Contact Us
Not all parts of the soul enter the body.

Summary of the Soul

Summary of the Soul

"Gate of Reincarnations": Chapter Eleven, Section 1

 Email
Summary of the Soul
Not all parts of the soul enter the body.

Shmuel [the son of Rabbi Chaim Vital and editor of the Writings of the Ari] says: I found an essay that is a brief summary of the entire subject of gilgul, and it seems to me that it is a choice selection of everything that has been said about the subject. It contains what a person absolutely needs to know in order that he may accomplish rectification.

Here, the categories of souls are detailed. The content of this section has already been written explicitly, or it was implicit in the first sections of Chapter One; see the extensive commentary that has been included there, and especially the tables of correspondences.

There are four Worlds, and they are [nicknamed] ABY"A [Atzilut, Beriya, Yetzira, and Asiya].

Each world consists of five partzufim. They are Arich Anpin, Abba and Imma, Zeir Anpin and Nukva of Zeir Anpin.

However, there is an incongruity concerning them.

This is new information. The souls of human beings are different than all the other aspects contained within the four worlds…

Each of the three worlds of BY"A equals one [of the three lower partzufim] of Atzilut - Imma, Zeir Anpin or Nukva. However, there are not two worlds above BY"A that replicate Abba and Arich Anpin of Atzilut because [those levels] are very hidden.

Each one of the three lower worlds is "equal" to one of the three lower partzufim of Atzilut. The two higher partzufim do not have such a correspondence. Although the Ari does not spell it out, the realm of Souls has the same incongruity. Chaya and Yechida do not enter into the body or fit into any of its vessels.

The Souls of human beings are different than all the other aspects contained within the four worlds of ABY"A because they are the secret of "You are children to the Lord your G‑d…" (Deut. 14:1) There is a deeper…connection between the Souls and the Creator than there is between the Worlds and the Creator…

There is a deeper, more immediate and more intimate connection between the Souls and the Creator than there is between the Worlds and the Creator. The relationship of the Creator to the Souls is like that of father to son. In other respects, however, the realm of the Souls is a replicate of the Worlds.

The realm of Souls is a replicate of the Worlds, in general and in particular.

The section that follows is comparable to a meditation in which the serious student should be so proficient in these categories that he can review them by heart even when he is falling asleep.

Souls from Atzilut

The souls that are from the World of Atzilut divide into five categories corresponding to the five partzufim of Atzilut.

Those that are drawn from A"A are called "Yechida". Those from Abba are called "Chaya".
Those from Imma are called "Neshama".
Those from Z"A are called "Ruach".
Those from Nukva are called "Nefesh".
They are all divisions of Atzilut.

Afterwards, come lower ones. There are those that are drawn from the world of Beriya, and they are called the "Neshama [that is] from Beriya".
Those from Yetzira are all called the "Ruach
[that is] from Yetzira".
Those from Asiya are called the "Nefesh
[that is] from Asiya".

Those that are drawn from Imma of Atzilut are called "Neshama of Atzilut"; those that are drawn from the World of Beriya are called "Neshama of Beriya".

In the same way, those that are drawn from Zeir Anpin of Atzilut are called the "Ruach of Atzilut"; those that are drawn from the World of Yetzira are called the "Ruach of Yetzira". Those that are drawn from Nukva of Atzilut are called the "Nefesh of Atzilut"; those that are drawn from the World of Asiya are called the "Nefesh of Asiya".

This is in general, but there are also details, as follows.

Souls from Arich Anpin of Atzilut

The souls that come from Arich Anpin of Atzilut divide into five categories:
From Keter of Arich Anpin is what is called the "Yechida of Yechida".
From its Chochma is what is called the "Chaya of Yechida".
From its Bina is what is called the "Neshama of Yechida".
From its Six Extremities is what is called the "Ruach of Yechida".
From its Malchut is what is called the "Nefesh of Yechida".
All these five categories are, in general, "Yechida".

The five aspects of Chaya that come from Abba of Atzilut divide in the very same way, and they are all called "Chaya".

It is the same with the five categories of Neshama that come from Imma, and they are all called "Neshama".

It is the same with the five categories of Ruach from Zeir Anpin, and they are all called "Ruach".

It is the same with the five categories of Nefesh from Nukva, and they are all called the "Nefesh of Atzilut".

These are all the categories of Atzilut. Now come the categories of BY"A.

Souls from the categories of BY"A

It is the same with the three worlds of BY"A, but all five divisions of each world are only equivalent to one of the partzufim of Atzilut, as already mentioned.
The Neshamas that are from Arich Anpin of Beriya are called the "Yechida of Beriya".
Those from Abba are called "Chaya".
Those from Imma are called "Neshama".
Those from Zeir Anpin are called "Ruach".
Those from Nukva of Beriya are called the "Nefesh of the Neshama
[that is] from Beriya".
All these five categories that are from the five partzufim of Beriya are called the "Neshama that is from Beriya".
All five of them equal the five categories of Neshama of Atzilut.

Similarly, the souls from the five partzufim of Yetzira divide into the Yechida, Chaya, Neshama, Ruach and Nefesh. They are all called the "Ruach [that is] from Yetzira".

They are equal to the five categories of Ruach of Atzilut.

Similarly, the souls from the five partzufim of Asiya divide into the Yechida, Chaya, Neshama, Ruach and Nefesh. They are all called the "Nefesh [that is] from Asiya".

They are equal to the five categories of Nefesh of Atzilut.

We have already learned (Gate of Reincarnations 1:4) that each of these five can also be subdivided into five more. Theoretically, there is no final level of subdivision. Nevertheless, the Ari will provide specific numbers in the next section.

Before going on, it is worthwhile to summarize: The Nefesh, in general, is from Asiya. The Ruach, in general, is from Yetzira. The Neshama, in general, is from Beriya. They correspond to particular partzufim in Atzilut: Nukva, Zeir Anpin and Imma, respectively. These, in turn, are the Nefesh-Ruach-Neshama [NR"N] of Atzilut. Chaya, on the other hand, does not derive from Atzilut in general, but only from Abba of Atzilut. It is the same with Yechida, which is not ascribed here to Atzilut or to Adam Kadmon in general, but to Arich Anpin of Atzilut only.

Behold, souls have been explained in general and in particular.

[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 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.
© Copyright, all rights reserved. If you enjoyed this article, we encourage you to distribute it further, provided that you comply with Chabad.org's copyright policy.
 Email
Start a Discussion
1000 characters remaining
Related Topics

The larger, bold text is the direct translation of the classic text source.

The smaller, plain text is the explanation of the translator/editor.
Text with broken underline will provide a popup explanation when rolled over with a mouse.