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The Ari continues…the body as a supernal model of the soul

Flesh, Tendons and Bones

Flesh, Tendons and Bones

"Gate of Reincarnations" - Chapter Eleven, Section 4

Flesh, Tendons and Bones
The Ari continues…the body as a supernal model of the soul

The model described in the previous sections exists on three parallel levels at the same time: Flesh, Giddim and Bones.

You should also know that every limb is composed of Flesh, Giddim and Bones.
These giddim (tendons) of the limbs are not the same as the 365 giddim (sinews).

The Hebrew word "giddim" is normally translated as "tendons" or "sinews." Elsewhere we have always translated it as "sinews," and that is probably the best translation for the intention of the Ari. However, here we have preferred to leave "giddim" without translation to emphasize the distinction between the two different concepts of giddim that will be explained now. First, there is the Flesh. Above them are the Giddim. Above them are the Bones…

In every partzuf there are 248 limbs and 365 sinews - giddim. Sometimes we refer to them, in short, as 613 limbs. The giddim-tendons under discussion here, however, refer to an intermediate level of the body structure situated between the flesh, which is external to it, and the bones, or (more specifically) the bone marrow, which is internal to it. Together they comprise three separate, parallel, congruent and equal partzufim. The only difference between them is that one is more internal, and the other is more external.

Consequently, the 613 sparks, who are the students of wisdom of this Heel (of the Left Leg of the Left Shoulder) consist of three divisions. These are, as already mentioned, the Flesh, Giddim and Bones.

It is the same for the other [external] sparks who are the active people, as explained previously. They divide into the same three divisions.

It is interesting to note the term the Ari uses here to describe the external sparks. They are the "active people". Similarly, in the last section he called them "those that do mitzvot". These terms are in opposition to the students of the wise, the scholars and saints, who are seen as more sedentary and contemplative, whose accomplishments are in the realm of the mind more than that of action and deeds.

Nevertheless, it seems obvious that these terms are relative and not absolute. The Torah scholars certainly perform mitzvot and act in the world when they must, but the center of gravity for them is more in the mind than in action. Similarly, the householders, merchants, farmers and all the other masses certainly have intellectual accomplishments. Furthermore, since the time of the Baal Shem Tov, and even before that, it is not uncommon for the Torah scholars and saints to be hidden among the common people.

Their order is as follows. First, there is the Flesh. Above them are the Giddim. Above them are the Bones, because of the marrow that is within them as opposed to the hard substance that comprises the bones themselves.

The Ari always calls the marrow of the bones "mo'ach"or "mochin". These are the "brains", equivalent to the Light, the internal and highest part of every partzuf. See Chapter One and Appendix 42:1.

Thus, the partzuf of Nukva of Asiya has been explained. It was entirely included within Adam. You can infer from it all other particulars, even [as far] as Arich Anpin of Atzilut.

In the previous section it was stated that Adam is the partzuf of Nukva of Asiya. Here it is stated explicitly that Nukva of Asiya is one of the partzufim of Adam! It should be obvious to students by now that these are one and the same. Adam is a composite of the partzufim, and each partzuf is in the image of Adam.

[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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