Advanced Reincarnation Class 57

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

Levels of Teshuvah

Chapter 21 Section 4A

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

The second level within Asiya is when Tiferet becomes disconnected from Bina as well, in a way that causes Asiya to descend to the first three sefirot of the kelipot. It is caused by the transgression of a positive mitzvah. This teshuvah is also called teshuv-hei, since it causes the lower hei/malchut to be reconnected to the upper hei/bina – [in turn] allowing Tiferet to ascend as well.

The third level with respect to Asiya is when a person transgresses a positive mitzvah in such a way as to damage Bina and cause it to descend, [thereby causing] Asiya to descend to the last three sefirot of the kelipot. When he repents, it is also considered tashuv-hei, since teshuvah is from bina and its [power] goes down [and extends] until malchut. Then Malchut and Tiferet will return [together], for Bina descending causes them to join, and this [itself] is teshuvah.

Bride and groom unite under a chupah. They embody Tiferet and Malchut. The light of Bina descends to engulf and unite them. (Tefilat Kol HaShanah, Drushin LiChatanah) It is clothed in the chupah that is used for the marriage ceremony.

In order for opposites to unite, an energy that transcends them both must be drawn.

In order for opposites to unite, an energy that transcends them both must be drawn. (Likutei Torah, Baal HaTanya) This is part of the reason why teshuvah comes from Bina, the eighth sefira, the transcending force of this universe of seven days/directions.13

The fourth level is when a person transgresses a positive mitzvah in such a way as to damage Chochma, causing it to separate from keter. When such a person repents it is also teshuvah/tashuv-hei, since he causes the upper Hei to return to Keter, at which time Chochma will ascend with it. We have now explained the first division of atonement.

One example of this is when someone learns Torah in manner of amassing data without reverence for G-d. "The Torah comes out from chochma." (Zohar) This means the place from which it is revealed. But its hidden source is Keter. In order to access the true light of the Torah, one must draw from these places. This involves learning with reverence for G-d and also that the learning experience be geared to be an uplifting of consciousness.

This concept poignantly expresses what is considered to be an underlying cause of the desolation of the land of Israel after the destruction of the first Temple. "‘So says G-d, because they abandoned My Torah…’ [This means that] they did not bless on the Torah first [before their Torah learning]." (Nedarim 81a) It is the blessing on the Torah that draws from Keter, the first of levels, into Chochma. The word brachah literally means a fountain - of the light of the Infinite One shining into Chochma. One who does not do this lacks the fulfillment of the root of the positive commandments. This is the idea behind the fourth level of not doing a positive commandment.

chanoch's Commentary

From the reading in Section 3 and this section from the beginning of 4A to now we need to realize that Tikune always relates to a Mitzva. The actions of the Mitzvot are simple and easy to do. The addition of having the proper timing of the ritual and the proper Kavenah of the ritual is not easy. From this statement i realized that there are 5 components to the action of doing a Mitzvah. When we do not do any of these components completely in a Righteous manner that is the cause of the breaks mentioned above as different levels of Teshuvah that must be done to repair our mistakes, errors and sins. What are these 5 components of the Mitzvah?

Preparation of components of the Mitzvah. An example would be acquiring the 4 species between Yom Kippur and Sukkot. Yet what about a Mitzvah that does not require any preparation of a component? Give me an example and i will attempt to explain it. There are always outside components to a Mitzvah. When one Prays (as an example) one had had to purchase a Siddur or maybe not, a prayer from the heart. In the Shulchan Aruch the Mitzvah of Prayer deals with Hebrew prayer and recommends that one have a siddur. No positive Mitzvah does not require a preparation of components. This component relates to Keter and the separation between Malchut of Keter and Yesod of Keter in my opinion.

Preparation for the Kavenah for doing the Mitzvah. This relates to the separation between Chochma and Keter as described above in my opinion.

The study of the Mitzvah from the commentaries and the written and Oral Torah. this relates to the separation between Binah and Chochma in my opinion.

When one anticipates the pleasure of doing the Mitzvah or connects to the pleasure of the Mitzvah for their own sake after doing the Mitzvah. In other words, thinks about that event in their lives, this is not doing the Mitzvah to give pleasure to the Creator which is what we need to do. This relates to the separation between Zeir Anpin and Binah in my opinion.

The physical act of doing the Mitzvah relates to separating between Malchut and Zeir Anpin in my opinion.

One day there will be an addendum to the various lists of Mitzvot which will include these 5 categories of creating separation. Then people will begin to actually do Teshuvah knowing what they did incorrectly since the actions that they do in this lifetime relate to the mistakes they made in earlier lifetimes. If anybody is interested in doing this list which will be posted on teh yeshshem website let me know. This may be a collaborative effort so let me know if you would like to do a number of Mitzvot instead of all of them. Perhaps i will be able to put you in contact with a group already involved with this yeshshem project.

The second division of atonement is when a person violates a negative mitzvah, for which his teshuvah is suspended' [does not evoke immediate forgiveness], and so for which Yom Kippur must atone. This is because the person sinned and damaged Yetzira, specifically the level of Tiferet, causing Malchut to separate as well as the six sefirot of Yetzira.

His simple repentance only reaches to malchut and therefore he needs the engine of Yom Kippur to fuel and propel his teshuvah up to repair Yetzira.

chanoch's Commentary

Yom Kippur is a "Day Like Purim." This means a day after Mashiach arrives. All mistakes and sins will be corrected and we will start over completely righteous. That is actually what happens on the Day of Yom Kiippur and that is why the above comments have been made. They are hints to the changes that happen to every human being on that day providing they have done their spiritual work during the 7 weeks of consolation and the days of awe leading up to Yom Kippur.

It is important to note that there are deeper degrees of teshuvah that indeed by themselves ascend to Yetzirah and even above, to mend. This applies to the following divisions of atonement that require other things with teshuvah to repair.

The deeper one digs in his heart to return to G-d, the greater the velocity and the higher the teshuvah will reach.

The deeper one digs in his heart to return to G-d, the greater the velocity and the higher the teshuvah will reach. Therefore, "nothing stands before teshuvah." (Yerushalmi Pe'ah, Chapter 1)

The underlying idea is that the common denominator of Bina and teshuvah both draw from Bina. As mentioned, teshuvah is the grand transcending energy of existence. The secret of its power to repair is that it is the pure, pristine, untainted source in the universe. Anything can so be fixed by harnessing this amazing energy. The only issue is how much of this energy needs to be drawn to fix a specific mistake. The greater the mistake, the more needs to be drawn, as we find in actual cases of those who did the worst things and repaired everything through teshuvah. ( Avodah Zara, Gittin)

When this person repents, then malchut returns to its place in the secret of teshuvah/tashuv-hei. However, regarding the six sefirot, a void remains among them, and though it [malchut] wants to rise and bond with them, it cannot and will not be able to until the light of Beriya [Bina] comes, which is called 'Yom Kippur.' This is what is meant by, "his teshuvah is suspended and Yom Kippur atones."

"A day one repents is above time...and so is Yom Kippur above time." (Likutei Moharan)

Once someone did something and etched it into reality, how can they possibly change it? It must be that the power of repentance draws from a higher reality. And so the Sages teach, "Teshuvah preceded the world." (Breishit Raba 1:4) Coming from a deeper dimension, it affords the ability to enter the master booth and edit the film of Life.

In order to access this awesome power, one must go to a deeper dimension of the self. Change in such a place evokes a tremor of change in the depths of existence/reality.

Within this level, there are also the four levels we mentioned with respect to Asiya, except that all of them are in the secret of Yetzira descending into Asiya and not into the kelipot.

The third level of atonement is when a person commits a sin whose punishment is kareit [excision]14 14, which blemishes Beriya.

KRT/kareit comes from KTR/keter - for its damage reaches to there, and from there the person is cut off.

Perhaps here things are being said in relative terms. For the Ari here mentions the world of Beriya in terms of its association with Chochma, and Bina and Atzilut with keter, while elsewhere Beriya identifies with Bina alone and Atzilut only with Chochma. The effect of chillul Hashem is worse than that of sins involving kareit and is therefore described as reaching until Keter. Kareit issues, which are not as bad, are described as coming to a notch lower, Chochma and Bina. This however doesn't mean to say that they have no line to Keter also.

The brit [covenant] God established with people is as if from His highest 15 - Keter. Different mistakes cause different problems. Some do not go so deeply as to disturb the brit. There are however those that do. This is the idea of our category at hand. The brilliant light of Keter becomes kareit. This is a prime example of how raw energy can be utilized either way16 .

As seen from here, teshuvah helps even for such deep disturbances.

When he repents, Yom Kippur is also [only able to] suspend [his atonement]. For Tiferet and Malchut cannot return to their places until suffering comes from Abba and Imma, which has the effect of purging sin. In the secret of, "YH [G-d] has much chastised me" (Psalms 118:18). "YH" refers to Abba and Imma. Also in the secret of "From the straits I called YH" (Psalms 118:5). From these come trouble and suffering. There are four levels here as well.

As mentioned previously, the Yud of G-d’s Name corresponds to Atzilut /Chochma /Abba, the following Hei corresponding to Beriya/Bina/Imma.

Chochma and Bina, the eighth and ninth sefirot, transcend our world of seven days/directions from the seven lower sefirot. As said, the simple meaning of this is that the secret of how suffering actually fixes and is good comes from a source above this world.

Suffering purges a person of sins that the lowest degree of teshuvah has not.

Suffering purges a person of sins that the lowest degree of teshuvah has not. It is a function of Providence emanating from Chochma and Bina.

As mentioned, it is important to note that the amount of suffering necessary for rectification all depends upon the degree of teshuvah; the greater the teshuvah, the less pain necessary to make repair.

What do Chochma and Bina have to do with suffering? The world was created for love. (Psalms 81:3) There is nonetheless an opposite movement planted in the inner workings of the universe which is designed to ultimately bring about the greatest expression of love. One who made mistakes, damages and soils his soul and makes it unfit to receive this love. Suffering cleanses and restores the soul to its full fitness. Chochma and Bina are the source mental faculties. The lower sefirot are the source of both the emotions and the time/space continuum. This means that from their perspective, ‘good’ and ‘bad’ are determined by what is experienced in the moment. In terms of the moment, suffering is felt as being not good. In order to appreciate the gift of good that it grants the soul, one needs to transcend the small limited picture of the moment. This is why the tikune of suffering is drawn from Chochma and Bina which transcend the moment/world/limited outlook.

The fourth division of atonement is when a person commits 'chillul Hashem' [profanes the name of G-d], which has the effect of damaging Atzilut, also called the 'world of [eternal] life' - since there is no death there. Yet he caused[some aspect of] death in the world of life and eternity, and therefore his teshuvah and Yom Kippur suspend [punishment], since none of the three worlds can ascend there - until the day of his death, measure-for-measure. This [then] completely atones for him, and there are also four levels here.

Dishonoring the Divine Name...shakes the foundations of existence.

"All that I created - for My honor I created, formed - indeed made…" (Isaiah 43:7). Dishonoring the Divine Name does the opposite and shakes the foundations of existence. This is how it touches the untouchable place, Atzilut. Even though it is intrinsically a place of such pure high light no damage can affect it, chillul Hashem/ profanation of G-d's Name can at least masquerade to reach there because it is so serious a sin.

The literal meaning of the word chillul comes from challal, literally meaning empty. Challal is also used to refer to a corpse, devoid of soul. The implication is very deep. This word is further associated with the concept of the challal hapanoi [empty vacuum], the original empty space that was made to facilitate reality. (Eitz Chaim, Likutei Moharan 49) A line of light was drawn into the vacuum; from it everything was made. As said, the purpose of this is for the Divine glory. Dishonor, as it were, cloaks and removes the shining of the line of light, leaving an ‘empty vacuum’, hence chillul Hashem.5

Now it can be understood why removing of the soul of one committed this sin repairs it. Measure for measure, he caused challal/vacuum above; therefore, the same happens to him. This however doesn't means to say that there are no other means of repair. The simplest alternative, which is actually sweet and easy, is for someone to increase in honoring and sanctifying G-d’s name. Give Him a good reputation in any and every way that you can; "that the Name of Heaven should become beloved through you." (Yoma 86:1)

A deeper form of repair is through deep teshuvah. One who caused a concealment of the deepest aspect of Divinity needs to return to G-d from the deepest aspect of self. This involves teshuvah from great love and mesirut nefesh/self-sacrifice. Measure for measure, G-d reciprocates and restores his missing light and honor.6 Giving the deepest inner self evokes that level to come down from Above. Moreover, "great are repentants for they draw light with extra power". (Zohar) The light restored is actually greater than what was removed.


13. Six directions plus the middle point. (Maharal)

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14. These cases are mostly enumerated in parashat Kedoshim.

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15. That is, relative to us; indeed the intrinsic Divine Essence is infinitely aloof even from Keter. [“Even the supernal Keter is dark before the ‘Cause of Causes’” (Zohar)]. But in the manifestations of the sefirot, Keter, the highest sefira, is as if the highest rung of Divinity.

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16. As seen soon also by other word pairs such as oneg-nega, shefa-pesha. In truth, “from the mouth of the Supernal One no evil comes out” (Eccl.). The so to speak Divine face manifests to a person according to what face that person shows G-d. The pure, pristine keter force is most certainly not given to be tainted no matter what anyone does. But a person can ‘blow the circuits’ and cause the expression of this energy to himself to be harmful. The holy connection to G-d in the aspect of brit can be turned to losing connection above and being left bereft of manifest G-dliness. (See Likutei Moharan 36)

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17. HaShem means The Name. The first thing made by the light is the Divine Name. A hiding of the light hides expression of The Name.

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18. “And the earth shines from His glory” (Hagiga). Honor and light are conceptually synonymous. When you honor someone, you figuratively grant them existence. The more honor you give them, the more they are real to you, themselves, and the universe. As seen in worldly terms - the more prestige a person has, the more power they have. Light also possesses this quality. Even though everything that exists in a room exists equally with light or without it, the meaningfulness of all that is in the room depends greatly upon light.

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[Translation and commentary by Perets Auerbach.]

Three Different Kinds of Sin

Chapter 21 Section 4B

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

Now we will also explain the differences between cheit [iniquity], avon [transgression], and pesha [rebellious sin].

Pesha is when a person recognizes his Master, and yet rebels against Him to cause anger. Pesha is when a person recognizes his Master, and yet rebels against Him to cause anger. This causes the kelipot to take all of the ShPA/'shefa' [spiritual sustenance], which shares the same letters of PShA/'pesha,' except re-arranged. So the shefa does then not come down to the Jewish people at all. [It is 'rearranged' and given into the wrong hands - the sitra achra.]

This comes from the Sefer Yetzira. It also mentions there ONG/oneg [delight] which permutates to NGO/nega [tzara'at, various skin diseases (usually and incorrectly translated as "leprosy") that can render a person spiritually impure]. It is a great lesson in how ‘every man digs his own grave’. The same Divine flux granted to the person that could have been utilized for good and would have resulted in delight instead was used for bad and digs the person a grave of problems - relative states of death.

Avon is when a person does whatever he wants, but not to anger G-d, but just to enjoy forbidden things he desires. This also causes the kelipot to take the shefa that flows down, except that after they take it they eventually return and leave a little of the shefa for us as well. This is the secret of exile [during which a minimum amount of spiritual sustenance makes it through].

The world was made from the Torah and for the sake of fulfilling it.

One of the problems of exile is that it switches the proper order. The world was made from the Torah and for the sake of fulfilling it. The Divine flow then comes to its target audience on the side of holiness. The sitra achra receives afterwards and is subsidiary. This is the fitting order. If the sitra achra is as if on top and receives first, this gives it license to act as the main thing.

When redemption comes everyone will see the truth and the king will be restored to his royal status and the servant to his place.

This will help you to understand two statements of the Sages in the last chapter of Yoma (86b), the first being: "Great is teshuvah, for it transforms deliberate sins into accidental ones." This is talking about the level of sin called pesha, which causes the kelipot to take all the shefa for themselves. However, as a result of teshuvah, he can cause the kelipot to later surrender that shefa [back] to us.

...teshuvah can fix even such Things.

Measure for measure; if the person fully rebelled, he loses all his shefa. The discovery here is that teshuvah can fix even such things.

The other opinion is that the deliberate transgressions become merits. This is talking about the level of avon, sins for the sake of fulfilling desires. When a person repents for such sins, he prevents the kelipot from taking any shefa at all, [And] even that which they originally took for themselves [is restored to holiness].

Teshuvah can go so far that even rebellious sins can be turned into actual merits. Of it says the Prophet, "I will heal their backslidings, I will love them freely" (Haggai). It is a Divine magic gift that can change and transform truckloads of mistakes into masses of good energy

[Translation and commentary by Perets Auerbach.]