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To be reborn in the Unification of Face to Face, there are 8 levels of repentance.

Eight Levels of Repentance

Eight Levels of Repentance

"Gate of Reincarnations": Chapter Six, Section 4

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Eight Levels of Repentance
To be reborn in the Unification of Face to Face, there are 8 levels of repentance.

Now we will explain the individual types of teshuva [repentance] that a person must perform, and through them you will understand a little of this analysis.

In this Section the Rav is continuing the discourse that he began in the beginning of the Chapter. The souls that were created from the Unification of Back to Back are destined to return, ascend, and to be reborn in the Unification of Face to Face. In order for this to happen, eight levels of teshuva must be attained.

There are eight divisions of teshuva.

Each specific place in the soul body of Adam contains the roots of all the four worlds of ABY'A [i.e. Asiya, Beriya, Yetzira, Atzilut]. The teshuva discussed here concerns rectification of damage that was done by sin in the roots of the souls, in the soul body of Adam. The higher one's Soul Root, the greater the damage his sin will cause.

First of all, if a person has a Nefesh from the world of Asiya and he sins, he causes a separation of (the world of) Yetzira from that of Asiya in the specific place from which the root of his soul is suspended. This person's teshuva would reunite Asiya with Yetzira on the level of the root of his Nefesh.

Similarly, if someone who has Ruach from Yetzira sins, he will need to rejoin Yetzira to Beriya on the level of his root. Likewise, someone who has a Neshama from Beriya must reunite Beriya to Atzilut. These are the three levels of teshuva from the lower worlds of BY'A.

There are five higher levels of teshuva in the world of Atzilut itself…

There are five higher levels of teshuva in the world of Atzilut itself. The first is to cause the return of malchut of Atzilut to its place, which is below the yesod, in the specific level of his Soul Root, as we discussed.

The information being described by the Rav here corresponds to an important introductory lesson in Etz Chaim, The Palace of the Consort of Z'A, and especially the "Gate of the Moon's Diminution" - 36:1, concerning the tikun of malchut of Atzilut. In each successive stage of tikun she ascends through Atzilut until she reaches the stage of the Unification of Face to Face with Z'A.

In the first stage, her starting point in Atzilut, she is below the yesod of Z'A. This is before she is a partzuf, when she is only a "point".

The second (stage) is to return her to a higher place, which is nh'y, the place from which she emanated, as is known.

Nh'y is the acronym for the sefirot netzach, hod and yesod. At first, Nukva of Z'A is a point under the yesod of Z'A. When she begins to grow, she becomes a full partzuf from the back of the chest of Z'A, extending downward to the end of his feet on the floor of Atzilut. This is when Zu'N are connnected Back to Back, and she receives all her light from him.

…then she begins to receive light that is imparted to her…

The chest of Z'A is above nh'y (often described as being located 2/3 of the way up tiferet), but sometimes the Rav will designate it as nh'y.

When she is only a point below yesod, she has not yet begun any tikun at all. When she begins to get tikun, then she begins to receive light that is imparted to her from Z'A. This light is transmitted to her from a point that is in the back of the chest of Z'A. Therefore, this point, which the Rav is calling nh'y, is called the point from which she has emerged, and so it is known throughout the kabbala.

The third (stage) returns her to a yet higher level, to the chg't.

Chg't denotes the sefirot of chesed, gevura and tiferet. She is still in the back of Z'A, although she has probably reached the apogee of her growth there, although this point is also not exactly equivalent to chg't of Z'A, but a bit higher. This is just before the nesira (see the end of Section 2, this chapter).

The fourth (stage) is to cause her to return to a higher (level), to chb'd, which are the three mochin of Z'A.

Chb'd refers to the three sefirot of chochma, bina and daat. These are the mochin, or brains, of the partzuf, as one might surmise from the translations of these terms: wisdom-chochma, understanding-bina, and knowledge-daat.

Probably, the Rav is referring here to the stage where Nukva is Face to Face with Z'A, nearly equal in stature to him, and just before Unification. At this stage, the keter of Z'A is still higher than the keter of Nukva, and she is receiving her light from him. It is referred to by the nomenclature chb'd because that term indicates the internal aspect or the Front Face of the partzuf, and it is appropriate here because they are Face to Face.

There is a fifth teshuva, more essential and elevated than the rest of them…

These four elevations are all within the level of Zeir Anpin.

There is a fifth teshuva, more essential and elevated than the rest of them, and that is to elevate it (the malchut of Atzilut) to the level of Abba and Imma.

This is the level where the Unification of Face to Face takes place. Her keter is now equivalent to the keter of Z'A. They receive their levels of keter directly from Abba and Imma. Indeed, their levels of keter were once part of the bodies of Abba and Imma. Therefore, it is appropriate to call this the level of Abba and Imma. Also, Nukva will now receive her light directly from Imma without any intermediary.

This level is alluded to in Sefer HaTikunim and it is called the "Eighth Level," because Imma (i.e., bina) is the eighth from below to above.

Normally, bina is called the eighth because it is the eighth sefira, counting from below to above. Here, also, it is the eighth level of teshuva.

[Commentary by Shabtai Teicher.]

Rabbi Yitzchak Luria […Ashkenazi ben Shlomo] (5294-5332 = 1534-1572 c.e.); Yahrtzeit (anniversary of death): 5th of Av. Buried in the Old Cemetery of Tzfat. Commonly known as the Ari, an acronym standing for Elohi Rabbi Yitzchak, the
G-dly Rabbi Isaac. No other master or sage ever had this extra letter Aleph, standing for Elohi [G-dly], prefaced to his name. This was a sign of what his contemporaries thought of him. Later generations, fearful that this appellation might be misunderstood, said that this Aleph stood for Ashkenazi, indicating that his family had originated in Germany, as indeed it had. But the original meaning is the correct one, and to this day among Kabbalists, Rabbi Yitzchak Luria is only referred to as Rabbenu HaAri, HaAri HaKadosh [the holy Ari] or Arizal [the Ari of blessed memory].
Yitzchok bar Chaim is the pseudonym of the translator, an American-born Jerusalem scholar who has studied and taught Kabbala for many years. He may be contacted through: webmaster@kabbalaonline.org. He translated the Ari's work, "Shaar HaGilgulim;" his translation into English (but with much less extensive commentary than offered here). Information about his translation in book form may be obtained through www.thirtysevenbooks.com
Rabbi Chaim Vital c. 5303-5380 (c. 1543-1620 CE), major disciple of R. Isaac (Yitzchak) Luria, and responsible for publication of most of his works.
Shabtai Teicher, a descendant of the fifth Lubavitcher Rebbe, the Rebbe Reshab, was born in Brooklyn in 1946 and settled in Jerusalem in 1970. He studied for over 7 years with one of the outstanding and renowned kabbalists of our generation, Rabbi Mordechai Attieh, and has also studied deeply in various other fields of Jewish scholarship. He is a specialist in Lurianic Kabbala, edited and annotated the first eleven chapters of our English rendition of "Shaar HaGilgulim," and completed his manuscripts for "Zohar: Old Man in the Sea," in both Hebrew and English, shortly before his unfortunate passing in November 2009.
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