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Abaye had great ability to produce convert souls, without having to separate from his wife like Ben Azzai.

Abaye & Souls of Converts

Abaye & Souls of Converts

Gate of Reincarnations: Chapter Thirty-Four, Section 5a


Abaye was also strong in this ability like Ben Azzai to draw souls to converts through the learning of Torah, even though he did not separate from his wife. This is the secret of what it says, "Abaye said, ‘Behold I am as Ben Azzai in the Tiberian market’." He would only say this when he was very happy.

Such a state of mind makes great unifications above (Likutei Moharan) and opens doors for new innovation and creation.

The word for market is shuk, which also means thigh. Thighs are figuratively outside the body proper (Tikunei Zohar, Intro.) just as the market is outside of the house. They embody netzach and hod, which are called as if outside of the sefirot proper. The high light of keter finds expression specifically through these levels.1

Being outside of the sefirot, netzach and hod descend to enliven the low places. The market is a place outside, with many vendors, open to all. It represents the sitra achra, which is outside of holiness, which presents many deities, and is open to all types of energies that conceal G‑d. So the negative forces are also called ‘chitzonim’ - the outsiders.

Joy is special in that it goes out and fixes all the outside places. The sparks in the outside places are very powerful. (Likutei Moharan 56) Abaye was able to elevate them and harness their great energy to attain expanded consciousness.

Tiberius is an ancient holy city in the north.2 There are many teachings from the Rabbis around it. Someone collected them and wrote a whole book. Tiberius/Tiberia forms tibor-YH - the navel of YH. The navel is the center of the body. It divides between the upper and lower - representing a vortex between the spiritual and physical. YH enlivens the upper realms. Tibor-YH represents a unifying force that leaves the spiritual on top. Abaya also tapped into this dynamic and used it for mind-expansion and to draw the deepest revelations.3

Abaye is one of the special souls in the redemption process.4 And so, as mentioned, Rabbi Chaim Vital is very closely related to him. He first began to draw Divine inspiration by the grave of Abaye.5

The reason is because Abaye is also from the root of Cain, the crown of gevura, and when he sweetened the gevura he transformed it to chesed. This is when gevura is called simcha/ joy, in the secret of 'the rejoicing wine'. Then he was like Ben Azzai creating souls for converts from the side of chesed, which is where they are aroused.

The opposite of rejoicing wine is drunken wine. Intoxication can be used for good or for bad, just as raw energy can be used either way. Wine that intoxicates comes from gevura/power.

The rejoicing wine is used to refer to bina. Like gevura, it is positioned at the left side of the sefirot, but a notch up. It is so in a state of sweetened judgment. Wine is from din, the original sin caused a surge of din, setting gevura out of balance. Tzadikim draw bina energy to liberate gevura from negative din and ameliorate it. This makes gevura like bina become the rejoicing wine.

In simple terms this can express in such ways as a problem becoming a plus. Anytime one merits to make such a transformation, negative energies in the universe are also transformed. This 'converts’ them to good.

Of all those whom we have said are from the root of Cain, only Abaye had his nefesh, ruach, and neshama from Cain, which is very important. His soul was not a mixture, but rather all three parts were from Cain, the secret of the souls of converts. Thus, Abaye had great ability to produce convert souls, without even having to separate from his wife.

His intense Cain connection energized his soul with intense Tohu lights that were powerful enough to elevate souls into kedusha/holiness, without having to separate below in order to attain higher connection.

However, Rabbi Akiva only had a nefesh from Cain, while his ruach and neshama came from elsewhere. Therefore, he needed to separate from his wife. Ben Azzai, since he came from the gevura of Abel, needed to not marry at all.

All qualities and traits come from the sefirot. One of the expressions of gevura is introspection and being alone. A hermit is one such expression. It can also come out as celibacy.

Now you will be able to understand what Abaye meant when he said, "I am like Ben Azzai in the Tiberian market". Really, he should have compared himself to Rabbi Akiva, since they were both from the root of Cain. However, Ben Azzai’s ability to produce souls of converts was greater than that of Rabbi Akiva, since Ben Azzai never married. Moreover, since Abaye’s nefesh, ruach, and neshama came from Cain, he was literally like Ben Azzai, even though he remained with his wife.

Now, since all parts of Abaye were from Cain, when he argued with Rava, who was from Abel, the law was not according to his opinion.

As a general spiritual rule, the law is as the Abel-root in a halachic [code of law] dispute. The reason for this is based on the aforementioned idea that Cain is an expression of the world of Tohu, Abel of the world of Tikun. Tohu underwent destruction and devastation, Tikun followed and through it the world endures. Just as there are natural laws so are there spiritual laws. They come to us through the rules of the Torah. Just as nature’s laws need to go according to the Tikun format in order to endure, so it is with the Torah’s laws.6

Nonetheless, the universe still needs Tohu energy, even now before it is ready to fully deal with it. This is brought to expression through opinions in halachah [Torah rules] that are not the final word. Abaye needs to state his view even though it is not to be practiced. Moreover, in all of the disputes between Abaye and Rava, there are six (YAL K’GM) in which the law is decided like him. (Baba Kama) I.e., some minute expression of Tohu within Tikun that is necessary for the now.7

In any case, Tohu and Tikun must combine to bring the universe to its goal. Those who learn Torah are called "builders" - of the world. (Berochot 64) The center of Torah learning revolves around the Babylonian Talmud. It centers around the discussions of Abaye and Rava. It is called "The havayot [debates] of Abaye and Rava." "Havayot" can be understood to mean YHVH’s. - the central name and its permutations.8 They are all perfected and brought to expression through the joint effort of the Cain and Abel roots.9

[Translation and commentary by Perets Auerbach.]

Netzach and hod extend to the entire feet, which are called raglayim. It comes from hergal - things that one is used to - things that are done naturally and unconsciously. So they come from keter - the super-conscious above the mind.
This does not at all imply that Abaye was in Tiberius at the time. In fact, he was mostly in Babylonia. But he was graced to ascend at special times to the choice heights of Ben Azzai’s expanded state.
The common denominator of existence. All are equal before the intrinsic absolute Essence. “Like small like large, as darkness as light, (Ps. 145) equates and equating”. (Likutei Torah of Baal HaTanya) All levels are the same when in comparison to what is always infinitely beyond them.
Abaye channeled hasagot [‘graspings of Divinity’] from this exalted place into this limited realm. This is the key to his outstanding greatness. The Ari.Zl. reveals that this comes from his exalted, superior soul source in the good of Cain.
And so he relates closely to R. Yaiva the elder (Shaar HaGilgulim), who had one of the highest hasagos of all time (Shaar Ruach HaKodesh).
This is said from our perspective, from below to above. In reality, all of nature’s laws come from the Torah and are actually an expression of them incognito (Likutei Moharan 33).
Just as the halachah is like Beit Hillel, who is from chesed, the Tikun aspect, against Beit Shammai, who is from gevura (Above), the Tohu aspect. Yet there are instances that it goes according to Beit Shammai (Aduyot).
The truth of YHVH is unearthed through questions and answers.
Also, Abaya and Rava equal 234 in gematria. It is the same gematria as A”B/S”G/M”H/B”N - the primary permutations of YHVH, from which all yichudim [Divine name unifications] come. As seen from this whole compilation, the Cain/Ben Azzai/Abaya/R.Chaim Vital etc. root is the main one for yichudim - upon which the redemption depends.
This fixes Cain’s having murdered Abel.
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."
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