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Mitzvot, tikun and blemish of the soul…

Rectifying the Soul

Rectifying the Soul

"Gate of Reincarnations": Chapter Four, Section 2

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Rectifying the Soul
Mitzvot, tikun and blemish of the soul…

It seems to me that all the aspects of rectification are really the fulfillment of mitzvot, which are dependent upon the "limbs" of the Nefesh. All blemishes result from violating negative mitzvot.

All blemishes result from violating negative mitzvot

It is well known that there are 248 positive mitzvot and 365 negative mitzvot. The negative mitzvot tell us what not to do. Their number corresponds to the 248 limbs of the human body, which is made in the image of the Nefesh. Thus, each one of the negative mitzvot corresponds to one of the limbs of the Nefesh, and transgression of any one of them causes a corresponding blemish or damage in one of the limbs of the Nefesh.

Positive mitzvot, on the other hand, require a person to actively do something. They cause tikun (rectification) of the Nefesh.

Positive mitzvot… cause tikun (rectification) of the Nefesh

The complete entry of the Nefesh into the body, which is called tikun of the Nefesh, is accomplished only through the performance of mitzvot. Although sins blemish the Nefesh, they do not prevent its sparks from entering.

A person can perform positive mitzvot, and in the same lifetime transgress negative precepts. As a result of the positive mitzvot he will be rectifying levels of soul, one after the other. The sparks of the Nefesh will be entering the body and becoming rectified.

On the other hand, as a result of the negative mitzvot that he has transgressed, he will have caused blemish or damage. These will have to be atoned for, one way or the other, but they do not necessarily prevent the progress of tikun.

[Commentary by Shabtai Teicher.]

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.
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.
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