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A brief summary of the order of the five general categories of souls.

Low Souls, High Potentials

Low Souls, High Potentials

Gate of Reincarnations - Chapter Twelve, Section 3

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All the souls mentioned above, with the exception of Level One, which are the real new souls, are similar inasmuch as they all fell into the depths of the kelipot. However, they did not all fall to the same level.

For the Level Two souls which remained with Adam only have one blemish as a result of Adam's sin. Those which went to Cain and Abel have two blemishes: Adam's sin and the sins of Cain and Abel, which are mentioned in Sefer HaTikunim, Tikun 90.

Personalities…are an outgrowth of a person's soul root….

This is very important thing to know. Personalities are not primarily a product of environment. Rather, they are an outgrowth of a person's soul root. Each person is born with certain tendencies because of their soul's root in Adam and his sons and its position in them. For example, a soul that comes from the hand of Cain that killed Abel will be naturally tended towards violence.

All men are not created equal. G‑d is "the place of the world" (Talmud). He sees each one's soul root and what headspace and place they are in. Based on this, He judges in the scale of merit and helps each person along in their rectification process (Likutei Moharan 2-8). The individual's obligation is to do his best from his unique place.

The lesson is that there is no reason to be upset if you have negative tendencies. The measure of success is determined by how much a person tries to rectify from the point that he starts from. This Gate of Reincarnations is aimed at teaching how to fathom the soul root, what it needs to fix, and how to do it.

When the time comes for a soul to leave the kelipot and enter this world, it must first come as an ibur into the "stomach of the Upper Female Malchut" in order to be purified and cleansed from the filth of the kelipot, within which they were held.

Everything below is modeled after…transcendental sources….

The "stomach of the Upper Female Malchut" is a reference to the Malchut of Atzilut from which Jewish souls are said to come. Before there can be birth through a woman in this world, the soul must be planted in and born through the supernal feminine aspect. This is a prime example of how everything below is modeled after and comes from transcendental sources.

The conception and birth process is a designed to prepare the soul for its descent to the world. A certain head start is given, and the rest is left to do throughout a lifetime.

However, the duration of time for which they remain there is not the same for each soul. Rather, it will depend upon its ability and merit to remain there until it is are purified completely and renewed.

This is the order of the five levels. With respect to the first level, the truly new souls, they can remain within the "Malchut within the secret of the fetal stage" for a period of twelve months, after which time they will descend into a body in this world. Thus, we find women whose term of pregnancy is twelve months, as mentioned in the Talmud regarding a certain incident where he remained twelve months, and Rava decided kosher.

A man had been away for twelve months after which time his wife gave birth. The question was: did she become pregnant from another man nine months earlier, or was the fetus from the husband, conceived twelve months prior to the birth? Rava decided that, without evidence to the contrary, the latter was the case (Yevamot 80b), and thus the child was legitimate and kosher. This comes to show that there is some expression in the physical world of this spiritual reality of a twelve month gestation period for the birth of the soul.

Level Two souls which remained with Adam and which are considered new to some degree have the ability to remain within the Malchut for nine months before coming into the world. Level Three souls of Cain and Abel are also considered new on some level, but they have two blemishes. As a result, they can only remain in the stomach of Malchut for a seven month period of time.

Only the higher grade souls can take more purification….

Level Four - the rest of the souls that fell off Adam down into the kelipot - even though they have left the kelipot and now descend into this world for the first time, nevertheless they are like the rest of the previous levels that have come a second time. They are considered to be old and reincarnated souls. Therefore, whether from Level Four which have come for the first time, or from the previous levels that have come for the second time or more, they only remain in the stomach of the Malchut for forty days, the time it takes to form the fetus. After that, they descend into this world.

Level Five souls, those of converts, only remain in the stomach of the Malchut for three days, the time it takes for the seed to fertilize. After that, they come into this world.

The Zohar (Shlach 168, Lik.2-72) teaches that their souls come from the union of the righteous, starting with Abraham and Sarah, which do not result in physical conception. Their souls are only a short time in the supernal feminine aspect; they require another step of processing to be actualized.

Depending upon the amount of time spent within the "Malchut within the secret of the fetal stage", that is how great their light will be and their purification from the effects of the kelipot.

If so, on the contrary, precisely the lower grade souls are the ones that should stay in the Malchut longer, not shorter?!

It takes stamina to bear a cleaning. Only the higher grade souls can take more purification. The lower the class soul, the less it can be refined before birth. The more it then requires purification in this world. Again, externally, these souls are worse off. In the deepest sense, these souls are the special channels through which the most awesome revelations are brought into the world.

[Translation and commentary by Perets Auerbach.]

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.
Rabbi Peretz Auerbach, originally from New York, has been living and learning Torah and kabbala in Jerusalem for 18 years. He teaches at Shvu Ami beit medrash, lectures in Kabbalah and chassidut at the Jerusalem Connection and Heritage House and to private groups. Rabbi Auerbach is also a talented musician. He is currently working on an all new translation of the Zohar into English with extensive commentary as well as a disc entitled "Music, Meditation and Mysticism."
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