It is recommended to read the section first prior to reading the Synopsis.
Rabbi Elazar says that when the time comes for the soul to leave the body, it sees the Shechinah and goes toward Her with joy, but if the person was not righteous the Shechinah leaves the soul to mourn, separated from its body and from the Shechinah. Afterwards both soul and body are punished and then purified.
Pasook 10. from the Zohar Commentary on Parasha Metzora
בְּהַהוּא זִמְנָא דְּמָטָא שַׁעֲתָא לְאִתְפָּרְשָׁא, לָא נָפְקָא נַפְשָׁא מִן גּוּפָא, עַד דְּאִתְגְּלֵי עָלֵיהּ שְׁכִינְתָּא, וְנַפְשָׁא, מִגּוֹ חֶדְוָתָא וַחֲבִיבוּתָא דִּשְׁכִינְתָּא, נָפְקָא מִגּוּפָא לְקָבְלָהָא. אִי זַכָּאָה הוּא, מִתְקְשַׁר בָּהּ וְאִתְדַּבָּק בָּהּ. וְאִי לָאו, שְׁכִינְתָּא אַזְלָא, וְהִיא אִשְׁתְּאָרַת, וְאַזְלַת וּמִתְאַבְּלָא עַל פְּרִישׁוּתָא דְּגוּפָא. מַתְלָא אַמְרֵי. שׁוּנְרָא מֵאֶשָּׁא לָא מִתְפָּרְשָׁא, חַדְדֵי לְסַכִּינָא, אַזְלָא אֲבַתְרֵיהּ.
When that time comes, WHEN THE SOUL must depart FROM THE BODY, the soul does not leave the body until the Shechinah shows Herself to it. Then it goes out from the body in joy and love of the Shechinah to meet Her. If a man is righteous, he cleaves and bonds himself to Her. If not, the Shechinah departs FROM HIM and his soul is left behind, mourning over its separation from the body. It is similar to what is said about the cat which will not be driven away from the fire: 'Sharpen Your knife and it shall follow you', FOR IT WILL THINK THAT YOU ARE GOING TO CUT MEAT, AND SO IT WILL BE DRIVEN AWAY FROM THE FIRE. THUS, THE SOUL DOES NOT WANT TO SEPARATE FROM THE BODY BUT WHEN THE SHECHINAH SHOWS HERSELF TO IT, IT LEAVES THE BODY.
The body and soul are old friends. The body is a comfort zone to the soul. When it is time to leave the body many times the soul refuses. Sometimes it is afraid of Gehinom (Hell). Sometimes it is just the comfort zone for the soul. When it sees the Shechinah the soul is enamored of the Light of the Shechinah and then it will follow the Shechinah anywhere. It is better to leave and follow the Shechinah than to stay and be forced out through "the beating in the grave".
Pasook 11. from the Zohar Commentary on the Parasha Metzora
לְבָתַר אִתְדָּנוּ תַּרְוַויְיהוּ עַל יְדוֹי דְּדוּמָה. גּוּפָא אִתְּדָּן בְּקִבְרָא עַד דְּתָב לְעַפְרָא, וְנַפְשָׁא בְּאֶשָּׁא דְּגֵיהִנָּם בְּכַמָּה דִּינִין, עַד הַהוּא זִמְנָא דְּאִתְגְּזַר עָלָהּ לְקַבְּלָא עוֹנְשָׁא. בָּתַר דְּקַבִּילַת עוֹנְשָׁא, וּמָטֵי זִמְנָא לְאִתְדַּכְּאָה, כְּדֵין אִסְתָּלְקָא מִגֵּיהִנָּם, וְאִתְלַבְּנַת מֵחוֹבָהָא כְּפַרְזְלָא דְּאִתְלָבַּן בְּנוּרָא, וְסַלְּקִין עִמָּהּ, עַד דְּעָאלָת לְגִנְתָּא דְּעֵדֶן דִּלְתַתָּא, וְאִסְתַּחֵי תַּמָּן בְּאִינּוּן מַיָּא, וְאִסְתַּחֵי בְּבוּסְמִין דְּתַמָּן. כד"א, מְקֻטֶּרֶת מֺר וּלְבֺנָה. וְקַיְּימָא תַּמָּן עַד זִמְנָא דְּאִתְגְּזַר עָלֵיהּ לְאִתְרַחֲקָא מֵאֲתַר דְּיַתְבִין בֵּיהּ צַדִּיקַיָּא.
Afterwards, both the soul and the body are punished by the hand of THE ANGEL Dumah. The body is sentenced to the grave until it returns to dust, and the soul IS SENTENCED to the fire of Gehenom in several trials until its time comes to be punished. After being punished, the time comes for it to be purified. The soul comes out of Gehenom and is cleansed of its sins like an iron whitened in the fire. ANGELS ascend with it until it arrives at the Lower Garden of Eden, where it is cleansed in the water and perfumed with its spices, as written: "Perfumed with myrrh and frankincense" (Shir Hashirim 3:6). It stays there until that time is over when it must be far from the righteous IN THE UPPER GARDEN OF EDEN.
There are parts of the soul especially the Nefesh level that may not depart from the body until the body decays completely. This is why Righteous people have thier Nefesh always in the body. Since that particular body has become purified it does not decay and those parts of the soul do not leave.
There is no punishments. The Zohar does not say punishments. The English translation is corrupted. The Zohar is describing cause and effect not pain and punishment. When someone grows to enjoy the cleansing and is essentially happy about their cleansing there is no need to receive punishment. Only the aspects of removing any material impact on that soul.
Pasook 12. from the Zohar Commentary on the Parasha Mezora
וְכַד מָטָא זִמְנָא לְסַלְּקָא, כְּדֵין סַלְּקִין עִמָּהּ, דַּרְגָּא בָּתַר דַּרְגָּא, עַד דְּאִתְקְרִיבַת כְּקוּרְבְּנָא עַל מַדְבְּחָא. הה"ד, זֺאת תִּהְיֶה תּוֹרַת הַמְּצוֹרָע בְּיוֹם טָהֳרָתוֹ וְהוּבָא אֶל הַכֺּהֵן, כַּהֲנָא עִלָּאָה דִּלְעֵילָּא, הַאי נַפְשָׁא דְּלָא אִסְתְּאָבַת כ"כ, בְּהַאי עָלְמָא, הַאי אִית לָהּ תְּקַנְתָּא, כְּגַוְונָא דָּא. וְאִי לָאו, מְעֻוָּות לֹא יָכוֹל לִתְקוֹן וְגוֹ'.
When the time comes for it to ascend TO THE UPPER GARDEN OF EDEN, it ascends stage after stage until it is brought as a sacrifice on the altar, MEANING IT IS BROUGHT TO THE NUKVA OF MALCHUT, WHICH IS CALLED AN ALTAR. This is the meaning of, "This shall be the Torah of the leper; in the day of his cleansing he shall be brought to the priest" (Vayikra 14:2), NAMELY the supernal Priest above, WHO IS THE ANGEL MICHAEL. This is the fate of a soul that has not been defiled much in this world and that can still be healed, AS IT IS SAID ABOVE. Otherwise, "THAT WHICH IS crooked cannot be made straight" (Kohelet 1:15).
chanoch adds: Actually, in my opinion, HaShem prefers the sinner since then he will be able to reveal a greater anount of light. As it says. A Baal Teshuvah is able to stand in a place higher than a Righteous Individual who has never sinned.
Pasook 13. of the Zohar Commentary on the Parasha Mezora
זֺאת תִּהְיֶה תּוֹרַת הַמְּצוֹרָע. ר' יִצְחָק פָּתַח, וְזָרַח הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ וּבָא הַשָּׁמֶשׁ וְגוֹ'. הַאי קְרָא אִתְּמַר, וְאוֹקִימְנָא לֵיהּ בְּנִשְׁמְתָא דְּב"נ, בְּשַׁעֲתָא דְּהִיא קַיְּימָא עִמֵּיהּ דְּב"נ בְּהַאי עָלְמָא, כְּדֵין, וְזָרַח הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ. וּבָא הַשָּׁמֶשׁ, בְּזִמְנָא דְּנָפִיק ב"נ מֵהַאי עָלְמָא, וְאִשְׁתְּכַח בִּתְשׁוּבָה, כְּדֵין אֶל מְקוֹמוֹ שׁוֹאֵף זוֹרֵחַ הוּא שָׁם, אִי זַכָּאָה אִיהוּ, כד"א, וּבָא הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ וְטָהֵר, וְאַחַר יֺאכַל מִן הַקֳּדָשִׁים.
"This shall be the Torah of the leper." Rabbi Yitzchak opened the discussion with the verse: "the sun also rises and the sun also goes down" (Kohelet 1:5). We have learned this verse and explained that it speaks of the soul of a man. When the soul is with man, then "the sun also rises". However, "the sun goes down," REFERS to the time when he departs from the world. If he is in a state of repentance, then it "hastens to its place where it rises again" (Ibid.). If he is righteous, it is written: "And when the sun goes down he shall be clean" (Vayikra 22:7), MEANING THAT WHEN "THE SUN GOES DOWN," HE DEPARTS FROM THIS WORLD. HE IS PURE AND HE "shall afterwards eat of the holy things" (Ibid.).
chanoch adds: The laws of the sacrifice is actually describing levels that the soul goes through.
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