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Kabbalah teaches that each soul is rooted in a very specific part of the body of Adam.

Specific and General Connections

Specific and General Connections

Gate of Reincarnations - Chapter Eleven, Section 5

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Specific and General Connections
Kabbalah teaches that each soul is rooted in a very specific part of the body of Adam.

There are two types of interconnectedness between the souls that the Ari calls "specific" and "general". First he will explain specific interconnectedness, then general. We will call them "vertical" and "horizontal" respectively.

Now we will explain the connections of a person's soul in all the worlds, and this is according to what the Sages said about the verse, "Where were you when I founded the earth…?" (Job 38:4)

This verse was first expounded in Chapter 3:2. Its relationship to the material that is being described here will be explained later on. Meanwhile, the Ari is continuing from where he left off in the last section.

There is a soul that is a spark from one of the sparks of the Left Heel, which is one Minor Root of the 70 Minor Roots in the Major Root that is the Left Shoulder of the partzuf of Adam Harishon from Nukva of Asiya. Details pinpointing a site somewhere in the supernal worlds of the ethereal realms are often called by modern kabbalists addresses

To fully understand the following, one should understand the previous chapters. These long lists of details pinpointing a site somewhere in the supernal worlds of the ethereal realms are often called by modern kabbalists "addresses". The long addresses of pages or sites on the internet, which may be more familiar to the modern reader, may be compared to them.

The person's soul (that is from that place in Nukva of Asiya) will also be connected to the same place in the partzuf of Zeir Anpin of Asiya, and in Imma of Asiya, and so on, until the Highest Height, which is the Heel of the Left Leg, one of the Minor Roots of the 70 Minor Roots of the Major Root that is the Left Shoulder of Arich Anpin of Atzilut.

The only difference between this address and the address first given above in the previous paragraph is as follows. The first address was a specific place (a spark of the Left Heel of the Left Shoulder) in Nukva of Asiya. In the Highest Height the address is the same specific place, but in Arich Anpin of Atzilut.

"Highest Height" is a term denoting the highest place beyond which we do not specify any more details. For example, in Kavanot it usually refers to the highest place in Adam Kadmon (A"b - S"ag of A"K). Here, however, it refers to Arich Anpin of Atzilut.

All these sections are called "one soul".

This specific aspect, the Left Heel of the Left Shoulder, in each partzuf in each world makes one soul. The specifics for the world of Atzilut (from top to bottom) are as follows.


Minor Root of Major Root Specific Partzuf General Partzuf Soul
Left Heel of the Left Shoulder of Arich
Anpin
of Arich Anpin Yechida of Yechida
Left Heel of the Left Shoulder of Abba of Arich Anpin Chaya of Yechida
Left Heel of the Left Shoulder of Imma of Arich Anpin Neshama of Yechida
Left Heel of the Left Shoulder of Zeir Anpin of Arich Anpin Ruach of Yechida
Left Heel of the Left Shoulder of Nukva of Arich Anpin Nefesh of Yechida
Left Heel of the Left Shoulder of Arich Anpin of Abba Yechida of Chaya
Left Heel of the Left Shoulder of Abba of Abba Chaya of Chaya
Left Heel of the Left Shoulder of Imma of Abba Neshama of Chaya
Left Heel of the Left Shoulder of Zeir Anpin of Abba Ruach of Chaya
Left Heel of the Left Shoulder of Nukva of Abba Nefesh of Chaya
Left Heel of the Left Shoulder of Arich
Anpin
of Imma Yechida of Neshama
Left Heel of the Left Shoulder of Abba of Imma Chaya of Neshama
Left Heel of the Left Shoulder of Imma of Imma Neshama of Neshama
Left Heel of the Left Shoulder of Zeir Anpin of Imma Ruach of Neshama
Left Heel of the Left Shoulder of Nukva of Imma Nefesh of Neshama
Left Heel of the Left Shoulder of Arich
Anpin
of Zeir Anpin Yechida of Ruach
Left Heel of the Left Shoulder of Abba of Zeir Anpin Chaya of Ruach
Left Heel of the Left Shoulder of Imma of Zeir Anpin Neshama of Ruach
Left Heel of the Left Shoulder of Zeir Anpin of Zeir Anpin Ruach of Ruach
Left Heel of the Left Shoulder of Nukva of Zeir Anpin Nefesh of Ruach
Left Heel of the Left Shoulder of Arich
Anpin
of Nukva Yechida of Nefesh
Left Heel of the Left Shoulder of Abba of Nukva Chaya of Nefesh
Left Heel of the Left Shoulder of Imma of Nukva Neshama of Nefesh
Left Heel of the Left Shoulder of Zeir Anpin of Nukva Ruach of Nefesh
Left Heel of the Left Shoulder of Nukva of Nukva Nefesh of Nefesh


This is for the world of Atzilut. It is exactly the same for the levels of Nefesh, Ruach and Neshama from the lower three worlds of Beriya, Yetzira and Asiya. If one would "extract", so to speak, all the specific aspects and put them together to form "one soul", then they would constitute one partzuf. The aspects from the world of Asiya would be the lowest part of the partzuf, for example, the legs. The aspects of Yetzira would constitute a higher place in the partzuf, and so on, until the Yechida of Arich Anpin of Atzilut, which would be the top of the crown of the head. All together they constitute one partzuf and one soul. At the same time each one is the left heel of the left shoulder of the specific partzuf of Adam to which it corresponds.

This person ascends and takes his portion from all of them, from the end to the head. First, he takes his portion - the Heel etc. - of Nukva of Asiya, which is called the Nefesh of the Nefesh. Then he ascends and takes [the next portion] until he takes his portion in Arich Anpin of Asiya, in its aspect of Heel, etc. Then all the parts of his Nefesh from the world of Asiya are complete.

His portion, obviously, is always the Heel of the Left Shoulder of the partzuf of each level in each world.

It is the same with his Ruach, which is from Yetzira, and so on, until he ascends to take his portion in the Heel…of Arich Anpin of Atzilut. Then his Yechida from the world of Atzilut is completed and all the parts of his soul are finished.

This is the "minute detail" concerning the connection of a person's soul.

This is specific interconnectedness. The entire partzuf of the Left Heel of the Left Shoulder consists of that specific place on each level of the vertical hierarchy from the bottom of Asiya to the top of Atzilut. That is why we have called it "vertical". The Ari has called it here "minute detail". They are called one soul because they are close to each other…

(There are, by the way, three major schools of thought that emanate from the teachings of the Holy Ari. They are the schools of the Baal Shem Tov, the Vilna Gaon, and the Rashash (Rabbi Sar Shalom Mizrachi). The latter founded the Sephardic school of meditative prayer, called "Kavanot". It is also called the system of "pertai peratim" - the Hebrew phrase used here that has been translated as "minute detail.")

However, there is another general aspect.

The general aspect concerns the other soul-sparks from the specific Minor Root. In the case that the Ari has been discussing in this chapter, it is the Left Heel. All the sparks of the Left Heel that are situated nearby to each other in a cluster are one of the Minor Roots of the Left Shoulder. Thus, all the sparks of the Left Heel, together, form one partzuf, or one soul, as the Ari will now explain.

It has been explained that the soul of a person is only the specific, detailed Nefesh.

It is not the intention of the Ari here to exclude Ruach, Neshama, etc. Rather, he wants to say that "one soul" consists of exactly the same, specific detailed place in all the worlds, as has been explained beforehand.

Nevertheless, in general, all the individual soul-sparks constituting the Heel of the partzuf of the Major Root called "Kayin" [Hebrew for "Cain"], which is the Left Shoulder of Adam, all together are called one, entire Major Soul. As mentioned previously, there are 613 major souls in each of the Major Roots, and this entire Heel is one of the 613 major souls in the Root of the Left Shoulder that is one Major Root.

In other words, all the sparks in the Left Heel of the Left Shoulder are also called "one soul". This is in general. They are called "one soul" because they are close to each other, and together they constitute one partzuf.

In the case of minute detail that was discussed previously, one soul, or partzuf, was formed because the specifics occupied the exact same position in each of the hierarchical, "vertical" levels of soul. The relationship here, on the other hand, may be called "horizontal". It is based on proximity and position within the same partzuf.

The advantage of specifying this will be explained later on.

[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: webmaster@kabbalaonline.org. 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 www.thirtysevenbooks.com
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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