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After three failed reincarnations, the soul gets help from an ibur.

Two Sets of Three, Plus One

Two Sets of Three, Plus One

"Gate of Reincarnations": Chapter Five, Section 4

Two Sets of Three, Plus One
After three failed reincarnations, the soul gets help from an ibur.

If the Nefesh is not rectified in the first three gilgulim, then there will be another set of three gilgulim together with the ibur of a tzadik.

The verse says, "All these things G‑d does, two or three times with a man" (Job 33:29).

This verse was already mentioned in Section 2 in conjunction with another, "…Visit the sins of the fathers on the children for three and four [generations]." We learned that a maximum of four Nefashot can come into a single body at one time, whether in gilgul or in ibur. One is the main or host Nefesh and the other three are gilgulim or iburim. This verse, "All these things G‑d does, two or three times with a man" was also mentioned there, seemingly, as a secondary source to the rule of quantitative limitation. Now, the Rav will give it a new interpretation.

It must come back...but not alone since it lacks the ability to become rectified (on its own)

In the first three gilgulim, the Nefesh of a person reincarnates by itself without any partnership in the body. However, if after these three times his Nefesh is still not rectified, it must come back an additional three times, but not alone since it lacks the ability to become rectified [on its own].

The first three gilgulim have proven, so to speak, that he cannot make it on his own.

Therefore, it returns together "with a man." This is a righteous tzadik who will come as an ibur to help him and direct him in the right direction.

The "man" that is mentioned in the verse refers to the soul of a tzadik who comes as an ibur to assist the host and direct him in the right path.

Therefore, the verse does not say "three times," which would seemingly refer to the first three times, but rather "two or three times…."

The Hebrew phrase that is translated "two or three times" is "pa'amayim shalosh". A literally accurate meaning of these words is "twice three."

This teaches that during a second set of three gilgulim he will have a "man" as a partner with him.

Since he did not succeed in the first set of three gilgulim, he gets a second set of three gilgulim. In this second set, however, he also gets an ibur, the soul of a tzadik, to help him.

[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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