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

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.

Our Souls impact and influence several levels of Spiritual Worlds

Chapter 1 Part 1

We will begin with what the rabbis wrote that the Soul has five names.

From the bottom up they are Nefesh, Ruach, Neshama, Chaya, and Yechida.

Tranted, they are:

Yechida - Singular or Unity or Oneness

Please note that Unity is not Unified. Unified would imply there were two or more that are now ONE.

Chaya - Life (Force)

Neshama - Breath (Shoresh)

Neshama and Mishna have the same letters. Mishna is a section of Talmud (the oldest section and therefore the more concealed and the more valuable. Mishna also includes a shoresh that translates as secondary. Yet this is the level of soul that normally is the largest that enters the body.

Ruach - Wind or Spirit

Nefesh - (that which has come to) Rest

In Chassidut this is translated usually as Animal Soul implying the strongest emotions.

Rabbi Teicher's Commentary and Explanation is the translations of the Hebrew word below as well as the next Paragraph.

Each of these levels represents a different level of light that originated from Ein Sof, the Infinite light emanating out from G-d. On the level of Yechida, the light is still very sublime and unified; on the level of Chaya, it is less so, but it is considered to be the life force of all that comes after it. "Neshama" is derived from the word "neshima," which means breath, because this level of soul is said to be like a breath in the mouth of G-d, so-to-speak. Ruach is the soul-light as it leaves the stage of Neshama, like a breath blown out of the mouth of a person. The soul-light comes to rest on the level called Nefesh, which is in the blood of a physical human being, and therefore it acts as an interface between the spiritual and the physical.

These Names of the Soul Parts or Sparks are considered Lights in contrast to Vessels. They are actually Vessels. This is another example of Rabbi Ashlag's teaching about the Theory of Relativity. As a Light they Create and Fulfill the levels below themselves.

Rabbi Teicher's Commentary below. - 2 Paragraphs

When a person performs righteous deeds, it unifies the levels of his soul. Certainly, these names have not been ascribed by chance or convenience. Rather, know that the person himself is the spiritual element within the body, while the body is only a garment for the person - not the person himself. This is what is written, "It shall not be smeared on human flesh..." (Ex. 30:32), as is noted in Zohar, Parashat Bereishit, 20b.

In other words, "flesh of man" implies that the flesh belongs to man, but it is not the man himself. "Flesh of man" is only the body and exterior garment; it is not the real man.

The body has no life of its own. It is only alive by virtue of the Nefesh which inhabits the Blood. Our science has determined that there are red cells and white cells in the blood. The white cells are the immune system. The white cells are aspects of the Nefesh.

The Ruach actually is the lowest level of emotions, While the Neshama represents the intellect. The Chaya represents the unconscious which has both intellect and emotions. The Yechida represents the totality of wisdom, understanding, and knowledge.

Since man connects all four worlds of ABY"A

[an acronym formed from the initial letters of Atzilut, Beriya, Yetzira and Asiya]

Correspondance of the Four Worlds and the Parts of the Soul:

Atzilut - Emanation - Chaya

Beriya - Creation - Neshama

Yetzira - Formation - Ruach

Asiya - Action - Nefesh

Please note the world of Adam Kadmon corresponds to the soul level of Yechida. It is left out of most correspondence lists. In this case since the Acronym started at Atzilut. Adam Kadmon translates as Primordial Man. This has led to large and serious mistakes by many new age philosophies since they usually come from people who were raised within one of the Christian Churches, since in my opinion they have also made these mistakes. The initial mistake is that Adam Kadmon is the First Man described in the early Chapters of Genesis in the Torah.

A very important concept is implied by our text here. Even though a person’s physical body is minuscule compared to the physical world, his spiritual soul spans all five spiritual worlds that emanate from Ein Sof. Since there is a direct and automatic correlation between the levels of soul and the levels of worlds, man’s actions, besides having a direct impact on his soul, have a direct impact on the corresponding spiritual worlds. When a person performs righteous deeds, it unifies the levels of his soul, and hence, the four worlds as well; the opposite is true if a person sins.

Each lower level of soul acts as a body to the higher level of soul. Yet there is also a garment to each soul in each world. In mystical experiences it is quite common to meet your higher self and see them in a body that frightens one or scares one into running away from the message of the higher soul, the message that is meant for YOU.

Since man connects all four worlds of ABY"A, by necessity, there has to exist within him sections from all four worlds, and each section is called by one of the five names: NRNCh"Y (Nefesh, Ruach, Neshama, Chaya, and Yechida), as we will explain.

Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzato uses a Glassblower and the Creation of the Glass Vessel as an analogy to the relationships of the soul parts. He does this in his book "Derech Hashem" which has been translated and published by Feldheim as "The Way of God".

The Glassblower Analogy

In the Zohar III:25a we find that "the Nefesh is bound to the Ruach, the Ruach to the Neshama, and the Neshama to the Blessed Holy One." The three thus form a sort of chain, linking man to G-d. The idea of these three parts is best explained on the basis of the verse (Gen. 2:7), "G-d formed man out of the dust of the earth, and He blew into his nostrils a breath of life." This is likened to the process of blowing glass, which begins with the breath (neshima) of the glassblower, flows as a wind (Ruach) through the glassblowing pipe, and finally comes to rest (Nefesh) in the vessel that is being formed. The Neshama thus comes from the same root as Neshima, meaning breath, and this is the "breath of G-d." The Nefesh comes from a root meaning "to rest" and therefore refers to the part of the soul that is bound to the body and "rests" there. Ruach means a wind, and it is the part of the soul that binds the Neshama and Nefesh.

The Verse at Genesis 2:7, in my opinion, has 5 levels of soul expressed. God represents the Yechida. Man represents the Body. Dust of the Earth represents the Nefesh. Blowing represents the Neshama as explained. Breath represents Ruach as explained above. Life represents Chaya.

Chapter 1 Part 2

Growing Spiritually

Why is it so difficult to relate to spirituality

He does not acquire all of them [all five levels of soul] at one time, but rather according to his worthiness. At first, he obtains the lowest of them, which is called "Nefesh." Afterwards, if he so merits, he then also attains "Ruach." This is explained in several places in the Zohar, such as in parashat Vayechi, and parashat Teruma, and specifically at the beginning of parashat Mishpatim (Zohar 94b): "Come and see: When a person is born, he is given a Nefesh..."

The sefirot are like a family tree...with multiple generations

Although a person begins life with only a Nefesh, he has the potential to ascend to higher levels of soul, according to his merit (as elucidated below).

All Nefashot are only from the world of Asiya; all Ruchot are from the world of Yetzira; and, all Neshamot are from the world of Beriya. However, the majority of people do not have all five parts, which are called NR"N, etc., but only the Nefesh from Asiya.

We have seen at the end of the previous section that the abbreviation for all five levels of the soul is NRNCh"Y. Since the uppermost levels of Chaya and Yechida are inaccessible now, they are often ignored, and the short-form is even more abbreviated to NR"N. Late in history and distant from Mt. Sinai as we are, most people only have access to the Nefesh level of their soul, which is why it is so difficult to relate to God and spirituality.

However, even this Nefesh has many levels, and this is because Asiya itself also divides into five Partzufim, called: Arich Anpin, Abba, Imma, Zer Anpin, and Nukveh d'Zer Anpin.

The word "partzuf" (plural: "partzufim") literally means "face". In the Kabbala it also refers to the entire human shape.

In general, there are ten sefirot: keter, chochma, bina, chesed, gevura, tiferet, netzach, hod, yesod, and malchut. However, each one is a localized version of the entire system. In other words, it is possible to discern within each one of them ten component sefirot, and within each one of those ten others, etc. (This may be likened to a photograph taken with a hologram, where any detail may be blown up to reveal all the basic information that is contained in the whole photograph. All the basic information of the whole is contained in the detail; and the detail contains all the basic information found in the whole.)

When we see a number of sefirot joined together, working together and functioning together as a system, then they are called a partzuf.

Each partzuf has a unique name, and these correspond to the names of the sefirot, the names of the soul and the names of the worlds, as discussed previously (Chapter 1, Section 1).

Soul World Sefira Partzuf Tetragramaton Spelled Out Names

Yechidah - Singular Adam Kadmon Keter - Crown Arich Anpin - The long face dot that starts Yood יהוה

Chaya - Life force Atzilut - Emanation Chochma - Wisdom Abba - Father Yud AB - 72

Neshama - Breath Beriya - Creation Bina - Understanding Imma - Mother Upper Hay SAG - 63

Ruach - Wind Yetzira - Formation Chesed -- Yesod (details) Zeir Anpin - The short (or, near or small) face Vav Mah - 45

Nefesh - Rested Asiya - action Malchut - kingdom Nukva de'Zer Anpin The feminine consort of Zeir Anpin (the short or near face or small face) Lower Hay Ben - 52

It should be noted that the sefirot according to the names of the partzufim resemble a family tree of three generations: grandfather, parents, child and his bride.

Before a person can merit to attain his Ruach from the world of Yetzira, he must first be complete in all of the five partzufim of the Nefesh of Asiya.

In other words, though a person begins life with a Nefesh, it too has higher levels that must be attained through spiritual growth and rectification. When all the levels of Nefesh are rectified, then a person is ready to ascend to a higher spiritual level, that of the level of Ruach. He then repeats the process of growth on this higher spiritual plane.

That is, he must first master the Nefesh of his Nefesh, then the Ruach of his Nefesh, the Neshama of his Nefesh, and so on. Once he has acquired the Yechida of his Nefesh, then the entire level of Nefesh is said to be "his," and, he is ready to work on acquiring the levels of Ruach.

Most Kabbalah Teachers rarely explain the last two columns on the chart. This is because they know that their students need to break Klipah to understand them and to grow spiritually. Klipah means shell in Hebrew. I will explain these and i suggest that anyone interested should listen to the recording. I will also explain some other relationships within these Names.