Printed from
The concept of spiritual apparel is hinted to in the Zohar

The Basis of the Zivugim

The Basis of the Zivugim

Gate of Reincarnations: Chapter Twenty-Six, Section 1


There is no soul in the entire world, heaven forfend, that does not have at least one garment to wear in this world. The concept of [spiritual] apparel…

Rabbi Shneur Zalman explains the need for clothes in the afterlife. (Likutei Torah Baal HaTanya) The reward and delight of the world-to-come comes from the splendor of the Shechina that shines to the person. It is too bright for even the soul to bear. Just as physical garb protects from sunburn, so does spiritual garb shield from 'soul-burn'. The celestial garments serve as an intermediary buffer conduit to transmit the light to the self. The nature of the garments determines the nature of the transmission. Simple clothes grant simple lights of ideas. Psychedelic cloths afford kaleidoscope lights of concepts...

"And Avrohom was aged, having come in years, and God blessed Avrohom with everything." (Gen. 24:1) The sum total of the days of a person form for him his garment in the next world. (Zohar I Vayeira) According to how one lived his life, so is his attire. If he did not use a day properly, the part of the clothing formed by that day is defective. It could come out as a tear or a snag...

…is hinted to in the Zohar in the portion Mishpatim in the words of Rav Yabba on the verse, "He must not diminish her clothing" (Ex. 21:10) and, "Seeing that "bigdo" [in Hebrew, 'he rebelled'; also can be translated, 'his garment'] against her." (ibid 21:8)

On the simple level, this section of the Torah deals with the laws of slaves. Kabbalistically, it is talking about the slavery of souls in their gilgulim, as we saw in Chapter Twenty.

The owner of a maid-servant is expected to take her as a wife upon maturity. If he is not willing to do this for her, it is figuratively called 'rebelling' against her. The word that the Torah chooses to express this through is "bigdo", also meaning "his garment" - hinting to the spirit-clothes that are affected by ones choices in life. They may dictate that the soul return in incarnation.

Now we will explain this concept of clothing for the soul. All that happened to Joseph with the wife of his master Potiphar, (Gen. 39:7-12) which caused him to lose ten drops of seed from between his finger nails, as it says, "the fingers of his hand spread." (Sota 36b) also happened to the supernal Joseph, which is the sefira of yesod. Hence, ten drops and sparks of holy souls left the supernal yesod, which is male, and were not received by the supernal female womb - instead taken by the kelipot.

The patriarchs and matriarchs are not just founding fathers. They are real meta-physical archetypes for their children to draw energy from. Their accomplishments elevated them to embody these levels, and the partzufim are called after them. The soul of Joseph comes from the sefira of yesod. He therefore was tested in his life in yesod-oriented issues. Because he withstood these tests, he merited to embody this level.

According to the Talmud, (Ibid) the result of Joseph ’s refusal to the wife of Potiphar still resulted in a minor defect of some type of involuntary emission - from his nails.

A man below is not allowed to ejaculate except inside of the female. (Yorah Daiah, Zohar I Breishit) If not, it causes a corresponding emission above without a union of the male/female coupling of the partzufim. This causes the sparks rooted in his seed to fall into the sitra achra.

I have already mentioned how many levels of partzufim there are above that depend upon Zeir Anpin and how each has a yesod aspect. Thus, from every level of yesod, sparks and souls went to waste and were taken by the kelipot - the yesod of each one alluding to Joseph. There are five [principle] levels of zivugim [pairs] above, and sparks went out from the yesod of each one.

This is the order according to their level:

At different times of the day, at different times of the week, partzufim line up in specific orders of pairs called zivugim. The nature of the particular pairing will determine the nature of the particular policy through which the world is run at that time. Whether one predominantly of mercy or judgment, leniency or stringency...

In general, the female partzufim process and actualize the flow they receive from the male partzufim. They as if conceive and give birth to certain types of light and energy, creating various flows and opportunities that are in turn given to the realms beneath.

The coming lesson will elaborate the specifics of how this works.

[Translation and commentary by Perets Auerbach.]

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.
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."
Start a Discussion
1000 characters remaining

The larger, bold text is the direct translation of the classic text source.

The smaller, plain text is the explanation of the translator/editor.
Text with broken underline will provide a popup explanation when rolled over with a mouse.