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The elevated soul of David fell to the lowest realms.

The Danger Faced by David

The Danger Faced by David

"Gate of Reincarnations": Chapter Seven, Section 10

The Danger Faced by David
The elevated soul of David fell to the lowest realms.

Although his Nefesh was intact, King David was in danger of losing his portion in the Resurrection of the Dead as a result of his sin with Bat Sheva because his Ruach had entered the world while his Nefesh was still completing its tikun.

Knowing this, you can understand what concerned King David when he said, "Many have said, 'For my Nefesh there is no salvation for it from G‑d.' Selah." (Psalms 3:3).

Knowing what was taught in the previous section we will now be able to understand how King David could seem to be poised on the verge of destruction.

It is strange that people should have spoken so badly about such a great person as King David. However, to understand this we must be precise about what is written. It is written, "…There is no salvation for it [him]." It should have been written, "…There is no salvation for it [her]" if it referred back to the word "my Nefesh" mentioned at the beginning of the verse.

The Nefesh of King David…descended to the Malchut of spiritual impurity…

It was written in the verse, "…There is no salvation from G‑d for it." At first glance it would seem that the subject referred to by the pronoun "it" is the Nefesh of King David that has no hope of salvation because of his sin with Bat Sheva. However, the Hebrew word used for the pronoun "it" is "lo", which refers to the masculine. If "it" were referring to the Nefesh of King David, then it would have to use the feminine word "lah", because Nefesh is a feminine noun.

It will now be understandable based upon what has been said. The Nefesh of King David was very elevated. As a result of the primordial sin of Adam it descended into the depths of the kelipot on the side of the Nukva [the feminine side] of the kelipot.

In other words, it descended to the Malchut of spiritual impurity. Malchut is the lowest of the sefirot, and the feminine side is generally below the masculine side. Therefore, at the least, we must understand that it descended very low indeed.

When David was born, it was the first time it had left the kelipot. Therefore, it began its tikun only from the level of Asiya, which is called Nefesh. The reason [for this] is that it was a gilgul from Level Three.

Like all Third Level souls, the soul of King David fell from Adam into the kelipot. However, this particular soul did not begin any tikun whatsoever for many, many generations. Therefore, when it was reborn into a human body to begin the process of tikun, it had descended to the lowest possible level.

We often meet the rule that the highest levels ascend to the lowest places. And things that were on the lowest levels must eventually ascend to the highest places. This is exactly the case of the soul that was born into King David. In the time of the Resurrection of the Dead there would be no salvation for the body of David…

This is the secret of what is mentioned in Sabba of Mishpatim (Zohar, 103a), and many other places as well, that David was from the "feminine side" and not the "masculine side". Rather, [the origin of his soul was] in the "World of Death" that is called Nukva. Understand this.

It is said of the Malchut-Nukva that "Her feet go down to death…"; this is a general characteristic of Nukva-feminine relative to the masculine in all places. Indeed, the soul of King David descended to such a low place that it was devoid of the ability to survive in this world even one second, but Adam gave it seventy years of his own life.

Thus, it was asked there [in Saba of Mishpatim], "Why was he called 'Oved'?"

Oved was the grandfather of David. He and his son, Jesse, the father of David, made possible the birth of this soul that had sunk to the lowest of levels. The name "Oved" means "devotee" or "worker". The Holy Zohar in Saba of Mishpatim compares him to someone who is working on an orchard. His name derives from the fact that he did such good work rectifying the supernal tree that becomes the line of Mashiach.

"The tree was lacking, and he rectified it." (Zohar, 2:103b)

In other words, Oved began the process of tikun that resulted from the sin of Adam, and the Zohar says that Jesse, David's father, continued the process, paving the way for King David to become king and prototype of Mashiach. However, since the tikun was not complete, the ability of the soul of David to grow was limited in its first lifetime.

It [the soul of David] was immersed in the depths of the kelipot of the Nukva. Since this was the case, David was only able to acquire his Nefesh, leaving his Ruach to come in the body of another person. When David sinned with Bat Sheva, he blemished his Nefesh.

Although the Talmud teaches that David did not commit any formal sin, his behavior throughout the incident of Bat Sheva was so dismal and disappointing for someone on the level that he had already attained that it amounted to a very serious setback to his spiritual progress.

As a result, it became possible for the one who possessed his Ruach to merit completion of its tikun before David could rectify his Nefesh. In the time of the Resurrection of the Dead there would be no salvation for the body of David. The other body belonging to the one who had the Ruach will take both the Nefesh and the Ruach.

Consequently, this phenomenon that was originally considered a blessing becomes a curse. Originally it was considered a good thing that the Ruach can be made through kavana to descend into a second body to be rectified there while the Nefesh is still undergoing tikun in the first body. Nevertheless, there is a danger in this phenomenon to the body and person of the Nefesh, as we have learned. The one with the Ruach might finish its tikun first, and come to take both the Ruach and the Nefesh in the time of Resurrection of the Dead. Apparently this upheaval can occur if the evil committed by one with such an important and high Nefesh is serious enough, or if he repeats the evil consistently enough.

However, the Nefesh itself will not be damaged, only the body. This is why he said, "there is no salvation for it [lo - meaning him]," and not, "there is no salvation for it [lah- meaning her]."

"There is no salvation for it (lo-him)," refers to the body of David, and not to his Nefesh, which would require a feminine pronoun.

This is the way the verse goes. "Many say…" - that since there is only a Nefesh within me, she has no hope in the body of David at the time of the Resurrection of the Dead.

[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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