Posts tagged Arizal

The Experience of The Ladder of Souls – Part 10


What I want to share is about the soul and mindfulness. It’s my theme for the week for MMM, but it’s also what the soul is all about. Our souls come into our bodies to improve, expand and soul-ize our bodies, but also to restore them to be souls, to be more spiritual, to get back to the level of Adam’s body prior to the fall in the Garden of Eden. Adam’s body was more like our souls today.

The soul is inside our body, and it’s functioning maximally when we are the most mindful, and it has a natural drive to get back to that, meaning to “escape,” like a flame leaping up on a candle wick.  Our soul is trying to get back that place, to be restored, and mindfulness is what helps it get back to that place.

So, here’s a list of tools we can use to increase the mindfulness of life and enable our soul to live in its proper environment.

Instead of the normal consciousness of _______, let’s go to a mindful consciousness of the following:

  1. Instead of the normal consciousness of moving our bodies through the day, with all the different mundane movements involved, let’s make all these movements – sitting down, standing up, walking, etc. – soulful and mindful opportunities. Let’s be soulful and mindful by resonating on the deepest level with what that message means for us.
  2. Instead of the normal consciousness of a sort of “ho-hum” life, let’s Paradise our lives, being soulful and mindful of maximal personal expression and also maximal divine expression.
  3. Instead of the normal consciousness with regard to which aspects of our awareness we engage the world with, let’s be soulful and mindful by engaging the world with our Allness.
  4. Instead of the normal consciousness of accumulating and accessing wisdom, let’s open up our Da’as, our knowing, and thereby know things in a soulful, mindful way.
  5. Instead of processing the thoughts in our minds, in a semi-unconscious way, let’s do it in a mindful/soulful way by watching our thoughts or actually taking notes of them. Do it in an objective, watch-the-movie way.
  6. Instead of the normal consciousness of jumping around from one thing to another in our lives, let’s have a soulful, mindful engagement of any present thing we’re doing, to the exclusion of anything else. Have complete, hyper-focus on whatever it is we’re doing at the moment.
  7. Instead of the normal consciousness of taking in the world through the 5 senses as usual, let’s engage the soul and the mind in a much, much more enhanced way of seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and touching.
  8. Instead of the normal consciousness of engaging the world in a happenstance, coincidental way, let’s see how G-d is talking to us and leading us exactly where we need to go, at all times, in a soulful, mindful way.
  9. Instead of the normal consciousness of engaging wisdom on a surface level, let’s engage wisdom according to the depth of what we can understand and receive about what that wisdom means for us. Consider its associations, meaning what we know about it and what we can reveal and discover about it.
  10. Instead of the normal consciousness of understanding life through our own eyes, let’s understand and process life through the eyes of G-d, in a soulful and mindful way of seeing the past, present and future implications, movement and unfolding of every situation.
  11. Instead of the normal consciousness of connecting to topics we are exploring in a by-the-way manner, let’s completely immerse ourselves for an entire day, week or month in nothing but that particular topic, in a completely soulful and mindful way.
  12. Instead of the normal consciousness of understanding the world is just populated by us and by other people, let’s open up our minds and souls and become aware of the root souls, the angels, the sparks and other souls that are with us, all around us.
  13. Instead of the normal consciousness of connecting to the world in terms of what we want by just wanting it, let’s completely embrace the wanting from our lower soul to our higher soul, and want it so much that it actually manifests in our lives.

The Experience of The Ladder of Souls – Part 9


Continuing in the Soul Series, this post is on the topic of Holy Sparks. It’s about seeing how our soul develops itself and speaks to us, and how we speak to our soul as well, through the idea of the Holy Sparks.

Anytime there’s a fall-out in the cosmos, such as the original fall-out of the broken vessels, or the fall-out of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, or the fall-out of any exile of the Jews throughout history, there are Holy Sparks hidden inside reality. And it’s our soul’s job to be drawn toward those sparks in order to liberate, elevate and clarify them, and to raise them up wherever they need to go. So we need to raise the sparks in that way.

So, I’d like to share a list of ways our soul can restore us to ourselves, and to the lost parts of our soul.

First we have to be able to resonate with what’s going on in our lives. Then we have to be able to bring back into ourselves that which is calling to us in life, through the language of resonation, an energy wavelength we need to plug into and feel personally, “This is me. I need to work with this now.”

And we need to do this in all different times of our lives, because every day we have new sparks, more lost parts of our soul that are calling to us, to bring them back home. This is the essence of what our day is all about, really. Every weekday we have more sparks, and we bring them all, from all the weekdays into Shabbat, creating the power of Shabbat and its connection with each weekday as well.

We have sparks in every prayer, and every time we pray we raise up these hidden, lost parts of ourselves. Every meal we eat provides lost sparks of our souls, and if we eat in a holy and properly-intentioned way we raise up those sparks in the food itself.

We raise up sparks in our reincarnations. We ARE those sparks of our previous incarnations, and we raise up sparks by being here and now in our current life. Just by being present, here and now, we are automatically going to connect with sparks in our lives.

We raise up sparks by being in a state of receptivity, and receiving whatever G-d sends to us. Realizing it’s from G-d is what will raise up those sparks. We raise us sparks by understanding that nothing is coincidental, and everything is divine guidance, including the people the people in our lives who are there to supply us with something we lack, but something they have.

We raise up sparks in our relationships, including male/female and other relationships. The depth of our connection with others is the depth of the sparks we can raise up.

We raise up sparks by coming into the land of Israel. We are the sparks returning home, just as we will be caught up one day to return to our divine home. We are the exiles, wherever we are, and we’re there in order to raise up the trapped sparks, wherever they may be. The sparks of Torah, of potential converts, of divine information and energy – these are all put into our lives to be raised up as well.

We’re here as a legacy, to raise up the sparks that fell from Adam & Eve’s fall in Paradise. We’re here to raise up sparks, and when they’re all raised up it will be the Messianic Age. When we are beckoning to another person to fill us up with their life force, which we don’t have, that’s an interaction of sparks, too. Even in suffering, even in the holocaust, even in the lowest of places, Rabbi Kalonymus Kalman Shapira taught us that in that suffering and in those worst situations there are Holy Sparks to be raised up inside the pain itself.

When we have clarity of an unclarified situation and we are learning, we raise up lost sparks in those situations. We raise up sparks by seeing that all the highlights of our lives are basically sacred text; they are the texts of G-d’s book that he’s writing, with each of us as the central character of our own story. We need to interpret that text and understand it, because that’s how we come to home the holy, pristine, divinely providential place where we’re meant to be.

The Experience of The Ladder of Souls – Part 8


Today is the yartzeit of the Arizal, and we are talking about the soul, so I can’t help but focus on those two things together. This will be about what I’ve learned about the soul from the teachings of the Arizal, which offer a completely unique perception of light in the world. It’s about G-d’s place and our place in the world, and how to get past the broken places. And it’s about how to deal with anything and everything in life.

So, I’m making a unification of the 9 days before Tisha B’Av, and the Arizal and this whole soul series. I’m seeing it all coming together here so we can continue learning how to open up our souls in mystical consciousness ways.

The Arizal spent years and years going over one piece of Torah, just a few lines. And he’d come up with more Torah on that one little piece, a few lines, than anyone could handle. He’d produce an exponential amount of Torah, in quantity and quality of teachings.

One of the things the Arizal taught us is this – the deeper we go in receptivity (Kabbalah is receptivity) and the more we remain open to the finest nuances of our study, the more we need to be able to be able to plug in with our soul and tap into the ultimate wellsprings of wisdom.

He taught us about partzufim, about the idea of persona and seeing spirituality and the sefirot as worlds that are all interconnected, all outside of us as well as inside of us. We need to be aware of and connect up with those worlds, as much as possible, to advance our souls.

The Arizal taught us about tzimzum, the constriction of creation, and how that from the most constricted places come the most potential, expansive, divine, infinite places where we need to reveal G-d in all these constricted places, as the Arizal taught us.

The Arizal taught us about worlds, one higher consciousness, world outlook, and ways of creation and ways of relating to reality. We need to emulate his teachings. We need to look at these teachings and see how it applies to us, so we can step into these worlds in practical ways in our lives.

The Arizal taught us that the whole world, after the breakdown of reality, is filled with sparks that are found in the mundane places of life, and they are calling out to us. To advance our souls as much as possible we need to be able to hear those calls, to feel that drive inside to reveal G-d’s light in places he’s normally not found.

The Arizal taught us all about bringing expanded consciousness into our lives so that we can grasp that which is beyond us, that outer light beyond us, in order to fill ourselves and to grow our soul. That is how our souls grow.

The Arizal taught us the idea of an externality and an internality of life. That internality is what we need to search for because it seems that everything has an external look and feel, but under the surface and over the starts there’s the most beautiful light we could ever see, and we need to keep our soul focused on that, to expand it.

The Arizal taught us about the idea of unification, about connecting things that don’t seem to be connected in order to produce and reproduce new aspects of being and of life that wouldn’t be birthed without our connection. Ultimately, we need to see the multiplicity of life as oneness. That’s what unification is all about.

The Arizal taught us about Adam Ha Rishon, about Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, as a place we are driven, in everything that we do as humanity and as individuals. We need to get there with the ultimate being and G-d connection.

The Arizal taught us that the world is made up of holiness and anti-holiness. This is our struggle inside, and we need to step up as much as possible with our souls, in order to fight this eternal holy war we are fighting.

The Arizal taught us that worlds ascend. There is an ascent, an elevation of reality at all times, and we see it especially on Shabbos. That’s when we go to a place where there is nothing lacking, and everything is perfect As-Is. We need to learn to take that ride, not only on Shabbos but on other holidays and also personal times in our lives. We need to ascend that ladder as often as possible to purify our souls.

The Arizal taught us that we have had previous incarnations. We were here before and we’re here to finish our unfinished business now, and then to carry on our perfected business, engaged in the world on a much wider scale of personal and cosmic tikkun.

The Arizal taught us the world is made from the universal principle of male and female, masculine and feminine, the Zeir Anpin and the Nukva. As much as we possibly can, we need to unite them until they complement each other within each of us, and interpersonally as well.

The Souls Inside Of Us Accompanying Us


Continuing with the theme of reincarnation basics, I’d like to talk about the fact that we are all born with the main host, meaning who we really are. But we also have, throughout our lives, anywhere from 1 to 4 guests.

These are people who experience what we experience, and they are usually “soul family” people who are connected with us in the map of souls. They have a like for us, an affinity for us. They are rooting for us and we are rooting for them. They are here, as are we all, to fix up something from a previous lifetime.

My main experience is “me,” but if I develop the sensitivity to do so, I can begin to experience these other personalities, not in a schizophrenic or multi-personality type of way, but in a natural way. You might think of it as the different voices within each of us, reacting and awakening in different ways.

All these various personalities will find their main body to inhabit at the time of the resurrection of all the souls into their bodies, and it will be like a grand old reunion in those days. Seeing yourself in so many generations and nuances is part of the experience.

Another experience is this – the greater the person, the more people that are outside of him or her, those people are actually inside of him or her. And the great person has an affinity for all those people. The greatest example of all is Moshe, Moses, who had everybody inside of him. That is why he was able to counsel and get to the bottom of the Daas, the knowings of each person, and help them know what to do.

Each of us, on our different levels, quantitatively and qualitatively, take people inside us, and that’s how we relate to other people.

The second, related topic here is “ibur.” These are short-term guests, as opposed to a life-long guest within us, lasting anywhere from a few minutes to many years in duration. These people come in a helpful way, to inhabit us, because they either need the tikkun, a mitzvah for themselves, or they are present to help us, because we’re doing something extraordinary. They are present to give us an extra boost of expanded consciousness that comes along with their inhabitance of us.

This is not as creepy or spooky as a dybbuk, or an exorcist-type story, but it’s a natural thing going on inside us. We’re either helping them or they’re helping us.

For example, there was a time when divorce was very rare. Now that is not the case, but in the past there were people who needed to fulfill all the mitzvoth in the Torah, and they might jump in right at the time someone is experiencing divorce. That person will feel a very elevated awakening inside, because there are other souls coming on board, so to speak, in the merit of that particular mitzvah.

These others don’t suffer with us if they are here to help us, but if we’re helping them, then they do feel it, meaning our suffering is their suffering. Our refinement is their refinement.

On Shabbat we have what’s called an “extra soul.” The Arizal teaches us that this is literally another human being from the world of souls, come to give us extra aliveness and pleasure, an expanded consciousness. And they leave us when Shabbat is over, and we feel the loss. It can be sort of a harsh feeling.

And it’s similar when we step up to help many people in a public way. We will get many people from the ibur system to help us get across what we need to communicate to them. And we can become aware of them by developing a sensitivity, the same way as we can become sensitive to other people within us throughout our lifetime. We can cultivate an awareness of getting extra help, as if something from beyond us has come to help us.

And, G-d forbid, the opposite is also true. If we are doing something really bad, it could be that some bad souls are coming to mess us up. It works both ways.

The third topic here is what I call the smoothness factor. The basic idea is this – we all come into this world with unfinished business. We all come reincarnated. We are coming, not to fix up the same things we faced last lifetime, but to fix what remains to be fixed. So, we can heal in every feeling and act and word and emotion and thought and interaction and relationship we have. We can feel if something we’re doing is unfixed, and needs to be fixed.

It may be something that’s not smooth for us, and we have to work especially hard at it, we’re driven to work hard at it. Therefore, even if we get knocked down we’re driven to get back up and fix it up.

Or, it could be the other way around. It may be something we’ve already fixed up previously, and we are in our element, so to speak, then we may have the feeling that everything is going smoothly because we already took care of that thing.

Both of these situations are useful, the hard stuff and the smooth, easy experiences. Both exist to advance us in our tikkun, which will ultimately bring us to our culmination in the end of days.

The same is true of relationships. People come into our lives, as close or as distant relationships, to help facilitate our tikkun, our perfection process. We need to pay attention to that perspective, meaning that they are here from a previous time to help take the sting out of bad feelings we may have about other people. They are sent by G-d to help us go through what we need to go through.

Finally, there’s the Sephirot factor. There’s a Sehirotic soul map and we are connected to people closest to us by a particular Sephira, and we will heal in affinity with people of the same Sephira, too. This is true regarding soulmating, friendships and family relationships, among others.

I’m not going to get into all the various Sephirot because that’s a separate discussion for another day, but the basic idea is this – we are here to maximize our Sephirotic profile and to align it as well.

Kabbalah 101: Gilgulei Yisrael (Reincarnation)


I want to get started talking about some of the basics of Kabbalah, sort of a Kabbalah 101, if you will.

And I figure that a good way to start is discussing the topic of reincarnation of the soul. I’m drawing from a booklet of notes of my work with R. Dardik on Gilgulei Yisrael. He took notes the whole time we were working together, and created a booklet on questions and answers on the topic.

You could think of it as Reincarnation Made Simple. So, let’s get started…

One of the first, fundamental questions is about the ego, going back to Adam. Adam was a container of all souls, basically, and before the original sin, according to the Arizal and others, there were only good souls within him.

The fallout or result of his sin, was a mixture of souls, some of which were not so good. Our task now, and previously, throughout history, is to unmesh or unmix the bad ones from the good ones.

A bad soul is a person who is not yet rectified, very distant from G-d, but in some cases redeemable unless the level is so bad, as defined by the Tanya for example. Unredeemable spirituality is comprised of those things actually forbidden to us. And that’s why they are forbidden, because they are unredeemable.

Potentially redeemable, however, are the notoriously evil rulers and other figures we’ve faced throughout history. This would include Pharoah, Lavan, Esav, all of whom, somewhere along the line in their reincarnations, made the wrong choices and headed down a very, very hard path. Part of their redeemability involves the part each of them played in Jewish history.

I’ll leave it at that regarding bad souls mixed-in with Adam.

Another point I’d like to make here is the fact that we are all old souls. In contemporary culture you have this general conception that uses the phrase, “old soul” to describe a higher, more evolved human being. But, according to the Arizal, we’ve all been here before and we’re back because we have unfinished business, and we have to go through life to finish up our business here.  Hopefully, we resonate with what we need to fix up, and then fix it up.

Unlike this popular concept, we are all, in fact, old souls. Maybe there’s one every so often, across many generations, that’s actually a new soul, meaning one that’s never been here before. And the Arizal is a good example, and also the Baal Shem Tov. New souls don’t have unfinished business to go through, and they can get rectified very quickly. So, what popular culture teaches about old souls is an entirely fallacious idea.

It’s similar to another concept I even hesitate to bring up, and will deal with fully another time. It’s the concept of Rest In Peace – RIP. In reality, there’s not a lot of rest for people immediately after they pass away, no matter who they are.  Especially if they haven’t been too good.  Rest In Peace is simply a mistaken notion. So for now, I’ll just say RIP to that whole concept.

The third fundamental soul concept is another deep one, and it is about the souls of converts to Judaism. Up until the last couple generations the usual definition of a convert involved a person who is not Jewish in their root soul, but have a natural drive to become Jewish. That natural drive is called The Soul Of The Convert, or the Nefesh Gair. It’s a person who is driven to become Jewish, even though they were not born Jewish.

In our generation however, according to some very astute Kabbalists, things are different. Of the many souls who want to convert there’s a good chance they are Jewish at their roots, and in previous incarnations they were Jewish. And for various reasons, in this lifetime they were born as non-Jews. That’s one important idea about converts.

Another is that there will be a pre-Messianic blitz of souls who want to convert. They want to join the Jewish people, which, it should be noted, will not be possible once Moshiach comes. Everyone will see the wisdom of being Jewish then, and we won’t be able to trust their motives for conversion at that point.

An authentic convert makes the decision based on their inner drive, not because things will go better for them when Moshiach comes.  In fact, we understand that a converted Jew is deserving of even more tender loving care, and regard and compassion than a born Jew, because it was a choice.

We are all converts at the root level, but converts are Jews by choice, similar to but not the same as a baal teshuva. The Jew by choice is coming for the most altruistic reasons and we need to respect that. It can be a bit embarrassing to us, as regards our wrong choices, compared to a Jew by choice.

Finally, here’s one more reincarnation soul fundamental principle – use of Torah to perfect your soul. It’s very appropriate now, at the time of receiving of Torah, which is Shavuot,

There are there or four different versions about how Torah and mitzvoth come to fix up different parts of our souls, and all but the last are attributed to the Arizal. The first version is by performing actions, doing mitzvoth, we can fix up our Nefesh, our lowest level of soul. And by learning the Oral Torah we can fix up our Ruach, our second level of soul. And by learning Kabbalah we can perfect our Neshama, the third level of soul.

The second version is this – by performing positive mitzvoth, even without the proper intention, we fix the Nefesh. By doing Torah without the proper altruistic intention we fix up the Ruach, and by doing mitzvoth or Torah with the proper intention we fix up our Neshama.

The third version says that by doing mitzvoth we fix up the Nefesh. By doing the revealed Torah altruistically we fix up our Ruach, and by doing Kabbalah we fix up our Neshama.

The hardest part to fix is our Nefesh, because it’s closest to the evil inclination and it’s farthest from G-d, in the lowest world. The Baal Shem Tov, whose yartzeit is just after Shavuos, teaches us that we can gauge the three levels of soul. Our Nefesh is connected with our possessions, and if we are good and altruistic and straight with our possessions we can fix up our Nefesh.

The Ruach is connected with our spouses and the people in our lives, and the Neshama is connected with the level of thought.

That’s a little run-down on the way Torah and life itself serve to promote and fix-up these different levels of our souls.


The Arizal On The Root Souls of Our Leaders: King David


This is the seventh and the last post in this series of soul information of the seven Patriarchs or shepherds of the nation of Israel.

This one is about King David, the seventh of the seven Patriarchs, representing the Sephira of Malchut. Being the carrier, or merkavah of the Malchut in the world he was the one who had nothing of his own, but only had what he received from those who went before him, and from above.

A Malchut is a complete receiver, and King David was a complete receiver, receiving everything. This describes who he was, consistent with a verse in Chronicles that gives this message, To you, Hashem, to you is the greatness, and the Gevurah and the Tiferet and the Netzach and the Hod, etc.

In other words, as Malchut, David received all the other Sephirot, all together. And that’s how he perceived G-d, with the spectacle of all the other Sephirot together, while he was the lowest and also the highest at the same time, the most expansive receiver of G-d. All this contributed to King David being the paradigm of Moshiach, or Messiah.

It was his complete receptivity that led to King David being called, “a friend to G-d.” That’s a quote from the Bible as well. He was a friend to G-d because he was so receptive of G-d.

At birth, David was meant to be stillborn, but the other Patriarchs, including Adam, dedicated years of their lives to his life, so that he could live his whole seventy years. Because he was given life, instead of passing away in the womb, he had to be careful with anything to do with death.

We know from our sages that sleep is 1/60th of death, so David was extremely careful about not sleeping, as much as humanly possible. He never slept more than 60 winks, as they say. And that’s why he was the one awake every night at midnight, and writing his incredible psalms of the Holy Spirit, and singing them, and learning Torah.

King David was an exception, as far as souls are concerned, and it was testified by Abigail, one of David’s wives, that he would not have to reincarnate again. He was able to fix it all up in one lifetime, which was truly awesome, coming straight from the other side made him more likely to be a serial killer than to be a Messiah.

It’s almost incomprehensible to imagine how he could do it all in one lifetime. David went from zero to 120 in one lifetime. And it was said, as one song puts it, “David of Israel, he lived forever.” There is a mystical understanding that King David lives forever; he never dies. He died physically, but there is something about his essence that does not die.

King David came from the Messianic line, going back to Ruth and Boaz and other characters in Tanach who, in their lifetime, experienced not only every good thing, but also every depravity. This was a G-dly, intentional providence, because Messiah will stand up in his time and say, “I’ve been there and done that. You have nothing to hide from me. I came here to fix up the world, and there’s nobody outside of my scope, of what I’ve experienced in life.”

King David was a warrior, and that precluded him from building the first Holy Temple, because of his activities in battle. Building of the Holy Temple was a task given to his chosen son, King Soloman. All the wars in which David fought throughout his lifetime were, on a spiritual level, to ride our people of the scourge of the Sitra Achra, the other side. And since David came from this other side before incarnating in his life as King David, he came with some questionable personality traits. If you’d take a profile on him you might see he was right up there with some of the greatest criminals of all time. But he worked on himself so much and so hard that he completed himself. It’s also attributed to his redheadedness, because red is the trait of Gevurot, the harshness of reality.

But he was also called the Man of Beautiful Eyes, which was his connection to Malchut, but also to Yesod, the second to last Sephira, which is Beauty. That is one aspect of King David’s beautiful eyes.

He was connected at all times, especially at the end of his days, to Torah. As long as a person is connected to Torah, death cannot snatch him away. So, King David sort of cheated the Angel of Death until it made some kind of ruckus outside, and David became distracted and was snatched away from this life.

David was a reincarnation of Adam, the first man. His main wife, of all his many wives, was Batsheva. Prior to her marriage to King David she was married to one of the heads of the army, Uriah. We’re taught that Batsheva was the reincarnation of Eve, Adam’s wife, and Uriah was the reincarnation of the snake in the garden. So, the whole story is sort of a reenactment in David’s lifetime.

He sent the snake out to be killed in war, in a kosher way, although he did do teshuva for that his whole life, and he also took back his rightful soulmate, Batsheva, who gave birth to King Soloman.

King David is called the Sweet Singer of Israel. The power of Ruach Ha Kodesh, the Holy Spirit is planted into his psalms. They are the words of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts, ever since David wrote them down. Eighty percent of all our prayers are his words, and we find ourselves using them whenever we are in need, because his words become the heart song of our words. So, he was the Heart Singer of Israel as well.

The Arizal On The Root Souls of Our Leaders: Joseph


The next in our series of patriarchs is Joseph, and it is also based on Kabbalah and the Arizal.

Joseph had a unique relationship with his father, Jacob, and he was considered to be the “main offspring” of his father’s. There are many parallels between their lives, in the particular difficulties they faced and the way they overcame their difficulties.

Jacob learned many secrets of Torah in the academy of Shem and Eiver for 14 years. It’s said he never slept during those years of study, but that all the secrets he learned he also shared with Joseph.

Both Jacob and Joseph represent the central column of the Tree of Life, the Sefirotic structure. Jacob is the central column of Tiferet, and Joseph is the central column of Yesod. The central column is an actualization or a bridge of the right and left columns, the culmination or birth place of the right and left columns. It’s an important, all-encompassing type of Sefira.   So this is another relationship Jacob had with Joseph.

Joseph was considered to be a Tzadik. He was the paradigm of a “righteous person.” His Sefira represents the male organ, and its biological and psychological characteristics as a representation of the DNA of the entire person and the entire beauty of the entire person. This is especially true if the activating of the principle within the sexual activity is done in a holy way, as it was done by Joseph.

Because of his position he was able to convey beauty. He was a beautiful man, as told in many stories of women chasing him around, the most famous of whom was the wife of Potifar.  She chased him to get him to sleep with her, and Joseph was almost seduced by her. At the last moment Joseph saw an image of his father, Jacob, and he ran away from her.

During the act of running away, it is said there were 10 drops of semen issued from his fingernails, which later became 10 leaders of the Jewish people during the Tananic period. These were the 10 martyrs who were killed for teaching Torah during Roman times. The slightest influence from Joseph carried waves of influence over the years and generations.

The fact that Joseph was able to hold himself back at a crucial time is evidence of his righteousness, and distinguishes him as having the wisdom of knowing when to express his male sexuality and when to withhold expression of it, in many ways.

Having physical beauty and being chased by many women, and being a very fruitful man as regards the seat of reproduction, Joseph was also fruitful in a monetary way. He fed the world, basically. When the world was experiencing famine, people came to him from other parts of the world because he was second only to Pharoah in Egypt, trusted with great authority. Joseph advised Pharoah and interpreted dreams for him, also representing fruitfulness.

Joseph was modest and held back at the right times, showing he had power over the “evil eye,” so to speak. And he was protected from those who lusted after him or coveted him.  His power is something that characterizes anyone who goes according to the ways of Joseph.

He was very personable and collaborative person as well. He took the qualities of his forefathers and expressed them in the world, even though he had the well-known fallout with his brothers. They thought he was the least desirable offspring of his father Jacob, just as Abraham had an Ishmael and Issac had an Esav his brothers thought Yosef was the least of their father’s sons, and not even part of the lineage of the chosen people.

Of course they were wrong about that. Joseph took them through the steps to show them the error of their beliefs, and in the end they came to make peace with him.

Ultimately, there was a rift between Joseph’s progeny and the other tribes of Israel, those who became the Lost Tribes, and the main tribes of Judah, Benjamin and Levi who all stayed in the land. In most traditions it’s understood all the tribes will reunite in the Messianic times.


The Arizal on The Root Souls of Our Leaders: Yaakov


I’m going to continue my series on the Kabbalistic root souls of the Patriarchs, from the work of the Arizal. And today I’m going to continue with Jacob, Yaakov, or as he’s also known, Israel or Yisrael.

Here are a few aspects of him, which I think are very important, transformative, transcendent and even mind-blowing aspects of our father, Jacob.

I should mention his wives as well… He had four wives altogether, but his two main wives were Leah and Rachel. Before Jacob ever got married at the age of 84 years, and before he even began looking for a wife, he fell in love. Meaning, he hadn’t even seen Rachel and he was in love with her.

At the end of the courting period, which was more than courting really, it was courting and birthing outside the land of Israel where he was living in the home of his father-in-law, Lavan, he also developed a serious connection with his other wife, Leah. She was Rachel’s sister.

It’s as though Jacob when he was still Jacob, he was on the level of soul-mating Rachel, his bashert.

When Jacob grew into an expanded state and renamed Israel, that’s when he was matched-up with Leah, and he was on her level.

This mirrors who Rachel and Leah are. The way we would say it today, Rachel was the very modest woman, religious from birth, and Leah was a master of teshuva, as she had the personality of someone who was out of it, then came into the fold later.  This reflects who Jacob was when he became Israel.

Even though Jacob had two names, unlike his grandfather, Abraham, who used to be Avram (and his wife Sarah, who used to be Sarai) Jacob went back and forth, sometimes using his old name. Abraham and Sarah never did that.

The Israelite people are called Israel when we are on a higher level, too. Like Jacob, we have our struggles with G-d, and we have a constant dialog, or a narrative with him, as did Jacob.

Jacob started out his life detached from worldliness, and that’s when he was known as Jacob the Tam, meaning Jacob, the holy-naivete person, whose actions bespeak simplicity, not ignorance of holiness.

As Jacob encountered the world, for his own sake and for our sake, he opens doors for all his progeny, until the end of time, and especially toward the messianic times. That’s when he becomes the Jacob who is able to leave his 20 years with his deceptive father-in-law, Lavan, and come into the world shining, to face the deception of the world and come out whole.

Jacob is the choice one of the three patriarchs, Avraham, Yitzchak and Yisrael. His grandfather Avraham, fathered Ishmael, which represents the fall-out aspect of negativity that was removed from him, so that he could uphold and represent Chesed.  Abraham is the merkavah of Chesed for the world.  And the fall-out, the negativity that was removed from him before he could pass on his legacy was his son, Ishmael.

The fall-out from Issac, the middle Patriarch is Esau, or Esav. And these are known not only as individual sons, but entire nations that will continue until the end of time.

Jacob had no fall-out, and he was called Shalem; he was called whole, and it was said of him that, “his bed was complete,” and all of his children were all righteous. There was no fall-out, and that’s one of the distinctions between Jacob and the previous Patriarchs.

Jacob went from his home at his parents’ bidding, in order to start his family. He returned to Lavan’s country. But before doing that, he spent fourteen years in the home of Shem and Eiver, the two major scholars of the day. This period was a preparation for Jacob to be able to graduate into a much higher level, and to cope with the world of deception, because he was so entrenched in Torah.  Jacob didn’t even sleep for those fourteen years, and he came to make a family for himself.

Jacob had the trait of holiness, which could be translated as the ability to connect to the world from a mundane place, and to find holiness there, in the mundane aspects of the world

As a reflection of that, the Divine Providence that is drawn down by seeing G-d in all aspects of the world, G-d gives an inheritance to those people following in Jacob’s footsteps. That inheritance is boundless; it is endless for those who are making G-d boundless and endless in our world.



The Arizal on the Root Souls of Our Leaders: Aharon


This is the continuation of the Patriarchal Sephirotic series, dealing with the root souls of our seven shepherds, and this one deals with Aharon, or Aaron Ha Cohen.

Aaron was the High Priest, the name he was known by. He is considered to be the Sephira of Hod, the counterpart of Netzach, which means he’s a counterpart of Moses. Hod and Netzach are like two partners, like Ying and Yang, balancing each other out.  So that’s how the two brothers, Moses and Aaron balanced each other out, in terms of their influence in the world.

Because Aaron was Hod, and Hod is the enabler, empowering other people to do things, he was tested regarding the weakness of enabling at the episode of the Golden Calf. Although all his intentions were pure, he allowed the erection of the Golden Calf while the people were waiting for Moses to return.  This incident affected history, and Aaron’s life as well.

One of the immediate effects on Aaron was a decree that two of his four sons would be killed by “strange fire,” during the erection of the Tabernacle for the first time. Two of his younger sons were consumed by fire and killed at that time.

Aaron is the paradigm High Priest, meaning all other High Priests after him were a genetic continuation of who he was, and also a Sephirotic continuation of who he was.

There are two other Sephirot connected with the High Priest. One is Chochma (Wisdom) and the other is Chesed (Lovingkindness), both of which function specifically in the healing role, what the High Priest does in affecting Kapparah, or the different healings the Cohen does for the purpose of atonement.

Aaron was the most mourned-after leader of Israel. For thirty solid days, in a very heartfelt way the people mourned the loss of Aaron. He was buried in the desert near Israel called Hor Hahar, and he was mourned that way because his role was as peacemaker, and he was constantly seeking the good of all the people.

He had the reputation of going to both sides in any antagonistic situation and make each side understand how the other side loves them. That’s how Aaron achieved peace in many situations and came to be beloved as a leader.

In his merit, we know, there were the clouds of glory that protected the Jewish People from their enemies. In Kabbalah we understand there were clouds of “surrounding light,” which protected the Israelites in the desert from foreign energies as well as people. These clouds are one of the expressions of the holiday of Sukkot, in which we dwell for seven days each fall, reminiscent of those clouds of glory.

Now I’m going to relate historical reincarnations of Aaron, so try to follow along:

First, between the brothers Cain and Able, Aaron came from the brother Able, as did his brother, Moses. That was his first reincarnation.

The second one was Abraham’s brother, Haran, a name that shares the same Hebrew letters as the name Aaron. Haran was afraid to jump into the fire in order to sanctify G-d’s name, for the purpose of pushing off idol worship. In other words, he didn’t have the right intentions and so he failed that particular test. That was his reincarnation as Abraham’s brother, and his tendencies would show up in future reincarnations, as we’ll see.

The third one was the two sons of Aaron, Nadav and Avihu, because they were a type of reincarnation of Aaron. I as mentioned, they are the ones who died in the “strange fire.”

The next person reincarnated in this line was a person called Yaadetz, whose name, the inner, core part of his name means “sadness,” from the word atzue in Hebrew. He was a carrie of the impression of the sadness of the two sons of Aaron who passed away, in their previous reincarnation.

The next person was named Tola Ben Puah who was reminiscent of a worm, whose power resides in its mouth. That’s what “tola” means in Hebrew, and he came to fix the previous incarnation of overly-expressed vows, made by mouth.

The next reincarnation was Shmuel Ha Navi, or Samuel the prophet.  He was a traveling judge, and he came to fix Tola Ben Puah’s lack of traveling around Israel to judge and fix the people. So, Samuel came to fix that lack and accomplish that task.

The next reincarnation was Uriah Ha Chiti, who was originally the husband of King David’s main wife, Batsheva. King David sent Uriah into battle, where he was killed. David acquired divorces from all his soldiers before they were sent into battle, so he was able to marry Batsheva after Uriah died.

Uriah’s death was partly atonement for Aaron’s unwillingness to die for the sin of the Golden Calf.

Next is Uriah Ha Cohen, reincarnation of Aaron, and of his sons, all three of them in the same reincarnation. He was killed again in this reincarnation by a person named Yehoyakaim, once again an atonement for Aaron’s failure to give up his life for the sin of the Golden Calf.

And finally, Zechariah, the prophet was a reincarnation of Aaron. The last two reincarnations that came at the same time revealed the lowest level, the Nefesh level of Zechariah, whose name was Rabbi Eliyahu Ei Didosh, who authored a famous book called Raishit Chochma, and he came back as the nefesh of Zechariah.

And the one who came back as the Ruach, the next highest soul level of Zechariah, was named the Ramak, so that’s why these two were very good friends. They were two parts of the soul level of the same person, reincarnated at the same time.

The Arizal on The Root Souls of Our Leaders: Abraham


I’m going to talk about Abraham, from various sources, the Arizal and others, discussing the root of his soul.

Abraham is a person who bridges heaven and earth. One of the Sefirot he represents is Yesod, the Sefira of connection, which makes him the one to connect Heaven and Earth.

In the seven generations prior to Abraham, each one became more distant from the Shechina, all the way through the seven heavens. Abraham and the subsequent generations managed to bring the Shechina back down to earth, but he was the first of them.

Abraham was the patriarch, the father of our nation, as Avraham Avinu, Abraham our Father. He is also considered to be the patron of all converts, and usually a convert to Judaism is given a Jewish name, including bat or bar Avraham, meaning the daughter or the son of Abraham for that reason.

The three Patriarchs came to this world to rectify the three primal sins of Adam in the garden. Abraham specifically came to rectify the sin of idol worship. He was an expert, with a tractate containing four hundred chapters, based on his expertise on the subject. Issac rectified murder and Jacob rectified lust, the other cardinal sins along with idolatry.

Abraham was told to “go where I will tell you to go,” without being told by G-d exactly where he should be going, but to have faith, and to trust he would be directed towards the land of Israel. On a deeper level, the Hebrew words Abraham was given also mean, “go into yourself,” in order to be the primal “giver” in the world.

Abraham is called “the Hebrew,” or “Ivri” in the Hebrew language, a word meaning, “from the other side.” His experience was unique, and might be described, at the time, as “me vs the entire world.” His position gave him the ability to stand up, single-handedly, against the world, by virtue of the fact he is our Patriarch.

Monotheism, or belief in G-d, was introduced into the world by Abraham. His name was originally Avram, and then the letter Hey, giving the sound of the letter “h” was added to his name when he was circumcised at the age of one hundred years. His circumcision provided a level of perfection or wholeness, and thereafter he began to receive prophesy in a conscious way, rather than an unconscious way.

Abraham’s entire life was an explication of the Sefira of Chesed. Everything he did articulated what the Sephira of Chesed is all about. He was the “merkava,” or the “seat” of Chesed in the world.

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