The first level is considered to be a completely new soul. It is about such a soul that has descended into this world, born into a body, that the sages alluded to when they said, "Come and see: When a person is born they give him a Nefesh, etc., and if he merits more, etc."

This is the statement appearing in the beginning of Saba of Mishpatim (Zohar, Mishpatim, p.94b). The Rav has quoted it several times, and we already learned about it in Chapter One, Section 2.

Since it is a first lifetime he can achieve everything…

It appeared to be a statement that applies to all first incarnations, but now it apparently applies only to first incarnations of completely new souls, those that were not originally part of Adam's soul before the sin.

Since it is a first lifetime, he is able to achieve the Nefesh of Asiya until the Neshama of the Neshama of Atzilut, level after level, as it says, "…if he merits more, etc."

The Neshama of the Neshama is another nomenclature for the fourth general level of Chaya. Since it is a first lifetime he can achieve everything.

And this he can do without much effort. We have already explained this first level before. However, if during that time he sins and causes a blemish and dies, necessitating a return to this world, then he is called an "old gilgul".

Before going on to discuss the next level the Rav comes back to the subject of new souls to make one more point, which he also taught previously in the beginning of Chapter One.

As we have already explained beforehand, the Nefesh comes to him at birth, but the Ruach cannot come to him until he is thirteen years old and one day; the Neshama, cannot (come) until he is twenty years or more. In this way he advances and gains according to his deeds until he achieves the NR"N of Atzilut, according to the level of his years.

In effect, there are two requirements conditioning the advance of soul from level to level: one is age, and the second is the merit of his deeds.

[Commentary by Shabtai Teicher.]