Now we will explain what was mentioned at the beginning of the chapter. A secret of gilgul is that when the need is great, a slightly new gilgul can achieve Nefesh, Ruach and Neshama at one time in a single incarnation, without the need for multiple reincarnations since the three of them will achieve tikun in one body.
What is a "slightly new" gilgul? This will be explained in depth later, especially in Chapter 7. In brief, it refers to a person who has completed the tikun of his Nefesh, but not in his first gilgul.
Normally, such a person cannot [rectify his] Ruach in the same gilgul. He has to die and be reborn with his Nefesh and Ruach together. However, there are special cases "when the need is great" that he can attain Ruach-- and even Neshama-- in the same gilgul in which his Nefesh has been completed. This is possible even though it is not the first gilgul of the Nefesh.
When the nefesh comes alone and achieves rectification and purification, the ruach cannot join it
Although it is not the first time his Nefesh has been in this world, he has completed the tikun of his Nefesh. Therefore, the Arizal calls him "a slightly new gilgul" (as will be explained in Chapter 7). It is this that makes possible the attainment of all three parts of the soul Nefesh, Ruach and Neshama in one gilgul.
Normally, when the Nefesh comes alone and achieves rectification and purification, the Ruach cannot join it since the Nefesh has been rectified while the Ruach has not. However, there is a way to achieve rectification [together in the same gilgul] when the Nefesh is already completely rectified.
When a person sleeps at night he can deposit his Nefesh with G‑d, as is known. Thus, it is possible for the Nefesh to remain Above, adhering to the "Supernal Well" and in the secret of "Mayin Nukvin".
Our learning of Torah and performance of mitzvot liberate these holy sparks from the kelipot that imprison them
Literally, Mayin Nukvin means "Female Waters". It refers here to the holy sparks that are strewn throughout the levels and dimensions of Creation -- all of them -- as was mentioned briefly in Section 2 of this chapter. Our learning of Torah and performance of mitzvot liberate these holy sparks from the kelipot that imprison them. Then the holy sparks ascend "upward" to reunite with the sources of spiritual light. When this happens they cause the "downward" flow of additional light and blessing.
Because they ascend from below to above they are called "female", since (as in conjugal relations) the juices of the female flow from below to above, whereas the juices of the male flow from above to below.
Indeed, all types of light that go from below to above, such as "Returning Light", are also called "Female Light". The classical abbreviation for Mayin Nukvin is "Mem-nun", which we will refer to as M"N throughout this translation.
(These matters are known from Sha’ar HaTefillah in the section about going to sleep at night. Investigate this further there.)
Furthermore, the place for water is in a well. Since there is a place in the supernal worlds called "the Supernal Well", it is fitting that this Nefesh that has been fully rectified and has ascended upward in the secret of Mayin Nukvin remain there in the Supernal Well. Consequently, the Nefesh that has been completely rectified and has ascended as M"N to the Supernal Well does not descend in the morning when souls return to this world. It will remain in the Supernal Well, and in its place his Ruach will descend.
When he awakens in the morning, his Ruach will then enter by itself, as if reincarnated into a different body.
Once the ruach is also rectified there is no hindrance to its becoming ensconced within the nefesh
This new situation will continue until it is rectified completely, at which point the Nefesh will return into the body as before, since they both are now rectified. The Ruach can be dressed within the Nefesh, and the Nefesh can be its "vehicle".
Once the Ruach is also rectified like the Nefesh, there is no hindrance to its becoming ensconced within the Nefesh, and the Nefesh becomes its vehicle.
Likewise, after the Ruach becomes completely purified, then both the Nefesh and the Ruach can leave the body at night during sleep and be "deposited" Above, where they will remain [for the time being]. In the morning, when he awakens, the Neshama will enter into him. It will become rectified, and once rectification is complete, then the previously rectified Nefesh and Ruach can return. The three of them will join together in the same body, and one will become the "vehicle" for the other(s). No more reincarnations will be necessary.
Thus, there is a possibility that a "slightly new" soul can achieve rectification of the Nefesh, Ruach and Neshama even though it is not his first gilgul. This lesson now becomes the basis for a new, esoteric exposition of the following verse.
All of this is alluded to in the verse "My Nefesh has desired You at night; even [with] my Ruach that is within me will I seek You…" (Isaiah 26:9).
[The interpretation:] My Nefesh became purified until it was able to cling to You in the secret of "and cling to Him" (Deut. 11:22). It then desired You, and yearned to cling to You. The time of desiring and yearning is specifically at night, when souls may be deposited because they are ascending in the secret of Mayin Nukvin to cause a supernal zivug.
Since the time of yearning is at night, it was written, "My Nefesh has desired You at night…"
The strength of this yearning, because it is pure, makes possible total adherence.
The word zivug used here literally means "to pair", although "union" (and specifically, conjugal union) would probably be a more accurate rendition according to the meaning of the Kabbala. By ascending to higher levels in the secret of M"N the holy sparks cause the Upper Partzufim to unite together (zivug). Thus, they draw light down from Above to the lower levels.
The strength of this yearning, because it is pure, makes possible total adherence. The Nefesh can remain there and not descend.
Thus, the first part of the verse has been explained. "My Nefesh has desired You at night", because the night is the time of desire when the souls ascend as M"N to the Supernal Well. In the morning when it is time for the descent, then my Nefesh does not descend, but my Ruach in its place descends into my body to seek You.
The Hebrew word that has been translated here "to seek You" is ashachreca, the root of which is shachar. Shachar means "morning". Thus, the second part of the verse will be rendered, "…In the morning my Ruach will enter into me", in the place of my Nefesh.
In the morning when it comes time for the Nefesh to descend once again and it does not, then "my Ruach" can enter me instead. This is why it is not "my Nefesh" that "seeks for You"/"in the morning".
This is according to both meanings of ashachreca.
Rather it is his Ruach that enters him to become rectified.
Therefore, the initial letters of the Hebrew words that have been translated "in the night my Nefesh, even my Ruach" [bait-aleph-reish] spell "be'er" [in Hebrew, well]; this alludes to what was mentioned earlier, that the Nefesh longs to ascend to the Supernal Well.
That these initial letters spell be'er, meaning well, is an indication to the Rav that something is happening here in this verse that is taking place in the Supernal Well, and he has explained the verse accordingly. Now, he wants to draw a practical application from what he has been expounding in this section: namely, that this verse should be recited at night before going to sleep.
Hence, if a person knows on his own that he has rectified his Nefesh, he can say the verse, "My Nefesh has desired You at night; even [with] my Ruach that is within me will I seek You [in Hebrew, ashachreca]…" before laying down to sleep. He should recite it concentrating upon the esoteric meaning that has been explained here in order to attain his Ruach, and similarly his Neshama. Then he will not need additional gilgulim. Understand this esoteric secret well and be cautious with it.
In Your hand I will deposit my soul...
Indeed, in the prescribed recitation of the Bedtime Shma in the prayer book of the Ari (at least according to the Ben Ish Chai) this verse appears, and it is recited by everyone every night.
There is another verse that is also recited each night in the recitation of the Bedtime Shma. The reason for the recitation of this second verse is similar to what has been explained in this section, but not exactly. The Rav will now explain the differences between them, and why both verses need to be recited.
However, the verse that we are accustomed to say, "In Your hand I will deposit my soul…" (Psalms 31:6), doesn’t help to accomplish what has been explained here. It only means that the Nefesh will ascend as a "deposit". In the morning it will return to descend. However, the verse, "My Nefesh has desired You at night; even [with] my Ruach that is within me will I seek You…" means that the Nefesh will remain Above, and that either the Ruach or the Neshama will descend in its place.
(Note: Shmuel says: The verse "My Nefesh has desired You at night; even [with] my Ruach that is within me will I seek for You…" is explained in Gate Six of Shaar HaKavanot. See there.)
(End of Chapter Three)
[Commentary by Shabtai Teicher.]