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Kabbalah explains that proper meditation is needed for the Tikkun of the Higher Soul.

Categories of Positive Mitzvahs

Categories of Positive Mitzvahs

Gate of Reincarnations: Chapter Eleven, Section 13

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Categories of Positive Mitzvahs
Kabbalah explains that proper meditation is needed for the Tikkun of the Higher Soul.

Three concepts concerning which mitzvot repair each of the Nefesh, Ruach, and Neshama, respectively.

Although the subject of Ruach and Neshama was already discussed previously, we will now explain it.

The rectification of the Ruach that is from the world of Yetzira is through involvement with Torah according to Jewish Law, in the Oral Torah of Mishnah and Talmud, for the sake of itself.

The Ruach that is part of the general Nefesh, Ruach, Neshama, is rectified by the particular mitzvot pertaining to the Root. These mitzvot exist on three levels of Action, Speech and Thought, which therefore includes the study of Torah insofar as it relates to these mitzvot.

The mitzvah of involvement with Torah also applies to the general Ruach. It is rectified by performance of all the 613 mitzvot, which all exist on the levels of Speech and Thought as well as Action, as we have seen. Furthermore, one of the 613 mitzvot is the study of Torah.

The reason the Ari prefers the phrase "occupation with Torah," as opposed to "study of Torah" was explained in Gate of Reincarnations (Chapter 11, Section 6). Midrash…brings about the Tikun of the world of Beriya….

Furthermore, it is well known that there are two divisions of Torah: the Written Torah, which is comprised of the 24 books of the Bible, and the Oral Torah. The main part of the Oral Torah deals with Jewish law, which is called "halachah". It is comprised, for the most part, of the Talmud, which contains two or three parts. First, there is the Mishnah, written around 170 C.E., approximately 100 years after the destruction of the Holy Temple. The second part is the Babylonian Gemara, written down around the year 550 C.E. It consists, for the most part, of discussions and analyses of the Mishnah, although the discussions often stray into topics that are far from the original Mishnah. Finally, on these texts there are hundreds and thousands of commentaries that have been written down over the course of centuries since the redaction of the Talmud until today. The most important of these, probably, are Rashi's explanation of the Bible and Talmud, the Rambam's compilation of the final legal decisions of the Talmud arranged according to topic and not necessarily according to the order of the Talmud, and the Shulchan Aruch, the Code of Jewish Law, written in the middle of the 16th Century by Rabbi Yosef Caro and appended by Rabbi Moshe Isserles about 15 years later.

There is another major category of material within the Talmud called "aggadata". It consists of stories, legends, myths and ethical lessons. In the same class are the Midrashim, especially the Midrash Rabbah. It seems from the wording of the Ari here that these are included in the next category of Torah, that which brings about the Tikun of the world of Beriya.

Rectification of the Neshama that is from Beriya is through knowledge of the Inner Torah…the Kabbala….

"For the sake of itself" means that the mitzvah, in this case occupation with the Torah, is not done for ulterior motives such as money, personal glory, to be called Rabbi or Master, etc., or for the sake of amassing power and control over other people.

The rectification of the Neshama that is from Beriya is through knowledge of the Inner Torah, its secrets and the sod, which are contained in the wisdom of the Zohar.

These are generally called the Kabbala.

In another place we wrote that someone who does positive mitzvot without kavana rectifies the world of Asiya, which is the Nefesh.

The word kavana means "intention", or concentration to direct the mind to specific thoughts, Holy Names or Letters, which are the inner dimensions of a mitzvah. The word includes the basic intention of the mitzvah. For example, if I put on tefillin I am obviously doing it because G‑d commanded me in the Torah to do it (although the possibility does exist that I am doing it because someone else is watching me). However, I can do the act of wearing tefillin without any further thought. On the other hand, I can think before doing it that I am putting on tefillin because G‑d commanded me to do so and maybe even add that He wrote in the Torah specific verses that constitute the command, etc. These are also called kavana.

There is a special resonance between the world of Asiya…and the legs….

Thus, someone who does positive mitzvot without kavana is fulfilling the form of the mitzvot, which is essential. Although something is missing from his performance, he is rectifying Nefesh.

Someone who is occupied with Torah, but without kavana, rectifies Yetzira, which is Ruach.

Someone who does a mitzvah, or who is occupied with Torah, with kavana, rectifies Beriya, which is Neshama.

According to this second description, mitzvot and Torah accomplish the tikun of Nefesh and Ruach respectively. The tikun of Neshama, on the other hand, is accomplished by kavana.

In another place I wrote that an advantage for someone whose Neshama comes from Beriya is attachment of Thought to the names Sag, Eh-yeh YaHO [yud, hei, vav], and Eh-yeh Asher Eh-yeh.

These Holy Names are objects of meditation to assist accomplishment of the tikun of Beriya.

Occupation with Torah in the realm of Speech is an advantage to the Ruach that comes from Yetzira.

Performance of the mitzvot in Action is an advantage to the Nefesh that comes from Asiya. This is especially the case concerning those mitzvot that depend upon walking with the legs, such as visiting the sick, accompanying guests and the dead.

When considering a partzuf it is common to divide it into three segments. The head, including the mochin-brains corresponds to the Chochma-Bina-Daat (known as "Chabad") of the partzuf. The torso and two arms are Chesed-Gevura-Tiferet ("Chagat"). The lower part of the body is Netzach-Hod-Yesod ("NaHY").

Similarly, the three realms of Thought, Speech and Action also correspond to Chabad, Chagat, Nahy, respectively. Thus, there is a special resonance between the world of Asiya (Action), the realm of Action and the legs.

[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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