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Spiritual rectification or blemish collectively affects souls associated with one another

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Team Work

Gate of Reincarnations: Chapter Eleven, Section 6

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Team Work
Spiritual rectification or blemish collectively affects souls associated with one another

The sparks that are grouped together within one Minor Root, such as the Left Heel of the Left Shoulder, assist each other, and they are also influenced by each other for the good and the bad. The previous section ended describing the concept of general, horizontal proximity of souls grouped together within one partzuf such as the Minor Root that is the Left Heel of the Left Shoulder. All the soul-sparks grouped together within the Left Heel are "one soul". The Ari said that this is a great advantage, and now he is going to explain what that advantage is.

Now that the subject of souls and their positions has been clarified, we will explain the laws concerning them.

It has been explained previously that a person is not complete until he rectifies and merits in his lifetime to take Yechida of Arich of Atzilut.

It was previously taught (Gates of Reincarnation 2:1) that a person who completes his Nefesh-Ruach-Neshama does not need to reincarnate any more. The Benai Aharon explains that he does not need to reincarnate in a new gilgul, but he still has to complete his Chaya and Yechida, either through ibur or in the gilgul of his Neshama.

However, if he only merits taking the aspect of Asiya, then this person merits taking the whole Nefesh of the entire world of Asiya, in general. It is the same with all the other levels until he finally completes them. A person's tikun depends upon many things, such as performance of all the positive mitzvot and occupation with Torah

In other words, once he finally completes his tikun in the world of Asiya, then he merits all of the Nefesh. It is the same for his Ruach from Yetzira, his Neshama from Beriya and the parts of his soul from Atzilut as well. This is the case, as we have learned, even though his soul is connected to a very specific place. Once he achieves rectification of that specific place, then it is tantamount to having achieved the whole Nefesh, the whole Ruach, etc.

Now, a person's tikun depends upon many things, such as performance of all the positive mitzvot and occupation with Torah. As he increases these things, his tikun becomes complete, and he merits to achieve all the parts of his soul.

In the next section the Ari will explain that positive mitzvot rectify the external partzuf, equivalent to Nefesh, whereas the main tikun of the internal partzuf, equivalent to Ruach, is accomplished through occupation with the Torah. (For further relevant background about the uniqueness of occupation with Torah as opposed to all the other positive mitzvot see especially Tanya 1:4-5 and further in this chapter, Gates of Reincarnation 11:10.)

Furthermore, some explanation of the term "occupation with Torah" is necessary. It would seem more simple and straightforward to say "study of Torah". However, occupation with Torah is a broader term. Although study of Torah comprises most of it, occupation with Torah, nevertheless, includes more things, many of which are not themselves positive mitzvot. For example, there is going to and from the place of study, or writing books of Torah, and most importantly, there is teaching and making it possible for others to study. Relevant to this last and vitally important point, a section of the Code of Jewish Law (Shulchan Aruch) Yoreh De'ah 246:1 will be translated and explained in notes at the end of this chapter.

When he sins, G‑d forbid, and transgresses any of the 365 negative mitzvot, then he blemishes parts of his soul accordingly, even if he has performed many positive mitzvot. The essence of tikun or blemish concerns the place where the individual spark that is his soul is connected…

A person should not think that some of his many mitzvot will cancel out his transgressions, and what is left over will be his profit. Rather, each act is recompensed separately. A person's transgressions are paid off first, and then he can enjoy eternal reward for all his mitzvot. In the same way, blemishes caused to the parts of a person's soul must be rectified. They do not cancel any of his merits, and his merits do not automatically erase any of the defects.

The tikun [that a person accomplishes] or its opposite, which is blemish, affects the place to where his soul is connected, and not any other place. This is according to what we have learned previously. The essence of tikun or blemish concerns the place where the individual spark that is his soul is connected.

However, he does rectify or blemish, G‑d forbid, all the sparks that are close to him.

The sparks that are his close relatives, who are influenced by him, and who influence him, are those that are with him in the same cluster, such as the Left Heel of the Left Shoulder. Each one of them is not considered whole or fully rectified until there does not remain a single spark…that is not entirely completed…

For example, if someone from the Left Heel of the partzuf that is the Left Shoulder, the Root called Kayin [Hebrew for "Cain"], accomplishes tikun, then he causes a tikun for all the sparks of that Heel. If he causes a blemish, then he blemishes all of them, even though all the tikun that was required of those individual sparks was finished. Each one of them is not considered whole or fully rectified until there does not remain a single spark, whether a big one or a little one, among all the sparks of the Heel that is not entirely completed. The entire Heel is called a spark of one major soul. Even if Samuel the Prophet, may he rest in peace, be one of them, none of these sparks are called whole until all the sparks of this Heel, even the worst among them, are completely rectified.

Consequently, all come to help a blemished spark to achieve tikun in this world.

Since the final tikun of all of them depends upon the progress and completion of each and every one of them, they all come to the assistance of blemished sparks. Obviously, this is a tremendous advantage to those that need help.

The other sparks of the Left Shoulder, however, do not get any tikun or blemish because of the sparks of the Heel.

The other sparks of the Left Shoulder that are not part of the root that is the Left Heel do not get any tikun or blemish from the accomplishments or distortions performed by the sparks of the Left Heel.

The general rule [stated here] concerns every one of the Minor Roots within a limb that is a Major Root among the 613 Major Roots in the partzuf of Adam. Each one of these Minor Roots is called "one major soul", and they all help each other.

In other words, the sparks grouped together in one major soul all help each other to achieve tikun, and that is the advantage of the general, horizontal clustering of all these sparks into one major soul.

However, one defect does not blemish all the levels in all the worlds. There is a blemish that flaws his Nefesh from the realm of Asiya, and there is a blemish that flaws his Ruach in Yetzira, etc. If his individual spark blemishes within Asiya, then all the sparks of this Heel within Asiya become defaced like him. It is the same in all the other worlds.

Finally, it is obvious that the main reward and punishment goes to the individual spark [that became rectified or blemished]. However, the shefa [i.e. illumination] that is drawn down to the sparks of this Heel is diminished because of the individual spark's blemish.

Alternately, the shefa-illumination that is drawn down to the sparks of the Heel will be increased because of the individual spark's tikun. It seems to me that this is the first time in Gate of Reincarnations that we are encountering the word "shefa", which is usually translated as "illumination", although it is a very important concept in the Kabbala.

It has already been taught that according to the Kabbala everything consists of two aspects, the Light and the Vessel. The Light must come down into the vessel to fill it, vitalize it, purify it, cause it to grow and reach wholeness. We said that this Light is also called "mochin", literally "brains". Actually, it has several other names as well, but the most general term for it, including mochin of various types and sizes, is "shefa" - illumination.

[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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