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A review of Chapter One so far...with ambiguities

Aspects of Souls

Aspects of Souls

"Gate of Reincarnations": Review of Chapter One, Sections 1- 4

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Aspects of Souls
A review of Chapter One so far...with ambiguities

It will be worthwhile to review some of what has been taught until now, and specifically in relation to the information presented in this section. The text of this section contains two distinct ambiguities, separated by a parenthetical statement (not uncommon in the writings of the Arizal).

The parenthetical statement is what we have numbered paragraph (3). It has already been explained that this refers to a situation where more than one soul occupies the same body, and it will be explained later on.

It concerns the need to rectify all the aspects of each world before one can advance to the next level of soul.

The two uncertainties contained in the text are purposely left unsettled.

The first uncertainty emerges from contrasting paragraphs 2 and 4. It concerns the concept of tikun, 'rectification', whether it applies to both blemishes caused by transgression of negative commandments and incompleteness in the performance of positive commandments, or to transgression of negative commandments alone.

The second uncertainty emerges from contrasting paragraphs 1 and 5. It concerns the need to rectify all the aspects of each world before one can advance to the next level of soul. (This is the case whatever the definition of tikun - rectification discussed in the previous uncertainty is.) The question now concerns how we should count "all the aspects" that need to be rectified. Are they 5 of 5, or 5 of 25 (the NRNChY of his soul root alone)? This will now be explained.

The NRNChY of his soul root

We have already learned that the five levels of soul correspond to external worlds.

There has to exist within man sections from all four worlds

Since man unifies all four worlds of ABY"A, by necessity there has to exist within him sections from all four worlds, and each section is called by one of the five names: NRNCh"Y [Nefesh, Ruach, Neshama, Chaya, and Yechida], as we will explain….

The first level, Nefesh, comes from the world of Asiya; the second level ruach, from the world of Yetzira, etc.

All Nefashot are from the world of Asiya only, all Ruchot are from the world of Yetzira, and, all Neshamot are from the world of Beriya….

We have also learned that each world has five parts or five partzufim.

However, even this Nefesh [from the world of Asiya] has many levels, and this is because Asiya itself also divides into five Partzufim….

Hence, for a person to merit his Ruach from the world of Yetzira, he must first have achieved completion of the five partzufim of the Nefesh of Asiya.

Now we will learn that each of these partzufim can also be further detailed into five partzufim. Thus, the world of Asiya will contain 25 parts, or cells. All the other worlds above - Yetzira, Beriya, etc. - will also contain 25 cells each.

The way of depicting the 25 cells that comprise the Nefesh that is derived from the world of Asiya is shown in the following diagram that is entitled "The NRNChY of NRNChY". However, let us first recall that the names of the souls, the sefirot and the partzufim are interchangeable.

5

KETER

ARICH ANPIN

YECHIDA

4

CHOCHMA

ABBA

CHAYA

3

BINA

IMMA

NESHAMA

2

THE SIX

ZEIR ANPIN

RUACH

1

MALCHUT

NUKVA DE' ZEIR ANPIN

NEFESH

Numbers have been added to this list of correspondences to simplify the following diagram where the numbers 1 through 5 represent any of the corresponding terms shown above.

The diagram that follows will deal only with the Nefesh that is derived from the world of Asiya. In this respect it follows our text. Now, let us review the text using the diagram as an explanatory aid.

1) It is not sufficient to only rectify the particular spot to which his soul is rooted. Rather, he must rectify [all aspects of each level as] we have mentioned, until he merits all of Asiya, at which time he can achieve his Ruach of Yetzira. It is this way with all the worlds….

(5) Or, the following is possible, and it is the correct [interpretation]. Let us say that he is from the Malchut of the Nukvah of Asiya, called the Nefesh of Asiya.

Diagram of the NRNChY of NRNChY:

.

COLUMN #1

COLUMN #2

COLUMN #3

COLUMN #4

COLUMN #5

Row # 5

O

. . . .

Row # 4

O

. . . .

Row # 3

O

. . . .

Row # 2

O

. . . .

Row # 1

X

. . . .

ASIYA

In our diagram the Nukva of Asiya is indicated by the bottom row of Asiya, Row #1.

The Malchut of the Nukva of Asiya is one-fifth (so to speak) of the partzuf Nukva of Asiya, indicated in the diagram by the convergence of Row #1 with Column #1 (marked with an "X").

The text provides an example where the soul-root is Malchut of Nukva of Asiya, the place marked X. That place is all that he is required to rectify on Row #1. The text further implies that it has already been rectified. Now it goes on:

He will need to rectify all the Malchuyot (plural of Malchut) that of Ruach, and Neshama, and Chaya, and Yechida of Asiya.

These are indicated in the diagram with the mark "0". In this way he will have rectified one column in our diagram - i.e., the NRNChY of Nefesh of the Nefesh from the world of Asiya.

Someone… whose soul-root is from Malchut of Asiya

who rectifies only the Malchut of Asiya…

only the first row of the first column - he...

only acquires the Nefesh from the Nefesh that is within Asiya.

Someone…The same one, whose soul-root is Malchut of Asiya

who also rectifies Zeir Anpin of Asiya -

i.e., the second row of the first column in our diagram - he…

…acquires both the Nefesh and Ruach from Asiya. Someone who also rectifies Imma of Asiya…

the third row of the first column…

…will have acquired the Nefesh, Ruach and Neshama from Asiya. It is the same until he rectifies all five partzufim of Asiya, in which case he will have acquired all the NRNChY .

At that time he will have completed the general level of Nefesh from Asiya, and it will be possible to advance to the level of Ruach from Yetzira.

In the first possibility of this uncertainty, each level of NRNChY was detailed into five aspects corresponding to the five partzufim of each world. Someone whose soul-root is in Asiya, for example, has to rectify all five aspects of Asiya. In the new idea presented here, in the second possibility of the question, each of the five partzufim of a world is further detailed into five. Thus, there are 25 "cells" in Asiya. Nevertheless, each person rectifies only five corresponding to the 5 levels of NRNChY of his soul root in Asiya.

Shabtai Teicher, a descendant of the fifth Lubavitcher Rebbe, the Rebbe Reshab, was born in Brooklyn in 1946 and settled in Jerusalem in 1970. He studied for over 7 years with one of the outstanding and renowned kabbalists of our generation, Rabbi Mordechai Attieh, and also studied deeply in various other fields of Jewish scholarship. He was a specialist in Lurianic Kabbala, edited and annotated the first eleven chapters of our English rendition of "Shaar HaGilgulim," and completed his manuscripts for "Zohar: Old Man in the Sea," in both Hebrew and English, shortly before his unfortunate passing in November 2009.
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
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