Advanced Reincarnation Class 47

Shaarai Gilgulim - Gate of Reincarnations

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

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

Six Hundred Thousand Souls

Chapter 17 Section 1

As we have already said, a person is obligated to learn Torah on all four levels. Now, there are only 600,000 souls…

The [souls] all come from the six sefirot.

They correspond to the six days and the six directions of the world. They all come from the six sefirot.

chanoch adds: The sefirot is fine but which world. A sefirot is always connected to another level. Up to two levels. So we should be told what the other two levels are all about. This also explains the comments below. A soul root is, for example, Netzach of world 1 of Sefira 5. Then the similar soul root friend is Netzach of world 1 of Sefira 4. We will specify worlds and Sefira language later in this Sefer.

There are stages in the evolution of the descent of the souls into the world. First there were the three patriarchs. Then there were the seventy souls of the house of Jacob (Ex. 1:5). The sixty myriads of souls come next, due to miraculous fertility during the centuries in Egypt.

chanoch adds: For those of you not familiar with the term a myriad is 10,000 soldiers.

But don't we see a lot more Jews than six hundred thousand roaming the face of the earth?! How could there be only six hundred thousand? The answer is that each one is like a grand tree root from which stems out many branches/souls. Thus many people in bodies share the same soul root. If you feel especially connected with certain individuals, this is a sign that you share with them a mutual source.

…and the Torah itself is the source of all Jewish souls...

chanoch adds: Please substitute spiritual for the word Jewish in the sentence above.

Therefore there are six hundred thousand letters in the Torah (Zohar).

…the place from which they are "hewn."

Each letter is a source and channel for a soul root to evolve from. The sages view this as if a rock hewn from a mountain.

chanoch's Commentary

Actually there are only 304,805 letters in the Tanach let alone the Torah. How is this teaching of the Sages reconciled with our modern computer counting?

  • Let us see through this essay
  • from a modern midrash that comes from a mathematical oriented student of kabbalah.

    chanoch adds: Continuing with the Sefer Sharai Gilgulim

    Therefore, there are 600,000 explanations on the level of "Peshat," on the level of "Remez," on the level of "Drash," and on the level of "Sod."

    From this we see how important each individual is! Each of these souls has its own original, custom made connection to the four ways of learning. Therefore, no matter how much Torah has already been written, there is always place for you to come along and give the world new ideas!

    chanoch's Commentary

    It is time to realize that you have Torah to reveal. It can be revealed by you and taught by someone else or it can be both revealed and taught by you. Ultimately YOU HAVE TORAH TO REVEAL. What this means is that each individual has some aspect of the Torah to reveal that is a new revelation. It may be on the level of Pshat or on the level of Remez or on the level of Drush or on the level of Sod or on all of the levels or only part of the levels. This is like a tikune. ONLY YOU CAN REVEAL THIS TORAH. IF YOU DO NOT REVEAL IT THIS LIFETIME THAN YOU WILL REINCARNATE AND DO IT NEXT LIFETIME.

    At root level, the Torah and the souls are one (Zohar).

    Thus, for every one of the 600,000 explanations there is one Jewish soul, and in the Time-to-Come each will know Torah according to the explanation that corresponds to the root of his soul. In the Garden of Eden, after a person has died he will understand all of it.

    If so, why should one toil to understand the Torah in this world? The answer is, the more one learns and the deeper one understands, the higher level he starts learning at in the afterlife.

    chanoch's Commentary

    i have difficulty with this concept. i know from my Zohar study that souls study the Torah in the Garden of Eden while waiting to be reincarnated or for the rest of us to complete our tikunim. One explanation is that one studies the Torah that they revealed. This "New" - Chidush (Hebrew for New Torah Revelation is brought to HaShem and the revealer is announced in Heaven to HaShem. My understanding of this Zohar is that one studies what one revealed Chidush. In essence one learns all aspects of this revelation. Perhaps my understanding is incomplete.

    Furthermore, every night when a person goes to sleep he 'deposits' his soul above. The one who merits to ascend above…

    Later the Ari enumerates what one can do to gain this privilege.

    …is taught the explanation upon which his soul-root is based, the extent to which depends upon what he accomplished that day, either a verse or a particular parasha, because that day the specific verse 'shone' in him more than other days.

    Since his soul is rooted in that verse, when he accomplishes something positive it is a reflection and revelation of the verse itself. Thus it says about the words Torah, "they are our life, and we will meditate in them day and night" (Joshua 1:8). One who has eyes can see everything going on around in its root in the Torah. This greatly deepens the consciousness and the level of life.

    chanoch adds: This is why Kabbalists rise at Midnight to study Zohar and Torah. This is another explanation of "meditate in them day and night."

    Another night, a different verse will shine in his soul, based upon his actions that day, always according to the explanation upon which his root is dependent.

    Originally a great, awesome light shined that spanned the far-flung ends of creation. G-d saw that not everyone would be fit to enjoy such a light. He therefore hid it (Breishit Raba 3:6). Nonetheless, a little bit of this light must shine to the world every day, or the universe could not endure (Zohar). Each day is a gift from G-d and comes to us with its own secrets, derived from the bit of light allotted to the day.

    Every night my teacher used to look at the forehead of the students standing before him, on the side upon which his soul dwelled and illuminated…

    The soul manifests at different times in different parts of the body.

    chanoch's Commentary

    The above few paragraphs are expressing the idea that HaShem recreates the universe each day. Each day has its own specific energy and each part of the body receives the Light of that day in a unique way. Therefore, one reveals Torah through study and that study is unique because it is on a different day and the physical location on earth has traveled through space and time in such a way that the same word is not the same word. We must internalize this truth so that we never become bored and understand the concept of NEW.

    …and determine which verse shone more in that person. He would then explain a portion of the explanation of that verse, according to that which was relevant to his soul.

    Even one who is not himself pure enough to merit to such revelation alone can still benefit from this level through being connected to a true tzadik.

    chanoch's Commentary

    This is why we recommend that one say the Name of the Tzadikim that left the world on today. By speaking the Name of the Tzadik we connect to the Tzadik and the Torah that person revealed during their life. Torah in this sense is not the words studied but the way the person lived and how it relates to specific verses in the Torah.

  • Let us connect to the list of Tzadikim on here.
  • This also allows one to maintain a daily connection to the energy of the day through the Hebrew Calendar.

    Before the person would go to sleep, he would concentrate on that which was partially explained to him. He would also recite the verse in order that when his soul ascended for the night they (in heaven) would teach him the completion of the explanation. This would purify the soul and allow it to keep ascending to even higher levels, where more would be revealed to him, though his body may not have sensed anything upon awakening.

    The Vilna Gaon teaches that there are certain boundless levels of Torah that the soul cannot perceive while clothed in the limiting body. In order to enable the soul to access these levels, G-d created sleep. The soul leaves the body and is thereby allowed to perceive in its intrinsic, full capacity. Even though this level does not necessarily reach the conscious awareness, the light of it enlivens and invigorates the person to a higher degree of spirituality. Also, if one merits, sparks of what he learned trickle into his daily state of mind.

    [Translation and commentary by Perets Auerbach.]

    Soul Roots in the Shoulders

    Chapter 17 Section 2

    The 600,000 explanations of Torah include the levels of Peshat, Agadah…

    A term usually used for the Midrashic sections of the Talmud, but, which can apply to all midrashim.

    chanoch adds: To many people Agadah means metaphoric. In my world view it just means that a story that proves a lesson happens in a dimension or world that is part of our universe, our world, our timeline yet we do not have it happen where we can see it. These Midrashim sometimes conflict with each other and therefore are impossible for both to happen. Sometimes people do not know how to deal with this and so they determine that Midrash is not Revealed Torah from HaShem. There are different levels of Midrash just as there are different levels of all aspects of Torah.

    There is not one Jewish soul that does not include all four levels [of explanations]

    …and Kabbalah, and are alluded to by the letters of the word "Pardes" [Pei-Reish-Dalet-Sod]. There is not one Jewish soul that does not include all four levels, but there are some souls that can grasp [only] two levels of explanations while others can grasp even more.

    chanoch adds: There are known geniuses in Torah throughout the Centuries who find that they are not able to comprehend the Kabbalah level of Torah. This is not to indicate any lack within them. This just applies to this particular lifetime. They will learn these levels when we combine all lifetimes. This is the meaning of the sentence above that says every Jewish soul (meaning spiritual acting person) will understand all 4 levels of the Pardes as it applies to Torah.

    The soul of Moses was able to grasp all 600,000 explanations of Torah, as the Sages indicated when they wrote that he knew even that which every student would [eventually] innovate (Megillah 19b). This was because his soul incorporated all 600,000 Jewish souls.

    Moses is the grand soul-root of Israel. All the souls, for all generations, that branch out of him, are existentially as his students. He therefore automatically knows each person's special Torah portion and the novelties that come with it.

    Likewise, the rest of the wise men of Israel will grasp according to the amount of souls included within each.

    One time, a person came before my teacher who looked at him and spoke to him about a certain matter. I am writing about it here in case one can make connections and understand other matters regarding the performance of mitzvahs. This is what he wrote for him.

    With regard to both positive and negative mitzvahs, there are those which are considered "masculine" and some which are considered "feminine."

    The positive commandments come from the male, active movement in the soul, as opposed to the negative commandments which come from the female, passive motion.

    chanoch adds: With all due respect to Rabbi Auerback, in my opinion, the male mitzvot are those that share like a Peace Offering which is shared with other people. While the female Mitzvahs is one that receives like an Oleh offering - the burnt offering which is received by HaShem through the smoke that is a sweet favor to HaShem.

    All of the 248 limbs of the souls of Adam are comprised of what is called "flesh," "tendons," and "bones," as is known. The flesh and the bones are the positive mitzvahs of that limb and the tendons are the negative mitzvahs. Later, with the help of God, we will explain that these tendons are not included in those that comprise the 365 Tendons.

    He told him that the root from which his soul was taken was the left-shoulder limb of Adam, from the level of the partzuf of Leah standing behind him. The number of mitzvahs in that limb called the left-shoulder are eleven positive mitzvahs, the numerical value of vav-hei (VH), the last two letters of the Tetragrammaton.

    Their gematria is equal to "katef" [shoulder], in a manner called "Haka’a" [collision]

    A form of gematria that takes the letters and 'throws' them at each other in the 'collision' of multiplication.

    The letters are the basic building blocks of existence. We can accordingly look at them as the 'atoms' of the root spiritual plane from which all comes. The process here outlined can thus be viewed as a type of 'atomic letter collider'. As we will see, the results are indeed explosive.

    "Hit" [multiply] Vav-Yud-Vav [the expanded form of the vav of the Tetragrammaton - 22] and Hey-Yud [the expanded form of the Hey - 15] i.e., 22 times 15 and they equal Shin-Lamed [330]; Vav-Vav [then take another form of Vav expansion: 12] times Hey-Vav [15] and they equal Kuf-Pei [180]; for a [sum] total of Tav-kuf-Yud [510]. Subtract eleven, the number of Vav-Hey [VH itself]…

    The root letter values of this equation are not included in the final tally. The reason for this is that the point of this spiritual formula is to utilize the energies extracted by multiplication.

    …and what remains is Tav-Kuf [500] with the "kollel" [plus one]…

    chanoch adds: It is confusing as we play with the gematria and notariken without the Hebrew letters to see what is actually going on. 500 is תק . Soon Rabbi Auerback will exchange these two letters for three letters that have the same gematria. That word is Katef כתף. Katef means shoulder as this is the subject that is being referred to as the source of these Mitzvot mentioned above. Unfortunately this is not explained. The first word means standard or backside for your information.

    There is always an option to add one to the numerical value of any word. The gematria of the word tells us how many inner lights energize it. Then there is a singular surrounding light that encompasses all of those energies. It can therefore always be added.

    chanoch adds: That is not my understanding of the Colel. There are specific rules as to when the Colel is to be added due to the word being connected to the upper spiritual world and when the Colel is to be added for each letter due to the letters being connected to the upper spiritual worlds. These rules come from a document attributed to Rabbi Akivah and are not translated into English yet.

    …the gematria of "katef". – The idea is that we see how the energies that comprise the shoulder come out of the power of Vav-Hey/eleven. This shows an inherent connection between Vav-Hey, the number eleven, positive commandments, and the shoulder [being that there are 11 positive commandments in the shoulder – Ed. Note]

    There are ten sefirot on the side of holiness. Eleven represents the next step down - i.e. the spark that intentionally exiles and descends to the sitra achra in order to provide it with its necessary life force (Shaar Hakedusha Ketoret, Shichrut Shel Purim)

    From Vav-Hey comes the lower seven sefirot. They span until Malchut, who is the secret agent central. It periodically descends to redeem its exiled sparks. Vav-Hey is thus the battery that energizes the revelation of Divinity in all of the far-flung, outcast corners of existence.

    Every positive commandment possesses this power. They therefore are all drawn from Vav-Hey, the root energy for this. This is in line with the teaching of the Ramban that the main acquisition of perfection is through the positive commandments, whereas the negative commandments are designed to guard the soul from bad energies. Through fulfilling the positive mitzvoth, manifestation of G-dliness spreads through all of reality.

    However, there are fifteen negative mitzvahs in the Shoulder Limb, like the first two letters of the Tetragrammaton (yud-hei). As the Sages said (in explanation of the verse "This is 'shmi' [in Hebrew, My name] forever, and this is 'zichri' [the way I am to be mentioned] for all generations" (Ex. 3:15). {Yud-Hey[15] with "shmi" [350, equals] 365, and Vav-Hey [11] with "zichri" [237, My mention, equals] 248 (Zohar 1:24a).

    These two letters also total the gematria of "katef," in the following way: {Yud-Vav-Dalet [20] times Hey-Yud [15] equals 300; Yud-Vav-Dalet[20] times Hey-Hey [10] equals 200, for a total of 500, the gematria of "katef."

    This demonstrates an inherent linkage between Yud-Hey, number fifteen, negative commandments, and the shoulder [being that there are 15 negative commandments in the shoulder – Ed. Note].

    From Yud-Hey come the upper three sefirot (Eitz Chayim). They are the source of the mental faculties. The negative commandments are primarily to protect the soul from falling into the sitra achra. "The eyes of the sage are in his head" (Ecclesiastes 2:14). "The beginning of wisdom is fear of G-d" (Psalms 111:10). Yud-Hey is higher than Vav-Hey. On the outside, action seems to accomplish more than passiveness. On the inside, there are times that the opposite turns out to be true. No matter how much you do, that's as far as it goes - whatever was done was done, and no more. When you don't do anything, it is certainly less, because you have accomplished nothing. However, there is a positive aspect to doing nothing. Only through not doing—that is, through 'doing' the negative commandments does one connect with infinity.

    How does one do them? When they come to hand (Talmud). If someone never has the opportunity to commit murder, he gets no reward for having not killed. However, if the opportunity presents itself to kill someone that one wants to kill, this is called 'fulfilling' the mitzvah not to murder. At that time, one connects with the infinite aspect of nothingness that lies underneath the simple zero. This elevates the soul to connection with Divinity far beyond what it accomplishes by doing. And this is the secret of why the negative commandments are rooted above the positive commandments. This is hinted to in "a woman (the negative commandments) of valor is the crown of her husband (the positive commandments)" (Chagiga).

    Through the simple aspect of guarding the negative commandments, the soul is saved from falling into the kelipot. The positive commandments come up every day, and it is through actively doing them that the soul draws and connects with G-d's light. However, when the negative commandments do come into play, in a hidden way, they give the soul access to rare, precious, boundless levels that compliment and augment the lights of the positive commandments.

    chanoch adds: i suggest that we reread the commentary from Rabbi Auerback once again. These Comments are important and while not well explained need to be understood. Please ask questions. i understand Bli Ayin Harah his comments. The question is do you?

    The Ari specifically chose to explain the mitzvahs of the shoulder.

    What remains to be understood, is the connection of all this to the shoulder. And, in general, we need to understand why the Ari specifically chose to explain the mitzvahs of the shoulder, when each limb has mitzvahs that come from it.

    As mentioned, most souls stem from the grand Cain and Abel roots. Later we will be told that they themselves are rooted in the right and left shoulder of their father Adam. Since these roots that are found in the shoulder include most of humanity, the Ari here uses them as the classic example of limbs that mitzvahs come from. And for this reason itself we find the Tetragrammaton hinted to in the number of mitzvahs in the shoulder, for it shows that the point of the souls' creation and succeeding obligation to fulfill mitzvahs is in order to reach complete attachment to G-d. It is the mitzvahs that provide access to G-dliness through connecting us with the medium of His name – the Divinity conductor.

    chanoch adds: When Adam sinned the right and left shoulder fell. These Mitzvot relate to the mistake of that particular sin. When one realizes that these Mitzvot were involved with the two sons of Adam and the actual mistake, we can start to understand along with the discussion of the Sages what actually was the mistake.

    However, we still need to fathom why G-d made the Cain and Abel centrals rooted in the shoulder?!

    There are three parts of the mind, drawn from Chochma, Bina, Da'at. From Chochma and Bina come certain abilities. Da'at does not add anything; rather it fuses these right/left mental powers (Likutei Torah by Ba'al HaTanya). Curiously enough, the Ari calls the right and left side of the mind 'itran d'da'at' – the crowns of the mind. From this comes that Chochma and Bina clothe the two shoulders of Arich Anpin. The light of these two shoulder roots descends and energies the mentality as two crowns. They are called crowns because they come from the surrounding light, which always surrounds and crowns the level beneath it.

    The original test was with the tree of knowledge. Therefore the whole soul-scenario focuses around the source of knowledge, the mind. The rectification of the mind is made through drawing to it the surrounding lights (Likutei Moharan 21:11). Therefore are the soul centrals rooted in the shoulders, the source of drawing these lights to the mind.

    chanoch adds: Actually this is incomplete. All surrounding light has the purpose of begin drawn to become inner light of the level below it. The right and left shoulders are Keter of Chesed of Adam and Keter of Gevurah of Adam. The lower level for Adam is the shoulder. The surrounding Light of Adam went down to the shoulder and in time/process will become inner light of the shoulders of Adam and inner light of the person of Cain and Abel. I hope this clarifies things.

    [?[Translation and commentary by Perets Auerbach.]

    Male and Female Mitzvahs

    Chapter 17 Section 3

    chanoch adds: This section is continuing the discussion about the Mitzvot connected to the shoulder. Remember 11 positive and 15 negative Mitzvot. Both 11 and 15 relate to the Tetragrammaton. Although one might consider the negative Mitzvot should be feminine when they are in reverse order. This will be discussed. There is also very little comments by Rabbi Auerback in this section.

    The ten negative mitzvahs, hinted to by the letter Yud are masculine, and the five remaining hinted to by the letter Hey are feminine.

    Yud and Hey are male and female relative to each other.

    The reason for this is that Yud-Hey are male and female relative to each other. Being the first two letters of the name, they are called the upper unification.

    Even though the negative commandments are primarily feminine, male and female aspects exist within and relative to themselves, in their own infrastructure.

    chanoch adds: It is really an important practice for one to realize that everything that they perceive as fixed is always relative to something else. Just because we call something male relative to something else does not mean that it is essentially male. Broaden your perspective and delve into why it is being related to that something else.

    The six positive mitzvahs alluded to by the letter Vav are masculine, whereas the five alluded to by the last Hey are feminine.

    The same relationship between Yud-Hey above is found by Vav-Hey below in the lower unification.

    I did not receive from my teacher knowledge of what the ten masculine negative mitzvahs are, but these are the five remaining feminine mitzvahs referred to by the first Hey:

    1. Do not murder, which includes not embarrassing a person in public, since [when one is shamed,] the red [blood in his face] goes and leaves him [looking] white. It is therefore [considered] a form of spilling blood.

    chanoch adds: Certain aspects of Loshon Harah - Evil Speech is considered murder as well. When someone impugnes the reputation of a person and that might lead to his loss of income it is as if our speech created his death according to the Sages.

    Why do you think Murder is considered feminine?

    2. Do not steal, a warning regarding things of monetary value.

    chanoch adds: Why doing you think stealing is considered feminine?

    3. Do not cook a kid [meat] in its mother’s milk.

    chanoch adds: Kosher food has to do with receiving and that is considered feminine in Kabbalah. Does that help you answer the questions regarding the earlier two Mitzvot?

    4. Do not eat [forbidden] fat.

    chanoch adds: Or too much fat as in the average American diet.

    5. Do not eat blood.

    These are the six positive mitzvahs of the letter Vav:

    1. Your brother shall live with you; this is like the mitzvah to give tzedakah and it means to seek out a way to be able to live together without financial hardship.

    chanoch adds: You will not find the Mitzvah on most lists of Mitzvot. The reason give in the item above is actually not from the ARIzal directly.

    2. Eat tithes of the second year [ma’aser sheni] in Jerusalem.

    How can eating be considered a positive / masculine Mitzvah?

    3. Make a parapet for your roof.

    4. Procreate and fill the land.

    5. Circumcise your son.

    6. Love your neighbor as yourself.

    chanoch adds: Can you relate to Love as a masculine Mitzvah?

    The five feminine positive mitzvahs alluded to by the final hei are:

    1. Lend to a poor person, and the way to recall this is, "If you will lend money to My people …" (Ex. 22:24); don’t read "im" [if], rather read "aim" [mother]. (Hey is the maternal letter, thus this mitzvah associates with it.)

    2. Tzitzit, and included in this is to put it on the shoulder, for as we mentioned the root of this particular soul was from the shoulder.

    chanoch adds: The Mitzvah of Tzitzit is not complete unless it is first laid on the right shoulder. Most women are not taught this even if they choose to wear a Tzitzit or Talit.

    3. Send away the mother bird, and your reminder is: Surely send away the mother bird.

    4. Keep the Shemita year.

    5. Remember the exodus from Egypt.

    A person who does not learn Torah blemishes the sefira of Tiferet.

    A person who does not learn Torah blemishes the sefira of Tiferet, since in each of the Four Worlds of ABY"A Torah is on the level of Tiferet.

    There are four levels and their mnemonic is, "PaRDeS" for: Peshat, Remez, Drash, and Sod. A person who merits to enter the depths of these four levels, merits, in the end, to all of the levels. And with respect to him it says, "He will do (special things) for one who waits for Him." (Isaiah 64:3).

    This verse is referring to the pleasures of the World-to-Come.

    However, the one who does not want to learn Torah, even the simple meaning of the verses, blemishes Tiferet of Asiya. One who does not wish to pursue proofs for a Torah matter [i.e., Hints], blemishes the Tiferet of Yetzira. One who does not learn the exegetical teachings of the Torah [Drash] blemishes the Tiferet of Beriyah. And, one who does not learn the mysteries of Torah [Sod] blemishes the Tiferet of Atzilut.

    These high levels all depend upon little man below. When one learns, he draws to them nourishing, sustaining light. If not, they are left lacking. Learning Torah is not a mental exercise. It is not a way of amassing data. It is a spiritual process that illuminates the self and all the worlds dependent upon it, each according to his soul root.

    [Translation and commentary by Perets Auerbach.]