The second soul of a Jew is truly a part of G‑d above, as it is written, "And He breathed into his nostrils the breath of life," and "Thou didst breathe it [the soul] into me." And it is written in the Zohar, "He who exhales, exhales from within him," that is to say, from his inwardness and his innermost, for it is something of his internal and innermost vitality that man emits through exhaling with force.

So, allegorically speaking, have the souls of Jews risen in the [Divine] thought, as it is written, "My firstborn son is Israel," and "Ye are children unto the Lord your G‑d". That is to say, just as a child is derived from his father's brain, so— to use an anthropomorphism— the soul of each Israelite is derived from G‑d's (blessed be He) thought and wisdom. For He is wise— but not through a know-able wisdom, because He and His wisdom are one; and as Maimonides says

Note: And the Sages of the Kabbalah have agreed with him as is stated in Pardess of Rabbi Moshe Cordovero. Also according to the Kabbalah of the "Art" (Rabbi Isaac Luria) this is substantiated in the mystic principle of the "Clothing of the Light" of the En Sof, Blessed be He, through numerous contractions ivithin the vessels ChaBaD of [the world of] Atzilut (Emanation), but no higher than that. For, as is explained elsewhere, the En Sof, blessed be He, is infinitely exalted over, ana transcends, the essence and level of ChaBaD, which in relation to Him are regarded as a material action, as is written, "Thou hast made them all with wisdom."

that "He is the Knowledge and Knower,... and this is not within the power of any man to comprehend clearly,..." as it is written, "Canst thou by searching find G‑d?" And it is also written, "For My thoughts are not your thoughts... ,"

And though there are myriads of different gradations of souls (neshamot), rank upon rank, ad infinitum, as with the superiority of the souls of the Patriarchs and of Moses our Teacher above the souls of our own generations who live in the period preceding the coming of the Messiah, which are as the very soles of the feet compared with the brain and head, so in every generation there are the leaders of the Jews, whose souls are in the category of "head" and "brain" in comparison with those of the masses and the ignorant. Likewise [are there distinctions between] nefashot and nefashot, for every soul consists ofnefesh, ruach and neshamah. Nevertheless, the root of every nefesh, ruach and neshamah, from the highest of all ranks to the lowest that is embodied within the illiterate and the most worthless, all derive, as it were, from the Supreme Mind which is Chochmah Ilaah (Supernal Wisdom). [The manner of this descent is] analogous to that of a son who is derived from his father's brain, in that [even] the nails of his feet come into existence from the very same drop of semen, by being in the mother's womb for nine months, descending degree by degree, changing continually, until even the nails are formed from it. Yet [after all this process] it is still bound and united with a wonderful and essential unity with its original essence and being, which was the drop [as it came] from the father's brain. And even now, in the son, the nails receive their nourishment and life from the brain that is in the head. As is written in the Gemara (Niddah, ibid.), "From the white of the father's drop of semen are formed the veins, the bones and the nails." (And in Etz Chayim, Shaar ha-Chashmal, it is likewise stated, in connection with the esoteric principle of Adam's garments in the Garden of Eden, that they [the garments] were the "nails" [derived] from the cognitive faculty of the brain). So, as it were, is it actually true of the root of every nefesh, ruach and neshamah in the community of Israel on high: in descending degree by degree, through the descent of the worlds of Atzilut (Emanation), Beriah (Creation), Yetzirah (Formation) and Asiyah (Action) from His blessed Wisdom, as it is written, "Thou hast made them all with wisdom," the nefesh, ruach and neshamah of the ignorant and unworthy come into being. Nevertheless they remain bound and united with a wonderful and essential unity with their original essence and entity; namely, the extension of Chochmah Ilaah (Supernal Wisdom), inasmuch as the nurture and life of the nefesh, ruach and neshamah of the ignorant are drawn from the nefesh, ruach and neshamah of the saints and sages, the heads of Israel in their generation.

This explains the comment of our Sages on the verse, "And to cleave unto Him"— "He who cleaves unto a scholar [of the Torah] is deemed by the Torah as if he had become attached to the very Shechinah (Divine Presence)." For, through attachment to the scholars, the nefesh, ruach and neshamah of the ignorant are bound up and united with their original essence and their root in the Supernal Wisdom, He and His wisdom being one, and "He is the Knowledge. . . . (As for them who willfully sin and rebel against the sages, the nurture of their nefesh, ruach and neshamah comes from behind the back, as it were, of the nefesh, ruach and neshamah of the scholars).

As for what is written in the Zohar and in Zohar Chadash to the effect that the essential factor is to conduct oneself in a holy manner during sexual union, which is not the case with the children of the ignorant, and so on, it is to be understood as meaning that since there is not a nefesh, ruach and neshamah which has not a garment of the nefesh of its father's and mother's essence, and all the commandments that it fulfils are all influenced by that garment,... and even the benevolence that flows to one from heaven is all given through that garment— hence, through self-sanctification, one will cause to descend for the neshamah of one's child a holy garment; and however great a soul it may be, it still needs the father's sancti-fication.... But as for the soul itself, it sometimes happens that the soul of an infinitely lofty person comes to be the son of a despised and lowly man.... All this has been explained' by Rabbi Isaac Luria, of blessed memory, in Likutei Torah, on Parshat Vayera, and in Ta'amei ha-Mitzvot on Parshat Bereshit.