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 online.com.
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.
Chapter 3 Section 1
Ibur takes place during a person's lifetime, as we have already mentioned.
In Chapter 2, Section 3 it was written: "…There will reincarnate into the body of this person, while he is still alive, the Nefesh of a righteous tzadik." This is called ibur, and more specifically, "ibur while alive." The difference between this type of ibur and gilgul was also explained there.
Normally, ibur takes place during a person's lifetime; it involves parts of soul that come to a person years after he is born. Gilgul, on the other hand, involves parts of soul that a person is born with. They reincarnate from the time he is born, and they stay with him until the end of his lifetime.
(Later on in this chapter, there will be introduced a new concept of "ibur from birth," and it will be explained there, God-willing, when we come to it. The subject of this section, however, is the normal type of ibur.)
Sometimes a certain mitzvah may come before a person, and he performs the mitzvah as it should be done. At that point the Nefesh of an earlier righteous person who had performed this same mitzvah correctly will join the person as an ibur, since they are alike with respect to this mitzvah.
Thus, the actual mitzvah to be performed affects which righteous soul will join a person as an ibur.
Not only this, but it is also possible that the righteous person is alive during his lifetime, and still ibur can occur.
The one who performed the mitzvah and the righteous person are alive at the same time, and still ibur can occur.
Thus, if a person performs a particular mitzvah or mitzvot relevant to a righteous individual who also performed correctly, then the Nefesh of that righteous tzadik can enter the person, even while they are both alive at the same time.
How can this be? It is because there are 613 parts of each level of soul. So one part of a soul becomes an Ibur and the other 612 parts of the soul remain as a Gilgul in the original body.
Up until now we knew that ibur occurred in a living body after birth, but with the soul of a righteous person who has already died. Now we are learning that the ibur can even come from a living righteous individual.
This is the secret meaning of the verse, "The Nefesh of Jonathan became attached to the Nefesh of David" (I Samuel 18:1). In other words, even while they were both alive, the Nefesh of David was joined with Jonathan as an ibur.
This accounts for the strong soul bond they had while they were alive.
(Rabbi Chaim Vital, who recorded these works, says: It appears that one mitzvah performed correctly is enough to initiate the ibur. It is not required that he have performed all mitzvot to this point).
Up to this point we are not being told why this soul relationship happens. What is its purpose? Obviously the Ibur supports the Gilgul in the doing of some other action. The reason for the two souls to bond is due to the one Mitzvah that they both did separately. This brings them together for another purpose.
Chapter 3 Section 2
With respect to the concept of gilgulim, we will begin the discussion with Adam HaRishon, the First Man, to more easily grasp the matter.
To begin with, when Adam HaRishon sinned he blemished all the sparks [nitzutzot] of his Nefesh, Ruach, and Neshama. Just like a person's body contains many sparks throughout his 248 Limbs and 365 Tendons, and consequently there are many sparks in his head, in his eyes, and in every limb--it is the same with a Nefesh as well.
The human body is comprised of the 248 Limbs and 365 Tendons, and as such they denote the form or "shape" of the human body. The body is composed of Holy Sparks...dispersed throughout it and within its limbs.
The Nefesh is in the same "shape" as the human body; more correctly said: The human body is in the same shape as the Nefesh. The body is composed of Holy Sparks that are dispersed throughout it and within every one of its limbs. It is exactly the same with the Nefesh, only more ephemeral.
When Adam HaRishon, the First Man, sinned, he blemished all the sparks throughout the spiritual form of his Nefesh, and his Ruach and Neshama as well. To explain this, the Arizal now digresses to a deep explanation of the Midrash.
The Midrash Tanchuma (Ki Tisa 12) and Midrash Rabba (Ex. 40:3) provide an explanation for the verse (Job 38:4), "Where were you when I founded the earth?"
Job is complaining about his lot, and arguing with G-d. He answers him, "Where were you when I founded the earth?" In other words, G-d is answering Job that he has no right to question G-d unless he also knows from what part of the soul of Adam the spark that constitutes Job's soul originally came. If he does not know from whence his soul was hewn, then he does not know his own history. Consequently, he can never fully understand the things that are happening to him.
Actually, the Midrash starts off by quoting a verse from Ecclesiastes (6:10): "That which was/ it was already called by name [from the beginning]/ and it is known that it is Adam…" In other words, all that exists "was already called by name" from the beginning, and that beginning or source is Adam HaRishon, when he was created.
When Adam was created, the Holy One, Blessed is He, showed him every righteous person who would ever descend from him: from his head, his hair, his neck, his two eyes, and some from his nose. His Ruach is also divided in this way, as is his Neshama.
From the sparks that comprised all the various limbs of the Nefesh, Ruach and Neshama of Adam were descended the souls of all the people that would exist throughout history.
When he sinned, he blemished the majority of the sparks of his Nefesh, Ruach, and Neshama, causing them to become immersed in the klipot.
The klipot are the husks or shells that imprison the fallen Holy Sparks. When Adam sinned, the Holy Sparks of his Nefesh, Ruach and Neshama fell into the klipot. In the sense in which it is being used here, the concept of klipot refers to the entire realm of evil into which the souls and the Divine Presence have been exiled. This realm is the mirror image of the realm of Holiness [Kedusha], but in the depths of spiritual impurity.
This is the sod [meaning "secret"] of what is written in Sefer HaTikunim (Ch. 5), on the verse, "like a bird that wanders from her nest …" (Proverbs 27:8). The Divine Presence is exiled amongst the klipot. The [souls of the] righteous tzadikim wander after Her from place to place.
This is talking about a quality naturally inherent in a human being that allows him to return to his Creator, as a bird does to its nest. The deeper meaning of the verse refers to Soul-Sparks of righteous people pursuing G-d while they are within the realm of the klipot.
The place to which the sparks are exiled in the realm of the klipot is according to the aspect [of the soul of Adam] from which they have come. If they have come from the head, then they are exiled into the head of the klipot; if from the eyes, then to the eyes, etc. This is the sod [meaning "secret"] of the idea of the "exile of the souls" that is mentioned there.
As explained, the spiritually impure world is a mirror version of the spiritually pure world, except in an unholy and impure way. Thus, when the souls fell into the world of impurity, they fell to the level that corresponded to their own. For example, the souls that are derived from the sparks of the eyes of Adam's Nefesh fell into the klipot of the eyes of the Nefesh. If they fell from the thighs of the Ruach, then they fell into the thighs of the Ruach of the klipot. It is from their specific place of exile in the klipot that the soul-sparks must be redeemed.
[Translator’s note:The Hebrew words that have been translated here, "When Adam was created…," are "mutual golem." The implication of the word mutual is that he was lying around lifeless. The word golem will be more familiar, from the stories of the creature that was made by the Maharal of Prague. Where as G-d breathed into the lifeless lump that was Adam the spirit of life, the Maharal imbued the spirit of life into a lifeless lump by the use of Holy Divine Names.]
Thus, the literal translation of the Midrash at this point is as follows. "When Adam was a lifeless unformed lump…." Concerning that time it is written, "And the Lord G-d formed the Man out of the dust from the ground, and He breathed into him a living soul…"(Gen. 2:7). It was at that moment also, according to our Midrash, that G-d manifested the potential of all the human souls for posterity that would be descended from Adam, the Primordial Man.
[The verse quoted by the Midrash from the Book of Job (38:4) is: "Where were you when I founded the earth?" The Hebrew word for "where" is ayfoh, comprised of the letters Aleph -- Yud -- Peh -- Hei. The Midrash notes that these letters can also be read as ayfah. An ayfah is an amount of dough that has not yet been kneaded into the shape of the loaf that will be baked. Therefore, the verse, when it is read with the indication [remez] ayfah, also hints at this moment when Adam was a lifeless lump, like an ayfah. This is the moment when G-d gives form and life to the lifeless lump, and manifests the potential souls of the entire human race, the moment when Adam was created.]
Above it refers to a Midrash that speaks of the Birdsnest. In the Zohar it speaks of the Birdsnest as the location where the soul of Mashiach waits. It also hints to the reality teaching that in order to complete one's Tikune one must know the soul root from which they come within Adam and Chavah. Without that information it is impossible to know what one did incorrectly in their last incarnation.
Most of a person's life is spent searching for this information. There are 3 shortcuts taught within the frame of Kabbalah. 1) Hebrew Astrology 2) Face and Palm Reading and 3) Knowledge of the Races of Angels.
Actually all three tools are necessary to find the complete answer. I do teach all three tools along with Hebrew Meditation techniques that is needed to utilize the above three tools.
Chapter 3 Section 3
Cain and Abel, the sons of Adam, committed their own sin in addition to that of their father and thus caused their sparks to become more deeply immersed in the klipot.
Cain murdered Abel, and according to the Midrash, Abel had (previously) looked at the Divine Presence as it descended to consume his sacrifice on the altar. Gazing such at the Divine Presence was deemed a grave sin and warranted for Abel the penalty of death. Thus, they caused further damage and blemish to the soul-sparks from the soul of Adam that were originally damaged by the sin of the First Man.
In Kabbalah a person does not die until the nightly court case approves his leaving and sets the time to leave. Abel was approved for leaving the world for many reasons. The one cited above from the Midrash is only one idea. Another is that Abel was too involved with the physical and lost sight of his spiritual work. This comes from the word/phrase/verse in the Torah that teaches that “Abel also brought a sacrifice”. Also implies it is an after thought not truly important. For someone on the spiritual level of the Son of Adam this would be a grievous mistake.
However, in each generation some of the sparks reincarnate into the world to become rectified.
That is good news. All do not end up like Cain and Abel. There is tikune.
This commentary does not make sense. How did Cain and Abel end up? There is always tikune since HaShem is merciful.
The level of the "quarry" of the souls of a particular generation can be either that of the sparks of the head, or the eyes, etc.
The "quarry" [as in a rock quarry] is the place in the soul-structure of Adam from which the soul-sparks derive. This varies by the generation. It is like a spiritual quarry from which the sparks of the souls of a particular generation are "hewn." Some of these sparks reincarnate and become rectified, but some of them reincarnate, become more blemished because of sin, and fall deeper into the klipot, like the souls of Cain and Abel, the sons of Adam.
This helps us to understand Rabbi Teicher's comment above that I already commented upon but still it is incomplete since even when we fall deeper into the Klipot we still have the potential to produce a Tikune, a correction. Remember in spirituality we go down in order to go higher. A truly amaizing spiritual law.
Chapter 3 Section 4
Some reincarnate to become rectified, but they are not [entirely] careful and sin. Such a spark will become immersed again in the klipot, with all the [minor] sparks that derive from it and depend upon it.
There are major sparks and minor sparks. The major sparks are composed of many minor sparks. They may reincarnate all together in one gilgul, or they may separate into many gilgulim.
There needs to be much more discussion about this idea of major sparks and minor sparks and how a major sparks mistake causes the minor sparks to fall with him. Just as Adam's sin causes all of humanity to fall. This is due to Adam being the major spark and every human being since then being a minor spark. Spark of light is a difficult idea to define and understand. Do you have any questions at this point?
What we are considering here is an intermediate case that includes both gilgul and ibur.
The Arizal is now going to describe the intermediate case of "ibur from birth," which is in some respects like ibur and in some respects like gilgul. There are parts of soul that reincarnate and come to a person when he is born, as is the case in gilgul. However, they have already been rectified, as in ibur, and like ibur they can reap reward from mitzvot that are done in this person's lifetime but do not suffer guilt from sins that may be committed. Thus, they are an intermediate category.
The reason for this phenomenon is that there are two types of blemishes resulting from sin. As a consequence of serious sin (which will be explained later on), the soul-sparks are severely blemished; they undergo gilgul. However, the result of less serious sin is a less serious blemish and does not necessitate gilgul.
A soul may reincarnate, achieve extensive rectification, but nevertheless remain somewhat blemished because of some "light" sins that were committed during the gilgul. These parts of the soul that are for the most part - but not completely - rectified will reincarnate again at the time of birth and remain with the person until the end of his lifetime, as in gilgul. However, in this case, they will reap reward for mitzvot but will not suffer guilt from sins that may be committed, as in ibur. It is these parts of the soul, those which are less seriously blemished, that constitute the intermediate category undergoing "ibur from birth."
All the sparks of the Nefesh, even those that are already rectified, return in a complete gilgul at the time of birth with the individual spark that was damaged. They do not separate from one another until the day of death.
All the sparks of Nefesh -- both those that have been almost completely rectified, retaining only a light blemish due to a "light" sin, and those that have been only slightly rectified -- return at the time of birth with those soul-sparks that have been severely damaged and will require extensive tikune in this lifetime. Since they arrive at the time of birth, they are all similar to a "complete gilgul."
However, the rectified sparks reincarnate as an ibur.
In other words, the above mentioned almost-completely-rectified sparks reincarnate as an "ibur from birth." The reason it is called "ibur" is as follows:
They do not share in the sins of this body, only the merits. It is similar to the souls of righteous tzadikim who have died and come as an ibur during a person's lifetime and not at birth.
Even though the almost-completely-rectified sparks have to return with the damaged ones, they only benefit from the reincarnation.
Thus, a spark that has not been rectified whatsoever by the performance of those mitzvot to which it is related or [has not been rectified] as a result of transgressing those sins from which there is no revival must reincarnate into a second body, which will be named for that spark.
That spark's "name" is the essence of the gilgul that is happening, like the name of any given thing describes the essence of that thing. The gilgul reincarnates into a body for the sake of the tikune of those soul-sparks that have been severely damaged or not rectified at all. Therefore, that particular birth will be called by the name of those sparks that must undergo extensive tikune.
When a person passes, they are asked 'What is your Name?”. This Name that is being asked is the spark's name not the name used by the person in this world. This spark's name must be discovered in the process of soul growth and Tikune. How to do this is covered in the Tikune information available for each individual and for which we are hoping to automate the system when we have sufficient donations to pay for that.
However, sparks that have achieved rectification through the performance of mitzvot, but have also been blemished through the transgression of "light" sins, only reincarnate as an ibur of the sort mentioned previously [i.e., ibur from birth], even though it is also a gilgul.
They are an ibur that must come back at birth, but they are not the main soul of the body in which they find themselves. It is because they are not the main soul of the body that they are an ibur. They are a gilgul because they come at the time of birth.
In contrast, there are sparks that have not been blemished through sins after having been rectified by mitzvot.
These sparks have been fully rectified and are not blemished whatsoever.
They do not return at all except as an ibur during lifetime [i.e., after birth], and then only if he merits it, as explained.
Chapter 3 Section 5
Thus, what we have learned [from the previous section is as follows]:
The main part of the gilgul associated with the body is specifically that part which was damaged. The other parts of the soul previously rectified in other reincarnations only return as aspects of ibur. When the part which is associated with the body performs a mitzvah in this world, the other parts share a portion of the mitzvah, since they have assisted in the performance of the mitzvah, as explained earlier concerning the soul of a righteous tzadik that comes as an ibur. Since they only come to assist for the sake of good they do not share the punishment when the main Nefesh transgresses.
When a person reincarnates, the entire Nefesh returns. However, the essence of the gilgul is only the part that sinned in a previous body and returns to become rectified. It is associated with the body, and reward and punishment are applicable to it. However, the rest of the Nefesh takes part in the reward but not in the punishment.
Now, the Nefesh in its entirety suffers and receives punishments in the existing body, besides what was suffered by the sparks in previous bodies. And it will suffer as well the pain of death and the pain of what comes after death. Consequently, there is atonement for the earlier ["light"] sins. Moreover, through the mitzvot of previous gilgulim and the present one in which they have a portion, as we have said, the tikune of the Nefesh becomes complete.
In this respect, the comparison between the mostly rectified parts of the soul that come as an "ibur from birth" and the soul of a righteous tzadik that comes as a normal ibur ceases. For a soul of a righteous tzadik, the ibur is not meant to act as a cleansing process. It just increases its own merit by the ibur, and it assists the person in which the ibur is occurring. However, by the case of "ibur from birth," the mostly rectified parts of the soul need the ibur to complete their atonement and tikune.
However, if they had a portion in the [present] sins as well, there could never be tikune for the Nefesh. A person usually sins, and this would only add sin to sin and there would be no end to it!
If the mostly rectified sparks had a portion in the sins of the non-rectified sparks, then it would hamper progression towards tikune, because previous tikunim would be cancelled out by future sins of other sparks.
However, since the rest of the Nefesh does not share responsibility in the evil of this spark -- only in its merits, sins can be atoned for and not increased. New merits can be added through each gilgul. There can be a conclusion to the cycle of reincarnations and tikune for theNefesh. Understand this well.
In this way, the Nefesh achieves completion in all its sparks; through reincarnation completion is achieved for all the sparks from the "head" of the Nefesh to its "feet".
This refers to the beginning of the discourse in Section 2. The sparks of the Nefesh from the head to the feet are the sparks of the soul-body of Adam HaRishon. Each generation is destined to rectify the selection of sparks associated with it, until the tikune of the whole is completed.
Once the "feet" are reached, then Mashiach will come, as it says in the Zohar (Parashat Pekudei pg.258, and the end of Parashat Vayakhel).
In the age of Mashiach, there will be no more need for gilgulim. Mankind will be fully rectified and will have merited the appearance of the greatest soul of all, the soul of Mashiach, the Keter of human souls.
This technique of Ibur from Birth is what allows the Nefesh to remain unified which allows it to protect itself from the scourges of the negative actions that people do.
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