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Aspects of the soul of Adam form the roots of all souls descended from him

Division of Adam's Soul

Division of Adam's Soul

"Gate of Reincarnations": Chapter Six, Section 3

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Division of Adam's Soul
Aspects of the soul of Adam form the roots of all souls descended from him

[The soul of] Adam divides into 248 "limbs" just does his body. In addition, there are other aspects, such as the countless "hairs" that hang from his body.

The Rav is referring to the spiritual counterpart of the body hair. Not just limbs, but even incidental aspects such as the spiritual counterparts of body hair may be the root of souls.

All the sparks of the individual souls in this world are from these aspects that are within Adam. All of the specific souls and levels of souls that will later enter bodies born from Adam are called "Soul-Roots" and are drawn from these aspects of Adam.

Concerning each and every limb, it is exactly as the sages understood the verse, "Where were you when I founded the earth?" (Job 38:4).

This was discussed at length in Chapter Three, Section 2. The Hebrew words for "where were you" can also be construed to mean "a lifeless lump."

The roots of all the souls that would descend from Adam were implanted within him…

When Adam was only a lifeless lump, G‑d breathed into him a living soul. At that time the roots of all the souls that would descend from Adam were implanted within him.

When Job complains about his lot, G‑d says to him, "Where were you when I founded the earth?" In other words, "If you do not know the root of your soul and where you were in the soul body of Adam when I breathed into him a living soul, then you do not know your own history, and, if this is so, how can you complain about what happens to you?!"

We have already explained that most souls are from Cain and Abel, the sons of Adam.

This statement is problematic, since there are several places in the writings of the Ari himself that seem to contradict it. See, for example, Benei Aharon.

From that time onward, they have since divided among all people ever born. Even though we won't explain this concept in detail now, since this is not the place to do so, we will provide an example of what it means.

For example, suppose that Abel is the aspect of the head of all the souls. Then Abel would be the root of all the individual sparks of human souls that are in the aspect of the head.

This type of kabbalistic conception was discussed in the extended note to Chapter Five, Section 5: Connected Levels of Soul.

Likewise, if our patriarch Abraham was the right arm of Adam, then all the individual sparks that belong to the right arm of Adam are included in Abraham. He will be considered the root of all of them.

It is the same for every limb and hair of the soul of Adam. However, this is not the place for this discussion.

[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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