Advanced Reincarnation Class 54

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

Foundation of Teshuvah

Chapter 21 Section 1

By Rabbi Yitzchak Luria as recorded by Rabbi Chaim Vital; translation from Sha'ar Hagilgulim by Yitzchok bar Chaim; commentary by Shabtai Teicher

Please note that there are now links to the foot notes in each section. Our page is set so you can click to go to the footnote and then after reading the footnote click to return to your place. This became necessary due to the change in translator and commentator. Please let me know if this is a meaningful tool for you or not, as it is time consuming to set up on the page.

Teshuvah is a function of Imma and gilgul is a function of Abba1. Therefore, anyone who sins and does teshuvah, Imma Ila’a [Supernal Imma] - which is called teshuvah - rectifies the blemish, which is sufficient.

If he does not do teshuvah, then he will have to reincarnate to rectify his sins.

However, if he does not do teshuvah, then he will have to reincarnate to rectify his sins, a function of Abba which is called 'machshava' [thought].2 With respect to this it says, "He thinks thoughts [devises means, in Hebrew, 'choshaiv machshavot'] so that he who is banished is not cast away from Him." (Samuel II 14:14), since by bringing him back in gilgul he rectifies his transgression.

The point is that G-d in His love is so concerned about fixing the soul that He always provides a means for its repair. The best thing is if one takes the initiative to fix himself through teshuvah. If not, Providence still steps in and shuffles the life-cycle. This requires an even greater juggling of destiny than if one repents. Therefore, it comes from Abba, a higher source than Imma.

chanoch's Commentary

This comment by Rabbi Auerback is difficult for me to understand. I can understand that Teshuvah is a female aspect since it is related to Creation. The worlds or movies, as we have discussed in the basic class of Teshuvah, are essentially a Creative act. We can also understand that when someone does Teshuvah they return to a higher level. When it comes to reincarnation there is no guarantee that the mistake/sin will be rectified in that lifetime either. The guarantee is that it will be rectified not which lifetime. If one does Teshuvah for actions in this lifetime than we can understand the comment above by Rabbi Auerback, yet Kabbalah explains that we need to actually go back to the first lifetime that we did that mistake in order to rectify the action to the fullest extent possible. In that case it seems to me that Teshuvah becomes higher than the reincarnation process since it creates worlds and it cleanses worlds. Perhaps this will be clarified in the rest of the classes and personal study. Perhaps we need to contact Rabbi Auerback and ask him to clarify it. Belie Neder i will do that in the future.

We will now explain the concept of teshuvah, since we already began in chapter six discussing the steps of teshuvah, of which there are eight. However, here we will discuss it in another manner, and in the process explain the statement of Rabbi Matya ben Cheresh in the last chapter of Yoma (86a), regarding the four divisions of atonement: One who transgresses a positive mitzvah and repents, etc.

In general, TShVShH/teshuvah means 'TShVSh-H/teshuv-hei' [restore hei]. (Zohar) For, as is well known, man incorporates all the worlds. Even though he may not presently merit all of them - perhaps only the nefesh of Asiya - still, he is created with the potential to achieve all of them through his actions - all those [levels] that [become] dependent upon him [as he grows]. According to his actions, he can achieve either Yetzira, Beriya, or, Atzilut. This is the secret of the verse, "He creates the ruach of man within him" (Zachariah 12:1). As the Midrash says, "The nefesh of a person grows while it is within him".

The soul of a person grows while it is within him.

A person needs to train and educate himself in order to literally raise his own spirit. "Train a child according to his way" (Proverbs 24:6). One needs to learn the nature of his soul and what speaks to it. This means uplifting the soul in the manner that works for it.

For some this means increased self-discipline. For others it means to ease up and increase patience. At times both are necessary at the same time. Prayer is imperative to help call the shot and know at each time what will be productive and conducive to growth.

chanoch adds: The active process of prayer is to strengthen the connection to HaShem which provides an increased sense of intuition which can then be called upon in order to know what is the right action to produce ones Teshuvah - Returning/Reconnecting the Hey to the Vav. This is more than a metaphorical action. The negative action one does literally as well as metaphorically separates the Malchut frame of reference from the Zeir Anpin frame of reference. Actually, the worlds are separated creating a separation between the two worlds and interrupting the flow of Shefa to the physical world. Do not concern yourself with how a world can be separated and still receive some of the Shefa. Any blockage to Shefa is a separation between the worlds on the spiritual level.

It all depends upon this idea of ‘tashuv H [restore Hey]’: Restore Malchut to G-d, the true King of Kings. Self-awareness comes from Malchut. The ego separates the self from God. Repentance means realizing that it's not me – it's all G-d. This restores the soul to its source in Divinity.

Chanoch adds: It is highly recommended to read the above statement repeatedly. It can be used as a mantra to change yourself. Lower the ego - Connect to HaShem with a stronger connection.

However, there is a great difference between one who merits one level as opposed to another level, and this leads to another principle: The nefesh of a person includes 248 limbs and 365 tendons, as does the ruach and neshama. When a person sins he causes blemish to the limbs of his nefesh or ruach or neshama.

This gives reason to always be careful what one does with his limbs in all actions. Whatever happens below so causes the parallel to happen above. (Zohar II Teruma)

Moreover, the state of the body by the revival of the dead is determined by what one does here while alive. If someone caused a defect in a limb it will be incomplete in the next world. (Mishne Berura Introduction) For example, one who withheld his hand from giving charity might get up from the grave handless. A general precautionary remedy is to always be giving and loving.

chanoch's Commentary

The above commentary causes a question to be asked. The Zohar elsewhere indicates that upon the resurrection the person will arise from the grave in the same physical state that he went into the grave. This is interpreted to mean if someone dies after a long illness their physical appearance of weakness and palor, etc. will be how they arise at the resurrection. Then the soul will immediately repair the body to its natural state of health at the age desired by the soul parts that corrected during that lifetime. This is indicating a significant difference between what the Mishe Berura is saying. How do we reconcile these aspects? One is speaking of the soul which people will be able to see like they can see the body in this world. After all, the body which is what the other Zohar is describing is still only an illusion since it must transform itself even more in the world that is coming. To understand this more deeply study the 4 Phases and know that our bodies represent the 4th Phase which is Malchut - the highest - strongest desire to receive.

The extent of his sin will depend upon what he has thus far achieved: if he has only his nefesh then he will blemish the nefesh, if ruach then ruach, if neshamah then neshamah. So, according to the greatness of a person’s nefesh is the strength of a person’s evil inclination. As the Talmud says, "Anyone who is greater than his friend - his evil inclination is [accordingly] greater."(Sukka 52b)

Anyone who is greater than his friend - his evil inclination is greater.

Therefore, it is not at all surprising if at times great people seem to fall into terrible things. Rabbi Nachman states that the public is mistaken in certain issues. For one, they think that a tzadik cannot make a mistake. And if for some reason he does, he is not anymore a tzadik… The truth is, "The bigger they are, the higher (chanoch adds: deeper) they fall."

"The purpose of descent is for ascent." (Ba'al Shem Tov) "Seven [times] falls the tzadik and gets up." (Proverbs 24:16). Were it not that he fell, he would not have gotten up. One who gets up after stumbling stands up stronger than he did before.

The reason is because G-d made a counterpart for everything and therefore, just as there is ABY"A on the side of holiness, so too is there on the side of the kelipot as well. This is the secret of, "The wicked one watches for the righteous" (Psalms 37:32) - because he wants to mimic the side of holiness, like a monkey does a man.

The as-if equal aligning of the sitra achra opposite the kedusha preserves the necessary balance of free will. (See Likutei Moharan II 11)

One is alerted not to follow the impersonation, rather to constantly look for the real thing.

The Zohar provides the monkey parable to describe the whole workings of the sitra achra. Realizing this, one is alerted not to follow the impersonation, rather to constantly look for the real thing. (Likutei Moharan) In simple terms, the heart is to always to look for the (chanoch adds: look for or look to) honor of God, in every thought/word/deed - and not for the honor of the ego. (Likutei Moharan 6)

Rabbi Elchonon Wasserman used to say that Darwin was only able to entertain his theory because he never saw a real tzadik. For if he had, he would have experienced the real truth of how the true plateau of man is so far above, aloof, and removed from even the most sophisticated similar animal that there is no place for any supposition that he comes from it.

Nonetheless, every falsity must contain some light and have some source in truth. (Midrash Raba) The order of the supernal worlds is arranged in an order of the evolution principle. One level is as if born and evolving from the level above it. They so develop and progress - coming to a climax in this world.6 The chained cascading downward order of rungs features the inner Divine light clothed more and more as it descends. The final product is this world of dense physicality. It is rock bottom where the buck stops. It becomes the arena for free will. The stage is set for man to reverse direction and ascend back up through the worlds.

The Torah is God’s prescribed formula for "reverse evolution." It guides a person step by step to ascend to higher and higher levels of revelation of Divinity. The material nature thereby becomes elevated and cleansed.

chanoch's Commmentary

How science is seen as comparable to Spiritual knowledge is seen in the comments made above. The Theory (bold for emphasis) of evolution is just that a theory. The modern Kabbalists teach that the Theory is correct except it gets one aspect wrong. We evolve down until we choose to learn how to elevate ourselves back to the Keter Level or the Ain Sof level which is still the place where WE ALL LIVE. As much as science would like to make it so we do not live in this world. We exist in it. We tour it. We do work for the Creator in it.

[Translation and commentary by Perets Auerbach.]


1. This is what was alluded to above in Chapter 20 when it spoke about the Yud, which the Zohar says refers to the sefira of Chochmah being the secret of gilgul.

Return to Location of Footnote Mark 1 in the Essay Body

2. “They [all of the sparks] are elevated through thought [Chochma].” (Zohar)

Return to Location of Footnote Mark 2 in the Essay Body

3. There are different aspects, arrangements and systems through which Providence functions. In His supreme, exalted, unfathomable greatness, G-d actually works through varied orders at the same time. This explains how at times dissonant and even contradictory dynamics are happening at the same time. The Torah teaches what is considered to be real giving, real loving.

Return to Location of Footnote Mark 3 in the Essay Body - This link is not active

4. The Hebrew word for repentance, teshuvah, literally means returning or restoring. In the act of teshuvah, one returns to G-d. The Zohar explains in addition that the word 'teshuvah' can be split in two: 'teshuv' + the letter Hey, which would translate as "return [the] Hey", referring to a letter Hey in the Divine Name.

Return to Location of Footnote Mark 4 in the Essay Body - This link is not active

5. The Torah teaches what is considered to be real giving, real loving.

Return to Location of Footnote Mark 5 in the Essay Body - This link is not active

6. Even though this world is last in levels, it is ‘first in thought and last in deed” (Lecha Dodi prayer) - the point of it all. In this sense it is the grand crescendo and climax.

Return to Location of Footnote Mark 6 in the Essay Body

Causing Defect to the Name of God

Chapter 21 Section 2

By Rabbi Yitzchak Luria as recorded by Rabbi Chaim Vital; translation from Sha'ar Hagilgulim by Yitzchok bar Chaim; commentary by Shabtai Teicher

Now you can appreciate the impact of Adam’s sin, which caused destruction and blemish in all the worlds for all generations. It is based upon what we have said, that according to the greatness of the soul is the extent of the damage.

Adam’s sin caused destruction and blemish in all the worlds for all generations.

Therefore, a 'light' sin by completely righteous and pious people, such as Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai, is considered as severe as many sins by another person. Thus, one who only possesses nefesh of Asiya can only cause damage to Asiya, since that is as far as his hand can reach. Therefore, he only has to do teshuvah on the level of Asiya, since that is all he damaged.

The example of Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai is specific. For one, he is one of the outstanding characters of the grand root of Cain, which is an underlying theme of this whole compilation [Gates of Reincarnation]. Furthermore, an intrinsic quality of this root is to sometimes seem very pious and yet be quite the opposite.7 Also, Rabbi Yochanan was known to be entirely righteous, yet he is reported as having approached death with great trepidation, not being sure if he would thereafter be led to Heaven or to Purgatory. (Berachot 28b) The reason is here explained: According to his towering plateau - even a small defect is considered serious.

According to his towering plateau - even a small defect is considered serious.

What comes out of this is that one must constantly scrutinize his actions. (See Mesilot Yesharim, 'Zehirut')

If ascending causes you to be put under a microscope and subject to rigid standards (Yevamot 121b), why try at all?! The answer is that the benefits of the ascent are well worth it. The higher you go, the higher state of consciousness you achieve.

chanoch's Commentary

I think this spiritual truth needs to be phrased differently for our students even if it is a translation of the ARIzal. Also, i do not find the answer given by Rabbi Auerback sufficient. Each judgment is always relative to the soul(s) involved. This means on a practical level that two men get into a verbal fight with a friend in two different cities at the same time on the same day. Both of these men are born on the same day at the same time of day yet in two different cities. This fight is considered a mistake / sin for both of them. That night one is given a delay in his marriage date. This is Midah Keneged Midah since fighting is the Tikune that he and his wife will be given to work upon in this lifetime. Since he was unable to stop fighting he does not merit to marry yet. The other one receives no change - he will marry as scheduled in the plan of Creation. Why is there a difference? The one receiving the delay is on a higher level of consciousness and therefore, is expected to not fight on the subject. He knows better on the spiritual level and his ability to control his reactions should have been on a higher level while the person who did not receive any change was not expected to control his reactions. Tikune and the result of tikune is always relative.

With respect of the question why should i strive to grow to a higher level since i will be evaluated with a closer knife of judgment so to speak. The answer is not "i promise you it is worth it." The answer is we all will return to the Endless World to the same level that we started. If we do not do the spiritual work we do not arrive at that level that we started and thus need to reincarnate again and again until we do. This is where the idea that some people have achieved completion of their Tikune yet come back to this world to grow to a higher level. This just means that the higher level is where they should be when we all return to the endless world.

We have already spoken about how the four letters of Havayah divide into four worlds ABY"A, and that each letter divides again. The letter Yud corresponds to Atzilut and [links] to the expansion of YHVH that equals 72 [YVD HY VYV HY]. The letter Hey corresponds to Beriya and [aligns with the expansion that] equals 63 [YVD HY VAV HY]. The Vav corresponds to Yetzira and [associates with the expansion that] equals 45 [YVD HA VAV HA]. The [final] Hey corresponds to Asiya and [connects to the expansion that] equals 52 [YVD HH VV HH].

G-d enlivens everything by way of His Names.

chanoch's Commentary

Name of 72 is י ו ד הי ו י ו ה י composed of 10 letters which connect to the ten sefirot within the Sefira of Chochmah which relates to the Name of 72 and the world of Atzilut.

The gematria is 10 + 6 + 4 + 5 + 10 +6 + 10 + 6 +5 + 10 = 72

The gematria Katan or Small Gematria is

1 + 6 + 4 + 5 + 1 +6 + 1 + 6 + 5 + 1 = 36

Do you now know why there are always 36 Tzadikim in the world? Actually there are 36 concealed Tzadikim and 36 revealed Tzadikim in the world at any time.

Name of 63 is י ו ד הי ו א ו ה י composed of 10 letters which connect to the ten sefirot within the Sefira of Binah which relates to the Name of 63 and the world of Beria.

The gematria is 10 + 6 + 4 + 5 + 10 +6 + 1 + 6 +5 + 10 = 63

The gematria Katan or Small Gematria is

1 + 6 + 4 + 5 + 1 +6 + 1 + 6 + 5 + 1 = 36

Do you now know why there are always 36 Tzadikim in the world? Actually, there are 36 concealed Tzadikim and 36 revealed Tzadikim in the world at any time. The concealed Tzadikim belong to Atzilut and the revealed Tzadikim belong to Beria.

Name of 45 is י ו ד ה א ו א ו ה א composed of 10 letters which connect to the ten sefirot within the Sefira of Zeir Anpin which relates to the Name of 63 and the world of Yetzirah.

The gematria is 10 + 6 + 4 + 5 + 1 +6 + 1 + 6 +5 + 1 = 45

The gematria Katan or Small Gematria is

1 + 6 + 4 + 5 + 1 +6 + 1 + 6 + 5 + 1 = 36

Do you now know why there are 36 candles lit during Chanukah?

Name of 52 is י ו ד ה ה ו ו ה ה composed of 9 letters which connect to the 9 sefirot of Yesod of Zeir Anpin which represents what is generally thought of as Heaven. This connects to the world of Malchut or Assiya. Do you know why Assiya has a larger number than Zeir Anpin. Isn't less more?

The gematria is 10 + 6 + 4 + 5 + 5 + 6 + 6 +5 + 5 = 52

The gematria Katan or Small Gematria is

1 + 6 + 4 + 5 + 5 +6 + 6 + 5 + 5 = 42

Do you know why the Name of 42 was used to Create the physical world of action known as Assiya?

"G-d and His Name are One" (Zachariah 14:9). "And You enliven them all" (Hagiga). G-d enlivens everything by way of His Names. YHVH is the central Name. It literally means ‘Existence Giver.’ Its varied expansions are the batteries for all the worlds. And it does not stop at this. Each detail within each world derives its life-force from the expansions. In short - from the most colossal macrocosmic to the most infinitesimal microcosmic - all of reality derives its actuality from the Infinite Light clothed in the worlds via the medium1 of the Names. The light dons the Names and is one with them. (Tanya)

Therefore, by calling God through them His light is drawn and manifest to a person. Just as by calling a person his attention is drawn. (Likutei Moharan 56:3)

The worlds dividing out into YHVH, with all of their details, is aligned according to the root archetype source format of the supernal Divine Chariot. It has four sides, with four angels flanking them. "Each angel has four-faces, each face has four wings9 unto itself." (Ezekiel 1:6) So the Names branch out, expand, and cascade to being a root above for every single bit of reality below. This means that whatever anyone is doing at any given moment in any place in any situation is all sourced in complex combinations of the Divine Name infrastructure. (Likutei Moharan 6, end)

To better grasp the idea of how and what Names do what:

Different pies have different filling. Even if they have the same base, the taste and effect vary according to the filling. So the grand intrinsic Name YHVH is the basis of existence. Its manifestation in each part of existence varies according to how it is ‘filled,’ otherwise called its expansions.

‘Yud-filling’ is quite delicious and is the highest of expansions.

‘Yud-filling’ is quite delicious and is the highest of expansions. Yud was used to create the World-to-Come because of its lofty root. It so is always used for filling of the expansion that enlivens the highest of worlds/levels. Aleph is next in line. Last is Hey. (Shaaar HaKavanot Pesach)

The Name YVD HY VYV HY-A"B/72 is filled with Yud's and so enlivens the highest world Atzilut. Beriya the world beneath is powered by YVD HY VAV HY-S"G/63. Two of its letters are filled with Yud, but one is filled with Aleph, denoting a descent in the intensity of Divinity from the realm above it. Yetzira is the next world down and is energized by YVD HA VAV HA-M"H/45. All its letters feature Aleph-filling. Last on the rung is Asiya, which fueled by YVD HH VV HH-B"N/52 – Hey's.

In every case, there are filling letters that are constantly the same, but the quality of the name is determined by the ones that are subject to change. (Eitz Chayim, Shaar Otzrot Chaim)

But if the very base of the pie is changed, all the more so is it different. There are infinite Names through which the Divine light expresses and runs the world. They all draw from the basic theme of YHVH/Existence-Giver, but each with its own nuance. For example, the Name EHYH. It means "I will be" and is the special existence-giving power of self-renewal. (Zohar, Likutei Moharan 6) Meditating on it draws on the soul revitalization, rejuvenation, and the power to change…

Therefore, if a person damages all four worlds it is as if he damages the great Name! This is the secret of the verse, "They went out and saw the carcasses of those who sinned in Me" (Isaiah 66:24). That is literally against My name - each one according to the level of his soul, as explained.

Picturing the letters can stir to take inventory and repair.

Elsewhere the Ari explains that when one meditates on YHVH and has a problem in depicting the Name, it is a sign that he has caused defect in that letter by committing a sin that damaged that level. (Etz Chayim, Shaar Ruach Hakodesh) It so serves as a type of check to trouble-shoot spiritual defects. All sins affect all of the letters, but each one is primarily rooted in one of letters. Picturing the letters can stir to take inventory and repair.

chanoch adds: Just as the ARI explains this idea of using our meditations to teach us where and what we need to correct, we also can determine this same information from pronouncing the letters of the Zohar verses. When we go back to correct our pronunciation we make the correction with Mercy and not judgment. Sometimes it is not easy to pronounce the word from the Zohar verse. It may require several times till we get it correct. Yet it is important since it is the easiest way to correct the mistake in our souls related to this word.

It is important to build your ability to see the Name by seeing all 4 letters simultaneously. This is not always easy to do. If you are unable to visualize 4 letters then try to see three letters and if not then two and if not then one and if not even one try to see part of the Yood. Slowly you can build the visualization to see all 4 letters completely. Then you will know that your Tikune is almost complete.

"His Name partners with our name." (Midrash) "‘Living-soul’ is its name" (Gen. 2:19). One receives their allotted portion of manifest Divinity and life-force by way of his name. According to how one affects God’s names by his actions, so is his own name a receptacle for the flow from above.

Hence, when a person does teshuvah he rectifies His great name - all four letters. This is the secret of the ‘four divisions of atonement’ and the teshuvah for four types of sins. For four [types of] sins cause damage to the four letters of Havayah, and the four kinds of teshuvah and atonement rectify the four letters of Havayah.

As mentioned, any given mistake causes damage in the Names. But there are certain transgressions that are primary and as if roots for all the others that disturb a letter.

All types of forgiveness come from the four grand letters. They divide and group in the four progressive categories that come from them. Learning their workings helps provide guidelines and a path of self-rectification.

What comes out is that one can fix everything. Revelation of the Name is then able to manifest and shine to the self. From this comes expanded consciousness. (Likutei Moharan II 67)


7. Cain murdered his brother and then made himself out to be innocent.

Return to Location of Footnote Mark 7 in the Essay Body

8. “Know that there is an intermediary between G-d and the world…it is the Shechina” (Likutei Moharan). The Shechina is the concentration of G-dliness in the universe by means of which the Names themselves are able to exist. “If You would depart from them, they would all be left as body devoid of soul…” (Tikunei Zohar, Introduction).

chanoch adds: The Shechina is the construct that allows for HaShem to change. This is the meaning of this footnote and its teaching with respect to the various levels of the gematriot and the relationship to each level of Consciousness. It is what allows the letters Hay and Vav to be fulfilled in different ways.

Return to Location of Footnote Mark 8 in the Essay Body

9. All together there are 256 [4 x 4 x 4 x 4] wings on the Chariot. This is hinted to in the verse “RNV/ranu [sing joyously] for Jacob” (Hagiga, Commentaries on Ezekiel)

Return to Location of Footnote Mark 9 in the Essay Body

chanoch's Commentary

Now do you begin to understand how important it is to say the Name on Rosh Chodesh? Yes, we use the root vowel to be safe. Eventually we will use these 4 letters with all 10 vowels as taught in the Sefer Yetzirah to create rectification on the lowest level of Creation. That part of Creation that our soul root is responsible.

Please note the RNV above represents the Reish Nun Vav which represent a gematria of 256. Remember the idea of a wing just like the idea of a foot represents Malchut.

[Translation and commentary by Perets Auerbach.]

Four Levels of the Shechinah in Exile

Chapter 21 Section 3

By Rabbi Yitzchak Luria as recorded by Rabbi Chaim Vital; translation from Sha'ar Hagilgulim by Yitzchok bar Chaim; commentary by Shabtai Teicher

Having said this, we will explain what it means when it says: "If a person violated a positive mitzvah [and repents], he does not move without being forgiven." (Yoma 86a) However, before explaining this, we must first return to the idea that teshuvah means 'teshuv-hei' [returning the letter hei]10 and the four divisions of teshuvah.

chanoch's Commentary

The ARIzal will now explain the movement of the Sefirot relative to each other. This is made a bit easier if one visualizes a man sitting on the shoulders of another man. Actually, visualize the top man standing on the head of the lower man. The lower man represents the Klipah and represents the idea of the negative system and evil represents the throne or chair for the good system. Now the upper man represents 10 Sefirot as the 4 steps or 4 Phases of Creation as we have taught in separate classes. When an action that is done that is negative, the metaphorical result is the lowest Sefirah of the good system - the man on top of the head of the lower man slips off the head and lands on the shoulders of the lower man. Now his Malchut of the upper man which represents the Shechinah is standing on the shoulders of the lower man. Each time a negative action is performed the man on top slips and falls lower. The feet / Shechinah falls lower until the final maximum depth is reached where the Malchut of the higher man is at the level of the lower man. Starting with the first negative action the fall of the feet / Shechina is referred to as Exile or Galut in Hebrew.

To begin with, sometimes the world of Asiya - which corresponds to the bottom Hei - descends to the first three sefirot [upper triad] of the kelipot. This concept is called galut [of the] Shechinah.

The letters of the Tetragrammaton branch into the sefirot. The final Hey associates with Malchut, the sefira of the Shechinah - the revelation of G-d's Presence as King of His world.

If the sin is more serious, the person can cause Asiya to go down as far as the three middle sefirot of the kelipot, and if more severe, then as far as the three that follow. If the sin is even more serious, Asiya can descend to the 'malchut harashah' [evil kingdom], the tenth sefira of the kelipot. These are the four levels to which the Shechinah/Asiya can go into exile within the kelipot.

The last defect is what gives rulership to the kingdom of the other side. Although the other lesser defects still contribute to the cause.

One may decide to go on a diet, but find himself violating it.

Often a person finds it hard to control himself. One may decide to go on a diet, but find himself violating it. This comes from the lower, subsidiary parts of the self rebelling and taking command in place of listening to the mind. The general principle is that repentance really fixes. One who repents automatically usurps the rebels and puts them in their place. He will merit to Divine honor resting upon him that no one will even question him. (Likutei Moharan 6)

Learning Torah empowers the true kingship. It strengthens the good inclination and automatically the evil kingdom falls. (Likutei Moharan 1) It is a path to re-instating the true self to its royal regal reign over the being. Therefore was the prayer enacted, thrice a day: "Restore us oh Father to Your Torah, and draw us close to Your service - and bring us (thereby) back to You in perfect repentance." (Daily Amida prayer) Rabbi Nachman emphasizes that if even the worst person would set for themselves an established time to learn Torah every day, it would bring them out of the most terrible habits and liberate them to make complete self-improvement. (Sichot HaRan)

However, someone who causes defect to Yetzira, Beriya, or Atzilut does not cause them to go down into the kelipot since the kelipot are lower than the world of Asiya. Instead, Yetzira descends to the world of Asiya, to the level of the first three sefirot, then to the middle three sefirot, and after that to the three sefirot beneath these - finally to Malchut of Asiya. These are the four levels to which Yetzira can descend within Asiya. They are called the 'exile of Yetzira', since it went from a higher level of holiness to a lesser one.

They are called the 'exile of Yetzira.'

Exile is a relative state of death. (Hachinuch) One who descends from his level as if dies. (Zohar III Naso Idra Raba)

In the same manner, Beriya can descend four levels within Yetzira which is called 'galut [of] Beriya.' Atzilut can descend to Beriya, which is called 'galut [of] Atzilut.' The four categories of levels themselves that we mentioned are [all generally] called galut [of the] Shechinah.

The concept of ‘Shechinah’ is the concentrated root revelation of Divinity. It finds expression in each realm according to its parameters. It can so accordingly be conceptually in a state of exile within each realm. The ‘descent’ means either a lessening of the intensity of the concentration of Shechinah light, or complete hiding.

The principle that emerges is that there are four categories, and each contains four types - that is four worlds and correspondingly four general types of teshuvah. Within each world there are also four specific types of teshuvah. We will now explain the first one, and from it explain four others.

They all correspond to the four expansions in each world unto itself. According to what a person does, so does he draw upon himself the Divine Names. (Likutei Moharan 6, end)

Also, each world is composed of four major quadrants, which branch out from the Names: The world itself, chambers within it, angels, and souls. (Eitz Chayim)

To begin with, when the Talmud writes, "When a person transgresses a positive mitzvah and then returns [does teshuvah] etc." it is talking about if he damaged Asiya. When he repents he is immediately forgiven. For by transgressing a positive mitzvah he causes hei/malchut of Asiya to descend and separate from tiferet, making it to only descend to the first three of the kelipot.

Transgressing a positive commandment...causes a lack of light in the worlds.

‘Transgressing’ a positive commandment refers to a lack of doing something.11 This causes a lack of light in the worlds. Like someone who didn’t make lunch, leaving the family deprived of nourishment. This lack is not as bad as actually getting up and damaging something, like someone who demolishes the family’s house. The damage caused by lack is generally the least and only causes problems in the lowest of worlds.

This needs to be understood, for Nachmanides teaches that the main acquiring of perfection is through doing the positive commandments, whereas the idea behind the prohibitions is to simply protect one’s level?

Indeed both are true. When looking at what actually elevates a person, the positive commandments are primary. However, in terms of our discussion about one who violated the precepts, the damage caused by transgressing prohibitions is worse. And this itself is the reason why the whole premise behind them is protection.

One who is in a state of self-nullification...has no bounds.

One who does something, no matter how much he does, can only do what he can do - and no more. A creature of limitation can so only do so much, whereas in the aspect of passive nothingness, there are no limitations. One who is in a state of self-nullification can so relate to and draw upon limitless energies that expand to eternity - for he has no bounds.

Yet the main acquiring of completion is through the positive commandments. Guarding the prohibitions grants connection to levels of limitlessness that cannot be accessed except through negation. But actual light is drawn to the soul and the universe through getting up and fulfilling the positive precepts.

chanoch is adding that this teaching is very important. One draws light through the positive Mitzvot while one needs to connect to high levels of consciousness by limiting one's ego development.

The 248 positive commandments associate with "My remembrance" and VH, the letters from which come the lower seven sefirot. The 365 prohibitions correspond to "My Name" and YH, the source of the upper sefirot. Doing mitzvot draws light to the lower sefirot and sustains the world. Refraining from doing bad attaches the soul to the higher reality.

chanoch's Commentary

When one adds 11 which is the gematria of Vav and Hey to the word "My Remembrance" the total sum is 248 which represents the 248 positive Mitzvot. The similar statements can be made from the Yood and Hey being fifteen and adding them to the word "My Name." This sum equals 365 which represents the 365 negative Mitzvot. Now the important question for you to answer. Is this gematria metaphorical or is this reality? Depending on your answer to this question will determine your growth towards your spiritual goals. This is why it is important to answer this question for yourself.

In terms of repentance, the damage done by transgressing a negative commandment is repairable through teshuvah - just as a repair man can come and fix things. But what about the light that was not drawn down through the lacking of positive action - how can that ever be fixed?

Rabbi Shneur Zalman explains that this is an idea of the Zohar’s teaching about penitents: "That they draw it [the light] with extra power." This means that they can actually ascend to draw from the Infinite being Who sends a new ray/line/thread of His Divine light into the empty vacuum. They so can fix everything.12

What comes out is that each has its own advantage. It is important to note that one can only be considered as having ‘fulfilled’ a prohibition if it comes to his hand to transgress it. If he then withstands the test, it counts to his credit as if having ‘done’ the negative command. (Talmud)

It is easy to repent and become immediately rectified.

Hence, it is easy to repent and become immediately rectified. For as is known, the first three sefirot of the kelipot can also transform to holiness. Which is the secret of what the Sages say, "The Jordan [river] also takes from this one and gives to another." (Baba Metziya 22a)

The Talmud is talking about how a river can cause one person’s property to go to another by washing it off shore and down the river. This is used as an analogy for the top three sefirot of the kelipot being brought over to the side of holiness.

Heaven causes this to happen because it is revealed above that for some reason the property really belongs to the new party. And so, relatively, it is considered to be brought out of the kelipot - the supposed ‘owner’ and transferred to holiness - the rightful owner.

Therefore, he can immediately return in teshuvah and Malchut can ascend to its place and rejoin Tiferet. This is called teshuvah - tashuv-hey. This is the first level within Asiya.

In the parable of the Zohar, this is akin to restoring an estranged, captive wife to her husband.


10. The Hebrew word for repentance, teshuvah, literally means returning or restoring. In the act of teshuvah, one returns to G-d. The Zohar explains in addition that the word 'teshuvah' can be split in two: 'teshuv' + the letter Hei, which would translate as "return [the] hei", referring to a letter Hei in the Divine Name.

Return to Location of Footnote Mark 10 in the Essay Body

11. There is however the concept brought in the Talmud of an ‘isur mitzvah’ - a positive prohibition. This means that the Torah expresses the need to refrain from doing something in a manner of positivity, i.e., doing.

Return to Location of Footnote Mark 11 in the Essay Body

12. Berachot: "‘A crookedness that can never be fixed’ (Eccl.). This refers to one who should have read the Shema and did not." This refers to teshuvah within the confines and parameters of the old light that is already within the empty vacuum. Although one can repair the damage done by transgressing a prohibition, in terms of the old light, one who had a chance to do a mitzvah and did not do it is left forever bereft of that light, unless he repents in a manner that can blow the whole situation away and draw from the Infinite Light new radiance to His universe.

Return to Location of Footnote Mark 12 in the Essay Body

[Translation and commentary by Perets Auerbach.]