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New souls…old souls…fallen sparks…

Three Types of Soul

Three Types of Soul

"Gate of Reincarnations": Chapter Seven, Section 1

Three Types of Soul
New souls…old souls…fallen sparks…

The First Type

The Rav will explain in this section that there are three different types of soul.

We have already explained that there are some souls that were not part of Adam's soul when it was first created. These are truly completely "new souls", whereas the souls that were already included in Adam are called "old souls" by comparison, of which there are two types. New souls…were never included in the soul of Adam…

This is a continuation of the last chapter. The new souls are those that are being born anew from the Unification of Face to Face. Since they are new, they were never included in the soul of Adam. The old souls that were included in the soul body of Adam were born from the Unification of Back to Back, but of these the Rav is now adding that there are two types.

Thus, there are three types, the first being those which were not included in Adam and which are considered to be completely new souls.

The second type of soul is a result of Adam's sin, after which his limbs "fell off" and he was reduced until he was no higher than one hundred cubits. This is the secret of the verse "…And You laid Your hand upon me". (Psalms 139:5) Just as it happened to his body, so too did it happen to his soul.

This is in the Talmud, Chagiga 12a. As a result of Adam's sin, G‑d laid His hand upon him and diminished his stature. Before the sin, he spanned five spiritual worlds, whereas after the sin he only spanned one…

Prior to Adam's sin, he was said to have been five hundred cubits high. If taken literally, then he would have been between 750 to 1000 feet high. In Kabbala, it means that before the sin, he spanned five spiritual worlds, whereas after the sin he only spanned one.

We have already seen that the sparks that constituted the spiritual body of Adam fell into the kelipot. This is what it means that "his limbs fell off" and corresponds to the diminution of his physical stature as a result of the sin. However, some of the sparks remained part of him, i.e. included within him.

The sparks of his soul that remained within him after the sin were necessary for Adam himself. After the sin, he fathered Cain and Abel, and, as the sages (Pirkei d'Rebbe Eliezer, Chapter 21) and the Zohar say, it was from these sparks that they came. These constitute the second type of soul.

In other words, some sparks did not fall, but remained within Adam for the sake of his own existence, and most of these were transmitted to his children, Cain and Abel. These constitute the second level of souls that will be discussed in this chapter.

The third level is those sparks of his soul that left him at the time of the sin and which returned to the depths of the kelipot.

Note that the Rav writes explicitly that they "returned" to the depths of the kelipot.

The sages alluded to them by calling them "limbs that fell off". It was from this third level that the soul of Seth, the (third) son of Adam was taken.

[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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