Shaarai Gilgulim - Gate of Reincarnations

As taught to Rabbi Chaim Vital by Rabbi Issac Luria and Amended by Rabbi Chaim's Son Shemuel.

Translated by Rabbi Shabtai Teicher of Blessed Memory and Completed by Rabbi Perets Aurback.

Published online with commentary by

This version will not have all of the commentary

Please note: The publisher explains that the Study of Kabbalistic Texts usually recommends that one review the material many times until they are familiar with the vocabulary at a minimum.

Our Souls impact and influence several levels of Spiritual Worlds

Chapter 1 Part 2

Growing Spiritually

Why is it so difficult to relate to spirituality

He does not acquire all of them [all five levels of soul] at one time, but rather according to his worthiness. At first, he obtains the lowest of them, which is called "Nefesh." Afterwards, if he so merits, he then also attains "Ruach." This is explained in several places in the Zohar, such as in parashat Vayechi, and parashat Teruma, and specifically at the beginning of parashat Mishpatim (Zohar 94b): "Come and see: When a person is born, he is given a Nefesh..."

The sefirot are like a family tree...with multiple generations

Although a person begins life with only a Nefesh, he has the potential to ascend to higher levels of soul, according to his merit (as elucidated below).

All Nefashot are only from the world of Asiya; all Ruchot are from the world of Yetzira; and, all Neshamot are from the world of Beriya. However, the majority of people do not have all five parts, which are called NR"N, etc., but only the Nefesh from Asiya.

We have seen at the end of the previous section that the abbreviation for all five levels of the soul is NRNCh"Y. Since the uppermost levels of Chaya and Yechida are inaccessible now, they are often ignored, and the short-form is even more abbreviated to NR"N. Late in history and distant from Mt. Sinai as we are, most people only have access to the Nefesh level of their soul, which is why it is so difficult to relate to God and spirituality.

chanoch's commentary

We need to define the term spiritual in order to accurately define the term

However, even this Nefesh has many levels, and this is because Asiya itself also divides into five Partzufim, called: Arich Anpin, Abba, Imma, Zer Anpin, and Nukveh d'Zer Anpin.

The word "partzuf" (plural: "partzufim") literally means "face". In the Kabbala it also refers to the entire human shape.

In general, there are ten sefirot: keter, chochma, bina, chesed, gevura, tiferet, netzach, hod, yesod, and malchut. However, each one is a localized version of the entire system. In other words, it is possible to discern within each one of them ten component sefirot, and within each one of those ten others, etc. (This may be likened to a photograph taken with a hologram, where any detail may be blown up to reveal all the basic information that is contained in the whole photograph. All the basic information of the whole is contained in the detail; and the detail contains all the basic information found in the whole.)

When we see a number of sefirot joined together, working together and functioning together as a system, then they are called a partzuf.

Each partzuf has a unique name, and these correspond to the names of the sefirot, the names of the soul and the names of the worlds, as discussed previously (Chapter 1, Section 1).

Soul World Sefira Partzuf Tetragramaton Spelled Out Names

Yechidah - Singular Adam Kadmon Keter - Crown Arich Anpin - The long face dot that starts Yood יהוה

Chaya - Life force Atzilut - Emanation Chochma - Wisdom Abba - Father Yud AB - 72

Neshama - Breath Beriya - Creation Bina - Understanding Imma - Mother Upper Hay SAG - 63

Ruach - Wind Yetzira - Formation Chesed -- Yesod (details) Zeir Anpin - The short (or, near or small) face Vav Mah - 45

Nefesh - Rested Asiya - action Malchut - kingdom Nukva de'Zer Anpin The feminine consort of Zeir Anpin (the short or near face or small face) Lower Hay Ben - 52

It should be noted that the sefirot according to the names of the partzufim resemble a family tree of three generations: grandfather, parents, child and his bride.

Before a person can merit to attain his Ruach from the world of Yetzira, he must first be complete in all of the five partzufim of the Nefesh of Asiya.

In other words, though a person begins life with a Nefesh, it too has higher levels that must be attained through spiritual growth and rectification. When all the levels of Nefesh are rectified, then a person is ready to ascend to a higher spiritual level, that of the level of Ruach. He then repeats the process of growth on this higher spiritual plane.

That is, he must first master the Nefesh of his Nefesh, then the Ruach of his Nefesh, the Neshama of his Nefesh, and so on. Once he has acquired the Yechida of his Nefesh, then the entire level of Nefesh is said to be "his," and, he is ready to work on acquiring the levels of Ruach.

Most Kabbalah Teachers rarely explain the last two columns on the chart. This is because they know that their students need to break Klipah to understand them and to grow spiritually. Klipah means shell in Hebrew. I will explain these and i suggest that anyone interested should listen to the recording. I will also explain some other relationships within these Names.

Chapter 1 Part 3

Path of Rectification

Even though, as is known, there are people whose Nefesh is from malchut of Asiya, and others who are from yesod of Asiya, still, every person must rectify the entire spectrum of Asiya. Only then can a person receive his Ruach from Yetzira, since Yetzira is greater than all of Asiya.

Not all souls are rooted in the same level. However, in spite of the level of the root of one's soul, a person is still responsible to rectify all strata within the level of that world to which he is connected. This includes those levels within the same world but below his root as well as those above it. No individual can begin to rectify the next level of soul applicable to the next world until he has rectified all the lower levels of the world in which he is rooted. Thus, he can initiate work on Ruach from Yetzira only after his Nefesh from Asiya is completely rectified.

One must be involved with [the study of] Torah and [the performance of] mitzvot that correspond to all of Asiya

Similarly, in order to attain his Nesama from Beriya, a person needs to rectify every part of his Ruach in all of Yetzira, after which he can then receive his Neshama from Beriya.

It is insufficient for him to rectify only the particular place in which his soul-root is grounded.

That is, the level in which his Nefesh is rooted.

Rather, he must rectify [all parts of each level as] we have mentioned, until he is fit [to receive the Nefesh of] all of Asiya, and then he can attain his Ruach of Yetzira. It is this way with all the worlds.

The import of this [above mentioned rectification--tikun] is that one must be involved with [the study of] Torah and [the performance of] mitzvot that correspond to all of Asiya--not just those which correspond to the specific place to which his Nefesh is connected.

The 613 mitzvot correspond to the various limbs and tendons that make up a human being whose shape represents the structure of the sefirot in the spiritual realm, in the sense that partzuf refers to the entire human form, each partzuf consists of 613 limbs and tendons. Thus, the performance of specific mitzvot brings rectification to the corresponding parts of the human body and to the corresponding section of the partzufim and sefirot.

The Talmud has already taught that there are mitzvot that have special significance for specific people. That is to say, one mitzva is important for a particular person, and another mitzva is significant for a second person. Nevertheless, in order to advance spiritually each individual must perform all the mitzvot that he can, and not content himself with the performance of only those mitzvot that are significant to him.

This [above mentioned rectification] is [thus also applicable] in the realm of "upholding Torah and mitzvot."

Chapter 1 Part 4

Acquiring Soul Levels

It is not sufficient to only rectify the particular spot to which his soul is connected.

[Part of the last paragraph of the previous section has been repeated and the paragraphs of this section numbered in order to facilitate explanation of this section.]

1) It is not sufficient to only rectify the particular spot to which his soul is connected. Rather, he must rectify (all aspects of each level as) we have mentioned, until he merits all of Asiya, at which time he can achieve his Ruach of Yetzira. It is this way with all the worlds.

2) This means that one must be involved with (the study of Torah) and (the doing of Her) mitzvot…. Likewise, if a person sins and blemishes a particular spot in Asiya, even though it is not the place to which his Nefesh is connected, he must rectify it.

If he commits a sin that affects a part of Asiya to which his soul is not particularly connected, he is responsible to rectify the blemish

Even though a person’s Nefesh comes from a specific place in the world of Asiya, he is still responsible to acquire every level of Asiya - the Nefesh, Ruach, Neshama, Chaya, and Yechida of Asiya - as we learned at the end of the previous section. Likewise, if he commits a sin that affects a part of Asiya to which his soul is not particularly connected, he is responsible to rectify the blemish, since he is expected to acquire that level as well on his way to attaining Ruach of Yetzira.

(3) However, if another Nefesh failed to perform a specific mitzva from the world of Asiya, or sinned and blemished [something in the world of Asiya], this does not obligate him to rectify the missing mitzva or the blemish caused by the sin of the other [Nefesh]. If they are both from the same place, [however], then this is not the case, as we will explain later on, with G-d’s help.

Though this will be explained in a later chapter, it can be said here briefly that there are times when more than one soul occupies a single body. If the souls originate from the same root, then they share a common responsibility and need for tikun. However, if they do not come from the same root, then the deficiency or sin of one Nefesh does not necessitate the other to be part of the rectification process.

(4) Alternatively, it is possible that the concept of tikun-rectification applies only to blemishes resulting from sin, and not from the [lack of] performance of any of the 248 positive commandments.

Thus, rectification is only necessary in the case of a sin, and not for positive commands that were not performed, as first proposed.

(5) Or, the following is possible, and it is the correct [interpretation]. Let us say that a soul is from the Malchut of the Nukva of Asiya, called the Nefesh of Asiya…. He does not have to rectify the sections that are not connected to the root of his soul

If you take the tenth sefira called Malchut, and subdivide it into ten sefirot it becomes a partzuf called Asiya. The tenth sefira of this sub-set of ten sefirot is also called Malchut, and more specifically, the Malchut of Asiya. If this Malchut is, in turn, subdivided into its own set of ten sefirot, its tenth sefira will be the Malchut of the Malchut of the Asiya, or, the Malchut of the Nukvin of Asiya. Thus, the soul in question would be a level within the sub-set of the sub-set of the tenth sefira Malchut within the general structure of ten sefirot.

He will have to rectify all of the malchuyot (plural of malchut): of Ruach, and Neshama, and Chaya, and Yechida of Asiya.

A person has to rectify his five roots in the five partzufim of Asiya, but he does not have to rectify the sections that are not connected to the root of his soul. Since his root is specifically in Malchut, it is relevant to the Malchut on all levels in each partzuf.

Someone who only rectifies the Malchut of Asiya only acquires the Nefesh of the Nefesh that is within Asiya.

If the root of his soul is in Malchut, then he has to rectify the malchut of the Malchut of Asiya in order to acquire Nefesh of Nefesh.

A person who also rectifies the Zeir Anpin of Asiya acquires both the Nefesh and Ruach from Asiya.

Since his soul is from the Malchut, then he must rectify the Malchut of the Zeir Anpin of Asiya in order to acquire the Ruach of Asiya as well as the Nefesh.

If he also rectifies the Imma of Asiya then he attains the Nefesh, Ruach and Neshama from Asiya. It is the same until he rectifies all five partzufim of Asiya, in which case he will have acquired all the NRNChY .

This will be discussed again in Chapter 11.