wife comes along for him according to his deeds. Among the souls of all the women in the world, there are none as close to him as this woman, even though she is not his actual soul-mate. When he sins and reincarnates, he will do so with this woman, even though she does not need to reincarnate for herself, and even though she is not his actual soul-mate.

Furthermore, there are some roots of souls, men and their feminine soul-mates, who have fallen off into the kelipot. It is possible that the males will be able to leave the kelipot into this world, but their female consorts cannot go out at all until Mashiach comes.

We have already learned that the female aspect is more susceptible to negative forces than the male because "…Her feet go down to death".

Now they are sunk and given over into the authority of the female kelipa.

We have already learned beforehand that the feminine aspect of the kelipa is lower and more deeply in trouble. Thus, the female aspects of these souls are in the lowest of places, and they cannot get out.

I have forgotten if her name [i.e. the name of the female kelipa] is "Igrit" daughter of Machlat, or "Naamah" mother of Sheidim.

"Sheidim" is also the Hebrew word for "demons", and no doubt this fact is applicable here.

Indeed, all the female souls of the entire root of Hur, son of Miriam, cannot leave until Mashiach comes.

Miriam is the sister of Moses, our teacher. Hur appears in the Book of Exodus, Chapters 17 and 24. He was also the grandfather of Bezalel, who knew how to permutate the letters by which the world was created, and consequently was the chief artisan in the construction of the Tabernacle.

I believe that I heard from my teacher that Aaron the Priest did not marry his soul-mate, since he was close to the root of the soul of Chur son of Miriam, his sister.

chanoch adds: The subject of soul mates is one that has much interest among human beings. We learn in our advanced reincarnation classes that soul mates do not have to actually marry. As Mordechai and Esther are soul mates. Here we learn that some female soul mates are not allowed to reincarnate with their soulmates. Theren is much to learn and much to contemplate about soulmates. Here is a hint. Most people do not connect with their soul mates. A soul mate is the only half soul that can assist a soul to reach its final tikune. It is also important to learn which level of soul – nefesh – ruach – neshama relates to the meaning of soulmate.

[From Shaar HaGilgulim, Chapter Eight, Section 1]

From the teachings of Rabbi Yitzchak Luria; translated and edited by Moshe Yaakov Wisnefsky

Building the Soul - Part 1

From the teachings of Rabbi Yitzchak Luria; translated and edited by Moshe Yaakov Wisnefsky

In its ascent to G-d, the soul reveals itself in several stages

The portion of the Torah read this week begins with the law of the Jewish bondsman:

If you buy a Jewish bondsman, he will work [only] six years; in the seventh he will go free… (Ex. 32:2)

Why did G‑d decree that the Jewish bondsman should work no more and no less than six years? And why may the Jewish bondsman marry a Canaanite slave-girl? This is a heinous sin, [as it is written,] "he consorted with the daughter of an alien god." (Malachi 2:11) The full text of this passage is: "Have we not all one Father? Did not one G‑d create us? Why do we break faith with one another, profaning the covenant of our ancestors? Judah has broken faith; abhorrent things have been done in Israel and in Jerusalem. For Judah has profaned what is holy to G‑d - what He desires - and espoused daughters of alien gods." Furthermore, why is the law of the Jewish bondsman different from that of the Jewish handmaiden? For our Sages said (Kidushin 17b) that "a Jewish bondsman serves the [master's] son but not his daughter, [while a Jewish handmaiden serves neither the master's son nor his daughter]." A Canaanite slave, we find, serves everyone [in the master's household], as it is written, "And you shall pass them on to your children after you." (Lev. 25:46) The Canaanite slave is only obligated to perform those mitzvot that [Jewish] women are obligated in.

I.e., all passive (i.e., "negative") commandments and those active commandments not required to be done at specific times. Although the Canaanite slave is a non-Jew, his acquisition by a Jew is a semi-conversion of sorts, and he becomes thereby obligated in the performance of mitzvot to a certain degree.

He serves G‑d like a Canaanite slave-girl...if it were up to him he'd rather be doing something else.

chanoch adds: On the physical level a caanite slave-girl is a non-Jewish slave in the home of a Jewish master. Do to the “freedom” given to this slave girl she becomes obligated to the performance of some of the Mitzvot. I object to the comment “to a certain extent”. It is confusing and misleading. As we will see below the term “Canaanite Slave Girl” is a level of consciousness.

The mystical explanation of all this is as follows. Every person possesses [at least] a soul [nefesh] from the world of Asiya. Even if this soul is derived from a higher level of the world of Asiya, it is still no more than a nefesh. This soul is called "the nefesh of Atzilut," or "the Canaanite slave-girl."

The five levels of the soul, in ascending order, are nefesh (active soul), ruach (emotional "wind" or "spirit"), neshama("breath" of life), chaya ("living being"), and Yechida ("unique one"). In general, these five levels are associated with the five worlds of Asiya, Yetzira, Beriya, Atzilut, and the keter of Atzilut, respectively. In particular, however, each of the five levels exists in each of these worlds. Thus, one can possess, in addition to the basic level of nefesh of Asiya, a ruach of Asiya, etc. But since these are all aspects of Asiya, they are all considered, generally, on the level of nefesh.

These "souls" or "levels of soul" are levels of consciousness of G‑d and the relationship with G‑d that results from this consciousness. The world of Asiya ("action") is the world where action is paramount; everything is evaluated and conceived of in terms of action. A person whose G‑d-consciousness ("soul") is on this level relates to G‑d in a very behaviorally-oriented, perhaps even just perfunctory way. He has a nefesh, he is alive, but not much more than that. He is not emotionally and certainly not intellectually involved in his service of G‑d. He serves G‑d like a Canaanite slave-girl, perhaps not altogether against his will, but if it were up to him he'd rather be doing something else.

Part 2. is below.

Translated and adapted by Moshe-Yaakov Wisnefsky from Sefer HaLikutim; subsequently published in "Apples From the Orchard."

Building the Soul - Part 2

From the teachings of Rabbi Yitzchak Luria; translated and edited by Moshe Yaakov Wisnefsky

In its ascent to G-d, the soul reveals itself in several stages

Part 1 is above

Now, there are three spellings-out of the Name Eh-yeh, whose numerical values are 130, 140, and 122. The sum of these three is the same as the numerical value of the word for "slave-girl" [in Hebrew, 'shifchah'] with the kolel.

The Name Eh-yeh is spelled alef-hei-yud-hei. The two hei's of this Name can be spelled-out either with yud's, hei's, or alef's. Thus, if we consider only the numerical values of the letters used to spell-out the Name (ignoring those of the letters of the Name themselves), we have three possible sums:

letter - 1st spelling out - 2nd spelling out - 3rd spelling out

alef – lamed-pei = 30 + 80 = 110 – lamed-pei = 30 + 80 = 110 – lamed-pei = 30 + 80 = 110

hei – yud = 10 = 10 – hei = 5 = 5 – alef = 1 = 1

yud – vav-dalet = 6 + 4 = 10 – vav-dalet 6 + 4 = 10 – vav-dalet = 6 + 4 = 10

hei – yud = 10 = 10 – hei = 5 = 5 – alef = 1 = 1

The first spelling out is 110 +10 + 10 + 10 = 140

The second spelling out is 110 + 5 + 10 + 5 = 130

The third spelling out is 110 + 1 + 10 + 1 = 122

The sum of these three is 140 + 130 + 122 = 392.

Shifchah = shin-pei-chet-hei = 300 + 80 + 8 + 5 = 393.

...the partzuf in question becomes the dominant consciousness of the world in which it nests

The Name Eh-yeh means "I will be," an assertion of selfhood, and is usually associated with bina, the sefira of the intellect that must assume its own selfhood in order to fulfill its function of processing the insight of chochmah. But since malchut, in order to fulfill its function of transmitting the reduced consciousness of its home-world to the world below it, must also evince a certain selfhood, the Name Eh-yeh is sometimes associated with it as well.

[These] three Names Eh-yeh are present in malchut [of Atzilut]. Malchut [of Atzilut] "nests" in Asiya, and therefore its three expanded spellings descend into Asiya.

It is said in the Zohar that each of the four principle partzufim of Atzilut "nests" in one of the four worlds. Abba (chochmah) nests in Atzilut itself; Imma (bina) nests in Beriya; Zeir Anpin (the midot) nests in Yetzira; and Nukva (malchut) nests in Asiya. By "nests" is meant that the partzuf in question becomes the dominant consciousness of the world in which it nests. Thus, the dominant consciousness of the world of Asiya is that of the sefira of malchut, which, as we know, is principally that of actualizing the residual consciousness of the preceding levels. Like malchut, Asiya is the realm in which actualization and action are paramount.

The spelling-out of any Name of G‑d expresses how that Name is manifest. Since malchut of Atzilut is manifest chiefly in the world of Asiya, its three expanded spellings descend into this world. This explains why in the above calculation we considered only the letters used to spell out the Name and did not consider the letters of the Name themselves.

Ruach is associated with the world of Yetzira, no matter what level thereof. [A ruach of] Yetzira is called a [Jewish] bondsman.

One who attains the Divine consciousness ("soul") of ruach lives in the experience of the world of Yetzira, i.e., in an emotional relationship with G‑d. His service is no longer that of the Canaanite, but of the Jewish bondsman, who although a servant, is at least emotionally tied to and involved with his master (since they are both Jews). This type of Jew serves G‑d out of genuine concern, love, and awe of Him.

The mystical allusion to this is that the word for "bondsman" [in Hebrew, 'eved'] may be read ayin-beit [= 72] dalet [= 4]. To explain: The Name Havayah alludes to Zeir Anpin; Zeir Anpin "nests" in Yetzira. Therefore the posterior of the Name Havayah, whose numerical value is 72, descends into this world. The 4 represents the four letters of the Name itself.

One who attains the divine consciousness ("soul") of ruach lives in an emotional relationship with G‑d...

All of G‑d's Names are associated with specific sefirot. The Name Havayah is associated with tiferet, the "heart," the central sefira of Zeir Anpin. As we have explained previously, the "posterior" of any Name is formed by considering its first letter, then its first two, then its first three, etc., until all the letters have been considered. These iterations are then summed. Similar to the "spelling-out," the posterior iteration of a Name indicates how that Name descends to be enclothed in the level below it.

The posterior of the Name Havayah is derived as follows:

yud = 10 = 10

yud = 10 – hei = 5 = 15

yud = 10 – hei = 5 = 15 – vav = 6 = 21

yud = 10 – hei = 5 = 15 – vav = 6 – hei = 5 = 26

10 + 15 + 21 + 26 = 72

Neshama is associated with the world of Beriya. [Such a soul] is called a [Jewish] maidservant.

Beriya is the world of the intellect, since Imma (bina) "nests" in it. Someone who has risen to this level serves G‑d with the full commitment of his intellect.

…the soul is no longer termed a "servant" of G‑d but has so merged with Divinity that it is termed a "son" of G‑d…a tzadik

The mystical allusion to this is as follows: The numerical value of the first two letters of the word for "maidservant" [in Hebrew, 'amah', alef-mem, 41] is the number of letters required to iterate the Name Eh-yeh, its spelling-out, its second spelling-out:

see above

This is the Name Eh-yeh in Imma, which "nests" in [Beriya, the world of] the Throne. The hei [i.e., the third letter of the word amah] signifies the hei of Imma itself.

This Name Eh-yeh is that associated with Imma, as opposed to the one associated with malchut, discussed above. The world of Beriya is the location of the "heavenly throne of glory," as explained in the Zohar. In the correspondence between the four letters of the Name Havayah and the four principle partzufim of Atzilut, Imma is associated with the first hei.

Besides these levels of soul, one may attain [a soul] from the world of Atzilut [itself, and not just from a manifestation of Atzilut in the lower three worlds]. [He may attain] a Nefesh from malchut [of Atzilut], a Ruach from tiferet [of Atzilut], a Neshama from bina [of Atzilut], or a Chaya from chochma [of Atzilut]. [We see that Chaya is related to chochma, for] about which it is written, "and wisdom enlivens those who possess it." (Ecclesiastes 7:12) This was the level of the soul of Moses.

When it first repents...it must begin at the bottom, first assuming the role of the simple slave...

The process of ascending the ladder of Divine consciousness and service leads through the four worlds of Asiya (behaviorism, action), Yetzira (emotional involvement), Beriya (intellectual involvement), and Atzilut (subsumission of the self into the reality of G‑d). Once in the world of Atzilut, the soul is no longer termed a "servant" of G‑d but has so merged with Divinity that it is termed a "son" of G‑d. This is the level of Divine consciousness that defines a tzadik. [See Torah Ohr, beginning of Mishpatim]

Within this level of Divine consciousness, there are again levels of ascent, as one identifies with G‑d as Ruler of the universe (malchut, nefesh), G‑d's emotional attributes (midot, ruach), G‑d's intellect (bina, neshama), or G‑d's super-intellect, His original insight that gave rise to creation (chochma, chaya). This is the source of the Torah, and the level of Divine consciousness attained the Moses, who served as the conduit or channel through which the Torah was given.

[Higher yet, one may attain] a Yechida from Arich [Anpin of Atzilut]. This is the soul-level of Mashiach, of whom it is written, "He will ascend and be exalted and uplifted exceedingly." (Isaiah 52:13) Our sages said this verse means that "he will ascend - higher than Abraham, be exalted - higher than Isaac, be uplifted - higher than Jacob, exceedingly - higher than Moses." (Midrash Tanchuma, Toldot 14)

Mashiach's soul is the collective Yechida of the Jewish people, their total identification with their Divine dimension. This consciousness transcends the limitations of the Torah as it was revealed through Moses, and is that of the Torah's inner dimension.

Returning to the previous discussion,

This is why the Jewish maidservant, the Neshama that descends from the Throne of Glory, serves neither the [master's] son nor his daughter. She is subservient neither to Zeir Anpin nor to Nukva, they being the "son" and "daughter," but only to Abba [their "father"]. She therefore only serves the master.

The ruach, however, being from Zeir Anpin, which was blemished and descended as the Jewish bondsman, does serve [his master's] son, for he is subservient to Zeir Anpin [the "son"]. Still, he does not serve [his master's] daughter, for he is not subservient to malchut.

The Canaanite slave, which is a soul that left the realm of holiness and was blemished and then ascended back to enter the world of Asiya, serves all [members of the master's household], for it is at the level of malchut, which is subservient to all [the levels above it].

The Canaanite slave is a mentality that has opted out of Divine consciousness altogether in favor of worldy, mundane consciousness. When it first repents and submits once again to the order of holiness, it must begin at the bottom, first assuming the role of the simple slave.

This is why [the slave] is only obligated to perform those mitzvot that women are obligated in - he/she has so far progressed only so far as the level of malchut, the feminine principle.

Of course, the orientation of the Canaanite slave and the Jewish woman are the exact opposite. The woman is exempt from many mitzvot because she is "busy" manifesting feminine consciousness, which, as we have explained previously, is the drive to actualize Divinity in the concrete reality of this world. The Canaanite slave is moving in the opposite direction; he is ascending out of his former absolute identification with the concrete reality of this world into the more abstract world of holiness. Thus, for different reasons, they both are obligated only minimally in mitzvot.

As to why the master is allowed to give [the Jewish bondsman] a Canaanite slave-girl, this is because yesod copulates on three levels. The first is above, in the world of Atzilut, as it is written, "These are the generations of Jacob: Joseph."

"Jacob" is an appellation of tiferet of Atzilut; "Joseph" of yesod of Atzilut. This verse thus describes the coupling of yesod at the level of Atzilut.

The second is [alluded to in the continuation of the above citation]: "and he was a youth," referring to when [yesod of Atzilut] becomes vested in the "youth," i.e., the world of Yetzira, and copulates with its feminine counterpart [i.e., malchut] of Yetzira, or when it descends and copulates at the level of Asiya, at which the forces of evil are able to exist.

Yetzira is emotion-consciousness, i.e., that of an immature youth. Since in Asiya the dominant consciousness is that of behavior and action devoid of inspiration, evil can gain a foothold.

Since the Jewish bondsman was blemished and descended into Yetzira, then, just as [yesod at the level of] Yetzira [sometimes] copulates below, at the level of Asiya, so may his master give him a Canaanite slave-girl.

The Jewish bondsman having intercourse with the Canaanite slave-girl is thus enacting how yesod of Yetzira sometimes descends to copulate at the level of Asiya.

From all the above it becomes clear that the different types of servants and bondsmen the Torah describes are different states of Divine consciousness. The natural home of the Jew's soul is in the world of Atzilut, completely submerged in Divinity. The fact that he is not consciously at this level is due either to the simple circumstance of his soul being born into a physical body or because of some failing in a previous lifetime that he has now to overcome. Life, in this context, is thus a progression through the varied states of Divine consciousness embodied in these levels of servants and bondsmen, and finally through the various levels of Atzilut itself, until the individual is able to reveal, on his level, his own "spark of Mashiach" every Jew possesses.

Part 3. is below

Translated and adapted by Moshe-Yaakov Wisnefsky from Sefer HaLikutim; subsequently published in "Apples From the Orchard."

Soul of the Servant - Part 3

From the teachings of Rabbi Yitzchak Luria; translated and edited by Moshe Yaakov Wisnefsky

The Ari reveals the mystical foundations of the concept of the Hebrew bondsman.

2nd installment is above.

"When you acquire a Hebrew bondsman, he will work for six years, and in the seventh [year] he will go out freely to freedom. If he came [to you] alone, he shall leave alone; if he is married, his wife will leave with him. If his master gives him a [Canaanite slave-]woman and she bears him sons or daughters, the woman and her children shall remain with the master, and he will leave without them. If the bondsman says "I love my master, my [Canaanite] wife and my [Canaanite] children; I would rather not leave freely", his master will present him to the judges, and they will take him to the door or the doorpost. His master will pierce his ear with an awl, and he will serve him until [the Jubilee year].

"If a man sells his daughter as a maidservant, she will not go out [of servitude] the way a bondsman goes out. If she be evil in the eyes of her master and he did not designate her and redeem her, he will not rule over her by selling her, when he betrays her. If he designates her for his son, he must grant her the due of all daughters. If he takes another wife in addition to her, he must not diminish her food, clothing, or conjugal rights. If he does not do these three things, she will leave freely to freedom."

When someone strikes a person and he dies, he shall be put to death. But one who did not lie in wait, but G‑d arranged it for him, [he goes into exile,] and I have set aside a place for you that he should flee there." (Ex. 21:2-13)

At the end of the first installment, Building the Soul, the Arizal discussed how the Torah can allow a Jewish bondsman to marry a Canaanite slave-girl.

And just as Metatron has a mate in the world of Yetzira yet descends occasionally to couple with[a different mate in] the world of Asiya, so can the master give the [Jewish] bondsman - if he has a proper [Jewish] wife - a [Canaanite] slave-girl. If [the bondsman] is unmarried, [the master] may not do this.

If he is married, he is anchored in holiness….

Metatron is the name of the chief angel of the world of Yetzira. As we have mentioned previously, it is customary not to pronounce names of angels that are not also used as names of people.

We see here that the bondsman is modeled after Metatron, and it is the fact that he has a mate at the higher level that allows him to have an additional mate at a lower level. The reason for this is now given:

chanoch adds: In the corrupted “Book of Chanoch” - all 3 versions it tells us that the reason HaShem took Chanoch Ben Yered – he who walked with HaShem from the Sefer Beraishit Parasha Beraishit – is to fulfill a spiritual law and connect to the Angel Michael. The law is there needs to be a gate when one moves from one world to anothertity has attributes of both levels. Thus for a human being to grow to the spiritual heights the human must grow to a level above the Angels. This gate is Mem Tet since he has attributes of both humanity and the Angels. We do not say the Name except the letters Mem Tet so as not to connect to the gate until we are ready to elevate to this higher level. This my opinion and also to my knowledge is my personal chidush – my personal Torah revelation.

Furthermore, if he is married, he is anchored in holiness, and even if he will descend below he will not remain there. But if he is unmarried he will get stuck below, and it is possible that he will remain there and be lost.

Thus, the bondsman is deemed capable of surviving the spiritual test of mating with a slave-girl only if he is already married to a Jewish woman.

This is instructive for our general involvement in the physical world, which is necessitated by the divine imperative to make the physical world a home for G‑d. Although this is our purpose, we must always ensure that we are "married" to the higher levels of spirituality, where evil does not have such a strong hold, before we venture forth to "couple", or bond, with the lower levels of reality in order to accomplish our goals there.

chanoch adds In my opinion, this is the reason behind the fence that forbids intermarriage of religions between Jew and gentile.

Metatron personifies the Tree of Knowledge….

Another reason why the master may give him a [Canaanite] slave-girl is that Metatron personifies the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Evil clings to his back and [thereby] suckles from him. Therefore, this bondsman, who descended to this level, can cohabit with a Canaanite slave-girl.

This, apparently, is the other side of the coin. Let us recall that a person becomes a bondsman only because he sinned by stealing something, was caught, and sold by the court. Such a person has, in a sense, already "mated" with evil, so only he, having already lowered himself to this level, can consort with a Canaanite slave-girl.

We will now explain the Biblical verses [in light of all the above].

"When you acquire a Hebrew bondsman, he will work for six years" - This means that this soul that was rooted above in Zeir Anpin [sinned and thereby] caused a blemish in the six extremities.

The six "extremities" are the six divine emotional attributes.

chanoch adds: “extremities” are the 6 “ends” meaning the 6 Sefirot of Zeir Anpin.

It therefore came down below as a bondsman. Therefore "…he will work for six years". Since he was rooted in the six extremities above and descended below, he needs to work only six years. Each year he rectifies one divine attribute that he blemished.

Every soul is rooted in Zeir Anpin; by sinning - especially by stealing - the individual causes a blemish in the six attributes that metamorphose into the partzuf of Zeir Anpin. This is because the essence of G‑d's attributes is giving, the opposite of stealing.

"And in the seventh [year] he will go out freely to freedom" - This means that in the seventh year, he ascends. He does not [yet] return to his original place, but only to the "throne" or to malchut.

He does not yet ascend back to Zeir Anpin of Atzilut, but remains at the level of malchut of Atzilut, which is sometimes referred to as G‑d's "throne", in line with the translation of malchut ("kingship").

"He will go out freely to freedom" - [This means] that he will accrue no reward for the commandments he performed [during his service], for we hope that he manages to rectify all that he blemished by the time he ascends.

The Hebrew word "freely" here, "chinam", means "free of any baggage or possessions", and in this case "free of any merit".

"If the bondsman says, 'I love my master…'" - This means that he does not want to ascend and return -

"His master will present him to the judges" - [This means that] he will descend to Asiya.

His soul will remain at the level he has descended to.

"And they will take him to the door or the doorpost" - This refers to malchut, which is the "door" down below [in Asiya].

Malchut is the passageway between its world and the world below it. Here, the world below Asiya is the realm of evil.

Once he has descended to the level of a Canaanite slave, it would befit him to serve [his master forever,] just like a Canaanite slave does, but in the final analysis he does have some connection to the higher levels. He therefore serves only until the [next] Jubilee year.

This is [what happens in] the case of a bondsman. But -

"If a man" - this refers to chochma - "sells his daughter" - this refers to bina - "as a maidservant" - this refers to the soul -

The Torah allows a person to sell his daughter as a servant girl while she is a minor. This is meant to provide a poor father a way of marrying off his daughter, for ideally, the master marries this girl (or marries her to his son) when her term of service is over, her "wages" for this service becoming the "betrothal money" he would otherwise betroth her with. Her term of service ends either (a) when the Jubilee year arrives, (b) once she has served for six years, (c) when she reaches physical maturity, or (d) once she reaches the age of physical maturity, which ever comes first.

We may presume that a person loves his daughter more than he loves his sister….

This is contrasted with the way a Canaanite slave is freed. A Canaanite slave usually remains a slave for life once he has been purchased. But if, in the course of his service, his eye or tooth falls out, this grants him automatic freedom. This is not the case with a Jewish servant girl, however. If she is injured, she remains a servant; the master must only pay her monetary restitution for her injury.

[The level of] bina is more highly esteemed [than the lower levels]. It is [the level] referred to in the following Midrashic passage [from Shemot Rabba 52:5]:

This passage discusses the verse: "Go out, daughters of Zion, and see King Solomon in the crown that his mother crowned him with on the day of his wedding and on the day of his heart's joy." (Songs 3:11) The Midrash notes that nowhere in Scripture is it mentioned that Bathsheba, Solomon's mother, ever crowned him.

"Rabbi Shimon ben Yochai asked Rabbi Yishmael bar Rabbi Yossi: Perhaps you heard from your father what 'with the crown that his mother crowned him with' means? He answered: Yes. It may be compared to a king who had an only daughter. He loved her greatly and called her 'my daughter'. He loved her so much he called her 'my sister', and eventually called her 'my mother'."

This passage continues: "…So did the Holy One, blessed be He, first call the Jewish people a daughter, as it is written, 'Listen, daughter, and see, and incline your ear. Forget your people and the house of your father.' (Psalms 45:11) He loved them so much he called them 'My sister', as it is written, 'Open for Me, My sister, My beloved, My dove, My perfect one, for My head is filled with dew and My locks with the drops of the night.' (Songs 5:2) He loved them so much he called them 'My mother', as it is written, 'Listen to Me, My people, and My nation [in Hebrew, 'le'umi'], give ear to Me, for instruction will issue from Me and My judgments I will calm to the light of the peoples.' (Isaiah 51:4) Rabbi Shimon ben Yochai stood up and kissed him on his head."

The allusion to "My mother" is achieved by reading the Hebrew word for "My nation", "le'umi", as if it was vocalized to read "to My mother" – "le-imi".

Thus, the G‑d's love for the Jewish people is so great that calling them His daughter does not convey the extent of it and He searches, so to speak, for a greater term of endearment, arriving finally at "My mother".

But [on the other hand,] we may presume that a person loves his daughter more than he loves his sister, and that he loves his sister more than he loves his mother.

Common experience thus seems to contradict the order of increasing endearment as portrayed by the Midrash.

The explanation is that when the soul is at the level of malchut, it is referred to as "a daughter" in that it receives its divine beneficence through Zeir Anpin. When it is at the level of Zeir Anpin both of them are equal and it receives its divine beneficence [directly] from Imma, and is then called "my sister". When the soul is at the level of bina it then gives divine beneficence to Zeir Anpin and is therefore called "my mother".

The term "the Holy One, blessed be He" often refers to G‑d as He is expressed at the level of Zeir Anpin, as we have seen previously.

At the level of malchut the soul receives from Zeir Anpin and is therefore its daughter….

At the level of malchut the soul receives from Zeir Anpin and is therefore its daughter, and so on. Thus, as it passes from daughter to sister to mother, the soul ascends in spiritual level. It is in this sense that the soul as "mother" is more greatly esteemed than it is as "sister", and more as "sister" than as "daughter".

Thus, this Midrashic passage indicates that the soul at the level of bina is a highly esteemed level.

Such as soul is so esteemed that even if it causes a blemish it will not descend any lower than Beriya, and does not become subject to Zeir Anpin.

Thus, even when such a soul sins and its consciousness descends to that of the world of Beriya, the first world where evil has any foothold, it still descends no lower than this level. In Beriya, good outweighs evil; in Yetzira, they are equal; and in Asiya, evil outweighs good.

Since it was only in her previous lifetime that she sinned, the laws regarding how she attains her freedom are more lenient….

The question is: what sin did the daughter of the poor man commit that she must become a maidservant, that is, descend from Atzilut, the Jew's natural domain of divine consciousness, into a lower level, even if that level is as sublime as the world of Beriya?

Rabbi Shalom Sharabi postulates that this girl stole something in her previous incarnation, and therefore needs to undergo some kind of rectification in this lifetime. Since it was only in her previous lifetime that she sinned, the laws regarding how she attains her freedom are more lenient than the laws regarding how a Jewish bondsman attains his freedom, for he is serving time for having sinned in this lifetime.

Even though the light of Imma only descends into Beriya via Zeir Anpin [of Atzilut], the latter serves only a passageway.

On its way down through Atzilut, the light of Imma traverses Zeir Anpin, but in so doing, it is not changed or processed at all in this case by Zeir Anpin. The intellect of Beriya is lower than the intellect of Atzilut, but it is still intellect and has not been changed into midot.

[Such a soul] therefore does not become subject [to Zeir Anpin]. Such a soul - "…will not go out [of servitude] the way a bondsman goes out" - [This means that a maidservant does not go out of servitude] when her tooth or eye are injured, for someone who is freed because his tooth or eye are injured is blemished. When the master pays him the value of his tooth or eye, it means that just as he pays for them [and thus "acquires" them], so do his limbs remain above [in their injured state]. It is thus not proper to blemish her.

Since injury is not an avenue of freedom for her, we presume that divine providence will be less inclined to cause an injurious accident to happen to her in order to hasten her freedom.

"If she be evil in the eyes of her master, so that he did not designate her…" - The word for "did not" [in Hebrew, "lo"] in this verse is written with an alef [and therefore means "did not"], but it is read as if it was spelled with a vav [and means "for him"]. This means that [we are talking about a case when] she did not repent properly, and for that reason he did not marry her, as by right he should have.

As mentioned above, the intention in selling a daughter to someone is for that person to marry her when she comes of age. The Torah recognizes that when this point in time is reached it may become clear that the daughter and the master (or his son) are not suited for each other, and therefore she may be freed without being married. But it still refers to this as an act of betrayal on the part of the master.

This idea is seen in that fact that the word for "did not" can be read as if it meant "for him", the sense of the verse then being "if she be evil in the eyes of her master, who was intended for him, but he freed her…."

The word for "designate" [in Hebrew, "yi'ud"] means the same as "betrothal" ["kidushim"] when it happens at a higher level, but at the lower level it is simply called "designation".

"…and redeems her." – [This means that] even then, she does not descend to a lower level.

Thus it is written, "…when he betrays her," because she is vested in the divine name Elo-ha.

"…and if he designates her for his son" - meaning that she ascends to the level of Zeir Anpin, "…he must grant her the due of all daughters".

This is [the rule] when a person causes a blemish [by sinning] with regard to money. But - "When someone strikes a person" and kills [him], the law is not like this. Rather his rectification is that "…he shall be put to death".

The explanation of this is that the court executes him and hastens his death so that he can return again to This World, [complete his rectification,] and die [again]. For this [first] death does not cleanse him of sin. This is why the double idiom used: "death, he shall be put to death."

The Hebrew for "he shall be put to death" is in the emphatic form - often translated "he shall surely be put to death", in Hebrew, "mot yumat", which literally reads, "death, he shall be put to death."

The Torah then proceeds to discuss the case of inadvertent manslaughter.

"And one who did not lie in wait…" - meaning that he did not intend to kill him,

"…but G‑d arranged it for him" - meaning that the killed person was [anyway] liable to the death penalty.

…in either this or his next incarnation, he is killed inadvertently.

According to Kabbalah, inadvertent manslaughter happens when a person is liable to the death penalty because of some sin he committed, but there were no witnesses to testify against him in court. He thus lives his life unpunished. In either this or his next incarnation, he is killed inadvertently. The person who killed him inadvertently had already killed someone else inadvertently but again, there were no witnesses. This time there are, so he goes into exile and flees to a city of refuge.

The rectification for [an inadvertent manslaughter such as this] is in the month of Elul. For G‑d brings them into this world through reincarnation.

The month of Elul is the month of stock-taking and repentance before the Days of Judgment, the High Holidays of the month of Tishrei. Inasmuch as we have all sinned in some way, by devoting ourselves to repentance is how we rescue ourselves from the attribute of divine judgment.

Thus, the initials of the words for "arranged it for him, and I have set aside" spell the word "Elul".

"…arranged it for him, and I have set aside" in Hebrew is "inah leyado vesamti lach". The initials of these words are alef-lamed-vav-lamed, which spell Elul.

For he must flee there in Elul. [G‑d] reincarnates him in another person so he can achieve respite.

Thus, it is written, "…lest the blood-redeemer pursue him." (Deut. 19:6) For the blood-redeemer is Samael, who pursues him, but when he is reincarnated as someone else he can achieve respite.

Samael is a name for Satan, the accusing angel. It, too, should not be pronounced.

This is what I found [written] in the Rabbi's name.

FROM THE TEACHINGS OF RABBI YITZCHAK LURIA; TRANSLATED AND EDITED BY MOSHE YAAKOV WISNEFSKY