Advanced Reincarnation Class 73

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

More About the Shoulders of Adam

Chapter 31 Section 4

I will now further explain the two shoulders of Adam:

It has already been made known how netzach and hod of Atik Yomin are clothed within chesed and gevura/the two arms of Arich Anpin. After that the two arms of Arich Anpin are [in turn] clothed in the two mochin - chochma and bina of Abba and Imma.

The two shoulders of Arich are clothed within the da’at of Zeir Anpin, which divides into two crowns called chesed and gevura. From them flows ohr makif to the Nukva of Zeir Anpin.

It is also known that Atik Yomin only has nine sefirot, which in the Zohar (Noach) are called 'tisha heichalin' [nine chambers], as is explained at the beginning of the Idra Zuta. The level of malchut is not mentioned at all with respect to Atik Yomin. Therefore, the only malchut mentioned is with respect to the sefira of hod, because the male side is netzach and the female side is hod.

The hod of Atik Yomin is clothed in the gevura of Arich Anpin, which is its left shoulder. It is called the crown of gevura , in the secret of ateret ba’alah [crown of her husband] - because that is where malchut is alluded to, as mentioned. From this we see that a spark of light flows from this left shoulder acts as an ohr makif for the Nukva of Zeir Anpin.

Therefore the root of Cain which is from the side of the Nukva of Zeir Anpin, grasps onto the left shoulder of Adam. However, the right shoulder is from the netzach of Atik Yomin, and within it is the secret of Zeir Anpin, the male aspect. Therefore, the root of Abel is in the right shoulder of Adam. It is already known that malchut can ascend to the male place, in the secret of ateret ba’alah - specifically on the level of ohr makif. With this you can appreciate the greatness of the left shoulder of Adam.

This point is brought out in order to fully appreciate the Mashiach root.

chanoch's Commentary

The gist of this section is that the soul root of Abel is the right shoulder of Adam while the root of Cain is the left shoulder of Adam. Which is higher? It is the left shoulder. This is what this section is attempting to explain which it does not do well in my opinion.

Remember the midrash that teaches that Moshe did not want to be the Shepherd of Israel and spoke to HaShem about Rabbi Akiva teaching about the crowns of the letters that Moshe could not understand. Yet Moshe was satisfied that the role of Shepherd was his since Rabbi Akiva taught that the teachings about the crowns came directly from Moshe at Sinai. From this we learn that the higher soul root is Akiva. Yet it still does not explain why this is so. Elsewhere it is taught that the Name Akiva comes from the root of ekev which is heel and we know from the breaking of the vessels that the farther something falls into the Klipah the higher is its light and its potential.

[Translation and commentary by Perets Auerbach.]

Sub Division of Roots

Chapter 31 Section 5

The idea of the 248 Limbs was explained to me in this way:

All souls are included in Adam and divide into many roots...

All souls are included in Adam and divide into many roots, as follows. In the beginning, they divide into the three forefathers, after that into the twelve tribes, and then into the seventy souls. After that up to 600,000 small roots - all of which are included in Adam.

Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzato explains that after the original sin, the privilege of starting the nation that would be responsible for the rectification process was up for grabs. There were previous tzadikim, but only Abraham took full responsibility and accepted this yoke upon him and his children. (Derech Hashem)

"We do not call anyone 'patriarchs' except for three." (Baba Basra) Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the founding fathers, all operated out of the highest world Atzilut. (Root and Spark Dynamics) Jacob, the culmination of their efforts, is "the choice of the patriarchs" (Zohar) and completely fixed the original sin - on the level of Atzilut.

The next step in the rectification process was to draw the efforts of the patriarchs a rung down into Beriya. This was the task of Jacob's children, the twelve tribes.

The following step was to expand the tikune of the tribes to the seven lower sefirot of Yetzira. This was the job of the seventy souls (Gen. 46:27) that the tribal clans branched out into.

The succeeding rung was to draw everything into the lowest of worlds - Asiya. The seventy exploded into 600,000 souls, who took this task. They started in Egypt. By the time they stood at Mt. Sinai to receive the Torah they were perfect. (Shabbat)

The sin of the golden calf disturbed the whole tikune.

The sin of the golden calf disturbed the whole tikun. The 600,000 come back repeatedly to fix it, little by little in each generation.

The right shoulder of Adam divides as said, first into three forefathers, then into twelve tribes, and after that into seventy souls. Each of the seventy small roots is an individual root from the grand roots of Adam. However, there are only seventy small roots in him, and all of them together are the partzuf of a single person. After this, the seventy roots divide up to 600,000 soul-sparks; they are not called roots but sparks.

Each of the seventy small roots of the right shoulder we are discussing has one complete partzuf, and all of the 600,000 sparks of this right shoulder are one large root of Adam, called after Abel, the son of Adam. It is the same with the left shoulder of Adam. Three forefathers divide into twelve tribes, and then into seventy souls, which are called the seventy small roots. These seventy roots also divide into 600,000 sparks which are not called roots. Each of these seventy roots is a complete partzuf, and all of them are called the root of Cain, son of Adam.

From one of these seventy roots came Rabbi Akiva, Akavia ben Mehalelel, and King Hezekiah, as mentioned previously. This root divides into more than 613 sparks, all of which make up one complete partzuf, and from the partzuf of this root comes King Hezekiah, Rabbi Akiva, and Akavia ben Mahalelel. However, King Hezekiah is from the head of this partzuf, and Akiva and Akavia ben Mahalelel are from the heel of this partzuf.

Coming from the head, he is king. 'Akiva', like Jacob, suggests 'akev' - the heel.

Jacob comes from the heel and thereby infiltrates and subjugates Esau...

The source of all this is found by what G-d said to the snake, "He (man) shall smite you on the head, and you shall smite him on the heel." (Gen. 3:15) "And his (Jacob's) hand holds on to the heel of Esau." (ibid 25:26) Jacob comes from the heel and thereby infiltrates and subjugates Esau/the snake on his own territory. Rabbi Akiva continued this dynamic; therefore he was born of converts, Just as Jacob's outstanding quality is Torah.1[footnote] It empowers to subdue all negative forces.

In the humble opinion of Chaim, based upon what we are now saying and what was said in the previous discussion, we find that this root mentioned is on the level of the heel of the general shoulder, which is one of the seventy roots of Cain. The head of the heel is Hezekiah, and the end of this heel 2 [footnote], that is the heel of the heel, is Rabbi Akiva and Akavia.

However, in the previous discussion we explained that the souls included in Adam divide into 613 large roots, and after that into 600,000 small roots. Here, we are explaining that it occurs in another way, that they are three forefathers that divide into Twelve Tribes, and then Seventy Souls only, and after that into 600,000 small roots?

However, if we look closely, we will see that it results in the same conclusion, and you will see how the TRYG/taryag/613 mitzvahs divide into 600,000.

For the letters TR from TRYG/taryag [equal 600 and can be rendered] 'TR ribuy'’ [sixty myriads]. The letter "yud" [hints to] the level of the seventy souls because the six extremities correspond to the sixty myriads, as is known.

If you add Y/ten to sixty, you arrive at the number seventy - that is the seventy souls. The letters YG/13 are the twelve tribes, with one extra that unifies them. This is how TaRYaG includes all the parts.

The wisdom of gematria [kabalistic numerology] teaches that after the calculation of the value of a word, one extra can always be added. It represents the surrounding energy that encompasses the specific energies of the totality.

The idea here is that taryag, the amount of God-given commandments, (Makot 23b) is a universal concept that encompasses all of the souls - and accordingly all of existence, which is made for the souls.

Returning to the topic of Cain and Abel: The two 'crowns' are the crown of chesed and the crown of gevura, which are hidden within Abba and Imma. Adam and Eve are Abba and Imma, and so Abel is the crown of chesed while Cain is the crown of gevura.

My teacher also organized the soul-roots for me in another way: We already explained that a person has a nefesh from Asiya, a ruach from Yetzira, a neshama from Beriya, a nefesh from Nukva of Atzilut, a ruach from Zeir Anpin of Atzilut, a neshama from Bina of Atzilut, the 'soul of the soul' called Chaya from Abba of Atzilut, and yechida from Keter, which is called Arich Anpin of Atzilut.

Every root from the roots of the soul has a portion of these levels. However, this is how the division of the soul-roots takes place: To begin with they divide into five roots, Arich Anpin, Abba and Imma, Zeir Anpin and Nukvah. When the world was created, these five roots divided into zehira ila’a of Adam, which Enoch later merited - this is the level of Arich Anpin. Adam also took the level of Abba, and Eve, that of Imma. Abel received Zeir Anpin, and Cain the Nukvah. would have been preferable that Abel, who is Zeir Anpin, be born before Cain, who is Nukvah.

Therefore, it would have been preferable that Abel, who is Zeir Anpin, be born before Cain, who is Nukvah. However, when Adam sinned, he caused the intermingling of good and evil, causing a defect, the result of which was Cain being born before Abel. This is explained in Sha’ar Hapsukim [The Gate of Verses] on the verse, "And Adam knew Eve his wife." (Gen. 4:1) Look over there.

All the rest of the souls of the world that are born from these five roots are in the world of Atzilut. The rest of the souls, however, are born from the five roots of BY"A, for in each world there are five roots. All of them are secondary to the roots of Atzilut, follow after them, and are included in them, in the same way that all the souls of the world are rooted in these five roots. Each root divides into ten sefirot, resulting in fifty roots in each world. The fifty that are in Atzilut are the root of everything. These fifty roots divide even further, which we will explain elsewhere.

Every root from the roots of the souls include one complete partzuf composed of 248 limbs and 365 tendons, which incorporate 613 [sparks], though combined they are a complete partzuf of one soul with all its parts, a single root. However, specifically they are 613 sparks, which are Torah scholars.

There are also many sparks in every root that are amei ha’aretz [ignoramuses], who work in the dwelling places of the world. For every root is like a tree that produces fruit, which are the scholars, and leaves, branches, wood, peels, etc., which are the amei ha’aretz.

chanoch's Commentary

This section is explaining the hierarchy of souls by name and family relationship. This means that in the world of Atzilut we start with Adam. This world includes all other souls that will ever come into the earth. Next we have Cain and Abel which are lower than Adam but so high that we count them as the same level. Thus we have 3 columns which represent the 3 patriarchs from the world of Atzilut . Next in the world of Beria we have the 12 Tribes. Jacob corrected the world of Atzilut and provides the potential to correct the world of Beria through the twelve tribes. Within the 12 Tribes we have the 70 elders which represent the potential tikune of the world of Yetzirah. Finally all other people have the potential to correct in concert with each other the world of Asiya. In our generation who are the 70 elders? There are many people who have split and made mistakes that we can not know or understand. In effect it is people who on the outside are similar to everyone else, while on the inside they are potentially higher than every one else. The same is true for the 12 tribes and the 3 Patriarchs.

[Translation and commentary by Perets Auerbach.]


1. Also Issachar, who is further from this root, is outstandingly marked in Torah.

2. From this lowest of the low ‘heel of the heel’ dynamic it ascends to the highest of the high. So Rabbi Akiva ascended to the very original movement of genesis. Also, “The doors of the azarah [Temple courtyard] never closed on such an outstanding individual in Torah and fear of sin as Akavia...” (Talmud)

Souls Leaving the Klipot

Chapter 31 Section 6

When the time comes for these souls to enter this world, it is possible for one, two, three, or ten, etc. sparks to come at once and in the same generation, if they are from the same root. More specifically, it is possible for two sparks to come into this world at one time, one from the right spring and one from the left spring of that root, or for five sparks to come at the same time and they are the first five joints of the five fingers of the right hand. Alternatively, the first ten joints of the ten fingers of the right and left hands and the like. is possible for two sparks to come into this world at one time...

Thus, you can find in a single generation many sparks that are from the level of the tendons which are close to each other. This is why you should not be surprised to find Rabbi Akiva and Akavia ben Mehalelel [living simultaneously], or to find in the generation of Amoraim Abaye, Rami bar Chamma, and Rav Dimi from Nehardea, even though they are [all] from the root of Cain, from the left shoulder of Adam, as we will later explain.

There is another reason for what we have been speaking of and that is, when the Shechina went into exile amongst the kelipot, all the souls of the righteous went with it. Depending upon the level of the mitzvahs performed by a righteous person from that root, and the time it is done, one or more sparks will be able to leave the kelipot and ascend into this world. This is even though the sparks are not near one another in the root. It all depends upon the time and the mitzvahs that the righteous person from that root performs.

There is also another related matter: Adam had a nefesh from Asiya, a ruach from Yetzira, a neshama from Beriya, and above this a NR"N from Atzilut, from the Nukva of Zeir Anpin, from Zeir Anpin, and from Imma [respectively].

The three from the world of Atzilut are called zehira ila’a of Adam, and are explained in the Zohar in the Sitrei Torah [Secrets of the Torah] section. (Kedoshim 83a)

Before Cain and Abel were born, Adam sinned and the zehira ila’a was removed from him...

Before Cain and Abel were born, Adam sinned and the zehira ila’a was removed from him, that is the three portions we mentioned from Atzilut. In this manner, the decree of G-d was fulfilled: "On the day you eat from it you shall surely die" - for the three portions of Atzilut were removed from him and there is no harsher death than this.1 [footnote]

When Cain and Abel were born, the nefesh of Atzilut which had been removed from Adam was divided between Cain and Abel. Later we will explain, G-d willing, the gilgul of Cain from the level of nefesh of Atzilut that he merited, how it reincarnated and went to Keinan and Mehalelel, until it reincarnated into Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, "the two parts of one body2 [footnote]", as mentioned in the Zohar Pinchas and Acharei Mot.

This is what is written, "There were men who were unclean by nefesh adam [the dead body of man]" (Num. 9:6) - literally nefesh Adam [the soul of Adam], for it is talking about Nadab and Abihu, as the Sages say, who were on the level of the nefesh of Adam. After that, it went to Pinchas when he killed Zimri, as the Zohar mentions, and as we will discuss later, G-d willing. We will also clarify how Cain and Abel took the nefesh of Atzilut of Adam to rectify it, after he sinned with the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

chanoch's Commentary

This section is explaining the idea of groups of souls who travel and reincarnate together from generation to generation. They do this because they started close together in the soul of Adam and Adam's body part. Examples are given above. At this point it would be helpful to learn some anatomy without the science vocabulary which in my opinion is not necessary. In fact it would be good to generate a list of modern anatomy parts in correspondence to the levels mentioned above - Patriarchs - Tribes - Elders. [All relate to certain aspects in the same generation]

[Translation and commentary by Perets Auerbach.]


1. In general, “One who descends from his level is called ‘dying’” (Zohar III Naso IdraRaba). This applies especially to a fall out of Atsilut, the world of Divinity and eternal life forever.

2. A term used in the Zohar to refer to netsach and hod. The idea is that they are so closely knit as to be considered an inseparable unit

Souls of Elijah and Chanoch

Chapter 31 Section 7a

However, the prophet Elijah took the ruach of Atzilut of Adam, and therefore he went up to Heaven and did not die like the rest of people. For he is as an angel from the hosts of G-d, and after that he literally became a heavenly angel. This is the reason why only ruach is mentioned with respect to Elijah, as it says, "Please let two portions of your ruach be mine", (Kings II 2:9) "The ruach of ElijaZeirh rested upon Elisha, (Ibid. 15) and, "A ruach of Elokim will carry you." (Kings I 18:12)

chanoch's Commentary

There is a teaching in Kabbalah by the ARI in another place that Elijah became the Angel Sandalfon just like Chanoch Ben Yered became the Angel Metatron [Mem Tet]. This is consistant with the teaching that we need an intermediary between worlds. Sandalfon is at the level of Malchut / Asiyah and Metatron is at the level of Zeir Anpin / Yetzirah. There is another explanation from the ARI regarding why Elijah lived forever and became an Angel. In that explanation Female represents the Tree of Knowledge Good and Evil while Male represents the Tree of Life. Elijah had three male souls - Pinchas - Nadav - Avihu and no female aspect. with this extensive male essence he was connecting to the Tree of Life and lives forever.

...when Pinchas killed Zimri, he merited to receive the nefesh of Atzilut...

However, he did not merit this ruach of Atzilut until he killed Zimri in Shittim, (Num. 25:1) making it clear that the ruach does not dwell in a person until he received his nefesh. Therefore, when Pinchas killed Zimri, he merited to receive the nefesh of Atzilut, which was previously in Nadab and Abihu.

Nefesh associates with Malchut, the sefira of din, from which holy zealousness and vengeance for the Divine honor come. When Pinchas clothed in jealousness and expressed such an act, the highest level of nefesh of Atsilut was magnetized and drawn to him.

Each person draws to himself flow from above according to his actions. (Likutei Moharan 6 - end)

Once he merited the nefesh of Atzilut, he also then merited a portion of the ruach of Atzilut. With respect to this it says, "Behold, I give to him My covenant shalom [of peace]," (Num. 25:12) for ruach is from tiferet and yesod, both of which are called shalom, as is known from the verse, "Peace, peace for the far and near." (Isaiah 57:19) This is talking about tiferet and yesod .

Peace to the far comes from tiferet, which is higher and farther away from us below than the peace of yesod, which is closer.

"A man that ruach is in him," (Num. 27:18) "And no ruach arose in a man," (Joshua 2:11) "As a man, so is his gevura (in respect to the ruach energy in yesod)." (See Likutei Moharan 8) Ruach is the male aspect. It so especially links with yesod, the root of the male organ, and tiferet, the source of yesod. The idea behind this is that they are the root power to unite with the feminine aspect and thereby make peace and harmony. They are empowered to do this by virtue of their occupying the middle line of the sefirot. Tiferet lies between and balances chesed and gevura, yesod stands in the middle of netzach and hod.

The highest root place of the midot is Atzilut.

The highest root place of the midot [character or personality traits] is Atzilut. There Elijah is busy balancing and harmonizing these energies. Through this he " distances falsehood and brings close truth" - the central dynamic necessary for the bringing of the final redemption. One who does this in their own little world - the self, family, friends, etc., also takes great part in bringing it close. The elite who work much at this can actually merit Elijah coming to them and revealing secrets. (Shaar Ruach HaKodesh)

chanoch's commentary

With respect to the Rabbi Auerback i disagree with this teaching. Midot means character trait but usually implies ethics and morals as it is used today. Please be careful to understand this distinction. Also, realize that Rabbi Auerback's commentary is explaining how to connect to Eliyahu.

A portion of the neshama of Atzilut was received by Enoch son of Jared, (Gen. 5:18) and therefore, he was a heavenly angel called Matatron, as is known. Therefore he also did not die in the way of men. (Zohar, Eitz Chayim, See also Likutei Moharan)

The level of neshama of Atzilut is called the Minister of the World, coming from Atzilut, the [highest] realm, and so it has power over all worlds.

Science can at best reveal the axiomatic forces of nature and predict how they inter-react. The reason why they are so always remains aloof and unfathomed. Kabbalah reveals the source of the axioms themselves. They are angels commanded by G-d to so do; i.e., there is an angel appointed over the speed of light and all of its properties. This was programmed into existence by Genesis, in the saying "Let there by light;" (Gen. 1:3, Keter Shem Tov) "There is nothing new under the sun." (Eccl. 1:9) "Forever G-d Your word is planted in heaven." (Psalms 119)

The Zohar tells that the Shechina is as if clothed in Matat during the week. (Zohar, Eitz Chayim, See also Likutei Moharan) This means that Providence runs the world masked in the cause and effect relationships of nature - transmitted to the universe through the heavenly hierarchy of angels.

Matat, being the chief angel, is so called the Minister of the World.

With this we can answer the question regarding Enoch and Matatron. For if they are one and the same being, and the world of Yetzirah is called the world of Matatron, then who was its minister while Enoch was still alive on earth?

...every righteous person has two ruachs, one on earth below and one in Heaven above.

However, the Zohar states at the beginning of the portion Noach in the Tosefta on the verse "Noach, Noach" (Gen. 6:9) that every righteous person has two ruachs, one on earth below and one in Heaven above. Understand this - it is the secret of, "Behold ADY-84/aidie [My witness] is in Heaven," (Job 16:19) which refers to ChNOCh-84/Enoch, whose gematria is that of "aidie." And "My testifier in the exalted heights is Elijah, because he too is a heavenly angel [Sandalfon], as said.

chanoch's Commentary

The secret is being revealed that each world is connecting through to the higher world as a branch connects to the trunk of a tree. Matot is the higher level of Sandalfon and Elijah is the lower level of Chanoch Ben Yered.

Enoch is an exalted soul-root theme/archetype that exists above and transcends the specific time-slot that the lower Enoch aspect actually visited in this world. The same is true of Elijah. It so being, they are fit to be absolute witnesses. For their testimony is eternal.

A witness is necessary only in a place where there is some aspect of truth that is unclear. The spiritual mechanics of testimony work in this manner. A pipeline of light is drawn from a place of absolute, revealed truth - above, to the place of doubt and darkness - below. The witness so has to access his upper soul, and link it to earthy reality. (Likutei Halachot Aidut)

Enoch equals "My witness " showing that he has an intrinsic connection to this task. He merits this because he is the first one to have been in the world and left without dying. (Gen. 5:24) When a person dies, his upper soul descends somewhat into this world and magnetizes the lower soul, sucking it up. (Likutei Moharan 66) "More Bitter than death:" (Prov. 7:26) The bitterness of death comes from an interruption between the upper and lower souls, caused by the original sin, which the death process removes. "And Enoch walked [with] Elokim [Divinity]." (Gen. 5:22) Enoch was so connected above while alive below that he did not need this step. The direct link to on high makes him an extra special ‘eye witness’ who proclaims the light of the Divine truth in a world of darkness and falsehood. He so accomplishes here a state of the world-to-come when "the light of the moon will be like the light of the sun" (Isaiah 30:26) - the perfect testimony.

chanoch's Commentary

The Name Enoch has a gematria of 84 and is equal to the gematria of Adi = My witness.

Elijah also ascended without passing through the intermediary stage of death, (II Kings 2:11) so he serves as a supernal witness. This itself affords him the privilege of being the one to herald the final redemption. (Malachi 3:23)

Yetzira draws from Zeir Anpin, Asiya from Nukvah. Enoch/Matot works out of Yetzira, Elijah/Sandalphon is the landlord of Asiya. These two worlds have the giver-receiver/sun-moon relationship. Their masters appropriately serve as supernal witnesses whose job is to bring lofty truth into this lower realm. When the process is complete, all will be liberated from death - just as they already were.

[Translation and commentary by Perets Auerbach.]

Soul of Joseph

Chapter 31 Section 7b

This is the secret of, "He appointed it as an eidut [testimony] to Joseph …" (Psalms 81:6) - since Joseph merited to receive the neshama of Enoch which is called "eidie" [My witness], as said. Therefore Joseph was "yafeh to’ar" [handsome], (Gen. 39:6) because he merited Adam's yafyo [beauty1], which came to him from the edge of the neshama of supernal Atzilut.

The primary root of the soul of Joseph is in yesod, also known as "the tzadik - who stands between heaven and earth (and unites them."2) Heaven and earth are relatively the sun and moon.3 Uniting them is the intrinsic ‘witness’ quality. This explains the correlation between Joseph and Enoch and why they are both Divine witnesses.

They are both also called "lad". (Gen. 37:2) This implies pending maturity. Yetzira draws from Zeir Anpin, who must go through katnut [small or constricted consciousness] in order to get to gadlut [expanded consciousness]. Enoch is the minister of the world - as if G-d’s viceroy. "Earthly kingship is like heavenly kingship." (Brachot) Joseph was the viceroy to Pharaoh. (Gen. 41:40-44) The world is drawn from Zeir Anpin. It needs to grow up from the constricted state of consciousness - that presently perceives separation between above and below, to the expanded headset that will see above and below as one. Enoch and Joseph are the ones who have this special consciousness and are therefore in charge of the world - in order to labor to elevate it to the perfection it needs to attain.4

Neshama is always the transcendental, hence his beauty is otherwordly.

All of this is the reason behind Joseph’s extraordinary gorgeousness: An expression of the splendorous supernal lights of neshama of Atzilut in the physical. Neshama is always the transcendental, hence his beauty is otherwordly.5 "And Joseph was handsome in appearance and good looking." (Gen. 39:6)

However, Joseph did not merit this until the night of the "end of the two years," (Gen. 41:1) when it was decreed that he should leave jail - that very day he rose to greatness. So is it written, "[He appointed it as a testimony to Jehoseph] when He went out over the land of Egypt." (Psalms 81:6) This becomes understandable when you recall what we said in previous chapters, that the ruach or the neshama enters a person at night while he is sleeping.

"Descent is for the sake of ascent." (Ba'al Shem Tov) Joseph went through years of affliction and ended up living in great power, wealth, and honor as the viceroy of Egypt, the world’s greatest nation at the time. His ‘testimony’ is special because it unites affliction and delight, slavery and freedom, poverty and riches. "‘He is Joseph’ (Gen. 42:6) - the same Joseph when he was king as when he was a slaveboy." (Megilah) The day he left jail served as the portal between both modes. It so is the intermediary category that includes and unites both. (Likutei Torah Baal HaTanya) The Rabbis have a tradition that that day was Rosh Hashanah (Rosh Hashanah) - the portal from the old year to the new year. A new light from above is then given to the world below. Joseph went out over Egypt in royalty empowered by the new year and the new soul it gave him. This subjugated the negative energies in Egypt and paved the way for his people to survive there in exile - and eventually get out.

The new soul often comes...during sleep.

The new soul often comes at ‘the changing of the guard’ - during sleep. The soul and the day leave. The soul returns together with a different day and its additional soul.

You can also understand what the Sages say based upon the end of the verse, "[He appointed it as a testimony to Jehoseph when He went out over the land of Egypt] when I heard a language unknown to me:" (Psalms 81:6) That night Gabriel came and taught him seventy languages. (Sotah 36b) What actually happened was that the neshama of Enoch/Matatron [Mem Tet], the minister over the seventy nations, who knows their seventy languages, entered him that night and immediately he knew the seventy languages.

Even though the Rabbis teach that Gabriel was his linguist mentor, the Sefer Yetzira reveals that Gabriel was Joseph's general teacher. Through his learning with Gabriel, Joseph was elevated to a state to be able to receive the extra super-soul of Enoch by means of which he automatically knew the seventy languages.

chanoch's Commentary

Please learn this spiritual truth. One does not need to learn in the physical world all that one needs to know. Sometimes with great merit one can just receive the information and just know it without consciously learning it in the traditional school study or life experience way. There are many stories that relate this to happening in our world. People criticize the Kabbalah Center for not teaching Talmud first. This is the explanation that will never suffice to someone who is not aware of this experience. Sometimes you just know and can not explain how you know [to somebody else]. You went to bed without the information and you woke up with the information in your conscious mind. It happens. Expect it to happen so that it will happen to you.

The Rabbis point out that his name is spelled 'Jehoseph' in this verse - with an additional H/Hei. It is the letter of malchut, (Zohar) and it furnished him with royal energies. The seventy kingdoms each have their own malchut-channel. Joseph ascended to the root of malchut and so accessed all of them. Moreover, through knowing their tongues he reigned over them: Physically, for he controlled Egypt, the superpower of the world at that period. Spiritually, he controlled all of the flow of sustenance to the world. (Zohar) This was all through his ‘perfect guarding of the covenant’, which subjugates all the nations and their tongues. (Likutei Moharan 19) This also links with the concept of H/malchut being the source of speech.6

This neshama of Enoch also reincarnated into Rabbi Yishmael son of Elisha the High Priest. And so with respect to Rabbi Yishmael it also says he was very yafeh to’ar. (Gittin 58a) This is the secret of what is written in Pirkei Heichalos, "When Rabbi Yishmael ascended to the exalted heights, Matatron called to him, ‘Return, my radiance.’"

The reincarnation into Rabbi Yishmael had to occur for two reasons. The first reason was because, G-d said, "[Do not eat of the tree of knowledge,] for on the day that you eat you shall surely die." (Gen. 2:17) However, this neshama was not with Adam when he died, having been withdrawn, and so it never really suffered death.

We see from this what an awesome portion Joseph and Rabbi Yishmael his gilgul have in fixing the original sin. This is the reason why Joseph went through so much suffering, and Rabbi Yishmael was one of ‘the ten executed by the government’. (Gittin) He died al kidush Hashem [for the sanctification of the Divine name], fixing the opposite of that which was caused by the original sin. As mentioned, it had caused the departure of the zihara ila. Joseph and Rabbi Yishmael embodied the zihara ila in themselves. Their tremendous mesirut nefesh [self-sacrifice] paved a path for it to be eventually restored to the world at large.

This is the secret of why both of them suffered specifically through their good looks.

This is the secret of why both of them suffered specifically through their good looks. The wife of Potifar desired Joseph’s beauty. She tried to seduce him. When he refused, she turned the tables and accused him of it. Because of this, he was put into prison. (Gen. 39:1-20) When Rabbi Yishmael was sentenced to execution, the daughter of the Caesar requested him to be spared, for she desired his beauty. The request was denied, but they peeled off his face skin while he was alive to preserve an image of him. (Midrash Eile Ezkarah) The pain they went through for their looks drawn from zihara ila peeled the husk of this level caused by the sin - allowing for a time to come when it would once again fully manifest.

It is the bones of Joseph that energized the emancipation from Egypt and its conclusion by the splitting of the sea. That first liberation is the source for all following liberations - climaxing in the final redemption. (Gen. 13:19, Sota)

This is part of why one of the two Messiah’s is Mashiach the son of Joseph. Elijah comes with Mashiach the son of David.

Furthermore, Joseph also sinned, having caused his brothers to sell him when he provoked them with his dreams, and because he spoke badly about them to his father. Therefore, this soul had to reincarnate into Rabbi Yishmael son of Elisha the High Priest in order to finally undergo death.

The natural death he died as Joseph did not serve to atone for this.

Know that Adam merited the NRN"Ch from malchut, tiferet, bina and chochma of Atzilut - all four of them at once. Moses merited the da’at of Atzilut. The three forefathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob merited to chesed, gevura, and tiferet of Atzilut respectively.

This is put specifically here. After having expanded about neshama of Atzilut and its manifestations in the world, the other levels of Atzilut are not to be left out. Also, here some of what is necessary to restore neshama is explained, from this one can draw parallel and figure out what is necessary to draw the rest. It involves following in the ways of the forefathers. "If you do not know, oh most beautiful of woman – go in the footsteps of the shepherds." (Songs 1:8)

chanoch adds: there is nothing to add as it all seems clear to me. Ask questions if it is unclear.

[Translation and commentary by Perets Auerbach.]


1. The Talmud teaches, “The handsomeness of Jacob is like the handsomeness of Adam. ” (Baba Batra) Joseph was like Jacob. (Breishit Raba) Moreover, he was the one to draw Jacob’s light, beauty, and accomplishments into expression. This is the underlying idea behind these revelations about Joseph , as opposed to Jacob.

2. Elijah also strongly associates with this quality. He was first Pinchas, who was zealous for the brit [covenant] - guarding of yesod and he is known as “the angel of the brit”. (Zohar)

3. Therefore, anyone who recites “‘And the heavens and earth were finished...’ (Gen. 2:1) (is a faithful witness to above and) is as a partner in creation of heaven and earth.” (Shabbat)

4. Elijah/Eliyahu equals 52, 2 times YHVH - indicating ability to unite above and below.

5. The Midrash tells that the wife of Potifar told her friends that she had a problem. She invited them over to see what it was. She showed them Joseph. They were so absorbed by looking at him that they cut their hands with the knife instead of the bread.

6. “Malchut - we call the mouth...” (Tikunei Zohar) This all links with the above about testimony, which is done with the mouth and thereby reveals the lights of truth above in Zeir Anpin down below to malchut.