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After a person dies and is buried, immediately four angels deepen his grave to the height of the man.

Chibut Hakever

Chibut Hakever

Gate of Reincarnations: Chapter Twenty-Three, Section 3

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Now you can understand the concept of 'chibut hakever' [torments of the grave]. After a person dies and is buried in the dust of the earth, four angels immediately arrive and deepen his grave to the height of the man1, as it says in treatise Perek Chibut Hakever. Then they restore his soul to his body just like during his lifetime, since the kelipa remains connected to both.

Then these angels take him by the corners and shake and beat him with fire...

Then these angels take him by the corners and shake and beat him with fire - just as a garment is held from the ends and shaken to remove dust2 - until the kelipa leaves him completely. This is called chibut hakever, which is like the beating and shaking of a garment. They deepen the grave in order to create an area within which to shake and beat him.

However, the judgment is not the same for everyone. Righteous people distance themselves from the yetzer hara during their lifetimes and humble themselves and use their suffering as self-affliction. Torah and mitzvot as well weaken the kelipot until the day comes for them to die. Such righteous people do not need much suffering, just a minor beating to separate the yetzer hara from them.

It is just the opposite for evil people. Through indulging in the pleasures of this world they become even more strongly connected to the kelipa of their bodies and souls. This is the secret of why a person is not saved from chibut hakever, as mentioned in Perek Chibut Hakever.

...there is no other way to remove and rectify other than through death and chibut hakever.

As we said regarding those people who died only because of the bite of the snake, there is no other way to remove and rectify other than through death and chibut hakever. The only exception is for those people mentioned in Perek Chibut Hakever who performed certain mitzvot which accomplish this. However, the rest require chibut hakever and it is only a question of how much will be necessary. Each person receives what he needs based upon the level of his kelipa and the extent to which it adheres to him.

However, even for those people who do not require chibut hakever, having performed specific mitzvot that remove the kelipa without the need for suffering after death, death is still inevitable, as we mentioned regarding those who died from the "bite of the snake."

[Translation and commentary by Perets Auerbach.]

Footnotes
1.
It is questionable if this is manifest in an absolute, physical sense.
2.
This based on the idea of a verse about the world-to-come, “He will grasp the corners of the earth and shake the wicked off from it...” (Job 38:13).
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.
Rabbi Peretz Auerbach, originally from New York, has been living and learning Torah and kabbala in Jerusalem for 18 years. He teaches at Shvu Ami beit medrash, lectures in Kabbalah and chassidut at the Jerusalem Connection and Heritage House and to private groups. Rabbi Auerbach is also a talented musician. He is currently working on an all new translation of the Zohar into English with extensive commentary as well as a disc entitled "Music, Meditation and Mysticism."
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