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

Rectification of the Wicked and the Righteous

Chapter 22 Section 1

Regarding the punishment in this world of the souls of wicked people, they have to reincarnate many times to rectify their sins, and there is almost no person who can avoid these gilgulim. After they die, the wicked enter Purgatory and receive punishment there to atone for their sins, and their judgment lasts twelve months.

chanoch adds: i think the word in Hebrew is Gehinom and it is better to translate it as hell and not purgatory. In the Western world purgatory is a place that the soul waits for its judgment. That is not what this is referring to. Also, this information regarding time is confusing since we truly do not know what time looks like or feels like. Yet our sages have said to say Kaddish for the elevation of our parents' souls for 11 months. They determined that the soul may spend less time in Gehinom and thus do not want to say Kaddish the full time of 12 months to imply that our parents are the Rashaim or evil people who earned the full cleansing of 12 months.

Their souls get pushed from gilgul to gilgul until their sins have been cleansed a little. There are wicked people of whom the verse says, "And may He hurl away the soul of your enemies as one shoots a stone from a slingshot" (Samuel I 25:29); they don’t yet merit to enter Purgatory after their deaths to cleanse their sins. Rather, their souls get pushed from gilgul to gilgul until their sins have been cleansed a little [just enough] to allow them to enter Purgatory for twelve months to atone. There is no set time for this, sometimes they can continue in gilgulim for ten, one hundred, or even one thousand years - depending upon to what extent they sinned previously.

chanoch adds: This may be a new information for you. There are negative actions that require someone to reincarnate rather than be cleansed in Gehinom. In the western world we are taught that the worst place is Gehinom. Actually our world can be the worst or it can be the best. It depends on your choice of consciousness.

Though Purgatory is not a place one looks forward to, once a person requires atonement it becomes a necessity. However, even to enter Purgatory one must not have slipped to too low a spiritual level because if he has, he will first require gilgulim to raise him to a level that can allow him to enter Purgatory and achieve his final atonement.

However, righteous people and Torah scholars can never be affected by the fires of Purgatory, as it is written regarding Elisha: "He cannot be judged because of his involvement with Torah." (Chagiga 15b) Therefore, they need to reincarnate in this world to cleanse their sins for, "There is no righteous person in the world who does good and does not sin" (Eccl. 7:20).

Torah-learning provides a special protection against the rectifying "flames" of Purgatory, which creates a problem for a Torah scholar in need of rectification. Therefore, he has no alternative but to complete all of his tikunim through gilgulim instead.

chanoch's Commentary

Please do not accept the tone of the above two paragraphs that imply the study of Torah is a punishment that the Torah student / scholar reincarnates to complete all of his tikunim. The cleansing of Gehinom is no picnic, according to the writings. Torah is a protection shield to escape the pain and waste of time connected to Gehinom.

A righteous person after he leaves this world is able to ascend to great heights in the world-to-come, but not all at once. Immediately after his death they punish him to rid him of his more severe sins, after which time they place him past the first division. When the time comes to ascend to a higher partition, they return him [to this world] to receive more punishment, this time for the lighter sins, after which he can ascend to the second level.

Then he will finally be able to ascend to his true, fitting section in paradise.

After that, they return him again to be punished for the minutiae of the law - the 'hairsbreadth' that he did not carry out, according to the secret of, "His [closely] surrounding ones are [subject to] extreme turbulent [conditions]" (Psalms 50:3). Then he will finally be able to ascend to his true, fitting section [in paradise].

Completely righteous people like David or Daniel, G-d wanted to make known that they were in the world-to-come and that they would not require neither punishment nor gilgulim. As it says, "Had I not trusted that I would see the goodness of G-d in the land of life!" (Psalms 27:13), and, "One thing I asked from G-d, this that I shall seek. That I dwell in the House of G-d all the days of my life." (Psalms 27:4).

This was also stated by Abigail the prophetess (Megila) when she said, "The nefesh of my master is bound up in the bundle of life" (Samuel I 25:29). Of Daniel it was said, "As for you, go to your end [where] you will rest." (Daniel 12:13).

chanoch's Commentary

The three steps of reincarnation to effect cleansing of the soul at three levels also allows these Tzadikim to arrive at higher levels of consciousness and to be able to serve HaShem in a more complete way.

Judgement After Death

Chapter 22 Section 2

We find explicitly stated in Midrash Ne’elam of the Zohar on the verse, "For all the good that G-d did for David and Israel his people" (Kings I 8:66), that David stayed in the world-to-come seven years after his death before they allowed him to enter the upper Jerusalem [the upper level of paradise].

David stayed in the world-to-come seven years after his death before they allowed him to enter upper Jerusalem.

We also find this with respect to Samuel the prophet, who is considered equal to Moses and Aaron, (Psalms 99:6) when Saul raised him [from the dead] using Ob…

One of the ancient and forbidden methods of sorcery, using bones done to raise up the dead and communicate with them. (Lev. 19:31).

…as it says, "Why did you disturb me to raise me up?" (Samuel I 28:15). The Sages say, "He [Samuel] was afraid that it was the great day of judgment." (Vayikra Raba 26:7)

So would it seem that even if one is judged at the time of death, still there are more judgments and punishments to follow.

Even Rabbi Yochanan Ben Zakkai, "who did not miss one verse or mishna" cried at the time of his death, as it says in Brachot (28b). [So his students asked him,] "What will be with the other righteous people who are not like you, and how much more so those people whose sins are many?"

In other words, if he was worried about judgment after death, then what about the rest of us who don’t come close to him in deed?

However, it is not now the place to elaborate.

Because of a certain sin he committed, he was reincarnated into this rock.

On many occasions I walked with my teacher through a field, and he would say to me, "This person was called such-and-such, and though he was a righteous person and Torah scholar, because of a certain sin he committed he was reincarnated into this rock, or this plant, etc." Even though he never knew the person nor inquired about him after his death, we always found that he was right. If we discussed this in depth, this book would never end!

Sometimes, he would look from a distance of five hundred amot [cubits, about 1000 feet] at a certain grave that was among twenty thousand others, and he would see the nefesh of the person buried there standing on the grave. He would say to us, "In that grave is buried so-and-so, and they gave him such-and-such a punishment for such-and-such a sin." We would then investigate the person’s life and find his words to be true. There are many great stories like this one.

chanoch adds: This whole section is explaining the idea that we can know what is the judgment for each one of us through our intuition. It takes great effort to learn the punishment since human beings look for the least effort involved. To learn that this will be your punishment which might be as little as being stillborn as the reincarnation to cleanse what you have to cleanse a human being might think i do not need to do Teshuvah Chas V shalom. A few months in my mother's womb is not a problem. This is the silliness of man.

Forms of Gilgulim

Chapter 22 Section 3

When a person dies, he is punished for all of his sins even before entering Purgatory. There are many types of punishment, all of which are called 'gilgulim,' through which a person can reincarnate: into domaim [mineral], tzomai'och [vegetation], chai [inanimate], or into midabair [another person]. Just about everyone must undergo these gilgulim.

The reason is because a person cannot receive punishment until he exists physically in a body with a soul, at which time he can bear and feel pain and atone for his sins. The extent to which a person sins determines the type of gilgul he will have to undergo, either as something from the tzomai'och [domain], or as chai, etc.

Thus, even righteous people and Torah scholars can reincarnate in this manner for having committed sins in their lifetimes, after which time they will ascend to the level befitting them. The sin must be removed, for G-d does not disregard [any of them], since He operates according to judgment. Even should the person be completely righteous, He will not accept any 'bribe' from him - even a mitzvah.

Also, when a person wants to ascend to a higher level he is sent back [to this world] and reincarnates in one of the manners mentioned above, if he still has a particular sin to purge.

Once I was with my teacher and he told me about a certain man he saw from the time of the Tanaim (chanoch adds: Sages who lived before the writing of the Talmud.) who reincarnated into a female goat for having had relations by the light of a candle [which is forbidden by Jewish law (Orach Chayim Tsniyut)]. This can result in children who are epileptic (Nedarim), which it turned out they were, and as a result died young. It was literally considered [that he was guilty of] spilling the blood of his children.

Another time, he told us that he saw a very learned Torah scholar from a previous generation for whom the time had come to ascend to a higher level. Therefore, at that time, he could see him being punished for not having been scrupulous in the finer points of mitzvot, in order for him to ascend to a higher level. According to the level to which a person is to be elevated, that is the extent to which he must be purified - even for the finer details of mitzvot, to a hairsbreadth.

At that time the person was punished for two reasons. Firstly for having become distracted from his tefilin while saying the words, "May it be Your will before You... that we shouldn’t toil for naught and not give birth to confusion" after the kedusha in the prayer, "U'Va LeTziyon." When concentrating on this prayer, he became distracted from his tefilin, and for that slight transgression he was punished.

Secondly, one Shabbat, [as] he walked in a public domain, some dust gathered on his shoe, and as a result he carried four amot [cubits] unwittingly in a public domain.

Now you can understand what it means when it says that righteous people have no rest in the world-to-come, as the Sages teach on the verse (Psalms 84:8), "They go from strength to strength" (Berachot 64b). As they ascend from level to level, they need to purge [previous sins] even more.

The positive, deeper meaning is that they are constantly in a state of ascent. A person is connected to G-d in the next world the same way he is here - just amplified (Zohar). In order to merit proper acceleration and ascent there, one must start by doing it here. And so it is necessary to renew oneself every day. Start today's quest for enlightenment with new vigor and enthusiasm. This is the key to being constantly fresh. (Likutei Moharan)

chanoch's Commentary

There are some questions that need to be clarified about this section. Western wisdom teaches that a positive action will cancel a negative action. This is not correct. If this were true most people would find themselves on a negative overload. Yet there are some positive actions like charity that will atone for a negative action. This is what is taught by the Rabbis of the Talmud. This does not make sense to me. My opinion feels that each action stands on its own and the effect of that action is received in the various locations of cleansing or the eternal rest location for that soul. If people would think they can not cleanse a negative action without Teshuvah then everyone would be doing Teshuvah all the times and there would be no free will in this area. My world view dictates that if each action would be rescinded by another action this would need to be on some scale other than money. This is because each person's money comes from HaShem. i just can not see the action of charity undoing a negative action since the person is using the tool that HaShem provided to him. If the charity did not cause him distress to give it then it would not be sufficient to act as a cleansing of some other type of negative action.

chanoch adds: Below is written some explanations as to why the above described sins are considered minor. i disagree with these teachings since we are taught that it is not up to us to determine what is a major Mitzvah and what Mitzvah is a minor Mitzvah. i think this applies as well to the mistakes we make. We can not know what is major and what is minor when it comes to a mistake. An example of this is Jonathan not giving King David food when he escaped from King Saul. Jonathan was judged with death since the result of his oversight was for David to stop at the Cohen city of Nob for food. The result was King Saul caused 200 Cohenim to be killed. Another reason is that just as modern science teaches us a butterfly flapping its wings in China can create the hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico, we can not know the results of our actions with our limited senses.

Tefilin provide consciousness (see Likutei Moharan II 8). Therefore, “It is forbidden to take the mind off tefilin while wearing them” (Orach Chayim Tefilin). This is called generally considered a 'slight' sin because it involves the mind, which G-d knows that it is more difficult for a person to control.

Shabbat laws forbid carrying objects over this distance (Orach Chayim Shabbat). Under normal circumstances this would not be a problem, since the person did not intend to carry the dust, it is something insignificant, and it was not transported in the usual manner of someone who would intentionally carry it. Again, at the time of this soul's chance to ascend to a very high level, it was judged for this too.

[Translation and commentary by Perets Auerbach.]

Elevation and Descent of Gilgulim

Chapter 22 Section 4

As is well known, the entire world was made from the parts of the "seven kings that ruled in the land of Edom" (Gen. 36:31) who died and [the fallen sparks] were separated out. (Eitz Chayim, Sha'ar Shevirat Hakeilim)

Prior to day one of creation and the existence of the sefirot as we know them, there existed preliminary sefirot, the vessels which G-d was forced to break. This resulted in the world of Tohu [chaos]. Since these were preliminary sefirot, they were not given their final names of keter, chochma, etc. They are referred to by the names of the kings of Edom mentioned in the Book of Genesis (Chap. 36), and the pre-creation existence is called "the Land of Edom." Once G-d willed the world to be, He sent down a repairing light that 'resurrected' as many of the broken pieces necessary for existence, separating them out from amongst the kelipot.

Those which were the most refined were used for the level of Atzilut, and the next level went to Beriya, after that to Yetzira, and finally to Asiya.

From those used to create Asiya, the most refined were used for man and they were separated out first. After that came the animals who cannot speak, then the vegetable kingdom, and after that inanimate creation. However, a righteous person through his actions such as eating for the sake of a mitzvah, can separate out aspects of the inanimate world and elevate them to the level of the vegetable kingdom, or the animal kingdom, or even to the level of man, as we have explained in Sha’ar HaMitzvot, in the portion Eikev on the mitzvah of Birkat Hamazon.

It all depends upon how intensely one is connected to the spiritual energy inside the food, and not drawn after the physical desire. (Likutei Moharan)

A wicked person, however, through his actions can cause just the opposite to happen and will lower [the sparks down] rungs. Some sins can cause portions of man [soul sparks] to descend until the level of domaim, some until tsoma'och, and some until chai. Thus, after a wicked person dies he can reincarnate into an inanimate rock as a result of the sins he performed in his lifetime, or into vegetation, or into an animal - if his sins were animal-like.

The person who reincarnates in this way will remain there for a set amount of time until he has become purged of the sin that caused him to reincarnate into vegetation. After, he will be elevated to the level of the animal kingdom, and when the time is complete, he will be elevated to that of man.

Reincarnating into a man can happen in one of two ways. Regarding the first way, and the souls of wicked people which after death do not merit to enter Purgatory, or bodies of living people in this world, we will speak about later. According to the second way, they may enter a person in the secret of 'ibur' ['pregnancy' (an added soul part)] as we spoke about earlier, clinging to the person without him even knowing anything at all.

Just as an accessory can be added to a stereo system to enhance and increase the sound it produces, so can soul parts be added to amplify its tendencies and performance - for good or otherwise.

Thus, if a person sins, the nefesh that has come into him will overcome him, and the person will sin and be pulled to the side of evil. For just as the soul of a righteous person enters a person to help him do good, so the soul of a wicked person causes another to do evil.

Sometimes the ibur is to help the soul rectify itself, and sometimes it is for the sake of the person to bring him to do good. These two levels also exist with respect to the ibur of an evil soul, either for the sake if it having entered the body of a righteous person, or to cause an wicked man to 'complete' his evil and warrant destruction from the world, G-d forbid.

An evil soul can come into the body of a righteous person to achieve tikune through his actions. It can also come into the body of a wicked person to accelerate his spiritual demise.

Once the set time to atone has finished for the soul that has reincarnated into a person in one of these two ways just mentioned, then he is forgiven. He can then come into this world as a true gilgul, born into a body like most people.

chanoch adds: Section 4 is preliminary information so that we can make use of the next section. In my opinion the information is clear. If it is not clear to you please ask.

[Translation and commentary by Perets Auerbach.]

Order of Ascension of Gilgulim

Chapter 22 Section 5

Reincarnation to something domaim or into tsome'ach, etc., happens at specific times of the year. For example, someone who reincarnated into something inanimate for a few years, when the time arrives for him to ascend to the higher level of tsome'ach, he can only do so during the four middle months of the year: Av, Elul, Tishrei, and Cheshvan. If the time to ascend occurs during these four months then he will ascend. If not, he will have to wait until these four middle months come around again.

The time to be elevated from tsome'ach to chai is the first four months: Nissan, Iyar, Sivan, and Tammuz. The time to be elevated from chai to midabair is the last four months: Kislev, Tevet, Shevat, and Adar.

Even though the order of ascension is from the domaim to tsome'ach, then to chai, and finally to midabair, sometimes a person can climb two levels at once.

For example, if a soul reincarnated into something domaim such as dust, and an animal came along and ate grass which had the dust on it, then this soul will now reincarnate into that animal…

According to the principle "the nature of food is to become the eater." (Likutei Moharan) This is accomplished by digestion.

…thus rising two levels at once. Sometimes he can even reincarnate all levels at once - from domaim to midabair - if a person eats food that has dust into which a soul reincarnated.

Someone who has reincarnated into water and salt is not considered to be part of domaim, rather tsome'ach, since water is life-giving - it flows and it is not stationary like dust. Salt itself is made from water and therefore is it considered part of tsome'ach. This is what the Sages say: One who takes salt from his quarry is guilty of 'cutting,' and as it is well known [in the laws of Shabbat that] such cutting only applies to things belonging to tsome'ach. (Shabbat, Chap. 7)

These types of reincarnations are discussed in many places and are alluded to by the verse, "Rescue my soul from the sword, my only one from the grip of the dog [i.e. from reincarnation into him]" (Psalms 22:21).

The Sages hinted to this when they said: If the head of an ox is in the feeding basket, go to the roof and be very careful. One who sees a black ox during the month of Nisan should run from it and go up to the roof because the Satan is dancing between its horns. (Berachot 33a)

This is what they mean. Since the ox represents strict judgment it is better suited for the gilgul of a [wicked] soul more than other animals, and therefore you should run from it more than from other animals. For, there is no better time to reincarnate from vegetation to animals than in Nissan and the three months that follow. Therefore, during the month of Nissan, because of the addition of a wicked ibur, it might damage anyone who meets it. However, after he [the ox] is accustomed to it [the ibur], he will not cause harm, and therefore there is no reason to be so concerned regarding the elevation.

The ox, by eating the grass, allows the wicked person who was originally tsome'ach to reincarnate into it. We have already explained the story of Yanus and Yambrus, the sons of Balaam the wicked, who made the calf in the month of Tammuz, in regard to whom it says, "for the likeness of a grass-eating ox" (Psalms 106:20).

(Elsewhere it says in the name of Rav Chaim Vital that 'eisev' [grass] spells AShB - the head-letters of the words 'Shivah Asar b’Tammuz' [the 17th of Tamuz].)

The day on which Moses broke the two tablets, after seeing the golden calf constructed in the Jewish camp, is within one of the four months that souls reincarnate from vegetation to animals. Balaam’s sons were there at the time, and they used their magical abilities to draw down the radiance of the image of the ox from the merkavah [chariot] in Heaven.

Naval HaCarmeli reincarnated into something inanimate, and thus it says, "His heart died within him and he was a rock" (I Samuel 25:37). The secret of this is understood from knowing that Laban reincarnated into Balaam, and later into Naval HaCarmeli. Balaam, who was a snake-charmer, had power only in his mouth to curse people, and when Balaam was killed it was with a single rock something domem [literally meaning 'silent'] - to atone for the charming he did with his mouth.

When he further reincarnated it was into Naval HaCarmeli, originally for the sake of rectification. But instead he angered David when he said, "Who is David and who is Ben Yishai?" (Samuel I 25:10). David wanted to kill him; instead he came to rectify the wicked speech of Balaam. Instead, he [Balaam] repeated the mistake, and therefore "his heart died" when he remembered that he had once been a rock. This is why the verse does not say, "and he became a rock," but rather, "he was a rock."

You need not wonder how he knew this, for Naval was an important person and it is even likely that he was a prophet, or just someone with great understanding. It could be that his mazel understood this, even though he did not.

The concept of reincarnating into something inanimate is also hinted to by the verse, "The stone from the wall cries out" (Habakkuk 2:11). For, it is possible for stones in a wall to be reincarnations, or for wood rafters to be from the level of vegetation, and they will cry out from the extent of their punishment which they are undergoing. We will explain other verses along these lines.

[Translation and commentary by Perets Auerbach.]

Sins and their Reincarnations

Chapter 22 Section 6

One who speaks loshon hara [i.e. slander], or similar will reincarnate into a stone, which cannot speak and as we said [in the preceding section] regarding Naval HaCarmelli, since the opposite of speaking is silence.

Someone who feeds improperly slaughtered meat [in Hebrew, 'neveilah'] to a Jew comes back as a leaf on a tree, the level of vegetation. The wind blowing him back-and-forth will never allow him rest and this will be his punishment. When his time is over, the leaf will become detached from the tree, wither [in Hebrew, 'novelet], and fall to the ground. This is an example of a real death for him one who was cut off and uprooted from the world.

Sometimes the withered leaf can return as another leaf which will wither...

This is the secret of the verse, "The leaf will wither" (Jeremiah 8:13), since one who feeds neveilah to a Jew reincarnates into a leaf that withers and falls to the ground. This is also the secret of the verse, "You will be like a elm tree with withered leaves" (Isaiah 1:30). Because sometimes the withered leaf can return as another leaf which will wither, even many times, as in the case of a person who has to reincarnate many times in this world to receive his specified punishment.

Some people reincarnate into water, [which is] considered on the level of vegetation, as we mentioned previously. This can happen to a person who spills blood in this world, and you can remember this from "you will spill it [blood] on the ground like water" (Deut. 12:16).

It also says, "One who spilled the blood of another, his blood will be spilled" (Gen. 9:6), meaning that he will be placed under a flow of water that will pour on him constantly. He will want to get up and stand, but the water will constantly pour on him and he will find no relief, constantly rotating in circles under the flow of water.

Anyone meant to die by strangulation ... will reincarnate into water.

This is hinted to in the verse, "We will all die, like water flowing along the ground that connects [shall we] be collected" (Samuel II 14:14). As well, anyone meant to die by strangulation but who was not punished by a court, will reincarnate into water and so be 'strangled' every moment.

One who commits adultery with a married woman, and who is therefore punishable by strangulation, will reincarnate into a grinding stone, into which wheat is placed and which uses water to grind. That is where the man and woman will be judged, in the secret of "for another my wife will be ground" (Job 31:10).

The word 'grinding' is used here as a euphemism for marital relations. (Sota Chap.1)

One who is not scrupulous with the washing of the hands [before eating bread] will reincarnate into water. This is the secret of the verse, "Then they would have surged across our soul, the treacherous waters. Blessed is G-d, Who did not present us as prey for their teeth" (Psalms 124:5-6). The head-letters of "nisananu teref lishenaihem [did not present us as prey for their teeth]" spell the word NTL [to wash].

We must thank G-d that we, unlike the wicked, wash our hands.

This is the secret of what the Sages say: One who eats without washing his hands is uprooted from the world and is judged with water. (Sota 4b) There is a hint to this from, "Blessed is G-d, Who did not present us as prey for their teeth," whose head-letters spell the word NTL [wash]; by washing one’s hands one is not given "as prey for their teeth," that is, of the surging waters. Therefore, we must thank G-d that we, unlike the wicked, wash our hands.

One who does not recite blessings in advance of enjoying something, treating them with no respect, or steals from his father or mother, or befriends a destructive person, also reincarnates into water.

Some reincarnate into animals. A community leader who lords himself over others reincarnates into a bee, as Rabbi Nachman bar Yitzchak said: "Pride does not suit women. Two women were proud, and the names of both were not positive: one was called 'bee' and the other was called 'weasel'. (Megila14b) He was referring to Deborah the prophetess, who lorded herself over Barak when she sent for him and did not go to him herself (Judges 4:6).

The other was Chuldah the prophetess, who insulted Josiah the king when she said, "Speak to the man" (Kings II 22:15), as opposed to "Speak to the king," as the Sages say. From their words you can see that Deborah was a proud woman, and therefore she didn’t perform any work and was very talkative, never remaining silent. Therefore, a leader who lords himself over the community, and one who speaks improperly, comes back as a bee who have these two traits.

[Translation and commentary by Perets Auerbach.]

Beit Din, Enforcers, and Other Incarnations

Chapter 22 Section 7

Regarding these types of gilgulim or any soul that is judged in the heavenly court, someone goes before him continuously announcing his gilgul or punishment, never leaving him. There is also one 'enforcer' assigned to him, punishing him as is fitting. For example, in the case of one who reincarnates into water, the enforcer stands over him continuously, constantly lowering him into the water for the duration of allotted time.

The enforcer stands over him continuously, constantly lowering him into the water for the duration of allotted time.

As well, for the majority of reincarnations or punishments mentioned, there is a court before him during the period of the gilgul or punishment, judging him, changing his punishment from time-to-time according to what is fitting for him.

(Shmuel said: I found another collection of writings of those close [to the Arizal], and even though within them are words of the Rav, it seems that they are not from the mouth of my teacher, the Rav - 'the great feeder of all', as he [the author] wrote. Nevertheless, I will present them. This is what I found in the book of HaRav Eliezer HaLevi, though in my humble opinion without doubt they are not from my teacher.)

One who has relations with an animal reincarnates as a bat. One who has relations with nidah [a menstruant] reincarnates into a female gentile; with a married woman into a male donkey; with his mother, into a female donkey.

One who commits homosexuality reincarnates into a coney or a rabbit, depending upon whether he was the one committing the act or to whom it occurred.

One who has relations with his daughter-in-law reincarnates into a mule; with a non-Jew, into a female Jewish prostitute; with one’s step-mother, into a camel; with one’s sister-in-law (brother’s wife), into a male mule; with one’s sister through his father or his mother, into a chasidah [a stork], and his companions will kill him. This is the secret of the verse, "If a man takes his sister through his father or his mother... it is a chesed." (Vayikra 20:17) [similar to the Hebrew word for stork]. It is the same for one who has relations with his mother-in-law.

One who constantly looks at those forbidden to him and gazes at them will reincarnate into a white vulture

One who lies with a domesticated animal, a wild animal, or a bird, reincarnates as a raven. One who constantly looks at those forbidden to him and gazes at them will reincarnate into 'ra'ah' [a white vulture] - who can ro-eh [see] the farthest of all birds. All of this is only when he has not done teshuvah.

(Shmuel said: This is the correct location for another introduction that I already wrote about in Sha’ar Ma’amrei Chazal regarding the reward for the righteous and 'chibut hakever' [the cleansing of the grave].)

[Translation and commentary by Perets Auerbach.]

Souls Fallen into Impurity

Chapter 23 Section 1

We already know from the Pirkei Rebbi Eliezer in the discussion of chibut hakever [torments of the grave] about the angel that comes to a person’s grave and asks him, "What is your name?" The person then answers, "G-d knows that I don’t know my name, etc."

The Baal Shem Tov recommended saying after each Amida prayer a verse of Psalms that begins and ends with the same letter that begins and ends one's Hebrew name, as a memory aid for that time--KabbalaOnLine

chanoch's Commentary

There is a few Kabbalistic commentaries that explain that the asking for the name serves two purposes. One is for the soul to realize that it has forgotten its soul name since it is so connected to the physicality. The other is for the soul to become embarrassed at how far he fell during this lifetime and to realize that he needs to cleanse from these mistakes.

The person then answers, "G-d knows that I don’t know my name," This is strange, for what does asking this question accomplish, and why does he forget his name? How does this help with the administration of punishment?

As we have said before, all souls were included in Adam before the sin, and that after he sinned, limbs 'fell off' him. As a result, the souls that were a part of him fell into the depths of the kelipot, and Adam fell to the level of only 'one hundred amot', as we spoke about elsewhere. (See chapter 7)

Not all the souls were equal, since the defect was not the same for all limbs. The limbs that were most affected by the sin of Adam fell deeper into the kelipot than other limbs more distant from the blemish. As a result, some souls pursue sin more than others.

Adam Bliya'al ['the despicable man'] mirrors Adam d’Kedushah ['the man of holiness'] Thus, the impact of the sin on a limb determined how deep it fell into the kelipot, since God made them correspond to each other. In other words, Adam Bliya'al ['the despicable man'] mirrors Adam d’Kedushah ['the man of holiness'], and also has 248 limbs and 365 tendons.

The limbs used by Adam to commit the sin fell from him to the corresponding level within Adam Bliya’al. There they were enveloped and enclothed by the kelipot on their corresponding level. For all the ways of G-d are just and straight without confusion (Deut. 32:4), and thus every limb fell to the corresponding level within Adam Bliya'al.

Therefore, all souls that fell from Adam, though enclothed in holiness prior to the sin, lost their crowns and glory after falling into the kelipot and instead donned clothing of kelipot. Hence, all souls have a level of kelipot that acts like clothing attached to it, according to the effect of Adam’s sin on it. That kelipa clothes the soul and encircles it all the days of its life [in the physical world]. Even though the soul is holy and spiritual it is nevertheless garbed in kelipot and dirt.

[Translation and commentary by Perets Auerbach.]