The Saba now reveals that the verse "when one man rules over another to his detriment" teaches that the real purpose of gilgul is to destroy the forces of impurity and unholiness.

Here is the secret of how souls are captured. The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil runs everything in this world. When the world's inhabitants act righteously, the scales tip to the side of good. When they behave improperly, they tip the balance to the side of evil, and all the souls that are present at that time on the scales are captured and taken away by wicked people for the children that are born to them. But this is ultimately to his own detriment [to the detriment of the "stranger,"] for those souls overpower whatever stems from evil and destroys him.

When they behave improperly, they tip the balance to the side of evil

Now what is the lot of those souls who were captured by the sitra achra? In the works of early authorities, we have seen it written that from them come the pious of the nations of the world, and scholars who are mamzeirim [born from a man cohabiting with another man's wife] but who nevertheless precede the High Priest, if the latter is an ignoramus, even though he enters the innermost sanctuary of the Temple. (See Horiot 13a.) Once a year, on Yom Kippur, the High Priest entered the Holy of Holies (Lev. 16:12 ff.)

The old man wept for a moment as he reflected on the sad fate of those souls that are born as mamzerim (Damesek Eliezer). The chevraya, Rabbi Yose and Rabbi Chiya, were taken aback, but they said nothing. Then the old man began again, "'If she is displeasing in the eyes of her master, who designated her for himself, he must assist in her redemption 1 he does not have the right to sell her to a stranger…' (Ex. 21:8). When a holy soul is sold as a maidservant because of the preponderance of evil in the world, it cannot be reborn as one of the pious of the nations, or as a scholarly mamzer. (Mikdash Melech) This section is predicated upon the esoteric explanation of another verse, "If a man sells his daughter as a maidservant, she shall not be freed as male slaves are freed…" (Ex. 21:7), as was explained above.

[Note: A man was permitted to "sell" his daughter in this manner only if he was so poor that he could not support her in any other way (Kiddushin 20a).]

[Translation and commentary by Moshe Miller]

This concludes the series of selections from the Zohar.