We have already explained that all souls were part of Adam, and that when he sinned, his limbs "fell off" and his stature was reduced.

The key to properly understanding this is that the body is modeled after the soul. Each one of the physical parts is an embodiment of a part of the soul. The soul of Adam is a grand collective, all-encompassing entity that includes all the souls of mankind.

Sin, by definition, separates the self from G‑d. Accordingly, the original sin separated the souls from their root in Adam on the side of holiness, and caused them to fall to the sitra achra.

Limbs are what a person uses to act. The limbs were used to do the sin, therefore they were primarily what fell. In some way, to a lesser degree, all the parts of the body participated, therefore something of them also fell. The Arizal mentions "limbs" because it was mostly them.

On a deeper level: It was the lower sefirot that fell in the shattering of the vessels. From them come the limbs. The sin increased the breakage, therefore the corresponding aspect within Adam "broke" and fell.

Man is created in the Divine image. This was not just a one time model. Rather, it means that there is continuous connection. All the time, everything any human being does affect a corresponding aspect of Divinity above. Sin causes that the Infinite Light is impeded, in different ways to varying degrees, in its transmission to the world. According to the nature of the defect, that part of the body that transgressed causes a complication in its root in Divinity above.

Therefore, it is specifically as if G‑d's hand, the level affected by the sin, was used to reduce Adam.

Furthermore, we explained...

in chapter seven, section 1

...that most of the souls fell down into the depths of the kelipot, and that only a few remained with him; this is the secret of the "100 cubits" that the Sages speak about in reference to the verse, "And You laid Your hand upon me" (Psalms 139:5).

The Rabbis teach that Adam was originally the first skyscraper - he was as tall as the heavens. After he sinned, G‑d placed His hand upon him and diminished his posture to a mere hundred cubits - approximately two hundred feet.

The underlying goal of the redemption process is to eventually restore man to his royal, divine privilege of full and free access to the King's palace….

This is primarily meant as an allegory to teach us what primordial man was, and what became of him. Every bit of Creation was for his sake, from top to bottom. His spirit therefore reached up and spanned from the highest heights of Atzilut to the lowest levels of where Asiya was - and then the sin diminished his connection above. He was left only with the ability to reach up to the hundred levels of the sefirot of Beriya, with only limited access to Atzilut.

The Rabbis use the anthropomorphic parable of G‑d's hand that did this to express that Adam fell from Atzilut, the world that draws from the upper three sefirot, to Beriya/Yetzira/Asiya - the worlds that draw from the lower seven, which manifest primarily through the hands.

The underlying goal of the redemption process is to eventually restore man to his royal, divine privilege of full and free access to the King's palace - Atzilut, the place of only bliss (Chagiga).

Now the Arizal will enumerate the different levels of souls within Adam's collective soul.

Originally, some new souls which had yet to come into the world were part of Adam, and these are called "authentic new souls". And below them was another level, made up of the souls that remained a part of him and which did not fall off. They are also considered to be "new", but not in comparison to the first level.

Zeir Anpin and Nukva are the root spiritual archetype that Adam and Eve are modeled after….

After the death of Adam, they were separated from him. When these souls from Level Two enter a body in reincarnation, they are still called "new". The reason being that the creation of Adam occurred as a result of an Upper Pairing [called "zivug elyon", occurring in a manner of] being back-to-back.

These concepts are enumerated elsewhere. There are two primary unifications in the partzufim, Abba and Imma, and Zeir Anpin and Nukva. The former is an upper unification, the latter a lower unification (Etz Chaim, Shaar Abba v'Imma, see Likutei Moharan 11:1). Zeir Anpin and Nukva are the root spiritual archetype that Adam and Eve are modeled after. Therefore the primal human souls needed to come from their unification.

The nature of their unification accordingly establishes the entire nature of mankind. The Arizal explains that Zeir Anpin and Nukva were originally created back to back. Nukva is the lowest level on the side of holiness; the kelipot are immediately beneath it and are as parasites that seek to suck energy and life force. The front side of Nukva emanates too much light for the kelipot to take; the only place that they are able to grab from is the back of Nukva. In order to prevent this, G‑d made Zeir Anpin and Nukva back to back. The vulnerable back side of Nukva was thus protected, the bright front side that was left facing the kelipot disallowed them nourishment (Etz Chaim, Shaar Ma'N/Ma'D; Shaar A'K 8).

The proper full state of unification of any pair of partzufim is only face to face….

The proper full state of unification of any pair of partzufim is only face to face. That way the light is directly transmitted between them and flows in full force. The purpose of Creation was for humankind. The question is, couldn't G‑d the Almighty have set things up in such a way that Zeir Anpin and Nukva could have unified in the highest fashion, face to face, in order to make His choice creature, who is the point of it all?

The answer is that G‑d specifically positioned things like this. The stage is set for man to be born into a world of tests, where things don't flow so smoothly. The souls are brought into existence from a state of back to back, causing them to experience the divine light indirectly. Work is required to change this. Thus man is not spiritually unemployed.

There is another important lesson to be learned from the configuration of the initial unification. Here it is called the "upper" pairing. The reason for this is as follows: In truth, there can be no unification back to back. When a face to face pairing cannot occur below in the home of Zeir Anpin and Nukva, the Supernal Emanator raises them up to the place of their as if it were "parents", Abba and Imma. There, beyond the reach of the kelipot, unification can occur with no fear (ibid.). When a person is down and out, then specifically there is a great light and inspiration that lies inside of that situation….

What comes out is that Zeir Anpin and Nukva end up uniting in a much higher place than their own. The fact that they must come to this as a means of refuge to be saved from the kelipot caused that the great light of this place did not shine to them openly. It did however plant a hidden seed. As a result, when a person is down and out, then specifically there is a great light and inspiration that lies inside of that situation. If one seeks G‑d from that place, it can result in a very deep connection (Likutei Moharan 2-12).

From all of this we can begin to understand the entire idea behind the Gate of Reincarnations. Understanding in general how the souls were brought about grants insight into their general nature and purpose. Understanding specifics leads the individual to grasp details about his own soul root and what to do for its rectification. The more specifics one knows, the more one will be enabled to fix himself.

For this reason, every chapter of this work is called an "introduction". Each section features introductory principles that teach how to recognize one's soul root and, based on that, how to go about its repair.

Adam's soul was…the granddaddy of all souls….

Here, the Arizal explains the different degrees of souls in terms of their station in the original, collective soul of Adam. There are new souls and old souls, and there are rungs within each of these categories unto themselves. As the lesson progresses, we will see the significance of these categories.

Therefore, until it returns to come [into the world] when that category of Upper Pairing is face-to-face, then it is as if they have come to the world for the first time, and it is so called "new".

If, after the death of Adam, a soul does not merit to come another time into the world except during a zivug that is back-to-back, then it will still be considered to have come the first time. This is even though it did not come at a time of a face-to-face zivug, since at least it came after the death of Adam.

The first entry of Adam's soul was not considered an official one, since it is the granddaddy of all souls. The souls that follow are considered new, irrelevant of which zivug they originate from. This can be compared to the preface of a book, that is not counted as chapter One.

[Translation and commentary by Perets Auerbach.]