As taught to Rabbi Chaim Vital by Rabbi Isaac Luria and Amended by Rabbi Chaim's Son Shemuel.
Translated from Sha'ar Hagilgulim by Yitzchok bar Chaim; commentary by Shabtai Teicher of Blessed Memory and Completed by Rabbi Perets Aurback.
Published online with commentary by Kabbala online.com
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.
Also Note: Bold Text represents the translation of the original Text. Regular text represents the commentary and explanation of the translator. Chanoch's comments will be identified separately.
Translation from Sha'ar Hagilgulim by Yitzchok bar Chaim; commentary by Shabtai Teicher
Chapter 10 Section 1
The father gives a portion of his soul to the son, and the teacher gives part of his spirit to the student.
Note the difference between soul and spirit. Spirit refers to Ruach, soul refers to Nefesh.
It makes no difference: if a man marries his soul mate or if he takes another woman who is not his soul mate, he can father children that are sparks of souls from his own root, or souls from a different root.
The father gives a portion of his soul to his children.
The mother also gives a portion to her children, but her role in gilgulim is not as relevant as that of the father.
This portion becomes an exterior garment to the soul of the son.
This Chapter there is a change in the commentator even though it is not publicized. You can tell by the change in nomenclature. This commentary in my opinion will confuse you. I am going to attempt to clarify the commentary at the end of the section. Please ignore this commentary as we read it and wait for the commentary at the end of the section.
According to the Kabbala, everything in Creation has two aspects: "Light" and "Vessel". When we are talking about humans, for example, these two aspects are called "body" and "soul". When we are talking about partzufim, the aspect of Light is usually called "mochin", but here we are going to also use the original term "Light". (Actually, the Light itself has three aspects: Light, mochin and tzelamim-images, but these details do not concern us here.)
Although everything has these two aspects of Light and Vessel, there is another third aspect, which lies intermediate between the Light and the Vessel. It is called the "Levush", or "Garment", because it is an external garment to the Light. This garment is interior to the vessels which comprise the limbs of the partzuf, but it is called Levush because it is the garment of the Light and Mochin. It covers them and dims them to eliminate the possibility that the vessels might break because of the great magnitude of light entering into them.
This Levush or garment is actually the NHY (the sefirot of netzach, hod and yesod) of the Higher Partzuf. For example, let us say that the Lower Partzuf is Zeir Anpin. We will call the Higher Partzuf "Imma", but in the realm of the soul this description applies to the relationship of father and son as well. (See Otzrot Chaim, Aifah Shelaimah, p.34a, bet.)
The light of Imma that is within its three lower sefirot, NHY, ascends upward into its own tiferet, leaving the vessels of NHY empty. Then the Light or mochin that is being transmitted to Zeir Anpin from above through Imma enters into the vessels of NHY of Imma. The vessels of NHY of Imma become the garment for the Light of Zeir Anpin, and in that configuration they enter into the Vessels of Zeir Anpin.
Afterwards, Imma grows new NHY for her own Light of NHY.
The ChaBaD of the Light of Zeir Anpin enters into the ChaBaD of the Vessels of Zeir Anpin.
The ChaGaT of the Light of Zeir Anpin enters into the ChaGaT of the Vessels of Zeir Anpin.
The NHY of the Light of Zeir Anpin enters into the NHY of the Vessels of Zeir Anpin.
However, the Garment of the Light of Zeir Anpin, which is the NHY of Imma, is always situated between the Light and the Vessels.
(A section of Etz Chaim, Gate 20, Chapter 3, is relevant to this description.) Each of the Nefesh-Ruach-Neshama has five partzufim, and each partzuf consists of 613 limbs…
In our text the Arizal wrote, "The father gives a portion of his soul to his children, and this portion becomes an exterior garment to the soul of the son." The portion that was part of the father's soul is the NHY of the father's soul. It becomes a garment for the soul of the son. (See Appendix 20:3.)
(This portion that became an exterior garment to the soul of the son) helps him and guides him down the proper path. For this reason, a son is obligated to honor his father.
The father gives up a part of himself for the sake of his son. Therefore, the son is obligated to honor the father.
There are many reasons for the Mitzvah and Esser Debrot of honoring the father. The commentator is giving one explanation here but it is not fully explained. The purpose of the father giving a part of himself is to protect the soul of the child from being overwhelmed by the Light from the higher level. This is the implication for what happened in the world of points and the Torah's words Tohu VaBohu. When the son realizes that the father has donated parts of himself to protect him he needs to implement the consciousness of appreciation when he does actions to honor his father.
However, if there is less than five hundred levels difference between the soul of the father and that of the son, then the portion of the father's soul will remain with the son's even in the time of Mashiach.
We have already learned that each of the NR"N (Nefesh-Ruach-Neshama) has five partzufim, and each partzuf consists of 613 limbs. These are called "major roots".
Now, it will be explained with the help of G-d in Gate of Reincarnations 11:2 that each one of these limbs, or major roots, has 600,000 branches that are called "minor roots."
Each spark is a whole soul in itself that must enter the world in gilgul, each one in its time, in order to achieve tikune…
In addition, each one of the 613 major roots consists of 613 sparks. These are called "major sparks," and they may divide into 600,000 minor sparks, according to need.
Thus, there is a maximum of 613 x 600,000 minor sparks in each and every partzuf. This number, by the way, is 367.8 million. Each spark is a whole soul in itself that must enter the world in gilgul, each one in its time, in order to achieve tikune.
Thus, each one of the roots and sparks of each partzuf have a place, or level, in the general hierarchy of souls. The levels of two different souls may be close to each other in this hierarchy, or far apart. If the distance between them is more than 500 levels, then the portion of the father's soul given to the son will remain with the son's soul even in the time of Mashiach.
Nevertheless, in the time of Resurrection of the Dead or in the World-that-is-Coming everything returns back to its root. They will separate completely.
If there is less than five hundred levels difference between the soul of the father and that of the son, they will remain together even in the time of Mashiach. However, in the time of Resurrection of the Dead or in the World-to-Come, when everything returns back to its root, they will separate completely.
On the other hand, if there is a difference between them of five hundred levels, or more than five hundred levels, then the lesser will be nullified within the greater. They will permanently unite forever, and they will never separate. The two of them will become one root.
This is in regards of a father with a son.
A teacher gives some of his spirit to his student…
Regarding a teacher and his student, we have already explained that a teacher gives some of his spirit to his student, like a father does to a son.
This does not refer to the Ruach (often translated as "spirit") that is one of the NR"N. Rather, it refers to a minor ruach. In effect, the Arizal does not consider the information transmitted by the teacher to the student as a mere ethereal, non-entity. Rather, it is something that is real; it has content and substance, and it endures forever.
However, it is a more forceful connection. The spirit stays with the student forever, and they never separate. This is the esoteric meaning of the joining of the Nefesh of David with the Nefesh of Jonathan.
The joining of the souls of David and Jonathan was also mentioned earlier in 3:1 in a different context. It was based there on the verse from Samuel I 18:1. Here, the connection to the verse is more general and less explicit.
This is the reason that more respect is due to a teacher than to a father.
There are many laws in regarding respect due to a teacher and to a father. The teacher referred to here is called a "Rebbe Muvhak," which is defined as someone from whom the student has learned most of his wisdom. In our generation it is very difficult to imagine the relationship between a student and a Rebbe Muvhak.
In general, more respect is due to a teacher, i.e. a Rebbe Muvhak, than to a father. For example, if a person's Rebbe Muvhak and father were both captured by pirates, and he only has money to redeem one of them, then the Rebbe Muvhak takes precedence. It is the same if he can only save the lost or stolen property of one of them. The Talmud provides a simple reason; one's father has given him life in This World, while one's teacher gives him eternal life in the World that is Coming. (Baba Metzia 33a, and see Book of Knowledge, Rambam, "The Laws of Talmud Torah," 5:1)
However, there is an exception to the rule, when the father is also a scholar, and all the more so if he is also the son's teacher or the teacher's teacher.
What is the case if the teacher of the student is also his son? Then they are doubly bound together, because the same one is his teacher and his son. If there is less than five hundred levels difference between them, then they are (permanently) bound together to each other.
This is according to what was taught in this section previously: "If there is a difference between them of five hundred levels or less…they will permanently unite forever, and they will never separate. The two of them will become one root."
The father (is bound) with the son because he (the son) is the teacher, and the son is bound with the father because he is his father. The two are bound to each other, this one to that one, and that one to this one, from both sides.
In one respect this one is higher, and in another respect that one is higher. Nevertheless, they bind together, become one root, and "the lesser will be nullified" and subsumed within the greater.
If you are not confused there is something wrong with you. Please remember that these laws and regulations that apply to reincarnation do not follow logically all the time. Also remember that you are meant to reread the Sefer Sharai Gilgulim a few times. This section is not meant to be understood the first time. You are not expected to understand this section right now. Maybe it will take 10 years to understand it.
What is meant to be taken away from this section is the following:
Children can come from the same soul root as the father or from any of the other 612 roots of Adam.
Children need a garment to protect them from the higher lights that they may come into contact. This garment comes from the father. This garment guides the child down the proper path. This is one of the reasons that the Halacha is a Jewish women needs to marry a Jewish man and not a man from the other nations. If the man is from the other nations that soul that becomes a garment can guide the child in another direction that is not Torah True.
Sometimes the soul parts that form the garment return to the father and other times they remain with the son. The Criteria from this is 500 levels difference. This 500 level difference has not been explained yet. Ultimately all sparks will return to their original root. Yet that may not occur until the ultimate return to the endless world. it is possible for the father and son soul parts and sparks becoming united to such a degree that they form a new soul root.
A soul spark is equal to a soul and at the same time is part of a soul. There are many different components and sparks within the levels of soul. One calculation is each soul has 613 major limbs and each limb can be composed of 600,000 minor sparks. This means each soul level can have 367.8 million sparks. A spark is equal to a soul and is part of the soul.
A teacher student relationship is similar to a father son and is also different. The teacher gives part of his soul when he teaches a student. These parts apply and follow the rules i have explained above. One major difference between teacher/student and father son is the parts shared by the teacher with the student will stay with the student until the world that is coming or the time of the Mashiach. This is why it is important to choose a teacher with wisdom.
A teacher needs to be shown greater respect than a father is something we all need to try to live up to.
The ARIzal brings the situation of a son teaching his father and how that strengthens the interaction of the soul parts.
When Kabbalah is taught academically they spend an extensive amount of time with the vocabulary of the Sephirot, the Souls, and the Worlds. The commentator in this section brought that information to the commentary. It confuses those of us who are not taught that until the 4 phase classes and the Tree of Life classes which none of you have had all of these classes. Do not beat your self up over this issue. You will learn this section again and it will be more clear the next time around.
I hope this summary is helpful to you and for you. Are there any questions?
Chapter 10 Section 2
We will speak further about children born to fathers.
Obviously, children are born to fathers and mothers, but the Arizal is specifying here the father only. The reason will become clear at the end of the section when he talks about Asa-el. In some children, the dominating driving force comes from the father, and sometimes to an extreme degree.
When a man unites with his wife in intimacy, from the energy of the father there is drawn the son's Surrounding Light. Also, the aspect of Internal Light is drawn from the energy of the mother.
Please notice the additional term in intimacy. This is because everything relates to consciousness. The soul that is drawn is drawn from the consciousness of all people around the couple. If the act of procreation is done in public all of the watchers consciousness will impact which soul is drawn.
Surrounding Light is the potential that this child has received. Surrounding Light is what this child has the potential to reveal during its lifetime. The internal light at birth is the lifeforce necessary to remain alive. As one grows the potential Surrounding Light becomes Internal Light.
It was mentioned earlier that all things consist of two aspects, Light and Vessel. These two also consist of two aspects each. There is the internal part of a vessel, and the external part. Similarly, there are two aspects of Light; they are the Internal Light and the Surrounding Light.
The Internal Light is the aspect of light that enters into the vessel. It is contained within the vessel under pressure because it cannot easily expand outward. The Surrounding Light, on the other hand, does not enter into the vessel, but hovers around it. It is much less concentrated because it is not contained within the limited space of the vessel, although it is always connected and associated with the vessel, and always shines upon it.
The amount of light that enters into the vessel is always much more limited than the Surrounding Light…
Also, the amount of light that enters into the vessel is always much more limited than the Surrounding Light which is not forced into a limited space. Therefore, the Surrounding Light is considered greater and of a higher quality than the Internal Light. That is why it is the Surrounding Light that brings about miracles, whereas normal, everyday affairs are in the province of the Internal Light.
The process of transmission from parent to son is the same irrespective of whether it is Surrounding Light or Internal Light. The Light is clothed within the NHY of the soul of the parent, as was taught in the previous section.
Now, since the Surrounding Light is greater, it is associated with the sefira of the right side, which is also the higher one, called chochma and Abba. Correspondingly, the Internal Light is associated with bina, called Imma.
Now, at the time of their unification it is possible that both parents will concentrate upon the mitzvah and holiness.
The mitzvah is what we have been commanded "…And G-d said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it'" (Gen. 1:28). The intimacy that derives from the long-term relationship of husband and wife is also considered by many to be part of the completion of the mitzvah.
The characteristics and qualities of the children depend upon the thoughts and behavior of the parents at the time of conception…
The mitzvah should be done in purity and holiness, and in that way it increases the holiness of husband and wife, and it increases holiness throughout the world. This is a very important subject in the Kabbala, but this is not the place to even begin the subject. In addition to the laws of Family Purity that must be known, the reader may also refer to the Shulchan Aruch, Even Ha'ezer #25 concerning the set and setting of the mitzvah, and to the important kabbalistic book ascribed to the Ramban (Nachmanidies), called Da'at Kedusha.
Now, the Arizal is adding here the well-known Kabbalistic rule that when the mitzvah is performed with purity and holiness and proper thoughts, then it also increases the holiness of the offspring. Another important, associated Kabbalistic rule is that the characteristics and qualities of the children depend upon the thoughts and behavior of the parents at the time of conception.
Alternatively, the concentration of both of them may not be for the sake of the mitzvah, but for their own pleasure, or for evil.
Marital intimacy without pleasure is just as bad as when the partners are only thinking about satisfying their own physical desire for stimulation and pleasure. Indeed, children born from intercourse where there was no pleasure are likely to be damaged physically or mentally. On the other hand, the desire that the partner's have for each other is a positive factor in the determination of the child's level of intelligence.
However, when their thoughts and concentration are only on physical pleasure then the quality of their unification plummets downward towards zero. In addition, such people are likely to do other things that are wrong: in the preparation for their meeting, in the setting of the intimacy, and in the human dynamics of their relationship. Thus, their unification can actually, eventually, take place in the realm of evil, G-d forbid. They give birth to devils!
Alternatively, the concentration of the father might be for good, whereas that of the mother is bad, or vice versa.
If both of them are thinking about (the holiness) of the mitzvah, then the child will be a perfect tzadik in Surrounding Light and in Internal Light. If the intentions of both of them were for evil (purposes), then the child will be completely evil in Surrounding Light and in Internal Light.
If the father's intentions were for good, but that of the mother was bad, then the Surrounding Light of the child will be righteous, but the Internal Light will be wicked. With the passage of time the Surrounding Light will overcome the Internal Light, and he will be completely righteous. This is because the Surrounding Light includes the Internal Light, and it [the Surrounding Light] will overturn it to purify it.
The Surrounding Light includes the Internal Light because they were originally like one light. Some of the original light entered into the vessel, but most of it remained outside. Thus, the light that is inside the vessel was once included within the greater light that remained outside.
There are some children who are very sharp and they cannot stay still, whereas some children are lazy and move very heavily…
Since the Surrounding Light is greater than the Internal Light, the former will conquer the latter and change it entirely, if necessary, into something good. The quality of the two Lights, in turn, will influence the child's character and behavior, and even many of the things that will happen to him throughout his life.
If the father's intentions are for evil, but the mother's is for good, then the Surrounding Light will be bad and the Internal Light good. However, after a time the Surrounding Light that is bad will overcome the good Internal Light and it will also become bad.
Nevertheless, it seems from the following words of the Arizal that the situation is not clear-cut black and white. There are degrees. There are other factors.
If you want to know if the power of the father or of the mother will dominate, then you can recognize it by the lightness or heaviness of the son.
It is not clear-cut that the power of the father always dominates. There are other factors that alter the determination. It is possible for the power of the mother to sometimes dominate. These other factors, however, are not the subject of the Arizal here. Rather, he wants to describe now how it can be known if the light coming from the father will dominate, or vice versa, and the consequences upon the child.
The Internal Light is limited and it is not dynamic, but the Surrounding Light moves around outside and propels a person to the place that it wants. Consequently, if you see a person who is "light like an eagle and runs like a deer" in all his activities and quick in all his work, it is because the Surrounding Light that comes from the energy of the father dominates over him.
Yehudah ben Tayma said, "Be bold like a panther, light like an eagle, swift as a deer and strong like a lion to do the will of your Father who is in Heaven" (Mishna Avot 5:20).
On the other hand, if you see someone who is lazy and moves heavily, it teaches that it is the Internal Light from the side of the mother that is dominant.
Now, everything goes according to their deeds, by which I mean that if the father's intention at the time of intercourse was for the mitzvah, then this child will be quick to do the work of Heaven, and he will be very great in Torah. However, if his father's intentions were [only] for his own enjoyment, then he will be quick in the tasks of this world.
The opposite is also true. If he is slow moving, when his mother's intention was for the mitzvah, then he will be lazy to do the work of this world. However, if her concentration was not upon the mitzvah, then the son will be lazy in the work of Heaven.
Having said this it is possible to understand why there are some children who are very sharp and they cannot stay still, whereas some children are lazy and move very heavily.
The children of the first group are those heavily influenced by the Surrounding Light. The second are those influenced by the Internal Light.
High magnitudes of Surrounding Light…can produce a power capable of overriding natural law…
This is the reason that Asa-el the brother of Yoav was unfathomably light upon his feet.
The story of Asa-el the brother of Yoav is told in Chapter Two of Samuel II.
The sages said that he could run over the stalks of grass without bending them.
In other words, he ran so swiftly that his weight never came to rest upon the surface. Before it could rest, he was already gone from there. It seems to us that the sages are speaking here metaphorically. However, the Arizal is insisting that we take their words here literally.
Definitely a Midrash of the Sages cannot digress from its simple meaning. However, with what was mentioned here it is understandable. The energy of his father was over-dominating, and there was no maternal energy within him at all. The Surrounding Light was totally augmented within him, and he was almost able to fly through the air.
It seems to me that the point of the Arizal here is to teach that high magnitudes of Surrounding Light, combined with proper intentions and thought patterns at the time of conception, can produce a power capable of overriding natural law and provide an instrument for wondrous miracles.
(End of Chapter Ten)
This section is very clear and important for people to know as to the characteristics that their children will have. Most people who do not study Kabbalah hear about this teaching and laugh at it. The true reality of consciousness is the unity of the couple. Maybe they are not thinking of the Mitzvah but giving pleasure to the their partner. This unity also impacts the soul that is being drawn.
[Commentary by Shabtai Teicher.]
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