Rabbi Shimon was walking along the way, accompanied by his son Rabbi Elazar, Rabbi Aba, and Rabbi Yehuda. As they were walking, Rabbi Shimon said: I am amazed that the people of this world do not pay attention to the words of Torah or to understanding the reason for their own existence in the world! He opened [his discourse] by saying: "my nefesh desired you at night; as long as my ruach is within me will I seek and await you". (Isaiah 26:9) This verse has already been explained. But come and see! When a person goes to bed to sleep, his nefesh departs and ascends on high. And if you say that they all elevate on high — it is not so! Because not every one sees the face of the King. But the nefesh ascends, leaving but an impression, in the form of minimum life for the heart, in the body.

As the nefesh leaves and wishes to rise [up to malchut], there are many levels to ascend. It wanders about and meets [three levels of] kelipot ["tohu," "vohu," and darkness which shine there, and then it passes through kelipat noga, and from there it rises to holiness] If the nefesh is pure and has not been defiled during the day, then it rises upward. But if it is impure, then it is attached among [those kelipot] and ascends no further.

And there [the kelipot] tell the nefesh [of various heavenly decrees in his dream] and it cleaves onto them. Sometimes, they scoff with the nefesh and lie to it. So it wanders all night until the person wakes up. Then the nefesh returns to its place [in his body]. Fortunate are the righteous that G‑d reveals His secrets to them in their dreams, so that they may protect themselves from judgment. Woe to those wicked people who defile themselves [during the day].

Come and see! Those who have not defiled themselves, when they go to bed to sleep, the nefesh ascends, first passing among the levels [of kelipot mentioned above]. And it ascends and does not cleave to them. It continues to wander and climb, according to its way [and its level of purity].

The nefesh that merits to ascend appears before the King and clings passionately to be seen and to gaze at the pleasantness of the King and visit His palace. Such person shall always have a share in the World to Come.

BeRahamim LeHayyim: What do the Ari and Chida want us to learn by this selection?

We are told that night visions may be determined by day activities and thoughts. Here is revealed a roadmap of the ascension of our souls while sleeping. After all, sleep is 1/60 of death, and therefore, the other worlds beyond our physical self are more accessible when we are not conscious. This is why we are to prepare for sleep in such a detailed and regulated manner, to align all energies for the greatest potential of dream revelation.

Some actually say the above verse to aid in their ascent: With my 'nefesh' have I desired you in the night; with my 'ruach' within me will I seek you early". Others say that there is a danger of not returning.

It behooves us to pay attention to the time before we surrender in faith to G‑d.

What does the above mean to YOU?! Why are you reading this NOW?!


Bracketed annotations from Metok Midevash and Sulam commentaries
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