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Each person's nature is an expression of the soul root.

Root and Spark Dynamics

Root and Spark Dynamics

"Gates of Reincarnation": Chapter Eleven, Section 3

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Root and Spark Dynamics
Each person's nature is an expression of the soul root.

This section is based on the previous one, but the Ari will add two new aspects: the model of dynamic development, and an explanation in detail of how it works. In addition, he will change some of the terminology that was introduced in the previous section.

First of all, in the previous section we learned that the 613 Major Roots become by fragmentation, as a result of sin and blemish, 600,000 Minor Roots. The 600,000 Minor Roots are not subdivisions of the 613 Major Roots. Rather, the 613 are divided into smaller units. 600,000 is the maximum number that may be reached. That is what we mean when we say that the 613 Major Roots become or fragment into 600,000 Minor Roots. The symbol we will use for this phenomenon is: →, i.e.:

613 Major Roots → 600,000 Minor Roots

Each one of the 613 Major Roots divides into 613 Major Sparks. In this case we mean subdivision. We will use the following symbol for it: ↓, i.e.:

613 Major Roots

613 Major Sparks

Each and every one of the 613 Major Roots is itself composed of 613 Major Sparks. In other words, there are 613 X 613 Major Sparks Adam was the progenitor of all the roots and sparks

The 613 Major Sparks divide into 600,000 Minor Sparks. Once again, here we are not talking about subdivision, but fragmentation. The 613 Major Sparks are divided into smaller units than their original division. Thus, they will constitute, without their number having changed at all, a maximum of 600,000. The 613 Major Sparks become 600,000 Minor Sparks, i.e.:

613 Major Sparks → 600,000 Minor Sparks

In this section the Ari will switch the terminology, which will become the following:

613 Major Roots → 600,000 Major Sparks

613 Minor Roots → 600,000 Minor Sparks

Nevertheless, it remains the same that the first, general category of 613 Major Roots subdivides (↓) into 613 particulars. In the previous section these 613 particulars were called Majors Sparks. In this section they are called, instead, Minor Roots.

In either case, each one of the 613 Major Roots ultimately becomes 600,000 Minor Sparks as a result of subdivision (↓) and further fragmentation (→). In either case, the number of Minor Sparks constituting the original partzuf, remains the same: 613 x 600,000.

The Ari will now add new information, what is being called here "dynamic development."

Furthermore, you need to know that all the 613 Major Roots of Nukva of Asiya fragment in the following way:

We have been using Nukva of Asiya as an example. Since she is a partzuf, she consists of 613 Major Roots. They fragment in the following way:

First, there is one soul, Adam, who is the progenitor of all of them and includes all of them.

Adam was the progenitor of all the roots and sparks that were described previously, and all of them were included within him.

Afterwards, they are all included within the 3 Patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Afterwards, they are all included within the 12 Tribes. Afterwards, they divide into 70 Souls. Afterwards, these 70 Souls divide into as many as 600,000 Major Sparks. This dynamic development parallels the historical development of Israel

The Ari is describing the dynamic development of one partzuf, Adam, into 600,000 Major Sparks (keeping in mind what was introduced at the beginning of this section: 613 Major Roots → 600,000 Major Sparks). Since it is a partzuf, it is in the secret of 613. How does that 613 become 600,000? This is the dynamic development being described here, but it is starting with 1 because in this case there is no difference between 1 and 613. One partzuf is composed of 613 limbs and sinews. In other words, 613 = 1.

The Ari is describing the dynamic development of one partzuf, Adam, into 600,000 Major Sparks (keeping in mind what was introduced at the beginning of this section: 613 Major Roots --> 600,000 Major Sparks). Since it is a partzuf, it is in the secret of 613. How does that 613 become 600,000? This is the dynamic development being described here, but it is starting with 1 because in this case there is no difference between 1 and 613. One partzuf is composed of 613 limbs and sinews. In other words, 613 = 1.

The description of this dynamic development parallels the historical development of Israel as it is described in the Torah. First, the Torah tells us the story of Adam. Then it focuses upon the lives of the 3 Patriarchs. The last patriarch, Jacob, gives birth to 12 sons who are the forefathers of the 12 Tribes. When the family of Jacob descends into Egypt, they number 70 Souls (Ex.1:5). When the people of Israel are liberated from bondage, coming out from Egypt to stand at Mt. Sinai and receive the Torah, then they number 600,000. (Although this is an approximate, rounded-off number, it is the number actually recorded by the Torah in Exodus 12:37 when the count of Israel is first given, and all subsequent literature uses it.)

In the same way, each one of the 613 Major Roots is made (↓) into a partzuf that is comprised of 613 (Minor Roots). They then fragment (→), as has been explained, until 600,000 Minor Sparks.

Each one of the 613 Minor Roots fragments into as many as 600,000 Minor Sparks.

For example, Adam contained all the 613 Major Roots of the entire partzuf of Nukva of Asiya. The left shoulder of Adam is one Major Root, and it is a whole partzuf.

The left shoulder of Adam is one of the 613 Major Roots of Adam. It is a whole partzuf. In itself it consists of 613 limbs and sinews. The left shoulder is the partzuf, or Root, called "Kayin", Hebrew for "Cain".

According to what was written in the introduction to this section, each Major Root subdivides into 613 Minor Roots. Thus, the Major Root of Kayin should subdivide into 613 Minor Roots. However, note the number that the author teaches now.

It (the left shoulder) divides into no more than 70 Minor Roots.

When the Ari uses the system of dynamic development, he does not start with the number 613. He does not say that one Major Root such as the left shoulder subdivides (↓) into 613 Minor Roots, although that would be an accurate statement. However, when he uses the system of dynamic development, the number 613 is equivalent to 1, to one whole partzuf. In this case the left shoulder of Adam, which is one of the Major Roots subdivides (↓) into 613 limbs or 1 partzuf --> 3 Patriarchs --> 12 Tribes --> 70 Souls. Thus, each one of the 613 Major Roots subdivides into 70 Minor Roots, and they are the 70 particular Souls of the Minor Root.

He does not go on to say that it fragments into 600,000 because on that level it is no longer called "Root", but "Spark".

These 70 (Minor) Roots comprise the 613 limbs and sinews of this partzuf.

This one Major Root has 3 Patriarchs that include all of it, and then 12 Tribes, and then 70 Souls into 600,000 Minor Sparks.

These 70 Minor Roots comprise the 613 limbs and sinews of the one partzuf that is the left shoulder of Adam. The 613 limbs and sinews do not subdivide into the 70 Minor Roots. They are merely reorganized into these 70 sets.

All these 70 Minor Roots fragment (→) into 600,000 Minor Sparks.

They do not subdivide (↓) into 600,000 each. The 70 become (→) 600,000, but their name changes from Root to Spark.

Kayin consists of this one Major Root that includes 70 Minor Roots comprised of 600,000 Minor Sparks. He is just like Adam (in the following respect). This one Major Root (called "Kayin") has 3 Patriarchs that include all of it, and then 12 Tribes, and then 70 Souls. Afterwards, they fragment into 600,000 Minor Sparks.

Thus, the partzuf of Adam contained 613 limbs and sinews. One of them was the Left Shoulder, which is the Major Root called Kayin. It is one of the 613 subdivisions () of the Nukva of Asiya of Adam. This Major Root, Kayin, subdivided into 70 Minor Roots, which further fragmented into 600,000 Minor Sparks.

The Ari will now go on to explain the second new aspect of this section. How do the 70 Minor Roots become 600,000 Minor Sparks?

Now, I will explain the fragmentation of the 70 Minor Roots. It has already been made clear that all of them together fragment (→) into 600,000 Minor Sparks. Each one of the 70 Minor Roots contains 613 internal sparks and an unspecified number of external sparks

Note how the Ari uses the phrase that "all of them together" divide into 600,000 Minor Sparks. They do not subdivide into that number, but all of them together are reorganized into that larger number.

However, each Root among them is not necessarily an equal number of Sparks as any of the other ones.

Each one of the 70 Minor Roots has an average of 8,571 Minor Sparks. But this number is an average. Some of the 70 Minor Roots have more; and some of the 70 have less. All together they equal a maximum of 600,000.

The only thing concerning them that is equivalent is the following. Each one of the (70) Roots divides (↓) into 613 Sparks that are internal and essential.

Of the average 8,571 there are 613 Sparks that are internal and essential. Each one of the 70 Minor Roots contains 613 internal and essential Sparks, no matter what the actual number of Sparks are contained by that Root.

These are the Torah scholars in this Root.

Developing around them are the branches, who are the householders and masses. These are without any specific number.

The 70 Minor Roots can become a maximum of 600,000 Minor Sparks. We will review the Ari's description of how it happens.

One Major Root has subdivided into 70 Minor Roots. Each one of the 70 Minor Roots contains 613 internal sparks and an unspecified number of external sparks. The internal sparks are the saints, scholars and students of wisdom of the root; the external sparks are the masses - the farmers, merchants and householders of the root.

All of these Sparks all together, the internal ones and the external ones, of all the 70 Minor Roots all together, equal 600,000 maximum.

In the left-hand column of the accompanying table you see the 613 limbs and sinews that comprise one of the Minor Roots of the left shoulder of Adam (or any other one of the Minor Roots). These 613 are the talmedei chachamim, the "students of wisdom" of the Root. Each one of these develops an indefinite amount of branch sparks. These are the masses of the Root. All together, in all the 70 Minor Roots, there are not more than 600,000 sparks.

Thus, each Major Root in Adam has subdivided into 613 (one partzuf) according to one way of looking at it, into 70 Minor Roots according to another way of looking at it, and finally into 600,000 Minor Sparks. None of these viewpoints is contradictory.

The left shoulder is one Major Root of Adam, and it is called Kayin. One of the 70 Minor Roots of this limb is the Heel of the Left Leg of the general partzuf that is the Root of Kayin. In this Minor Root (the Heel of the Left Leg) there are 613 Sparks. All of these are students of wisdom.

In Chapter 38 the Ari will identify some of these 613 internal sparks of the Heel of the Left Leg of the Left Shoulder of Nukva of Asiya of Adam.

In general, all other human souls develop out from the 613 internal, essential sparks, as shown in the table.

All the other Sparks of human souls develop around them. These are those that do mitzvot, the merchants and the peasants. Of these there are no specific number. The only requirement is that all the Sparks of these 70 Minor Roots that comprise this one Major Root not exceed the number of 600,000 Minor Sparks.

[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.
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