Shaarai Kedusha – Gate of Holyness

Author: Rabbi Chaim Vital

Translated by Rabbi Yosef Peretz

Request from the Translater: Please guard this translation from getting out to the mainstream public.

chanoch's Commentary

This Sefer is famous. It is written in 4 parts. Only 3 of these were published in Hebrew until recently. This is a translation of all of these parts. The above request, is based on this idea that part 4 is something that should not be made available to people who do not have the vessel or Holyness to utilize the information. My teachers have indicated that no person who is insufficient Holy will be unable to utilize this information to commit evil – which is defined in Kabbalah as a “Desire to Receive for Oneself Alone”.

Important Foreword “About Rabbi Chaim Vital”

Rabbi Chaim Vital's Introduction


Gate 1: To reveal damage done in man's sins with regard to the Mitzvot.

Gate 2: On the damage done through bad middos (character traits)


Note: Part 2 was not included in the translation as it deals mostly with detailing the mitzvos and middos (character traits) and is not essential for understanding the matter of Ruach HaKodesh (holy spirit).


Gate 1: Introduction to the Mystical Worlds

Gate 2: On what is man

Gate 3: Barriers to Prophecy

Gate 4: Conditions for Prophecy

Gate 5: On the types of Prophecy

Gate 6: on the levels of prophecy and the matter of prophecy in the early generations, and what is the matter of attaining Ruach HaKodesh (holy spirit) which is possible to acquire in our times.

Gate 7: on attaining Ruach Hakodesh (holy spirit) in our times

Gate 8: to clarify the attainment of Ruach Hakodesh (holy spirit) in our times with great conciseness

PART 4 - actions to accelerate attainment

Gate 1: Practical actions for (accelerating) attainment.

Gate 2: on the manner of attainment

Gate 3: on the condition for attainment

Important Foreword:

The Chazon Ish (leader of Torah Jewry in Israel during WWII era) wrote "If a man is a baal nefesh (virtuous and reverent person), and the time is a quiet time, free from the hunger of desires, and his eye opens wide to the glorious vision of the heights of the heaven, and to the depths of the earth, he becomes aroused and aghast. For the world appears to him like an impossible riddle, hidden and wondrous. And this riddle encircles his heart and mind and he becomes faint-hearted. There is no spirit left in him except for this riddle which occupies all his desire and his aspirations. And the understanding of its answer captures his soul, until he is willing to go through fire and through water for it. Because for what is life worth to him, if this life is hidden from him with absolute concealment, and his soul is dizzy, mourning and yearning to understand its secret and to know its root. But the gates are locked..." (Emuna U'Bitachon Chapter 1)

For those "Baalei Nefesh" who would like torah answers as to the mysterious riddle of life, the book Shaarei Kedusha by Rav Chaim Vital unlocks the gates and provides the Torah perspective. It is not presented in a philosophical way, with vague ideas. Rather it is written in a systematic layout, with a clear and surprisingly well-organized Theory of Everything.

Rabbi Chaim received his teachings from the Arizal who in turn received them from Eliyahu HaNavi and Eliyahu from the heavenly academy.

Although the realm of Kabala is for great torah scholars, nevertheless there is no other way to get a glimpse and picture of man and his role in the creation without it. One who studies well these wondrous and awesome introductions will emerge as a different person. He will have a new appreciation of the awesome potential that lies within himself and will surely become more motivated to work on improving himself.

The book cannot be properly understood without a solid torah background (ideally, talmud study in a traditional yeshiva). I have tried as much as possible to translate the hebrew text literally and to add comments in (parentheses) or [brackets] rather than giving my own interpretive translation. The translator has studied in numerous torah institutions including the Mir Yeshiva in Jerusalem. He also completed degrees at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in physics and electrical engineering and was a research associate in nuclear physics for some years before heading off to yeshiva.

Disclaimer: Proficiency in the Kabala without proficiency in the Talmud first is like a child reading an advanced physics books. Talmud study teaches one to think clearly and discern the absolute truth in a matter which is the foundation of a man. It also has a unique spiritual power to teach one how to discern good from evil. Without the spiritual light from Talmud study one is totally unable to do this. The kabala is written in hidden, allegoric form. Only one who has developed and purified his intellect through years of in-depth Talmud study can even begin to decipher the meaning from the allegory. One who has not reached this level will take the allegories too literally and will get at best, nowhere.

chanoch's Commentary

the above paragraphs is the Translators opinion. There is a machlochet among Kabbalists regarding this. Rabbi Ashlag and the Gaon DeVilna among many others represents that the study of Kabbalah and especially the Zohar is required in order to cleanse oneself. Rabbi Ashlag also teaches that if someone studies Talmud for 5 years and then does not find his life significantly less in chaos, he has connected to the Tree of Death and it would be better for him to study the Kabbalah instead.

Here is a link to read many quotations supporting the study of Kabbalah.

  • Why Study Zohar?
  • About Rabbi Chaim Vital z'l:

    Rabbi Chaim Vital was unquestionably the leading disciple of the Holy Arizal, Rabbi Isaac Luria, and his foremost interpreter. The Ari himself wrote very little and what is commonly known as the "Ari's writings", were in fact transcribed by Rabbi Chaim.

    chanoch adds: The Arizal is known to have said that He came to this world only to teach Rabbi Chaim Vital. In response Rabbi Chaim Vital is quoted as saying he would not study unless the Arizal also taught others that wanted to learn with Rabbi Chaim Vital.

    The Divine flow experienced by the Ari was so overwhelming that he was unable to commit it to writing. As he himself expressed it: "When I begin to reveal a Torah secret to you the flow of knowledge becomes like a mighty stream and I look for ways to open a small channel that you will be capable of absorbing ."Rabbi Chaim Volozhin bears witness to the fact that when he mentioned the Ari to the Vilna Gaon the Gaon's whole body trembled (hakdama l'sefer dtzinuata).

    chanoch adds: In my opinion this indicates that the Arizal also taught the Vilna Gaon. It is also something to realize that the saying of a Tzadik's Name is also a method of changing oneself with Mercy.

    Rabbi Chaim was born in Israel, probably in Safed. He studied nigleh (the revealed Torah) under Rabbi Moshe Alshech and Kabbalah under Rabbi Moshe Cordevero. However, when the Ari arrived in Safed from Egypt in 1570 Rabbi Chaim soon became totally devoted to him. The Ari is reported to have said that his sole reason for departing Egypt for Safed was to transmit his Torah to Rabbi Chaim. It is an amazing fact that the Ari who died in 1572 (at the age of 38) studied with Rabbi Chaim for less than two years and that the extensive body of writings transcribed by Rabbi Chaim came from that short period. (from

    chanoch adds: Shortly after the Arizal arrived in Safed Rabbi Cordovero left the world leaving a metaphorical or perhaps a real description about who would inherit the mantle of teaching Kabbalah to the Children of Israel. He said that as his casket was carried to his burial site whoever saw the fire following the casket would be the teacher that the Kabbalistic world would follow after him – Rabbi Cordovero.

    Rabbi Chaim describes his initiation into the Arizal's new approach to Kabbala as follows: "When I [first] came to my teacher of saintly memory [the Arizal] to study this wisdom under him, he was about to leave for Tiberias. He took me with him. We boarded a boat, and as we were sailing [across the Kinneret] at a point opposite the arches of the Old Synagogue of Tiberias, my teacher dipped a cup into the water and gave it to me to drink. He told me that now I would be able to grasp this wisdom [the teachings of Kabbala] for I had just drunk water from the well of Miriam [which is buried in the lake Tiberias]. From that time on I began to enter the depth of this wisdom." (from Pri Etz Chaim - Shaar Hanhaga Halimud)

    Rav Chaim Vital's Introduction:

    Says the small one, Chaim the son of his honor Rebi Yosef Vital of blessed memory. I've seen men of aliyah (spiritual ascent) and they are few. They yearn to rise but the ladder is concealed from their eyes. And they contemplate in the books of the early Sages to search and find the path of life, the road which to travel and the actions to do to ascend their souls to its root above, and to cling to Him, yisborach. Because this is the eternal perfection, similar to the Prophets, who all their days clinged to their Creator. And through this clinging, the Ruach HaKodesh (holy spirit) settled on them, to teach them which path leads to light in order to enlighten their eyes in the secrets of the torah, as King David prayed for "open my eyes and I will gaze at the wonders of Your torah" (tehilim 119:18). They would be led along a straight path, prepared by the men of aliyah, so that they should reach their goal.

    After them came the Chassidim Rishonim (early pious ones), which were called "perushim" (separatists). They sought to go out in the footsteps of the prophets, and to become like them, in going out to stone caves and to deserts. And they separated themselves from the ways of men. Some of them would become ascetics in their homes, like the travelers of deserts, and all day and all night, always, they would praise their Creator with toil in the torah and with the songs of King David which bring joy to the heart, until their thoughts would cling with tremendous force and yearning to the upper lights. And they continued diligently like this all of their days until they would ascend to the level of Ruach HaKodesh (holy spirit), and they would prophecy and never return, as the [commentator] Onkelos translated [the verse] "lo pasaku" (non-stop.) If so, where are we to find their ways and techniques, how these holy people served G-d, may He be blessed so that we may also do the same ourselves.

    chanoch adds: It is good to say Amen to the above Blessing.

    And therefore, the hearts have diminished, and also the knowledge of the generations that came after them. And the Masters of Ruach HaKodesh are (apparently) no more. They departed to their eternal abodes and abandoned us to despair, thirsty and starving, until there sprouted forth hopelessness in the hearts of men for touring this awesome wisdom. And if we find two or three kernels on the treetop, one in a city or two in a family who seek out water but don't find. Because all visions have been blocked due to the methods and actions have not been written in a book, on how to approach the inner holiness.

    And there are those among them which would swear in angels using the powers in holy names, and they would hope for light but behold it is darkness. Because they were very low angels, appointed on the matters of this world, and they are mixed with good and evil. So they themselves did not attain the truth and the supernal lights. And they (the angels) would reveal to them mixed words, good and evil, truth and falsehood, superfluous words such as words of healing, and the wisdom of alchemy, and actions of talismans (kamea) and hashbaos (swearing in using names). And also these, in wine they stumbled and in beer they erred. Would that it were, that their hearts would bring them to toil in the torah and mitzvos and they would make a Kal V'Chomer (major to minor logical inference) from the four Gedolei Yisrael (great sages of Israel) who entered the Pardes (paradise) and not one of them returned intact except the pious elder, Rebi Akiva, and even him, the ministering angels desired to cast him down, if it were not that G-d helped him and he entered in peace and exited in peace. (Talmud Chagiga 14b: The Holy One said, "Leave this elder alone, for he is worthy of making use of My glory")

    And the truth is that they desired lofty levels, close to prophecy, and therefore they put themselves in some danger. And for us, halevai (would that it were) that we would merit a little Ruach HaKodesh such as a revelation of Eliyahu HaNavi (Elijah the prophet), which many merited to see him as is well known, or for a revelation from the soul of tzadikim (righteous people who died), as mentioned many times in the book of tikunim. And not only that but even in our times I have seen holy men who merited all these things. And there are some whose own soul after becoming very, very, pure, reveals itself to him and guides him in all his ways. And all these are close ways, that one can merit even in our times if he is worthy. But, however, it requires great training and great experience to stand on the truth, because perhaps it is another spirit that came to him which is not pure. And all this will be explained in part 3 gate 8.

    Therefore my spirit has pressed me to unlock for the perushim (seekers), and to support their right hand, to teach them the path to travel. And therefore, I have put together this book. It is small in quantity but great in quality. For the wise, it will shine, and I have called it "Shaarei Kedusha" (the gates of holiness). In it I will clarify hidden things which the early [generations] before us did not fathom, because I have received them from the mouth of the holy man, the angel of G-d, my teacher the Ari Luria z'l (the Arizal). And in their being secrets of the universe and concealed hidden things, I will reveal a handsbreadth and conceal 2000 footsteps (amos). And I will open reluctantly the gates of holiness like the crack of a needle and he who is worthy will merit to enter inside the inner chamber, and G-d who is good will not refrain good for those who walk wholeheartedly (b'tamim).

    I have divided it into 4 parts. The first part on the practice of piety and separation which brings one to Ruach HaKodesh (holy spirit). It also sub-divides to 6 gates. The second part - the rebukes, and the clarification of reward and punishment on the positive and negative commandments. It sub-divides to 8 gates. The third part, on the practice for attaining Ruach HaKodesh itself. It sub-divides to 8 gates. The fourth part on the practice of yichudim (unifying holy names) through which one will attain Ruach HaKodesh as I have personally tried, tested and verified the truth of them. (except for one, these were not included in the translation due to the dangers involved.)

    PART 1 GATE 1

    Clarification of the damage through man's sin with regard to the mitzvos

    I will make known to you and enlighten you on the greatness of the evil in doing one of the negative commandments of G-d, the 365 negative commandments, which we should not do, or in refraining from fulfilling one of the 248 positive commandments which we are commanded to do.

    It is known to men of understanding, the body of a man is not the man himself. Rather the body is called the "flesh" of the man, as it is written "Skin and flesh You have clothed me, and with bones and sinews You have covered me" .(Job 10:11 which implies the flesh, etc. is just a garment) It is also written "on the flesh of a man, do not annoint" (Shemos 30:32, which implies the body is just the "flesh of a man", but not the man himself).

    So, the man is the inner part. But the body is a kind of garment which the intellectual soul wears (this will be explained later), and it is the man himself.

    After death, the intellectual soul sheds the garment of the body and wears a different spiritual garment in its place, It is thus written, "Remove the soiled garments... and you shall be clothed in fine robes" (Zachariah 3:4), [these "fine robes"] are called the "Rabbinical cloak" ("chaluka d'rabbanan" in Aramaic).

    Just like for the garment of a person's body, the tailor will make it in the form of the body, so too the Holy One blessed-be-He made the body, which is the garment of the soul, in the form of the soul - with 248 limbs and 365 "gidim" (arteries/sinews/veins) the latter serve to hold together the body and to circulate the blood and the life-force from limb to limb in the form of tubes.

    After the formation of the [physical] body, He blew into it, the soul of life which includes 248 spiritual limbs and 365 spiritual gidim which wear the corresponding 248 limbs and 365 gidim of the body. In this way, the soul's limbs perform their work through the tools, which are the body's limbs, like a hammer in the hand of a craftsman. The proof of this is that the limbs of the body can perform deeds only as long as the soul is inside it, the eye sees, and the ears hear, etc. but when the [intellectual] soul leaves the body (such as during sleep. This is why dreams are mostly nonsense), the eye sight stops and all the other senses of the 248 limbs become annulled (i.e. the person is not properly aware of touch, etc. in his limbs).

    In a similar manner, the 365 spiritual gidim of the soul wear the 365 physical gidim of the body which circulate the food of the body, namely the blood, along with the inner, spiritual food inside it to sustain the 248 spiritual limbs of the soul. (i.e. the physical blood carries both the physical food for the body and the spiritual food for the soul.) After death, there is no more life force [to the body] and the body's gidim dismantle, decay and disappear just like its 248 limbs and it is as if they never existed.

    Hence, the man himself is only the "intellectual soul" which enters and wears the body, which is considered its garment in this world.

    chanoch adds: This is a very important spiritual law. Our body is not who we are! Our body is a garment that our soul wears. We are our soul!

    And know that after the sin of Adam Harishon (the first man), which was eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, his soul and body also [along with all the worlds] became mixed, each one with good and evil (before the sin he was only good). This is the zuhamas hanachash (the impurity of the snake) injected in Chava (Eve) and in Adam, and through the evil and the impurity which he injected in them, he caused them sicknesses, afflictions, and death for their soul and body. And this is what is written "on the day you will eat from it, die you will die. (Bereishis 2:17)" [the hebrew word for death is repeated to indicate] death of the soul and death of the body.

    We will clarify what is this matter of good and evil which was mixed in them. Examine what we wrote later on in Part 3 Gates 2 and 3 and you will understand what we are writing in this gate (highly recommended, starting from Part 3 Gate 1).

    As recommended this is a link to Part 3 Gate 1. You will be able to return to this location.

    Behold, when he sinned with the tree of knowledge of good and evil, he caused this mixing in all of the worlds and there is nothing which does not contain good and evil.

    Therefore, the body of a man which is formed from the 4 lower foundations, behold they contain good and evil. And the body of a man is formed from the good of the 4 foundations - earth, water, wind, and fire.

    (which are representatives of the 4 energy states; solid, liquid, gas, and raw energy - R.David Bitton. Modern science has combined them with E=mc2, but as we'll see the different spiritual powers require them to be separately categorized.

    note that the underlying reality is not atoms and subatomic particles, but life. Life is the underlying reality. It is manifest to different degrees in this world, namely, four degrees as will be explained.

    However from the evil of them (the physical of the 4 elements,) were formed [in the body] 4 Maros (bitter substances, biles,) which are - white, black, red, and green. And when in any one of these [Maros], the evil in it strengthens over the good in it, sicknesses and afflictions come on a man (weakness, disease through deterioration of the immune system, cancer or the like, G-d forbid). And if it strengthens itself greatly it will kill the body of the man.

    We have explained that in all the worlds there was a mixing of good and evil. Therefore in the soul of man also is so since it was hewn from the 4 spiritual foundations from which were formed all the supernal and they are the 4 letters of the name YHVH, blessed be He. On this it is written "Come from the four directions, O Spirit,..." (Yechezkel 37:9, in the resurrection of the dead prophecy there).

    And this is the soul of man itself from the side of good. And behold "also this corresponding to this G-d made", (i.e. there is a corresponding opposing soul of evil) and it is called "Adam beliyal" (evil, corrupt man), which is composed of the 4 fathers of damages, and the 4 types of negaim (afflictions), from the 4 foundations of evil. And from there is drawn the evil soul of man which is called the "yetzer hara" (evil inclination). And when this soul becomes stronger than the good soul, there will come on it damages, and afflictions, and sicknesses of the soul (ex:bad character traits). And if it strengthens greatly, it will kill him (the good soul).

    Behold, the holy soul which is [akin to] the "fruit" and is composed of 613 limbs and gidim (248 limbs+365 gidim=613), wears the 613 limbs and gidim of the evil soul which is called the "shell of the fruit", and both of them together wear the 613 limbs and gidim of the body. Hence, the limbs of the holy soul are inside the limbs of the evil soul, and the limbs of the evil soul are inside the limbs of the body. And behold, each of these 2 spiritual souls need spiritual food to exist. However the food for the holy soul is drawn to it through fulfilling the torah which includes 613 mitzvot similar to the 613 limbs of the soul, and the torah is called "bread" as is written "come and eat of my bread" (Mishlei 9:5). And each limb of the 248 get its food from a specific mitzva which corresponds to that limb. And when a man lacks the fulfillment of a mitzva, then this specific limb which corresponds to that mitzva will lack its food which is drawn from the 4 letter name of G-d, as is written "and You give life to all of them" (Nechemia 9:6), and in them depend all the mitzvot as our Sages said, "Yud-Heh Im Shemi=365, Vuv-Heh Im Zichri=248 (from Hakdamas Hatikunim – Forward to Tikunei Zohar).

    chanoch's Commentary

    If each soul part is fed from the actions of doing the specific Mitzvah that feeds that soul part, and I can no longer do most of the Mitzvot since I don't live in the Land of Israel and the Temple does not exist physically which means I can not bring my sacrifices as ordained by HaShem. What can I do? This must be the cause of why the Sages teach that we live in a weak generation since my soul part and then my body parts can not be fed properly. This is actually not true. Since HaShem in his mercy counts the study of a Mitzvah as the actual doing of the Mitzvah. Did you study sufficiently today to feed your soul? Go study more.

    And likewise from them (the 4 letter name of G-d) are drawn the 4 roots of the foundations of the holy soul as mentioned earlier. We find therefore that this specific limb dies completely. And when the holiness leaves it, then it will wear inside it the impure spirit from the 4 foundations of the evil soul as hinted by our Sages "Tzur did not become full except from the destruction of Jerusalem", therefore this limb now feeds on impure, abominable bread from there.

    And this is the matter of the saying "the wicked during their lives are called dead" (Talmud Berachos 18b) because the holy soul from the Living G-d has left them and the impure spirit of death which is called "the father of fathers of impurity" has settled on it. (Then, the person's being will enjoy and lust for evil things and will despise good.)

    And likewise when a man fulfills the 365 negatives commandments by refraining from transgressing them, as our Sages said "if a man sat and did not transgress a sin, he is rewarded as if he did a mitzva", then there is the power and capacity for the spiritual food mentioned above when he fulfills a positive commandment to be pulled down through these tubes which are the 365 gidim of the soul to give life to its 248 limbs.

    And if he transgresses on a specific negative commandment, then the specific pipe which corresponds to that negative commandment becomes blocked through the impurity of the evil food which becomes attached there (some kind of spiritual "cholesterol" blockage). And when the tube dries up, then also that limb dries up. But [the holiness] does not leave it completely as would have been the case for one who lacks fulfilling [the limb's corresponding] positive mitzva, nevertheless, the limb will become blemished.

    Therefore a man should seek out with all his strength to fulfill all the 613 commandments, and when he fulfills a positive commandment, he should have kavana (mental intent) to remove from that specific limb of his soul which corresponds to that mitzva the impurity of that klipa. And then the limb of that holy mitzva will settle on him after the impurity has been removed, as in "and their sins were on their bones" (Yechezkel 32:27). Because when this one rises, this one falls. And likewise when a sin comes one's way, he should refrain from doing it, and he should have kavana (intent) that through this the impurity in the specific gid (pipe) of the soul which corresponds to that sin shall be removed. And then he will be able to pass the spiritual energy which is drawn through the spiritual pipe, and through this his soul will be a chair and a chariot for His holiness, may He be blessed, and this is the Sod (secret meaning) of "the forefathers, they are the chariot" (Midrash Raba - Bereishis 47:6, Zohar 1 Daf 173)

    Translater Comment

    The Ramchal explains more:

    Ramchal - Sefer HaKlalim (Klalot Sharshei HaChachma)

    The Wisdom of Truth (real Kabala) is no more than the wisdom which explains the order of the acts of G-d, through which He acted and acts on His creations.

    I will now well explain the matter to you. Behold, G-d's intent in creation was to create a creation (man) capable of receiving good from Him by meriting it. In order for merit to be possible, it was necessary for there to exist a matter which this creature can choose to do, so that when it does the matter, it will merit the good. Therefore, in accord with this purpose, He arranged the entire order of His act [of creation] so that the resulting creation will follow this choice [of man] also in an orderly way.

    Then, He willed and conceived a type of creation (man) built from many synthesized parts, whereby the acts which perpetuate His creations would follow the matter and order of these parts, and such that the constitution [of man] would be in the manner necessary for the existence of free will, namely, that it (man) be subject to a good inclination and an evil inclination. [And that this would be] in the way necessary in order for it to merit to receive the reward through the degrees of this act.

    Then according to this design, He started to order His acts. And each spreading out of His simple light to act is called "one luminary" or "one sefira". The amount of these luminaries which He illuminated was according to the details of the parts of this created, planned building. The totality of these luminaries are all [reflected] in the secret of the form of man, and the manner in which they are assembled and synthesized in the body of man - this is the way they are assembled to conduct [the creation].

    Hence, of all these luminaries, there is not one which does not have a part in the body of man, and there is no limb in man which is not in the luminaries. And all the [other] creations of the world also come out and emerge from the luminaries, whereby there is no creature/creation in the world which is not in the luminaries and there is no luminary which is not in the world. Therefore, there is no creature/creation which is not in man and there is no limb in man which is not in the world. And there is no act in man which is not in the luminaries nor an act in the luminaries which is not in the acts of man.

    The root of this order is the order of inner (spiritual) inner and (physical) outer, which is the root of the soul and the body. On this it is written "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness" (Bereishis 1:26)...(skipping..)

    Behold every luminary has agents which are the angels, one level after another, all of which are minions of this specific level, and they manifest the act until below (in the physical realm). And likewise, each luminary brings forth one specific physical creature/creation. Therefore, man, in his body, and in his soul, receives all the parts of the luminaries.

    All this is in the acts of G-d, which is called a root in that it is the root of all creations, and the totality of all that comes out from them is man, and the service is charged to him in all of the luminaries, because all of their influence (to the physical or spiritual realm) must pass through man. And corresponding to this, the details of the spiritual creations, namely, the angels, correspond to his soul and all the myriad physical creations, correspond to his body....

    The secret of the service is as follows: for all of what G-d has ordered regarding His governance, He enacted mitzvot (commandments), so that when human beings perform them, these acts will run properly. Its matter is to connect, through this act, the part of the soul which receives from that luminary for which He commanded that act, to that corresponding luminary. Then, the Hashpa'ah (spiritual direction) is drawn from that luminary to that part, and it is called that one "tube" of Hashpa'ah has been opened. When all of them are opened, each one in all the derivate parts, through all of the souls of Yisrael - then the world will be completely rectified.

    PART 1 GATE 2

    on the damage done from bad middos (character traits)

    Behold, on the matter of middos, they are fixed in the lower soul which is called "foundation [soul]", which includes the 4 levels - domem (silent-as in rocks and metals), tzomachas (growing-as in plants), behemis (animal), and the medaberes (speaking-as in humans) (see Part 3 Gate 2). Because they (the levels) also are mixed with good and evil. And behold in this soul the good and bad middos depend. And they (the middos) are a chair, and foundation, and root to the higher "intellectual soul" in which depends the 613 mitzvos of the torah as mentioned earlier in Gate 1 (the middos are a root to the higher soul means, for example, a selfish person will have all his actions rooted in selfishness. In everything he does he first thinks "what am I going to benefit from this").

    Therefore the middos are not included in the 613 mitzvos. However, they are crucial preparations to the 613 mitzvos in their fulfillment or annulment because the higher "intellectual soul" does not have the power to fulfill the mitzvos using the 613 limbs [and gidim] of the body except through the intermediary of the foundation soul which is attached to the body itself in the Sod (secret meaning of) "For the soul of all flesh, the blood is in the soul" (Vayikra 17:14). Therefore the bad middos are much, much worse than the sins [of the 613 mitzvos] themselves.

    And through this, you will understand what our Sages have said (Talmud Shabbat 105b) "whoever gets angry it is as if he has worshipped idols" - literally, which weighs like all the 613 mitzvos. And likewise they said (talmud Sotah 71) "whoever has arrogance it is as if he is a Kofer b'ikar (rejects the essence of Judaism), and it is fitting to chop him down like an idol tree and his dust does not budge [in the resurrection]...", and many more like these. And understand this very well because in their being crucial and fundamental, they were not counted as part of the 613 mitzvos which depend on the "intellectual soul". Therefore we find that one should be more careful of bad middos than in fulfilling the positive and negative mitzvos. Because in his being a possessor of good midos, he will easily fulfill [all] the mitzvos.

    And through this, you will also understand astonishing words which our Sages have said on the matter of midos, [such as] that "humility and lowliness brings to Ruach HaKodesh (holy spirit) and the Shechina (Divine presence) rests on him" and Eliyahu [the prophet] said "the torah is not explained except to he who is not a kapdan (impatient, irritable person), so too I will reveal myself only to one who is not a kapdan." and likewise our Sages said "who is a ben Olam Haba (a person destined for life in the World to Come) - whoever is lowly and humble, etc." and many more. They did not mention the fulfillment of mitzvos but only good midos. And put your eyes to these things and you will be successful in your ways without doubt.

    Now, just like the bodies of the 4 foundations (i.e. the purely physical forms of earth, water, wind, and fire. See Part 3 Gate 1&2 to understand this properly.) are roots, that through them were formed the 613 limbs [and gidim] of the [physical] body, so too the "souls" of the 4 foundations (earth, water, etc.) are foundations for all good and bad middos through which [the intellectual soul] must go through in fulfilling or transgressing the torah and the commandments which are 613 from the 4 letters of G-d's name YHVH as mentioned earlier. And the fulfillment of them is the intellectual soul which includes the four spiritual foundations from which were hewn the 613 limbs [and gidim] of that soul (the intellectual soul). And understand this very well - how the foundation of fulfillment of the mitzvos is through the good middos and likewise the opposite.

    chanoch adds: This is the reason that Kabbalah stresses eliminating negative middot – character traits.

    And here is the matter [of the middos]. We have already explained that everything that G-d made [now] includes good and evil (i.e. after the sin of Adam), which are opposite each other. And behold, just like the four bodies of the foundations (i.e. physical earth, water, etc.) which is called the "chomer" (physical, material) of the foundations is mixed with good and evil, and from them come the powers of sustaining the body or its ailments which are the four "Maros" (biles) - white, green, black, and red. Likewise, in the souls which are called "tzuros" (i.e. the spiritual powers in these four foundations), are in this way - good and evil. And from them come the health of the foundation soul in a man which are the good middos or its ailments which are the bad middos who are drawn from the 4 impure klipos of that [foundation] soul. And when he removes them from himself, the 4 letters of G-d's name, which are light which gives life to the foundation soul, will [enter] and wear him. Then it (the foundation soul) and its body (i.e. the man's body) will become a chariot for His holiness, may He be blessed in the world of Asiyah (the first of the 5 worlds, see Part 3 Gate 1), as we explained [earlier] for the intellectual soul in fulfilling the mitzvos.

    (note that "light" is used as an analogy since our "light" is the least physical of everything that exists in our universe, therefore it is used to attempt to explain spiritual phenomena.)

    And remember and don't forget that also through toil in the torah in the four levels whose acronym is PaRDeS - pshat (basic meaning), remez (alluded meaning), drash (homilitecal or interpretive meaning), sod (secret - mystical meaning), his intellectual Ruach will become a chair to G-d's name in the world of Yetzira.

    (if a person merits to purify all the levels of the foundation soul by purifying all the midos and, in the intellectual soul, through fulfilling the 613 commandments, he is given a 2nd level soul called "Ruach" from the 2nd world of "Yetzira". Rabbi Chaim Vital says in Shaar HaGilgulim 18:18b, "the soul of a person without the ruach is like one who sits in darkness, he has no light nor (supernatural) intellect".

    Similarly Rabbi Vital wrote in his book Etz Chaim (hakdama daf 13): "And not only that but man was created only to delve into the depths of the torah. But this requires that his body (and lower soul) be clean first, through the action of the mitzvos whose entire purpose is for this and are therefore necessary. Then the neshama (higher soul) which is called the candle of G-d (as in 'the candle of G-d is the soul (neshama) of man' Mishlei/Proverbs 20:27), will be capable of illuminating this body, like a candle inside a glass container, which shines through, and it gives him the power to understand secrets of the torah and it reveals depths from within the darkness.) (The 4th level of torah, called "Sod" (secret) is the inner and primary meaning. The other lower meanings, are also true, but serve primarily for the purpose of straightening a man - see Vilna Gaon, Chemda Genuza commentary on Mishlei 1:6)

    And likewise (after completing these he will merit a 3rd level soul called 'neshama' from the 3rd world of Beriah") through "Machshava" and "kavana" (thoughts and special intents), his intellectual neshama will be a chair for G-d's name in the world of Beriah.

    Let us return to the clarification of the foundations which there are in acquiring middos. Know that all the bad middos are rooted in the 4 levels of the foundation soul - from the side of evil and the klipa of them. Therefore all the bad midos are divided into 4 types, and here is their details.

    The foundation of Fire - from it is drawn arrogance which is called "Gasut HaRuach" (inflated spirit) - in being the lightest and highest of all the foundations. And included in it is anger, since it is because of arrogance that a man becomes angry when "his will is not being done". And if he were a "shefal ruach" (lowly of spirit), and he recognized his lacking, he would not at all become angry. It comes out that anger and arrogance are one trait. And their derivatives are 3:

    Kapdanus (bein irritable) in his heart.

    Because without the arrogance, he would not be irritable in his heart, similar to what we explained for anger.

    Seeking power and honor to show off to others.

    Hatred of others because they are greater than him. And this is also a branch of arrogance.

    The foundation of Wind - from it is drawn speech which is called "sicha betela" (useless chatter)

    For things which have no need at all, whether for the soul or the body. And its derivatives are 4:

    They are to speak flattery, lies, lashon hara (negative speech about others), and to reveal his praises to others in order to become great in front of them.

    The foundation of Water - from it comes craving for indulgence - because it is so that water causes all kinds of pleasurable things to grow (not sure what he means here). And its derivatives are two:

    Chemda (coveting) to steal the money of his friend, or his wife, and all that he has in order to indulge in them.

    And jealousy, he will be jealous of his friend who has a lot of money or the like in order to indulge in them.

    The foundation of Earth - from it comes the trait of sadness in all its details. And its derivatives are one - which is laziness in fulfilling the torah and the mitzvos because of his sadness in attaining acquisitions in the vanities of this world (such as money, honor, approval, etc.), or on sufferings (yisurim-troubles) which come on him. And he is not happy with his portion in any matter. Also "[yet is there no end of all his labor], neither is his eye satisfied with riches" (Koheles 4:8).

    (note: the "Sefer HaBris" comments that all the bad character traits damage only their level, with the exception of sadness. The foundation of earth is the lowest and outermost of all the levels therefore it is the "body" of everything. So the corruption of earth, which is sadness, damages all the levels together. So it's probably a good place to start. However, it's important to keep in mind the words of the Duties of the Heart Gate 9 ch.5: "It is proper for you, my brother, to know that it will not be possible for you to fulfill any of these things, unless you do all of them and you don't leave over even one of them, because they are like a string of pearls, if you cut off one of them, the string will break and all of the others will scatter and their unity will be destroyed.")

    We find therefore that the fathers (roots) of all bad middos (traits) are four. Arrogance and anger which is included and attached to it, useless speech, lust for indulgences, and sadness. The four of them are drawn from the four klipos of the yetzer hara (evil inclination) of the foundation soul. And their opposites are the four good middos which are drawn from the four good foundations of the foundation soul. They are:[1] Humbleness - which is absolute lowliness (of man next to his Creator which comes from having a constant awareness of G-d's presence. See Part 4) and distancing oneself from all forms of anger which come through arrogance. [2] Silence - "like a mute he should not open his mouth", except torah and mitzvos or what is necessary for maintenance of the body and also for honoring the public. [3] And revulsion from all indulgences of the body which are beyond the necessary. [4] A constant simcha (joy) in his portion (gratitude whatever situation you are in), because "everything that is done from heaven is for the good." And also to motivate oneself to be with absolute joy in doing the service of his Creator as it is written "I am joyful in Your commandments like one who finds a great treasure" (Tehilim 119:162). And like the Sages said "Make your torah study fixed (primary) and your work temporary (secondary)."

    Therefore we find that when the bad middos are established in a man, he refrains from fulfilling the torah and mitzvos. And even if he does fulfill them, it won't be for the sake of heaven (i.e. he'll have selfish motives) and also with great effort and hassle. On him it is written "Like a gold ring in a pig's snout..." (Mishlei 11:22) Because his impurity is still in him and he is clothed in the klipos. And also like our Sages have said "If he merits, his torah will become an elixir of life, but if he doesn't merit, it will become a death potion" (Yoma 75b). But if he empowers himself over his inclination and wages war with it and removes from himself the bad middos through efforts and fulfills the torah and mitzvos - he is called a tzadik gamur (totally righteous), G-d fearing, a mighty person, who conquers his inclination. And when he habituates himself more and more on this until he removes from himself all the bad middos completely and his [foundation] soul is not tempted by them at all and he acquires the good middos until they become second nature and he does not need to fight with the evil inclination at all because his body and soul have become clean from all impurities of physicality, as it says by Moshe "remove your shoe from your foot" (Shmos 3:5), as mentioned in the book of tikunim (Tikun 31 and 48) (i.e. the shoe is the garment of the lowest part of the body, namely the heel. So too the physical body is the garment for the lowest part of the soul and is therefore referred to as the "shoe"), then the four letters of G-d's name will [enter and] enclothe in him and he will become a holy throne for His chariot, may He be blessed. And this man is called "loves G-d through love" (because the good traits are part of his nature), and [he is also] called a total "Chasid" (pious), perfect with all forms of perfection. (This apparently contradicts the talmud that the greater one's spiritual level, the greater his yetzer hara (evil inclination). The Rambam resolves this as follows (Hakdama L'Avos perek 6):

    The philosophers are unanimous in that he who does not desire evil is on a higher spiritual level than he who desires evil but refrains from it, because the desire for evil stems from evil in the soul of the person. And King Shlomo already wrote on this (Mishlei 21:10) "the soul of the wicked desires evil", and "the joy of the pious in doing good"...

    On examining the words of the sages, it appears the opposite, that the higher one's spiritual level, the greater is his desire to the Sages wrote explicitly "Whoever is greater than his fellow, so too is his evil inclination greater"...And also they said...And Rabbi Shimon ben Gamliel said - "a man should not say 'I don't like milk and meat, I don't like to wear shatnez, arayos, etc.' rather he should say 'I want to but what can I do, my Father in heaven decreed on me.'" But really there is no contradiction. Both are true. The "evil" the philosophers are referring to are those things which are well known to be evil such as murder, theft, oppression, damaging others for nothing, disrespect of parents, etc. There are things which the Sages wrote, "if the torah did not write them, it would have been fitting to write them", they are "mitzvos of the intellect", (i.e. one can figure out on his own that these things are wrong) and certainly one whose soul desires these things is deficient and on a lower level than one who does not desire these things at all. But that which the Sages said "one who has a higher inclination is greater etc., - this refers to mitzvos without reason, that without the torah they would not be evil at all...and this is why Rabbi Shimon ben Gamliel used the example of "milk and meat", and "shatnez", "arayos", etc. (and not theft, hurting others, etc.) These things are called "decrees"...(Rambam - Hakdama L'Avos perek 6)

    (note: the rest of Part 1 deals mostly with details of the general principles mentioned above. Rav Chaim Vital summarizes the purifications (from Part 1 Gate 5):

    1. to acquire the good midos in the foundation soul until 2nd nature.

    2. to turn away from evil - the 365 negative commandments in the intellectual soul. (in order to unblock the 365 spiritual "arteries" and allow the spiritual "life-force" to flow to the 248 spiritual limbs.)

    3. to fulfill the 248 positive commandments, which are called "do good" (to bring down the spiritual energy to the 248 spiritual limbs. Once a person completes this, he is capacle of being a receptacle for receiving the spiritual energy. Before this, he is like a giant supercomputer with a short circuited wire which prevents the whole machine from powering on).

    (The rest of part 1 deals mostly with detailing the mitzvos. Skipping forward near the end of Part 1:)

    It is my opinion that it is a good idea to learn about character and personality traits at this place in the reading. Here is a link:

  • Character Traits – Personality Traits – What is the Difference?
  • Part 1 Gate 6

    The Following are what One Needs to go to the Opposite Extreme.

    Be careful of all forms of anger, irritation, and arrogance, even for members of your household. And if a man is insolent with you don't answer him. Be of those that are insulted but who don't insult. Because of this it is written "but they that love Him shall be as the sun when it goes forth in its might" (Shoftim 5:31). And "haaver al midosecha" (overlook and forgive) to all who sin against you and don't feel any pain even in your heart because it is good for you since "whoever overlooks over others' wronging, they (upstairs) overlook his sins (measure for measure, Talmud Rosh Hashana 17a)". And if you had an intelligent eye, you would seek out people who would bother you - because it is like seeking life. And receive every man with simcha (joy) even if he is your enemy because through this he will switch to becoming a friend and the merit will be yours. And all your words should be calm and in a low voice, lest you enter in the boundary of anger. And remove sadness and worry from your heart and you will thereby remove evil from your flesh. Because it is a trap for you to remove the holy spirit from you. And run away from Rabanus (being a Rabbi) which shortens a man's years. And distance yourself from unnecessary speech and from lies, flattery, frivolity (excessive clowning around), and lashon hara (evil speech), because they are the groups which do not receive the Divine presence in the World to Come. And hold on to humbleness which brings to Ruach HaKodesh. And be like the doorstep which everyone treads (very humble) for big [people] or small [people]. And block your ears from hearing slander and evil speech. And be like a mute who does not open his mouth except for torah and mitzvos, and for the necessary business dealings, and for receiving every person with a pleasant face and pleasant talk. And do not praise your good actions to others because you will lose your reward and furthermore you will receive punishment for it.

    There are other things which I wrote in gate 5, see there, and for love of conciseness, I didn't repeat them here. (quote from Gate 5:

    "be joyful, even during times of suffering, love all people even gentiles, don't be jealous for anything because like the shadow of the day is our time on the land, hate and call vanity all matters of this world, and eat bread with salt, etc. (a reference to Pirkei Avos 6:4), don't desire anything of the vanities of this world, and run away with all your strength from serara (dominion over others) which buries its possesor." And now, we will establish a general medicine to save oneself from all the sicknesses of the soul. And they are 3 things, because the principle faults of a man and the causes of his damages are 3 things.

    The physical [side of man] causes him to forgot the good for him to make him sin. (i.e. Basically, G-d took an animal and an angel and POOOF! combined them together. The animal part just wants to be a lazy, good-for-nothing, gorilla.)

    Because it (the animal side) gives in his heart that there is a continuum to a good day that it will continue to be good (i.e. just like such and such indulgence is good, so too will it continue like this forever. And so he doesn't prepare for the afterlife.)

    Even if he puts to heart to remember, behold he will be even more at fault because he will say in his heart, "what will I eat when I'm 70 years old." And this is harder than the first two.

    Therefore please do my son and save yourself from these 3 sinners of Israel. Because corresponding to the first, put your eyes always, do not let your spirit be hasty to do any action and to speak any [even] small word until you will be patient, patient in your thought whether or not you should do or speak. Because the fruit of hastiness is regret and there is no more repair to return it as before.

    chanoch adds: This is a hint to the tool of “Binding by Striking”.

    Corresponding to the second, put the fear of G-d on your face. Do not remove from your face the fear of the day of death and placing in the grave until rotting [of the flesh] while his flesh becomes food for the worms, and the judgment of "chibut hakever" (the beating of the grave), and the judgment of Gehinom, and the great day of judgment for all who came to the world. Because even Shmuel who was considered as great as Moshe and Aharon was afraid of it (Talmud Chagiga 4b).

    Corresponding to the third, he should acquire the trait of bitachon (trust in G-d) in truth, because His eyes are on all the ways of man to give to him like his ways (what he deserves). And man's actions and also his strategies do not increase or decrease at all [the money that he earns] (this last point requires alot of background information for beginners, to be understood properly), because "the race is not for the swift". And he should throw his needs on Him (G-d), like they said "fortunate is the man who does not forget You, and the man who strengthens himself in You, because those who seek You will never fall, ,and those who trust in You will not be shamed forever."

    --------END OF PART 1--------

    (skipping forward to Shaarei Kedusha 3:1.This is due to Part 2 deals mostly with detailing the mitzvos and middos (character traits) and is not essential for understanding the matter of Ruach HaKodesh.)

    Translator's Commentary

    (a common pitfall in kabala from Talmud Eser Sefiros chapter 1, Or Pnimi:)

    "One must remember that all of the wisdom of kabala is based on spiritual matters which do not occupy neither space nor time. The concept of lack or change does not at all apply to them. Rather all the "changes" that are discussing in this wisdom, does not mean that the previous existence is gone and a different form takes its place, rather the change that is stated refers to an additional form only, and the original form does not move from its place. Because lack and change are physical concepts, and this is the entire difficulty for beginners. Because they grasp the concepts from a physical viewpoint, with boundaries of time, space, and change, which the authors (kabalists) used these terms only dias keywords (simanim) on their spiritual roots.

    chanoch's Commentary

    The translator's Commentary brings Rabbi Ashlag's Talmud Esser Sefirot discussion of the language of branches. The language of branches uses physical terms or words to describe spiritual concepts. Here is an example. The word grass is a common physical term. We all know what is grass. Yet grass is ground cover. What does ground cover look like in the world of Yetzirah? What ever that answer is the Kabbalists use the word grass to discuss it. If you have been to the world of Yetzirah in your dreams or visions then when a Kabbalists says grass you know what is meant.

    PART 3 GATE 1

    Introduction to the mystical worlds

    Behold, the supernal Creator which created all the worlds is referred to as "Ein Sof" (No End). And He does not have any representation whatsoever - not by name, not by letter, not even by a crown of a letter. Therefore even contemplating Him is forbidden. (since contemplating what is impossible to comprehend can damage a person - Michtav M'Eliyahu)

    He created 5 worlds - this one is a soul to the next, and the next to the next.

    They are (1) "Adam Kadmon" (primordial man), which is mentioned in the book of tikunim (rectifications), and in the wording of the Masters it is called "tzach-tzachus" – chanoch adds: purest of the pure. (2) The second is the world of Atzilus (emanation). (3) Third is the world of Beriah (creation).(4) Fourth is the world of Yetzira (formation).(5) Fifth is the world of Asiyah (action).

    chanoch adds: As taught above the worlds are one within the other. This means that Adam Kadmon is the most internal and the World of Asiyah is the most external.

    These five worlds [together] are called one name of G-d (Yud-Heh-Vav-Heh), because the crown on the Yud is Adam Kadmon (in a torah scroll, the Yud has a tiny spike which is called a crown), the Yud is Atzilut, the first Heh is Beriah, the Vuv is Yetzira, and the last Heh is Asiyah. And since Adam Kadmon in its great concealment does not have a [full] letter but rather just a crown on the Yud, because the Ein Sof does not even have a crown, therefore we only mention the four worlds - Atzilut, Beriah, Yetzira, Asiyah. Because they are complete letters and the four of them together are called one name of G-d, Y-H-V-H.

    chanoch adds: Thus we learn that there are 6 worlds. This is important to know when one is learning Kabbalah.

    These four are also divided into 9 levels. They are (1)Chachma, (2)Bina, (3-8), the 6 edges of Tiferet, and (9th) malchus. So, these 4 are called the "4 upper foundations" which are the four worlds, Atzilut, Briah, Yetzira, and Asiyah, which are divided to 9 "sefiros". However the "crown of the Yud" which is Adam Kadmon, the fifth and highest world includes all of them and in it alone is the root of all the 4 [upper] foundations, which are the 4 worlds - Atzilut, Briah, Yetzira, and Asiyah. Therefore we find that always there is no more than 4 foundations only. [Another] general principle is that the "Ein Sof" is never included in any calculation at all.

    Note, G-d could have created the worlds in a totally incomprehensible, infinite way, but instead decided to create the worlds in a humanly comprehensible and structured manner. On this the Ramchal writes (Daas Tevunos siman 40): "certainly G-d could have established the world through His omnipotent system, in such a way that everything would be totally incomprehensible to us, not before not after, without cause and effect. If He had done so, no one would be able to open their mouths for we would not be able to understand anything whatsoever ... but because He wanted us to understand a bit of His ways and attributes - on the contrary He very much wants us to exert ourselves on this..."

    And after [the Ein Sof] are the worlds. At first they are one group, and they are one name of Yud-Heh-Vuv-Heh. Afterwards it divides into 4 foundations except for their root which is Adam Kadmon, the crown of the Yud, which is the tenth sefira, higher than all of them, and is called "Keter" (crown). And afterwards, these 4 foundations divide into 9 sefiros as mentioned.

    (note: G-d manifests Himself only through these 10 sefiros. For if He would manifest through the infinite - "Ein Sof" we would all be destroyed by the intensity of His presence. Each sefira has a particular property which that world reflects. For example the 2nd world, Atzilut corresponds to Sefira "Chachma", wisdom, so G-d's wisdom as it manifests in the creation, functions through this world. The five worlds together are like an infinite computer, except the components are not computer chips but sensitive, intelligent beings. based on Inner Space by R.Aryeh Kaplan z'l.)

    Behold, all these [divisions] can be grouped into 2 [main] divisions. They are (1) the Emanator (Creator) and all the emanations (creations). And this is what is written in Pirkei D'Rabi Eliezer (Ch.23) "until the world was created, He (Hu in hebrew) and His name were One", because the "Ein Sof" which is called "Hu" (in hebrew) and the created which are included in His name, which is Yud-Heh-Vav-Heh, everything was one, because the flame was hidden in the ember. (i.e. the worlds did not yet emanate from the "Ein Sof")

    (from translator)

    The five worlds are:

    Chart of Correspondences

    World Representation Sefira Spiritual Level – Soul

    The Spiritual level will be explained later.

    1. Adam Kadmon (Primordial Man) Crown on Yud Keser (crown) Yechida – Unity

    2. Atzilut (Emanation) Yud Chachma (wisdom) Chaya – Living

    3. Beriah (Creation) Heh Bina (understanding) Neshama – Soul

    4. Yetzira (Formation) Vuv contains 6 sefiros Ruach – Spirit / Wind

    5. Asiyah (Action) (our world) Heh Malchus (Kingship) Nefesh – Life Force Essence

    Behold, we have explained that all the worlds are included in the name Yud-Heh-Vav-Heh, which divides into 4 foundations and 10 sefiros. Likewise each world sub-divides in this manner. For example, the world of Atzilut which is the letter "Yud", which is called Chachma, divides into all the levels we explained. And it contains one complete Yud-Heh-Vav-Heh which divides into 4 foundations and 10 complete sefiros in the exact manner mentioned [above] for all the worlds in their totality. And it is this way for all the 5 worlds mentioned. And in this way it continues to go and sub-divide in absolute divisioning until we find that even in this lowly word there is no tiny creature which does not contain the complete 4 letters Yud-Heh-Vav-Heh and the complete 10 sefiros. And all this is in order to teach that everything was created by the power of the Emanator, may He be blessed, and that there is no other [power].

    chanoch's Commentary

    Learn this well. Every blade of grass or every insect or every creature / animal or every rock / or mountain or river etc has 10 Sefirot and 4 Foundations within it. The foundations are also called the 4 phases as taught by Rabbi Ashlag. One way to understand the Sefirot is Stages in the Process while the 4 foundations is the actual process that moves from one stage to another.

    Another introduction, which is that all these classes and levels from the heights of Adam Kadmon until the depths of this lowly world, all of them are, each higher than the next and each more inner than the next. Because the higher one, "mitlabesh" (enters and wears) inside the lower one like the soul to the body. However, not the entire higher one wears the lower one, but rather only a specific lowest level of the upper one (the malchus) wears the entire lower one. And likewise in this manner until the end of the worlds, in such a way that all the worlds whether together (in totality) or whether in each level (sub-divisioning), everything is in this manner. Because this one is higher than the next and more inner until they are all like [layers] of clothing each to the next to the "Ein Sof" (which is innermost and highest) and the Soul of all the souls.

    (i.e. For example, "light" from "Ein Sof" wears all of Adam Kadmon, like a soul wears a body. Then the lowest part of Adam Kadmon wears all of Atzilut in the same way, then Atzilut wears Beriah, etc. until Asiyah is the outermost shell which contains inside it the lowest parts of all the worlds and from the Ein Sof. Also note that this "Ein Sof" which is innermost to all the worlds is actually light from the torah, which is rooted in the Ein Sof - see Rashash, hakdamos Rechovos haNahar)

    However, in each of the 5 worlds there is a difference in the branching out of the lights, until where they reach, in order that there should be a difference between each one. And likewise there is another difference in the sub-divisions of the 4 foundations in each world, and also the sub-subdivisions but this is not the place to clarify this matter.

    chanoch adds: One way to visualize this idea that the garment is partly on the soul and partly off the soul is to have ten circles that expand like a telescope tube. The innermost tube is smaller in diameter than the the outer level. With this in mind the inner most telescope is called Malchut and generally the outer circle is not being worn by the Malchut but the Keter of the garment covers the Malchut while the other 9 levels are not being worn like a garment but move up and down with empty space within them.

    Therefore we find that just like in the branching out of the lights from above to below, there is no sefira which is not included by 10 sefiros, and each [of those] subdivides further to thousands and tens of thousands of sefiros (each sub-division being 10 sefiros only), likewise in the matter of the branching of the lights from inside to outside is in this matter. Because the innermost of all of them is called "Keter" and outside it, "Chachma", and outside that "Bina", and outside that the 6 edges (sefiros) of "Tiferet", and the outermost of all "malchus". And likewise all the levels subdivide in this manner to thousands and tens of thousands of subdivisions. And since the explanation of this is clear to us except for the matter of Asiyah (the 5th and lowest world) therefore we will explain its matter with absolute conciseness what is needed for the subject matter here.

    (note: The rest of gate 1 is very difficult. One should not spend too much time trying to understand every detail.)

    Behold there are 7 firmaments (in our world, which is "Asiyah"). The highest one is called "Aravos" because it includes the first 3 sefiros of Asiyah, they are the Galgal Sechel (sphere of intellect), Galgal Makif (surrounding sphere), and Galgal Mazalos (sphere of the constellations). And the 5 spheres saturn, Jupiter, Mars, the Sun, and Venus correspond to [the sefiros] chesed, gevura, tiferes, netzach, hod, and the sixth sphere [which is] yesod includes mercury and the moon (somehow these planets are "relay stations" for the lights of Asiyah.

    From here is the basis of ancient astrology to determining future events through astronomical observation since the supernal lights must pass first through these stations). The last [firmament] is called "Vilon" it does not have [an active] function because it is the sefira of Malchus of Asiyah. And it itself sub-divides to ten sefiros. They are: (1)"Vilon", "Keter" of it, and the four foundations of the lower world - fire, wind, water, and earth which are "Chachma" (fire), "Bina" (wind), and the 6 edges of Tiferes (water), and Malchus (earth). Therefore, we find that the malchus of the malchus (i.e. since the first malchus is "Vilon" and the second is "earth") is the foundation of earth - which is the kli (container) and form for the entire world. And in this foundation of earth are found all the derivatives (the creatures: animals, rocks, etc.) which [each] include all the 4 foundations mentioned (fire, wind, water, earth) in the sod (secret meaning) of "Everything was from the earth."

    chanoch adds: It is important to understand that Hebrew Astrology is a science and very accurate. Yet no Hebrew Astrologer will ever tell the client a future event. It is always phrased in a series of potential events.

    (to summarize, the 5th world splits into 10 sefiros, i.e. the 7 firmaments. These are like the "universe", the receptable of time/space. Next, the lowest firmament, Vilon, splits into another 10 sefiros which are the building blocks for all the matter and creatures in this world.)

    We have clarified the matter from top to bottom. Behold it occurs similarly from inside to outside. Behold, the foundation of "earth" also [internally] includes 10 sefiros, and the "Keter" of them, is innermost of all and is called the class of "Yechida" of the foundation of earth (see figure 1 above). Outside it is [the sefira] "Chachma" [which is the class of] "Chaya". Outside it is "Bina" which is "Neshama". Outside it the 6 edges of "Tiferes", which are "Ruach". Outside it is "Malchus", which is "Nefesh" of the foundation of earth. And this "Malchus" also subdivides internally to its 10 sefiros, and the external most "Malchus" of them is the foundation of earth itself, the physical which has no spirituality, but is rather base physical which is called "Domem" (silent as in rocks). And everything inside [the outermost malchus of earth] is called the "soul of the Domem". (it comes out from this that the foundation of earth has a "body" which is the outermost malchus, and also a spiritual "soul" corresponding to the inner layers of sefiras inside)

    And in a similar manner for the foundation of water. Because the external most "Malchus" of all of them [within the foundation of water] is called the "water of growth" and is called "Tzomeach" (plant). And everything that is inside it is called the "soul of tzomeach". And in a similar manner for the foundation of "wind" and the foundation of "fire", which are "Chai" (animal), and "medaber" (speaking, human).

    And the four of them together are (i.e. the four foundations, complete with all their internal splitting.): the Domem - nefesh (body of earth with soul of earth), the tzomeach - Ruach (body of water+soul), the Chai - neshama (body of wind+soul), the medaber - Chaya (body of fire+soul), and Vilon – Yechida.

    And this is what you will find in the words of the philosophers which are named "powers". They say that the soul of the Tzomeach (soul of water in plants) has the power of sustenance (generating energy), and the power of drawing (such as drawing water, and minerals through its roots), and the power of nourishment, and the power of expulsion (of waste).

    And likewise they said about the soul of Chaya (soul of wind in animals) which has the power of movement and feeling, because it has in it the power of awareness and the power of imagination, and the power of mental picturing, etc. and in this manner for all of them.

    What comes out of all this is that also the outermost malchus of each class (ex. class of earth, or water etc.), behold it is the body of that class (with the rest being the "soul" of that class. However it is not called the true physical, base body except the outermost malchus of all of [the world] of Asiyah from top to bottom and from inside to outside. And this point alone is the foundation of earth, base and totally physical and it is the most base and physical body of all the worlds.

    (i.e. the world of Asiyah is the Malchus (10th sefira) of the 5 worlds in the primary 10 sefiros. It splits to 10 sefiros (the 7 firmaments) with the malchus being "Vilon". Vilon further splits into 10 sefiros with the malchus being the foundation of earth. The foundation of earth splits internally twice and the final malchus, which is also the outermost layer is the "body" of the foundation of earth. This pure, physical, earth is the body of all the worlds. Since it is the final and most external of all the sefiras.

    So the worlds, just like a human being have a body and different soul levels. As we'll see, in a human being, the soul cannot elevate itself or bring down spiritual energy without the actions of the body down here. Likewise, all the spiritual worlds above need the actions of its body, i.e. actions in our physical world for bringing down its spiritual energy.

    This occurs only through the actions of man. So even though our world, is the bottom of the barrel in terms of spirituality, nevertheless it is the switchboard of everything. This is also why man has a physical body. It is not a deficit over the angels but rather an advantage. Since he includes in himself all the worlds, then he must also include this physical world and therefore he has a physical body with all levels of physicality (i.e. inanimate, plant, animal, etc.)

  • This link returns to Part 1 Gate 1 – where we left off reading as is recommended.