As taught to Rabbi Chaim Vital by Rabbi Issac Luria and Amended by Rabbi Chaim's Son Shemuel.
Translated by Rabbi Shabtai Teicher of Blessed Memory and Completed by Rabbi Perets Aurback.
Published online with commentary by Kabbalaonline.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.
Chapter 1 Section 6
It is important to explain a difference between the nefesh of Asiya, and the rest of the divisions, Yetzira, Beriya, and Atzilut. This will also help us to answer a difficult question: How can a person, whose root is in malchut of Asiya, be able to ascend to keter of Asiya? Since [every Jew must reincarnate until all the aspects of NRNCh"Y are completed], then by necessity every Jew will ascend to the keter of Asiya, [then eventually] to keter of Yetzira, and [then finally] to keter of Beriya. [That being the case, then] all the other [lower] levels would [eventually] become nullified!
Since all Jews, after all their gilgulim, would eventually reach the highest level, no one would be different and no one would remain on any of the lower levels. However, that can never be the case!
Is it true that they would become nullified? A candle in the light of the sun still adds light to the day just not a significant amount. Rabbi Techers commentary is very significant since it is actually hinting at how do we unify with other people without loosing our own diversity?
However, this is unimaginable. Obviously, there are Jews who are on the level of malchut, and others from yesod, etc., as mentioned at the beginning of Sefer HaTikunim: "There are 'leaders of thousands of Israel' from the side of keter, 'wise men' from the side of chochma, and 'men of understanding' from the side of bina…."
Clearly the Jewish nation is composed of many types of individuals with different abilities and strengths, which are determined by their soul-roots.
This last phrase "determined by their soul-roots" is very significant. it hints at the truth that our abilities come from our soul roots. If someone is from the leg of Adam they will be fast runners. If they come from the voicebox of Adam they will have a wonderful beautiful voice to sing with. All attributes come from Adam those we need to correct and those that give us pleasure an build our ego and those that just make us ourselves.
However, the explanation is based upon the difference between Asiya and all the other three worlds.
For, someone whose root is in the malchut of Asiya is obviously rooted there specifically. Yet, by rectifying his actions he can purify his nefesh, level after level, until it actually reaches and becomes part of the keter of Asiya.
Nevertheless, though it ascends to the keter of Asiya, even there it remains on the level of the malchut of the keter of Asiya, since its root is on the level of malchut specifically.
His soul-root level of malchut of Asiya remains, though it ascends as a result of his spiritual improvements. Because of its root in malchut, when it ascends to the keter of Asiya it becomes the malchut of that level.
However, he must be purified until he actually ascends to the keter of Asiya, even though it will only be called the level of malchut of keter of Asiya. This is true regarding any of the levels of Asiya [to which he may ascend]: he will only be considered the malchut of that level.
For example, if he reaches the yesod of Asiya, he will only be considered the malchut of the yesod of Asiya, etc.
However, concerning Yetzira, Beriya, and Atzilut, it [the process] is different. A person whose soul-root is malchut of Yetzira, who has rectified and completed that level, also receives a ruach from the yesod of Yetzira after he has also purified and rectified the yesod of Yetzira.
As opposed to simply becoming the Malchut of the yesod of Yetzira, as was the case on the level of Asiya.
The first ruach that he had from the Malchut of Yetzira remains below [in its original place] in the Malchut of Yetzira, since that is where it belongs.
Unlike the levels in Asiya which actually ascend from level to level.
Why is the world of Asiya different than the others?
The answer is - Asiya is the lowest of all worlds, and is, therefore,encompassed by the kelipot.
Likewise, when he completes the hod of Yetzira, he leaves the second ruach that he had from yesod in yesod of Yetzira, and instead he receives a ruach from the hod of Yetzira. And this is the way it continues up to the keter of Yetzira.
Since he has rectified all the levels of his nefesh from Asiya, he is able to receive ruach from all levels of Yetzira. It will be likewise with respect to the Neshama from Beriya.
The reason for this difference is that Asiya is the lowest of all worlds, and is, therefore, encompassed by the kelipot.
The word kelipot means "encasements," like the peel of a fruit, or the shell of a nut. It refers to the extreme opposite of spiritual purity and holiness, and is therefore the element within creation that makes possible spiritual impurity and sinful action. Sometimes the kelipot are called "Chitzoniyot," which means "Externalities." Being the least spiritually pure element in creation it is the furthest from light, and therefore at the bottom of all the worlds.
Consequently, even though a person has already rectified the root level of his nefesh in Asiya, still, if he leaves it on that level, there is a fear that the kelipot there will latch on to it.
Since evil has no independent existence of its own, it derives spiritual nourishment and strength from the side of holiness, but for its own evil purpose. The closer something holy is to the kelipot, the more vulnerable it is, and the more desirable it appears to the kelipot as a source of nourishment.
Therefore, [he must constantly refine his actions] until he rises as high as he can, [until he reaches his root] in the keter of Asiya.
However, in the World of Yetzira, and how much more so in the worlds above it, there is no fear of the kelipot latching on, as there was in Asiya.
The ability of the kelipot to latch on is eliminated on this more sublime level.
Hence, when a person rectifies the root of his ruach in Yetzira, he can rectify another ruach from a higher level. Then the first ruach can remain in its place, in his root. He can acquire a second from a higher place without having to raise up the first ruach to a higher place because the fear [of the kelipot latching on] is not there [in the world of Yetzira].
Klipah or Klipot (plural of Klipah) is a veil or covering on the Light within similar to the idea of a fruit peel covering or veiling the soft sweet fruit within. We now have three terms regarding the Fulfillment or the revelation of Light. There are at the most internal the fulfillment or the Light. Then there is a Vessel which is an outer garment for the Light. Then there is a veil on the light which is the Klipah.
What is the difference between the vessel which is a desire to receive and reveals the Light and the Klipah? The difference has to do with the purity of the desire. If the desire is for oneself alone the vessel is a Klipah. If the desire to receive is for sharing the vessel is a vessel and not a Klipah. Of course the more desire to receive for oneself alone the more opaque the veil is and from the perspective of being outside of the Light Vessel Klipah garment relationship the Light is perceive as darkness or less illuminating. The Light never changes yet the perception of the observer outside of the outer layer is changed by the thickness of the desire to receive for oneself alone. If the desire is to share then the vessel is clear and their is not perceptible loss of perception outside of the garment or outer level. Yet we must realize that even at the most internal level the Light is still a vessel revealing its fulfillment for itself.
Using a metaphor of percentage - a vessel with 99% desire to receive for oneself alone will allow only 1 % of the Light to shine through the wall of the vessel. This is how we can begin to understand the midrash that says that Adam's skin was as clear as the fingernail material in our bodies. And that is why the Angels could not stand to see Adam since his Light was too strong for their (Angels) desire to receive. It is from these teachings and understandings that Rabbi Ashlag was able to develop His Theory of Relativity in which there is no absolutes only one thing relative to another.
I hope this is helpful for you.
Chapter 1 Section 7
(The subject of this section is an esoteric interpretation to the verse of Samuel II 14:14 according to the principle that was explained in the preceding section about the difference between Asiya and the worlds above it.)
The following is the esoteric meaning of the verse Samuel Bet Chapter 14 Verse 14
כי-מות נמות וכמים הנגרים ארצה אשר לא יאספו ולא-ישא אלהים נפש וחשב מחשבות לבלתי ידח ממנו נדח
Ki Mot Namot Vecamim Hanegarim Artzah Asher Lo YeOsfu Velo Yisa Elohim NeFesh VeChashev Machshavot Lebeliti Yadat Memano Nedach,
For we must needs die, and are as water spilt on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again; neither doth God respect any person; but let him devise means, that he that is banished be not an outcast from him.
Alternative Translation from Kabbalaonline.com
....G-d spares [yisa] no one [Nefesh]; He considers thoughts so that no one be banished from him
Please note that the important part of the verse according to this discussion is the latter part of the verse. This is not to say that we should ignore the balance of teh verse. Turn it Turn it for everything is in it Rabbi Bag Bag in Pirkei Avot section of the Talmud.
These considerations, that no one be banished, are only for the sake of the Nefesh, since the Nefesh is in Asiya, and thus, because of the kelipot there, in danger of being “banished from him.”
The "banished one" refers to King David’s son, Absalom, who had fled from his father after having his half-brother, Amnon, killed in revenge for violating Absalom’s sister, Tamar. The verse is addressed to King David, asking him to allow Absalom to return home. However, the sod (the esoteric understanding) of the verse is that it is talking about the Nefesh of a person, asking G-d that it not be “banished” amongst the kelipot which can latch on to it.
Therefore, because of this concern the remedy for the Nefesh is that “G-d does spare yisa the Nefesh.”
The word employed by the verse yisa is translated as “spare,” but the more literal translation is “lift up,” which leads to the following esoteric explanation of the verse:
In other words, G-d does not “lift up” [noseh] and raise a person in order to give him another Nefesh from a higher level than that of his actual root. That would necessitate leaving behind the first one in its place, leaving it vulnerable to the kelipot there.M\
In other words, as the person moved to a higher level of Nefesh, the lower level of Nefesh that was left behind would no longer be in use, which would render it vulnerable to the kelipot.
Accordingly, He [G-d] does not give him another Nefesh, more elevated and exalted. Rather the original Nefesh itself ascends upward according to the person’s actions, up until the level of the keter of Asiya. He never possesses any other Nefesh.
However, this is not the case in Yetzira and the other worlds, where his Ruach or his Neshama, etc., remains on the level of its root. Instead, the person earns an additional, higher, Ruach commensurate with the perfection of his deeds, as discussed earlier.
Beyond the World of Asiya the holiness is such that the kelipot can no longer latch on to a vacated soul-level. Therefore, the soul-level from which a person is ascending need not ascend with the person as he goes up from level to level.
This is the esoteric meaning of the well-known statement: Every person can be like our teacher Moses [i.e.] if he is willing to perfect his actions. For [by doing so] he continues to acquire higher levels of Ruach until [he finally attains] the uppermost level of Yetzira. Similarly, [this advancement continues, and a person can ultimately obtain] a Neshama from the uppermost part of Beriya, etc.
We can now begin to appreciate the meaning of the statement by our Sages "Malchut has no Light of its own. These higher ruach's and these higher Neshamot etc are acting as lights to the lower ruach's and Neshamot's acting as vessels. Another example of relativity in action.
Please note that etc. is listing as applying to Atzilut and the Chaya level of soul. This is true even if the Chaya does not enter the body.
Chapter 1 Section 8
We will now digress to discuss the concept of Ibur,
Intro to "ibur" – the soul of a tzadik coming to “impregnate” souls of normal people
According to this, you can also understand another well known concept of our rabbis: ruchot or neshamot of the righteous are infused into a person, in accord with the esoteric principle called “ibur,” to assist a person in his service of G‑d.
The concept of ibur here is not the same concept that was mentioned earlier in Section Five, although the nomenclature is the same. Literally, ibur refers to the embryo during the state of pregnancy. In this case, it refers to the “impregnation” of a person with the soul of a tzadik, which descends into the soul of a living person to assist the latter in his spiritual devotions.
The Talmud informs us that someone who comes to purify himself is assisted from On High
As is written in Midrash Ne’elam, [still] in handwritten manuscript [form], concerning the statement that “Someone who comes to purify himself, they help him.”
The Midrash Ne’elam is one of the books included in the holy Zohar. The Talmud (Shabbat 104a) informs us that someone who comes to purify himself is assisted from On High. The Midrash Ne’elam now explains this statement according to Rebbe Nathan.
Rebbe Nathan said: The souls of the righteous come and help him.
This is the type of heavenly assistance that may be granted. The soul of a tzadik will descend and become impregnated within the soul of a person who sets out to purify himself. [It is, also, a form of Divine inspiration - Ed.] Similar sources are found elsewhere in the holy writings.
The soul of Rav Hamnuna Sabba appeared in the form of simple workman transporting merchandise on a donkey
The same is found in the Introduction to the Zohar, on Genesis, where Rav Hamnuna Sabba came to Rebbe Elazar and Rebbe Abba in the appearance of a donkey loader, etc.
That is, the soul of Rav Hamnuna Sabba appeared to Rebbe Elazar and Rebbe Aba in the form of simple workman who transports merchandise on a donkey, in order to reveal to them secrets of the Zohar.
Undoubtedly, the ruchot and neshamot of tzadikim are “hidden away” and “bound up” with the “Bundle of Life”, each in his respective root, and G‑d does not cause them to descend at all. However, what descends are the ruchot that remained behind at each level of Yetzira, and which did not ascend, as we have spoken about.
As the righteous person ascended from level to level in the World of Yetzira, he left behind previous levels of ruach as he received new ones in their place. The levels of ruach that were no longer used became available to descend to help others in need of Divine assistance in their service of G‑d.
It is these that descend and enter other people to help them. However, the highest level of ruach that the righteous person acquired as a result of his deeds is bound up forever with the “Bundle of Life” [after he dies], and it does not move from there. This is true concerning the [levels of] neshama, chaya, and yechida as well.
Asiya is the lowest of the worlds, in proximity to the kelipot, and in constant danger of attack by them.
When each level of Asiya was completed, the perfected level of nefesh (from Asiya) itself ascended to the next level (i.e., to the same aspect of the soul-root on the next level). In this way all the completed levels of Asiya ascend to the highest place in Asiya, the keter of Asiya (albeit, in accord with the aspect of the original soul-root).
In the higher worlds of Yetzira, Beriya, etc., the situation is different. There, each completed level of soul remains in its place.
The reason for this difference was also explained. Asiya is the lowest of the worlds. Consequently, it is in proximity to the kelipot, and in constant danger of attack by them. Therefore, each completed level of soul ascends to a higher level in order to distance it as much as possible from the kelipot. In the higher worlds, however, there is no such danger. Therefore, each completed level of soul may remain in its place.
Based on this difference between Asiya and the higher worlds, we digressed in this section to learn something about the concept of ibur. Since there was an ascent from level to level in the world of Yetzira, the lower levels of soul that were completed there and remained in place, are now available to descend to impregnate the souls of other people. This infusion, or ibur, takes place in order to assist these people in their divine service.
Why the same term Ibur is used for two different ideas was explained. This is so that only those ready to go on with their spiritual growth will do so
The text now returns to discuss another difference between Asiya and the higher worlds of Yetzira, Beria, etc.
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