Advanced Reincarnation Class 70

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

Sparks of Adam's Limbs

Chapter 30 Section 1

Regarding the performance of mitzvot, it is important to know that every limb from the 248 limbs of the soul of Adam includes its own set of 248 limbs.

...every individual spark contains something from the entire limb...

This will be an explanation as to why it is not sufficient for a person to perform only those mitzvot that are relevant to his root. For just as each limb incorporates something from the 248 Limbs and so every limb is obligated to fulfill all 613 mitzvot, so too does every individual spark contain something from the entire limb, and is therefore commanded to fulfill all 613 mitzvot. (Bnei Aharon)

Therefore, the entire posture of Adam was dependent upon it. Thus for example, someone who comes from the shoulder-limb includes 248 limbs from head to heel.

The entire macrocosm is included in the microcosm as it says, "Man is a small world." (Tanya IV, chap. 12) Therefore, "A person is obligated to say, 'The world is created for me' (Sanhedrin 4:5) and accordingly to seek to fix it." (Likutei Moharan 5) Since man actually includes in himself all aspects of all parts of existence, working to perfect himself is a method to fix the entire universe.

Someone whose soul is specifically from the heel of the shoulder does not have to rectify the entire shoulder and all its defects - just the level of the heel itself.1 However, if a soul-spark from the level of the heel caused a defect, then all the sparks of the heel do have to rectify this blemish, since all of the sparks of the heel are interdependent. When the entire heel is rectified, then not one spark will have to reincarnate to rectify any defects for the rest of the sparks of the shoulder.

Furthermore, if a spark from the heel transgresses in such a way as to necessitate reincarnation to rectify the damage, it will do so with another [spark] from the heel to help him rectify it. However, if the transgression was one that results in the destruction of the body (i.e., excision), then that spark alone will reincarnate into another body without a partner while the first body will be destroyed.

he will continue to do so until he completes all the 613 mitzvot.

If however he has to reincarnate only to make up for a mitzvah yet to be fulfilled, then he will not need to reincarnate with another spark - he alone will reincarnate into a second body. Thus, he will continue to do so until he completes all the 613 mitzvot. At the time of resurrection, all the bodies will return and take the portion that was completed while in them.

More than one body of the same person can resurrect! Each one will contain within it the sparks that were rectified during its specific gilgul.

chanoch's Commentary

The reading of this section comes across as confusing yet it is not. Each person needs to complete each Mitzvah. Sometimes one spark may not need to another Mitzvah yet if this is true it is better to try to do all of the Mitzvot since one can not be sure that that is correct. If one can not do a Mitzvah then one will be given credit for the Mitzvah through Torah study of that Mitzvah. If one needs to do a Mitzvah each and every day then it is good to do that Mitzvah each and every day. If they missed a day in a previous Gilgul then they will be given an opportunity as an Ibur on that given day to do the Mitzvah. This explains sometimes that desire to stay in bed and not get up to do the morning prayers and other activities. It is better to think and not decide to think. Just do actions with the proper consciousness.

[Translation and commentary by Perets Auerbach.]

Reincarnation to Complete a Mitzvah

Chapter 30 Section 2

We will now explain another difference between one who must reincarnate to complete a mitzvah and one who does so to rectify a defect.

If a spark...completely rectifies its souls, then all sparks...that preceded it become revealed...

If a spark from the heel completely rectifies its souls, then all sparks of the heel that preceded it become revealed to it and illuminate it, giving off light in one body, in the secret of ibur [added soul] - and they help it in all its ways of serving God. If he sins, they are removed from him, Heaven forbid.

So we see that the effect of actions is collective. It is like putting money in a bank, every little bit is never lost and adds up. The result of this ends in a great withdrawal.

What he does and the amount or level of mitzvahs he performs determines how many sparks will be revealed to him. The level of the sin or the amount of sins determines how many sparks will be withdrawn from him. It is the same if he rectifies his ruach or his neshama. Thus, according to his good deeds or bad deeds, the sparks will either draw close or be distanced from him. There are those which will encircle him from afar, and some come close, hovering from above.

Spiritual proximity goes after similarity.(Zohar, Sulam commentary) One magnetizes or distances energies according to who he is. If one manifests good, good energies are magnetized, according to how much force of good manifested; and so the opposite.

...the one who caused him to sin will be within to help rectify it.

If we are talking about a spark from the root of the heel which lacks a certain mitzvah and must reincarnate with another spark from its root, it will only do so with a spark that is the most similar to it of all the sparks of the heel, even though they are all from the root of this heel. Likewise, if a person causes another to sin, even though they are not from the same root, still they will have to reincarnate [together] - the one who caused him to sin will be within to help rectify it.

This is a case of spiritual responsibility. One is not only forbidden to damage someone else’s body, also their soul. And just as if one did do physical damage, he must pay and make compensation, so it is with soul damage.

chanoch's Commentary

Please note that the good deeds and the negative deeds are not weighed against each other. Each Mitzvah stands on its own. This is something that people need to realize. Yet at the same time each soul spark from a part of Adam's body has mutual responsibilities as well. In other words each soul spark comes with two actions to do. One is something that only they can do and one is something that many people can do. We never know which is which and so we need to make the effort where ever we can. This is a true teaching of the spiritual levels created by the essence of creation. This is too long to discuss in this section. We will learn more about this as we continue our learning on reincarnation.

[Translation and commentary by Perets Auerbach.]

Intermingled Souls

Chapter 30 Section 3

We explained previously that every limb of the 248 limbs of the soul of Adam is a root unto itself and includes countless soul-sparks. Nevertheless, when Adam and his wife Eve sinned, as well as Cain and Abel, their children, all the soul-sparks became mixed together. Accordingly, sparks of Adam combined with those of Cain and Abel, and sparks of Abel with Adam’s and Cain’s, etc.

Rabbi Auerback Comments: Abel, who was murdered, also sinned for “there is no death without sin.” (Shabbat) The Zohar states that he gazed improperly at the Shechina.

chanoch's Commentary

The ARI goes on to explain this as Abel "also" brought a sacrifice. At his level of being a Tzadik he was judged to a hairs breadth to indicate that he should have known better. Thus he needed to put priority to his spiritual work rather than the physical pleasures he was inundated with.

...all mistakes are drawn from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

The reason for this is that all mistakes are drawn from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Its outstanding quality is the mix-up. The chief component of the rectification process involves straightening out the mess and separating each thing to its proper place.

chanoch's Commentary

The sin mixed good and evil on many different levels and that is the correction to separate good and evil. Therefore we need to appreciate the diversity of the Creation and at the same time keep things separate without causing evil to be harmed since what is evil has a purpose in the plan of Creation. It is very difficult to understand this when corrupted by the western world.

One of the main themes of Sha’ar Hagilgulim is to learn about and understand the mix-up. This in itself is a great step to fixing it up.

Therefore, sometimes the nefesh of a person will be from Cain, but the ruach comes from Adam. For once they mixed together, they bond. Sparks of Adam often come together with sparks of Cain, the ruach from Adam and the nefesh from Cain. It is the same matter with respect to the neshama with the ruach and the nefesh.

Thus, if a person works to rectify his nefesh, which happens to be from the level of Cain, until it literally becomes similar to the ruach from the level of Adam, then this ruach will enter and become clothed by this nefesh. This applies even though they do not come from the same source and type, one being from Adam and the other from Cain.

Good things can come out of the tumultuous journey of...things being out of place.

Good things can come out of the tumultuous journey of the haphazard ride of things being out of place. New connections are made that provide new angles and end up enhancing the soul's own fortes.

chanoch's Commentary

The United States prides itself on being a melting pot. That is what is being expressed here. Yet we need to separate the levels of souls. The pride of the melting pot puts mixtures of souls together which causes things to be out of place. A soul relates to its home location and actually feels out of place when it is out of home location. It is not really confusing just seems to be.

The combination of souls will continue until Mashiach and Elijah's coming, at which time everything will return to its proper root. From that time onward, the ruach from the level of Cain will join with the nefesh that it is similar to it from the level of Cain, and the ruach from the level of Adam will unite with the nefesh from the level of Adam.

The admixture within the tree of knowledge caused that everything became disjointed and then improperly mixed. Sparks were forced to lend themselves and join others of a different source. The tikun involves restoring each spark to its rightful root.

A person may have to go through phases that require him to do things not according to his essence. At such times, he can be fortified by the knowledge that these are only steps that lead to achieving who he really is.

This is the secret of the verse, "Behold, I will send to you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of G - d. He will restore the hearts of fathers to sons, and the hearts of sons to fathers . " (Malachi 3:23-24) In other words, he will return each soul to its proper root - - understand this.

The intrinsic truth of God's existence and sovereignty will then be fully manifest.

The way must be paved before the great awesome day. The intrinsic truth of God's existence and sovereignty will then be fully manifest. Therefore, "Elijah comes to distance falsehood and bring truth close." (Eduyot 8) The great revelation of truth will magnetize each thing back to its source.

"Fathers" symbolize the source level. "Children" symbolize the offshoots. Each one will re-connect to where it truly belongs. This needs to be well understood - how not to be discouraged when a person sees himself operating out of character in many ways. Also, when one sees things around disjointed and out of place. This could include foundational things such as having the wrong business partner, working the wrong job, having the wrong mate, etc. As long as he adopts the quality of Elijah and acts out of truth, he is guaranteed to merit to return to his true self and eventually act outside in a manner that is truly congruent to within. Along with this root alignment fitting connections will manifest and be restored.

The reason why Elijah will do this is because he himself is a combination of souls, his nefesh coming from the level of Nadab and Abihu of Cain, as we will explain later. His ruach came from another level, although I did not learn from my teacher from where. There are many other issues regarding this matter.

Elijah comes from a great level of perfection. His awesome soul root stood before G-d before creation. (Rabbi Laizer Berland) In order to afford him the ability to reach down to the world's problems and fix them, he was also set up in a problem. Many times this idea applies to every person. Things that are intrinsically wrong for him are actually part of his tikune in order to fix the universe. As mentioned, the person needs to know that this ends up expanding his own horizons.

chanoch's Commentary

It has been 70 + years since the end of the Shoah. The Shoah was a time of chaos and admixture on the earth and also in the frame of reincarnation. That is part of the confusion in our generation. It is only when you listen to your intuition that you will know the correct path - what is right for you to do.

[Translation and commentary by Perets Auerbach.]

Division In Roots and Sparks

Chapter 31 Section 1

All the neshamot, ruchot, and nefashot of all that was created in this world are included in and dependent upon Adam. This is because Adam incorporated all five parts mentioned above: NRNCh"Y which come from the five partzufim and ten sefirot called [from top to bottom]: Arich Anpin, Abba and Imma, Zu"N. We will explain the level called nefesh, and from this discussion you will be able to extrapolate to the ruach and neshama, etc.

...the nefesh of a person has 613 roots.

The nefesh of Adam is comprised of 248 limbs and 365 tendons - a total of 613. Thus, the nefesh of a person has 613 roots. However, every limb from the 248 limbs and every tendon from the 365 tendons consists of one complete partzuf, which is also made up of 613 limbs and tendons. Every limb and tendon is called one large and complete root.

Sometimes, as a result of sins and defects, the 613 grand roots will sub-divide into 600,000 small roots, which are also actual roots, except that they are smaller. However, there cannot be more than 600,000 mini-roots since there are no more than 600,000 gilgulim, as is mentioned in Tikun 69.

It is the same for every limb and tendon of Adam that is called a large root, that they divide into 613 soul-sparks called grand sparks, and that each one is a root. Moreover, sometimes, as a result of a defect, they sub-divide into 600,000 mini-sparks, as did the 613 grand roots - but not less than this. However, it is possible to divide up until 600,000 min-roots - but not more.

It is the same for every root of the 613 large ones, that they have in them 613 grand sparks, and no less, and that they can divide until 600,000 mini-sparks, and no more. However, more than 613 and less than 600,000 is possible, such as 10,000 or similar, but only up until 600,000.

This is the root of the teaching that there are 600,000 souls. (Zohar Chadash, Songs 74) They connect with the 613 commandments of the Torah - actually they are sub-divisions of them. This is one way of understanding the teaching of the Zohar that the souls and the Torah are one.

The world was made through the six sefirot of Zeir Anpin.

The world was created for the souls. Accordingly, the way things are set up in the world is a reflection of the way things are for the souls. There are six directions to the world. There are six primary soul roots. The world was made through the six sefirot of Zeir Anpin. (Zohar, intro.) From this come the six directions in space, and six days in time.

Six hundred thousand is the standard size of a generation (Above 17:1) as we find by the generation of the wilderness, (Num. 2:32) who were the first generation of the Jews as a people. They are the general, primary expression of Zeir Anpin in the world.

It is a higher level for the sparks to remain at the grand rung of 613, for they are so less fragmented and more energized.

This applies to the nefesh - it is the same for ruach and neshama, that it is possible to divide up to 1,000, or 2,000, etc.

chanoch's Commentary

This fragmentation and separation system is the ultimate cause of correction which comes from the "breaking of the vessels" as taught by the system of Kabbalah as described by the ARIzal. As one begins the long path of rebuilding the unification - each spark of light reunites with every other part of light we can begin to realize intellectually that what one is perceiving must be wrong since we perceive separation yet there is only light and vessel in the endless world. The endless world is ultimately unified and thus all separation is false. This information needs to be brought to the level of our intuition from our intellect. When this happens we begin to live Torah and perceive the truth of the statement - there is no evil in the world only good that is not yet corrected - meaning reunited with the whole.

[Translation and commentary by Perets Auerbach.]

The Root of Cain and Abel - the Shoulders

Chapter 31 Section 2

The size of the division depends upon the defect and the sins. Cain and Abel are the two shoulders of Adam, with Cain on the left and Abel on the right. The shoulder is the limb that joins the arm to the body, and it turns a bit towards the back from the top. It so being, as a result of their sins the limbs of both Cain and Abel divided up to 600,000 mini-sparks.

...Moses, who was from Abel, emanated until 600,000...

This is the secret of what is written in Tikun 69, that Moses, who was from Abel, emanated until 600,000 and his sparks reincarnate in every generation, in the secret of, "One generation goes, and another [the same one, i.e. sparks] comes [back]." (Eccl. 1:4) Understand this.

"There is someone who had [one comparable to all] 600,000 [Jews] in one belly: Jochebed the mother of Moses." (Shir Hashirim Raba) At one point, G-d wanted to start the people over from Moses, (Ex. 32:10) for he is the grand root soul of his and all generations. (Zohar, Likutei Moharan)

His offshoots have to keep coming back to be repaired until the job is finished and all of the sparks are rectified. The necessity of reincarnation is according to how great the task is. Since Moses has the grand task of fixing the entire universe, his own perfection is not enough to prevent gilgul. It will continue until everything is fixed.

Understand how Providence is constantly setting up souls to reach their ultimate tikun through the reincarnation process. And make sure to use your lifetime to constantly fix things - and not for the opposite.

chanoch's Commentary

It is highly recommended that a student of Kabbalah learn the teachings of the ARIzal and the Baal Shem Tov regarding the relationship between the souls of Moshe and the souls of Bilaam. These are the same soul parts.... Moshe represents that which has become corrected and Bilaam represents the soul parts that have yet to be corrected. This lesson must be learned at the essence of your own soul so that the truth of this lesson becomes the bases of your reactions.

There is something unique regarding these two shoulders which depend upon Cain and Abel, and that is that the moach of da’at, which travels through the spinal cord, begins from these two shoulders. From there it continues downward to yesod, where it comes out as a drop of seed.

When the seed-drop goes from the shoulders until yesod, it is then called KPT/"kapot tamarim" [palm cluster - the lulav]... (Lev. 23:40)

There is a mitzvah to "take" four special species of vegetation on the holiday of Sukkot. The four species sometimes are collectively referred to by the lulav- kapot tamarim [palm branch]. The reason for this is that the lulav embodies yesod, the sefira that includes all the six of Zeir Anpin. (Zohar) The other species –- citron, myrtle, willow -- embody the other sefirot of Zeir Anpin. Together, they empower the lulav with seed/flux, which it in turn gives to malchut, in the unification.

And so they are waved out to the six directions, (Orach Chaim, Lulav) drawing flow from each one. Each time they are also waved in, representing the channeling of the flow into malchut.

This prepares the way for a full unification to be made through taking the lulav.

All this is done on Sukkot, the holiday that follows Yom Kippur, when the sins are forgiven. This prepares the way for a full unification to be made (Shaa'r HaKavonot Yom HaKiporim/Sukkot) - through taking the lulav.. (Shaa'r HaKavonot Lulav)

…which has the letters of KTP/shoulder. Once the two shoulders unify in yesod, by way of a drop from each of them descending to yesod, the following applies: "It [the ephod, worn by the Kohen Gadol] shall have two shoulder straps attached to its two ends, and it shall be attached" (Ex. 28:7) - the two are joined through yesod.

The garments of the kohanim [priests] in the Temple represent and draw down lofty energies. (Zohar) Wearing them and doing the service in the Temple makes great unifications above.

The choshen [breastplate] is the mishpat [judicial] root source worn by the Kohen Gadol [high priest]. It rectifies the power of judgment on all levels, from the leaders & judges to each individual in their own mind. The ephod is the power to implement in action: "And the ephod shall not move from attachment to the choshen." (Ex. 28:28) It must be bound to the choshen and never leave connection with it – one always has to make sure that action comes from true, balanced judgment.

Cain’s sin was a mistake of p'gam hamishpat [defective judgment]. (Likutei Moharan II 8) This test came to him from the place where mishpat [judgment] begins - da’at, which, after the sin, resides in the shoulder.

The idea of shaking the lulav is to draw the powers of da’at into the body, into each of its sefirot. This means drawing the ability of fulfilling what one knows into expression in every aspect of the self. In general, this is the dynamic in the crying the features the period of the day of awe. (Sichot HaRan) It all revolves around the theme of tikun hamishpat [rectified judgment].

The perfect unification is made in the self when a person fully fulfills in action the truth of what he knows in thought. This in turn unites the worlds above and brings a flow of unity to this world below.

This is the secret behind the concept-train outlined in this paragraph...

At that point it is said of yesod, "The thousand are to you Solomon." (Songs 8:12) Because Solomon, who [embodies] yesod, and is called "briti shalom" [covenant of peace1] totals one-thousand, or two times KTPh/shoulder. However, each shoulder by itself only equals five hundred, the gematria of the concealed letters of the expansion of ShDY [the Al-mighty].

Gematria reflect the energies of a word. The reality of the two shoulders shining their power to yesod is seen through this that two times KTPh equals Solomon/Shlomoh - a primary representative of yesod.

There are many representatives of yesod. It is coined Shlomoh in Shir Hashirim [The Song of Songs]. This most holy of songs (Mishna Yadayim 3:5) was said about the building of the Temple (Rashi Shir Hashirim) - the connecting portal between above and below. The Shlomoh angle of yesod is its power to bring the harmony above to this world. As said, one can actualize this in life through da'at: When he implements all understanding of how to be into action. Then one has strong 'shoulders' to fully bear the burden of his tikun. If one will cease to indulge and instead work to supersede his own boundaries, the result will be transcending consciousness.

Cain is from the shoulder. G-d said to him, "If you do well, you will be uplifted (above boundaries) - and if you do not, sin (limitation2) crouches at the door." (Gen. 4:7)

The two shoulders/sides of the mind bear the burden of understanding...

This is the significance of the "thousand" that are imparted to Shlomoh/yesod. They are rejoicing lights that come from the union of supernal levels which are brought together by our actions in this world. The two shoulders/sides of the mind bear the burden of understanding the spiritual and physical side of reckoning an issue. As mentioned, da'at unites them harmoniously. The word for thousand is ELPh/'elef', which shares the same letters as PLE/'pele' [wonder], a term for keter. Once the da'at does its thing, the way is paved for the revelation of the highest lights - keter.

The "thousand" also hint to the thousand lights that Moses received by the giving of the Torah. (Shaar HaKavanot Shachrit Shabbat) It goes part and parcel with the building of the Temple.3 "A prayer LMShH/to Moses..." (Psalms 92:1) LMShH is the same as ShLMH/Shlomoh – hinting to the bond between them. What Moses started by bringing the Torah down to the world, Shlomoh finished by bringing the supernal lights down through the Temple... "Anyone who has da'at - it is as if the Temple is built in his days." (Sanhedrin 92a) As mentioned, the power of da'at in Torah affords one the ability to implement all of these categories in the self.

chanoch's Commentary

These commentaries by Rabbi Auerback are confusing. If one thinks about what is being said in them one comes to a question - What is the relationship between King Shlomo and King David? We know that King David is the chariot for Malchut and that the word King in the Name King Shlomo also is Malchut. Yet which Malchut is being referred to within these Names? It is only be recognizing the two aspects of Yesod - that of the stem and that of crown that we can come to a true understanding of the Sefirot and these two Kings in History. King Shlomo comes after King David in history yet prior to King David in the descent of the Shefah into this world. Please contemplate this fact well.

Read the footnotes below to help your contemplation.

[Translation and commentary by Perets Auerbach.]


1. The unifying quality of yesod brings peace between the levels. “Solomon/Shlomoh” hints to 'melech d'shelama dilai' [the King that peace is His] (Zohar Shir HaShirim)

2. “…and me and my son Solomon will be chata’im.” (I Kings 1:21) Chataim, usually translated "sinners", literally means "lacking/limited" as explained in Likutei Moharan.

3. Even though there were a few hundred years in between, in the spiritual progression, one followed the other uninterrupted. For whatever reasons, there was a time lapse before it could unfold below. This does not necessarily intercept the sequential procession at all.

chanoch's Commentary

Our Sages describe our physical world as an upside down world - Does this help?

Left Shoulder - The Root of Cain

Chapter 31 Section 3

Now we will explain the left shoulder of Adam, which is called the Cain-root. It is considered only one limb, but as with all limbs, it incorporates flesh, tendons, and bones. The tendons in each of these limbs are not included in the 365 tendons of the 248 Limbs, but are small arteries in each limb.

The three levels of each limb, from head to heels - flesh, tendons, and bones - divide into 600,000 soul-sparks - making up one [complete] partzuf. The left heel of this partzuf divides into more than the 613 soul-sparks from which come the souls of Hezekiah the King of Judah, Rabbi Akiva ben Yosef, and Akavia ben Mehalelel. There is a link joining the souls of this root. However, the seed-drop from this heel that goes to the yesod can be called Yaakov, and sometimes Akavia ben Mehalelel, and sometimes Akiva - and the like.

The entire level of the heel is the malchut of that parzuf...

The entire level of the heel is the malchut of that parzuf, and there is therefore an ability for all the souls of this heel to ascend until the secret of 'machshava', [thought - the chochma of Arich] - in the secret of "The woman [malchut] will court the man [chochma]." (Jeremiah 31:21)

"The woman" symbolizes the awakening from below. When she is the catalyst for the relationship, she then as if "courts the man" - ascends to unite with and assume the male aspect. This is also called "a woman of valor is the crown of her husband." (Prov. 12:4, Likutei Torah)

From the external perspective, this is a lower level. Inside, it is really higher. The bina/feminine aspect ricochets above chochma to keter. This is the secret of this soul root being so essential to the final redemption, which is incumbent upon drawing keter flow. " And those redeemed by G-d shall return...eternal joy upon their heads [the place of keter/crown]." (Isaiah 35:10)

For this reason, Rebbi Akiva ascended to the level of machshava. As the Sages indicate when they wrote about him, "Quiet! This is what went up to machshava". (Menachot 29b) Understand this.

Upon seeing a vision of Rabbi Akiva being ruthlessly executed, Moses questioned G-d, and was answered, "Quiet!..." It seems as if G-d was telling Moses that the answer to the question is beyond comprehension. On a deeper level, the answer was that Rabbi Akiva reached the perfect inclusion in the level of machshava, the very foundations of creation, (See Likutei Moharan II-7) as the Rabbis teach, "At first machshava [thought], G-d wanted to create the world with din [judgment]. He saw that the world could not endure [like that], so He attached to it the quality of mercy." (Breishit Raba 12 )

Rabbi Akiva lived his life in extreme piety...

Rabbi Akiva lived his life in extreme piety, fulfilling the mitzvahs to a super-human degree of exactingness.1 In the grand finale of his death at the stake, he connected to judgment, the initial motion of creation. His students asked him then how he could bear such torture; he explained that his entire life he was waiting for this moment.

But, could judgment be the starting point of genesis? Doesn't it say, "The world is built for lovingkindness"? (Psalms 103:2)

The sacred works are filled with elaboration on the theme that everything was made for good. But because G-d wanted to give man the greatest good possible, He originally thought to set existence on the strictest standard; the higher the standard man lives up to, the more good he is able to receive. However, when He saw that the world could not bear it, he toned down the din and paired it with lovingkindness. However, there are extremely rare individuals who ascend to the plane of the originally intended standard and merit a place in the world-to-come that no one else can access. (Zohar II Pekudei)

Here, the Ari explains that Rabbi Akiva was especially geared to reach such a plateau since his soul is a major hitter in the left/din Cain-root. This equipped him with the ability to bear and live with harsh judgment on a daily basis, reaching crescendo in death.

One of the major underlying themes of this Sha'ar Hagilgulim is that the Mashiach process primarily involves the rectification and revelation of the Cain root. Since Rabbi Akiva is one of the greatest of this root, there came a spark of messianic energy in his generation, embodied in Bar Kochva. Rabbi Akiva did not make a mistake. On the contrary, because of his special level, he alone recognized that Bar Kochva actually had a part of the messianic soul, and that it was on the verge of being actualized. The fact that it wasn't successful does not take away from this truth - it was another major step to the final redemption.

Regarding these two shoulders: When a defect results from a certain sin in one of the shoulders, or if the defect is in the left shoulder, such as when it became blemished through the sin of Cain whose place it is, then the right shoulder also becomes blemished. Therefore, even though someone whose root is the left shoulder will have long hairs from both his shoulders. There will be more hair on his left shoulder than on his right shoulder, since that is his main place. However, if the right shoulder becomes defected, which is the root of Abel, then the sign will only be in the right shoulder.

The left level of din always includes the right side within itself. So, it affects the right side together with itself, whereas the right side can as if be alone at times.2

Hairs are constrictions of the mental energies.

Hairs are constrictions of the mental energies. (Likutei Moharan 11) They come from din and accordingly is a vehicle of expression for the side of din.

So we find that the hair of the left shoulder of one who is from the left shoulder will be more than on the rest of his body, to indicate that is the place from which he is connected to Adam.3

In Sha’ar Ruach HaKodesh [The Gate of Divine Inspiration], in the chapter 'Hakaras Hapartzuf' [Recognizing Faces], a little about the letters NR"N, etc., is explained.

[Translation and commentary by Perets Auerbach.]


1. As the Rabbis teach, when the Romans imprisoned him, he received small portions of rationed water. Instead of drinking it, he used it to wash his hands.

It is important to point out that for the overwhelming majority who are not holding by such a level, such behavior would actually be considered a sin.

2. This is in line with the principle, “In a place where there is a male, the female is not there mentioned.” (Zohar)

3. There are signs on the body for those who have the ability to discern the soul-root.

chanoch's Commentary

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