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Kabbalah explains how only men must reincarnate

Reincarnation Discrimination

Reincarnation Discrimination

"Gate of Reincarnations": Chapter Nine, Section 1

Reincarnation Discrimination
Kabbalah explains how only men must reincarnate

Men must reincarnate to clear their sins because they study Torah and cannot go to Gehinom, whereas women are not thus protected by the study of Torah and can purify their sins in Gehinom.

Gilgulim really only apply to men and not to women. This is the esoteric meaning of the verse, "A generation goes and a generation comes, but the earth remains stationary forever" (Ecclesiastes 1:4). "A generation goes and a generation comes…" refers to men who reincarnate. However, women are referred to as "earth"; they are forever stationary. [In other words] they do not return in gilgul.

Throughout Jewish literature in general, and Kabbala in particular, the earth is considered an aspect and personification of the feminine. (See, for example, Shaarei Ora, 1, by Rabbi Yosef Gikatlia.) Malchut is the preeminent female aspect of the sefirot, and one of her attributes is "earth". Furthermore, the entire section in the Torah concerning illicit sexual relationships is associated with the "earth", its settlement, and exile from it (G‑d forbid). For example, it is written, "And you shall guard all My statutes and all My laws, and the Land that I brought you there to settle it shall not spit you out" (Lev. 20:22). The earth…takes the place of the widow who is not marrying the brother-in-law…

Similarly, if the brother-in-law does not perform the mitzvah of yibum, then he and his brother's widow perform the mitzvah of chalitza; in chalitza, the "earth" plays a prominent role. He stamps his foot upon the ground, she throws his shoe upon the ground, and finally she spits upon the ground. And the Zohar explains that the earth here takes the place of the widow who is not marrying the brother-in-law to allow the soul of the deceased to come back in gilgul through her.

The Ari has explained the indication from the verse that informs us that men reincarnate and not women. Now, he will give a reason for it, and it is the first reason for this distinction that he is providing here (according to the text of Sefer Hagilgulim and Bnei Aharon).

The reason is that men are commanded with the mitzvah to get involved with the study of Torah. [Therefore] they cannot enter Gehinom because the fire of Gehinom cannot affect them, as it says regarding Elisha son of Abuya. He was not judged because he learned Torah, but they did not give him the World-to-Come either, since he had sinned.

This is taught in Talmud Chagiga 15b, and we have already learned about it in Chapter 4:7. We learned there that the Torah protects against the fires of Gehinom. Therefore, those that learn Torah must reincarnate in order to get purified of their sins. Now we learn, for the same reason, only men reincarnate and not women.

Thus, they [men] must reincarnate to erase their sins in place of Gehinom. Women, on the other hand, who are not [commanded to be] involved with Torah, can enter Gehinom to erase their sins, and they do not need to reincarnate.

[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: 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
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 also studied deeply in various other fields of Jewish scholarship. He was 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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Rabbi Yerachmiel Tilles via February 24, 2016

for Chaya Both of your comments are correct Reply

Chaya February 14, 2016

Matriarchs Homosexuality in a previous soul cycle must not be the only reason for infertility. What of the matriarchs Sarah, Rachel, and Rebecca ( not Leah), all of whom were sterile at first? Reply

Chaya February 14, 2016

Need to Reincarnate Women may not need to reincarnate for themselves, but I understand from reading that they may reincarnate in order to help other people. Is this correct or not? Reply

Anonymous miami, florida via August 4, 2014

kabbalah I started studing kabbalah in 2009. I read many books on the subject. I own a volume of Zohar and also the 5 books of Moses. I study, but i do not have a one-on-one teacher. Reply

Yehudis February 6, 2014

What about the Rebbe's teaching that women of our generation are reincarnations of the righteous women of Exodus ? Also what about the reincarnations of the second wife of Rabbi Akiva and himself? Reply

Eli Den Haag November 12, 2013

Women studying Torah "Some women read Torah. Will they be protected from Gehinom? Will they then reincarnate?" -- from Anonymous, Taos NM

That's exactly what I wondered when reading this. And also the other way round, when men don't study Torah, do they go to Gehinnom? Reply

Anonymous Taos, NM November 24, 2010

Reincarnation and Women Some women read Torah. Will they be protected from Gehinom? Will they then reincarnate? Reply

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