Advanced Reincarnation Class 9

Shaarai Gilgulim - Gate of Reincarnations

As taught to Rabbi Chaim Vital by Rabbi Issac Luria and Amended by Rabbi Chaim's Son Shemuel.

Translated by Rabbi Shabtai Teicher of Blessed Memory and Completed by Rabbi Perets Aurback.

Published online with commentary by 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.

Ibur of Righteous Souls

Chapter 2 Section 4

Sometimes it is possible, even in this late period of history, for the Ruach of a righteous tzadik, even from one of the Forefathers, to come as an ibur. It will all depend upon the level of the Mitzvot being performed by the person. Some Mitzvot have the power to draw down the Nefesh of a righteous tzadik into ibur, whereas others can draw down the Ruach of the tzadik.

It is also possible for a person to receive the Nefesh of one righteous person, and after that merit another Nefesh from another righteous person, even greater than the first. In such a case, he will have his own Nefesh, the Nefesh of the first righteous person as his Ruach, and the second, higher Nefesh, acting in the place of his Neshama.

Thus, in one lifetime he can merit a Ruach and Neshama, though not his own.

chanoch's Commentary

It is a good thing to contemplate what Mitzvah will bring which Higher Level Soul. As an example and do not consider this your answer. Contemplate for yourself. Avraham Avinu developed Astrology and was taught by HaShem that the Astrological Influences can be Overcome. This occurs on Rosh Chodesh. Perhaps the Mitzvah of participating in the three aspects of the New Moon will bring down the Nefesh or Ruach of Avraham Avinu.

Or, perhaps, the Nefesh will be perfected to the point that after already receiving the Nefesh of a righteous person, he will merit the Ruach of a second righteous person, even possibly the Ruach of Abraham the Patriarch! There is no generation in which there is not someone like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Samuel...

In this case, the Ruach of the second tzadik will act as his Neshama, and the Nefesh of the first tzadik will act as his Ruach.

In other words, there are people in every generation who may actually have the Nefesh or Ruach of these great people from the past.

There is no pen that will prove sufficient to record all the details in a book. Nevertheless, an understanding person will comprehend and make the necessary inferences on his own.

In summary, based upon the tikune and purification of a particular Nefesh, it can even merit a Neshama from the earliest generations, including the most elevated of all; and it can happen even in this generation of ours.

Furthermore, it is exactly the same when a Nefesh and Ruach reincarnate together and become rectified, but are unable to acquire their Neshama without first dying and reincarnating. They can receive the Nefesh, Ruach, or Neshama of a righteous tzadik as an ibur, and it will act as their Neshama. All the details that were described in the case of the Nefesh alone that has completed its tikun will apply here also.

On occasion, it can happen that all three levels of soul will reincarnate together and become rectified. Then the Nefesh or Ruach of a righteous tzadik may impregnate him [as an ibur]. When he leaves this world he will ascend to the same level as the righteous tzadik that came to him as an ibur. In the World to Come they will actually be on the same level.

Although his own soul was not originally on the same level as that of the righteous tzadik, he has now merited ascending to that level forever.

This is the inner meaning of what is written in the introduction to Zohar Bereishit (7a): Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai fell on his face and he saw Rav Hamnuna Sabba. He said that in "that world" [the World to Come], both he and Rav Hamnuna Sabba would be shining together.

Since the soul of Rav Hamnuna Sabba was within Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai as an ibur, they would be on the same level in the World to Come.

This is enough.

chanoch's Commentary

Why do you think that Rabbi Chaim Vital wrote "This is enough"? Hint: Remember Hebrew for the word enough is Dai as in the song Dayenu. Anyone want to answer now?

Also remember earlier he said/implied these rules are too numberous to include all of them. Could he be referring to there is sufficient information above to extrapolate the rules for yourself?

Reason for the Ibur of a Righteous Soul

Chapter 2 Section 5

Ibur occurs for two reasons. First, through the ibur of the righteous, the Nefesh of a person can become rectified to the level of the Nefesh of the righteous tzadik. In the World to Come he will ascend to that level since the righteous tzadik will have helped him to add mitzvot and holiness to his life. This reason serves the person [receiving the ibur] himself.

The second reason is for the sake of the righteous tzadik who was the ibur. By helping the other person to perform mitzvot and rectification, he gains a portion in them. This is the sod [meaning "secret"] of what Chazal wrote: Great are the righteous people, for even in death they merit children (Sanhedrin 47a). In other words, when they cause the person to increase his merit they become like "fathers" who guide and help. This is to his merit.

The righteous tzadik who has entered as an ibur is like a spiritual, internal navigation system for the host person. For this service the tzadik will also receive reward through the mitzvot he is helping the person to perform and the holiness he is helping to increase.

chanoch's Commentary

Do you think it is from this comment by Rabbi Teicher, that other Kabbalists learn that a Tzadik or Righteous Person is someone who does the Right Thing? Or do they learn this from other places and other hints?

The righteous soul which enters a person and assists him during his life, as an ibur and not as a gilgul, "easily attains reward and is distant from loss."

This (the phrase "easily attains reward and is distant from loss") is an expression used in the Talmud regarding the laws of monetary investments and interest. It is borrowed here to describe the secure benefit accruing to the righteous soul in the circumstance of ibur.

Every time the person does a mitzvah, he [the righteous soul] receives reward. This is the secret of what is written, "A righteous person receives his reward and the reward of his friend in Gan Eden" (Chagiga 15a). Understand this deep secret well, though now is not the time to discuss it at length.

chanoch's Commentary

Chagiga in the Talmud is a section that is highly recommended to study for someone who wants to learn to be a Prophet. In Chagiga is the famous story of the 4 who entered Pardes which is a metaphor dealing with traveling to other dimensions and worlds.

The righteous person receives the reward for having performed mitzvot during his own lifetime, and for those he helps his "friend" perform while an ibur inside of him.

On the other hand, if the [host] person does evil, the righteous soul will not suffer any punishment or loss since he only came to help him, not to cause him evil. On the contrary, if this person negates what he rectified, then the righteous soul will leave him.

Thus, the righteous tzadik "easily attains reward" for his assistance in the performance of mitzvot. At the same time he is "distant from loss" because he will not suffer any detriment or pain from the sins of the host nor need to participate in the host's sufferings.

If the person continues to act righteously, then the righteous soul will remain.

The sod [meaning "secret"] of ibur is that it occurs during a person's lifetime and therefore does not bind [the Nefesh of the righteous tzadik] to the body. This is unlike a Nefesh that reincarnates, that enters as a gilgul from the time of birth and is unified and bound with the body without exiting from there until death. On the other hand, the Nefesh of the righteous tzadik enters as an ibur willingly and leaves at will. If the person continues to act righteously, then the righteous soul will remain there in order to receive a portion in the actions of the person. It will remain there until the host dies, when they will both go up to the same place, as mentioned previously.

However, if the person does evil, then the righteous soul will become disgusted with this union and leave it. He is not permanently there, but "borrowed," like a guest who remains with his host until he feels it is time to leave.

For the same reason the righteous tzadik will not feel any pains that may occur to the host person and he does not have to suffer them, because he is not "attached" to the body; he is only "borrowed."

His Ruach and Neshama will be worthy to be clothed by this nefesh.

The rule is that a person who performs a mitzvah of great importance can merit an ibur of the Nefesh of a righteous tzadik from an earlier generation. As a result, it is possible [for him] to become rectified and purified to the point that his Nefesh will actually become transposed onto the same level as that of the righteous tzadik.

Afterwards, the person will have to rectify his Ruach and Neshama to such an extent of purity that they will be worthy to be clothed by this Nefesh.

chanoch's Commentary

This is one of the reasons that my teachers taught me and i teach you that for certain tools to work and other tools to continue to work it is necessary to continue to grow spiritually. when one "rests on his laurels" some of the tools stop working as an incentive to start your spiritual work again. This rule applies to an Ibur and Gilgul and also in other areas of the Gilgul.

Do you understand the meaning and difference between the terms Ibur and Gilgul?

The word translated as "to be clothed" indicates the kabbalistic concept of enclothement, hitlabshut, and comes from the root that means "to wear," as when it is said, "He wears warm clothes," or "He wore a new suit." Derived from it, for example, is the Hebrew word levush, which means "garment" or "clothing."

The concept of hitlabshut is actually a derivative of the concept of partzufim, both of which are among the most important and innovative ideas in the Lurianic Kabbala. (For a basic article on these innovations, see below).

Hitlabshut refers to the fact that the partzufim, or parts of the partzufim, are ensconced or enclothed one within the other, or dressed one upon the other. (For more on hitlabshut, see subsequent sections where this will be explained more clearly.)

Then he will actually become transposed [in his entirety] onto the level of the righteous tzadik, having ascended beyond the original root-level of his soul from whence he came. All of this is the reason for the help and assistance of the righteous soul.

chanoch's Commentary

In Kabbalah it is taught that the vessel in the endless world before the world of Tikune and the vessel in the endless world after the world of Tikune remains unchanged except for the disappearance of the illusion called "Bread of Shame". So how can a soul exceed his original root level?

Ari Basic Articles from Kabbalaonline as taught by Rabbi Moshe Miller


"Partzufim" are compound structures of the sefirot. A partzuf is a metaphorical figure of human likeness, used to represent the expansion of an individual sefirah (or group of sefirot) into an independent configuration with ten sefirot of its own.

This is arranged such that each sefirah contains within itself aspects of all the ten sefirot, and each aspect is further subdivided into ten again. (See Tikunei Zohar, tikun 47, p. 84a and tikun 69 p. 116b.)

As such, the partzufim represent the rectification of two "flaws" built into the world of Tohu - the immature state of the vessels and their lack of inter-relationship (not being "enclothed" one within the other). Indeed, the two primary features of the partzufim are their fully expanded vessels and their inter-relationship with one another, such that they are even described by names that characterize the way they function as complex structures and the way they interact with other partzufim. For example Abba (literally "father") as the partzuf of Chochma, and Imma (literally "mother") as the partzuf of Bina, the two of which interact with each other to "give birth" to a "son", Zeir Anpin, and a "daughter", Malchut.

chanoch's Commentary

Have you ever asked yourself the question Why is a Sefirah named what it is named? Or a Partzuf? or any other Kabbalistic tool or teaching? If not go back to the beginning of your studies and start doing so. This is an important Kabbalistic lesson and tool for you to learn even more.

In the universe of partzufim, it may be said that the chief dynamic of Creation is not evolution, but rather interaction. This means that higher strata of reality are constantly impinging upon lower strata, and affecting them like the soul within a body, thereby infusing every element of Creation with an inner force that transcends its own position within the universal hierarchy.

chanoch's Commentary

The Kabbalistic concept of Female Waters implies that the lower strata also impinges on the higher strata and affects them as well. Does it work in both directions? If yes why did he not say so? Is it an oversight?

(Adapted from Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh's Gal Einai website.)

chanoch's Commentary

Hitlabshut or enclothement is an important Kabbalistic teaching of the ARI - Rabbi Issac Luria. The above is the only explanation that you will receive. It is important to understand this intuitively especially when you start interacting with the Sefirot in Meditation. Are there any questions about this concept now? If not now then if you ever have a question about this concept make sure you get it answered since a lack of understading may lead you astray.

Soul Combinations

Chapter 2 Section 6

It is also possible for the Nefesh of a person to ascend until his Nefesh will be from the world of Atzilut. Generally speaking, the Nefesh is from Asiya, the Ruach is from Yetzira, and the Neshama is from Beria. However, on a more specific level, each world has its own levels of Nefesh, Ruach, Neshama (NR"N).

chanoch's Commentary

Do you remember the nomenclature NR"N? Nefesh Ruach Neshamah. Also remember that there could be Chaya and Yechida. How about the nomenclature BY"A? This refers to the Worlds. Beria, Yetzirah, and Asiyah. Do you remember the difference between a Sefirah, a World, and a Partzuf? A World is a Sefirah which has some if not all of the fulfillment for the desire of that Sefirah. A Partzuf is a Sefirah structure that has 10 internal Sefirah which is a complete structure.

This is not something new. As we learned in the first chapter, each world is part of an overall general system, while at the same time it is a smaller version of the same thing Hence, it can be that sometimes the NR"N of a person is from Asiya, Yetzira, and Beria.

chanoch's Commentary

Remember the Kabbalistic Teaching "As above so below and As below so it is above". This is the "religious" language for the scientific term Hologram. Hopefully this starts to help you relate the teachings of Kabbalah to the language of science.

Hence, it can be that sometimes the NR"N of a person is from Asiya, Yetzira, and Beria.

That is, the Nefesh is from Asiya, the Ruach is from Yetzira, and the Neshama is from Beria.

Sometimes, though, his NR"N can be from the malchut, the Zeir Anpin, and the Imma of Asiya.

That is, all three are from within Asiya. What will follow are other possible combinations.

Sometimes, the three of them will be from Yetzira, or from the world of Beria, or all of them will be from Atzilut. [In the latter case,] the Nefesh will be from the Nukva of Zeir Anpin [malchut of Atzilut], the Ruach from Zeir Anpin [Yetzira of Atzilut], the Neshama from Imma [Bina of Atzilut], and the Chaya from Abba [Chochma of Atzilut].

Another combination can be the Nefesh from Asiya, and the Ruach and Neshama from Yetzira. Or, the Nefesh can be from Yetzira and the Ruach and Neshama from Beria. Alternatively, the Nefesh can be from Beria while the Ruach and Neshama are from Atzilut.

This is possible because the four worlds, ABY"A [Atzilut, Beria, Yetzira, Asiya], are each comprised of four [sub-]worlds of ABY"A and their own set of ten sefirot. Those ten, in turn, are comprised of their own ten sefirot, and so on.

The general system of ten sefirot breaks down into sub-sets of ten sefirot, which in turn break down into their own sub-sets of ten sefirot, etc.

It is not possible to write down all the details at length since the space is limited. However, the person of understanding will comprehend and make the connections on his own.

Theoretically, sub-categorization can go on ad infinitum; and the number of possible combinations is virtually limitless.

chanoch's Commentary

It is helpful now to contemplate all of the different species of insects or fish or animals or rocks that exist in the world. Each of these relate to a Sefirah. Everything in Creation is created through the process of the 4 phases of Creativity and as such each Created thing relates to a Sefirah and a World. This is important for you to learn this truth. Also the Torah itself is composed of words and letters which relate to a Sefirah. A true Kabbalist can look at a verse in the Torah and tell you which Sefirah it connects to and also which Sefirah each word and letter relates to. Of course they will not do so since this must be done as a person reaches the level of consciousness that allows them to "perceive" things in this way.

However, when we say that sometimes the NR"N is from Yetzira, or from Beria, it does not mean that he lacks a Nefesh from Asiya! After all, even the Shechina is called "Malchut" and It "nests" in Asiya. How much more so the Nefesh of a person!

In other words, the Shechina [Divine Presence] obviously belongs to a very exalted and spiritual place. Yet, this does not stop it from "nesting" and hovering about in the lowest of worlds, in the world of Asiya, even in the world that we humans also inhabit. It is the same for souls, and even more so. The Nefesh of all people comes from the World of Asiya, as we learned beforehand, even if it is said about it that it is a Nefesh of Atzilut, or a Nefesh of Yetzira.

Rather, what it means is that the Nefesh originated from Asiya, but that it became so purified that it cannot be sensed in comparison to the [newly acquired] light of the Nefesh of Yetzira within him.

It is like a candle that makes nearly no impression at all when it shines during daylight.

Therefore, it is all called the Nefesh of Yetzira.

He has a Nefesh from Asiya and it remains that. However, it can ascend to the world of Yetzira above it so that its light can become almost as bright as its level of Yetzira. Consequently, its Asiya-light becomes non-discernable, and for all intents and purposes, it is like the Nefesh of Yetzira.

It is the same for all the aspects: when we say that his NR"N is from Atzilut, really he has a Nefesh, Ruach, and Neshama from Asiya, Yetzira and Beria [respectively]. However, they are not referred to by their names, and all of them are considered secondary and referred to as being from Atzilut.

Actually, the NR"N of Atzilut are aspects of a higher and more interior world than that of Beria, Yetzira andAsiya (BY"A). Therefore, they are clothed within the worlds of BY"A and shine from within them. The light of the higher entities from Atzilut may be so revealed that the lower, weaker, exterior lights of BY"A are simply non-discernible.

You can apply this concept to any of the other details that have been mentioned.

Thus, the system of levels of souls remains the same for everyone, though within the system different combinations of souls can seem to exist based upon the individual's level of rectification and purification.

Yibum- A Special Case

Chapter 2 Section 7

Within the concept of gilgulim there is a distinction between reincarnation into any body that may be ready for his gilgul, and reincarnation through a brother, which is the sod [meaning "secret"] of yibum.

Yibum is the Levirate marriage in which a surviving brother marries his (widowed) sister-in-law whose husband, the man's brother, has died childless.

In a normal gilgul, the Nefesh, Ruach and Neshama [NR"N] do not reincarnate together, or even two at once. Only the Nefesh reincarnates until it is rectified. Afterwards, in another gilgul, the Nefesh and Ruach return together until they are rectified. When that occurs, then the entire NR"N [reincarnates together] until the Neshama is rectified, which completes his gilgulim. Or, sometimes each of the three reincarnates individually [and achieves tikun independent of the others]: the Ruach with another Nefesh in another body, and the Neshama with a different Nefesh and Ruach in a different body.

However, when a man reincarnates through his brother, the entire NR"N may do so together.

Chaim Vital says: It seems from Sabba of Mishpatim that even with respect to yibum all three do not come back together, but only the Nefesh and the Ruach without the Neshama. This requires further investigation.

Thus, it is not clear if just the N"R come together in one gilgul during yibum, or if all three come together at one time. In either case, it is different than a regular gilgul.

End of Introduction [Chapter Two].

chanoch's Commentary

Yibum is a subject that the Zohar spends a lot of words discussing. Yibum is spelled יבם which comes from the Shoresh that means "in them" or "in her". This is easy to understand since the meaning becomes an Active "in Her".

This is the reincarnation mechanism to return a man who passes without children. In today's world it is almost never done. Approximately 2500 years ago the Rabbi's modified the option since people had fallen so far spiritually that they could not maintain the proper consciousness when mating with their sister in law to bring their brother's soul back through her.

I find this ritual very intriguing probably because i never had a brother so it was never a Mitzvah that i could do.