Posts tagged Soul Connecton

The Experience of the Ladder of Soul Levels

Ladder

I’d like to focus on the ladder of the soul levels, and how they are experienced. We have five soul levels, Nefesh, Ruach, Neshama, Chaya and Yechida. Of those five levels, two are entrenched in our bodies, one is partially entrenched in and partially out of our bodies, and the highest two levels are completely out of our bodies.

Their location points to their character as well. The deeper entrenched they are into our bodies, the more they have an affinity for our bodies, which is actually their purpose. The lowest level of Nefesh that’s entrenched in our bodies, for example, is that part of the soul which is most connected to the body. It’s the spirituality of the body, of the organs and the sensations, and so forth.

The next highest level, the Ruach, is the part of the soul that’s more connected to who we can grow into. It’s part and parcel of who we are, but it’s a step up from an animalistic level to a humanistic level. Another experiential difference between Nefesh and Ruach is this – Nefesh is like having the experience of going into a library where everybody must be very quiet so that all can concentrate. Nefesh is a quiet type of spirituality, whereas Ruach is more of a bubbly type of spirituality.

Ruach could be described as a house of Torah study, the Beit Midrash. Compared to a quiet library the Beit Midrash is not quiet at all. Quite the contrary, in fact. It’s a place full of bubbly, new ideas being shared. That’s the Ruach. It’s a higher part of our personality which allows us to grow, and to reach out to new levels of consciousness, which we don’t necessarily know about beforehand.

And the Neshama, part inside of us and part outside of us, serves as a guiding light. It has a connection to us and it bridges us to that which is beyond us. The general picture of the soul inside us is like the tip of the iceberg, only it’s upside down. The rest of our soul is outside of us and reaches much higher. Only a very small part of us is inside the body, and that which is outside reaches all the way up to the heavens.

This third level of soul, the Neshama, is a bridge from the small part inside us to the vast reaches beyond the body. And our Sages tell us it’s pure, unsullied and impervious to blemish of any kind. It’s pure and it stays pure. As a bridge to that which is beyond us, it helps us grow.

These three levels, Nefesh, Ruach and Neshama are parts of the soul that guide us to become better people, vis a vis ourselves, even though it also involves our moral relationships with others. But it’s primarily about our own personal growth at these three lowest levels of our soul.

The next level is Chaya, and it is the level of soul in which we experience “working for the cause.” It’s the part of us that’s trying to make the world a better place, to forge a path of rectification and peace. It’s where wrongs are righted, and we feel a sense of belonging in a global way on this higher level.

And finally, Yechidah is the highest level, and it is connected to G-d. A Yechidah personality is solely concerned with connecting to G-d.

These are all very important distinctions of soul levels, so I’ll expound on them a bit more . They are in an absolutely ideal situation with a brand new soul coming into the world, which occurs only once within many generations. They receive their rectification in different stages of a person’s life.

At the beginning we receive a Nefesh, at the age of 13 we receive a Ruach, and at the age of 20 we receive a Neshama. But that’s only for an ideal, new person. Other than that rare situation, perhaps occurring once in several generations, pretty much all of us in this generation reflect different, subcategories of Nefesh, such as the Ruach of Nefesh, the Neshama of Nefesh, and so forth.

And so we graduate from one level to another, and that’s how we grow. The placement of these three levels of soul inside of us starts from the bottom up. The Nefesh level is the seat, and it’s located in the liver. The Ruach is in the heart and the Neshama is in the brain. Those organs are the seat of each level, but of course they spread out into the entire body.

The physical character of those three parts of the body are appropriate for these three levels of our soul.

The liver, which is primarily concerned with filtering blood, which is activity on the physical level, is the seat of Nefesh, the lowest level of soul.

The heart is concerned with pumping the blood, but it’s more spiritual, and it’s the seat of the Ruach.

And the brain, which is located higher in the body, is the seat of the Neshama, the highest level of soul located in the physical body.

Our individual soul is connected microcosmically to all souls, and to all live aspects of reality. So, we don’t live in a vacuum, alone in our own soul. Our souls are interconnected with other souls, with other people, and with time and space. Therefore, we have a microcosmic effect on the world, and the world has its effect on us. I am using the word “microcosmic” to mean that which is outside of us is also inside of us, and vice versa.

That means one person, if he is intent enough, and living on a quality level, can fix up the world. That’s the power of this microcosmic connection to the world.

Another aspect of souls involves the fact that a great majority of us is actually outside of us. In a manner of speaking, when we really plug into our souls we become something like a holy skeptic. We have a sense of knowing that there’s something better than what we’re being fed in this world, and that there is something much higher available.

It’s like what we always say about a mitzvah. When we perform a mitzvah we understand there’s no payoff in this world, because it’s such a spiritual thing and it’s so far beyond this world. The only payoff in this world is the ability to do another mitzvah. There is no payoff that can really satisfy the soul, because the soul is on a much higher level. On its own, it’s even higher than the parallel angelic levels.

We can plug into our soul in different ways and understand it as a guiding light. We can resonate with it, and begin to understand the difference between its guidance and the body’s guidance. Its guidance is described in some books as the Divine soul, the Divine Nefesh inside of us, as opposed to the animalistic soul inside of us. And when we are able to hear its voice, that’s when we’re able to go forward, and to go higher.

There are times we can hear our soul in unusual ways, and we can feel a kind of deep, emotional yearning, which seems to have no connection to whatever we’re doing at the moment. That’s our soul talking to us. We need to find a way to process it, to say some holy verses, to say a prayer or talk to G-d. Just don’t ignore your soul talking to you or through you.

Different kinds of souls come into this world for different purposes. Not everybody can perform the same way in different situations. A midnight person is one who has a midnight soul, to get up at midnight and do the midnight thing. Over the years, I’ve seen many, many people try to do it, but they have failed because they don’t have a midnight soul.

And the same thing is true of Kabbalah. A lot of people try real Kabbalah and simply fall asleep during classes, sometimes for years on end. It’s because they don’t have a Kabbalah type of soul.

Another thing is to be able to hear your soul, and understand what it needs to complete itself in this world. What does it need to learn, which people does it need to connect with, and which situations does it need to perfect? As we’ve said before, we’re here on unfinished business. The soul guides us in order to teach us what that unfinished business is all about.

I think we can say that there are situations where the soul is renewed and even replaced at higher levels, in rare situations. There’s a verse teaching us that when a person has come to the end of his days, and what he’s come into this world to complete is finished, he can use certain verses to use in order to deposit one level of soul and acquire a higher one.

Every night when we go to sleep we renew, or “polish up” our soul. Just as we renew our physical strength by sleeping, in the same way our soul gets polished up, refreshed and renewed during sleep.

The Arizal on The Root Souls of Our Leaders: Yaakov

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: Moshe

rp_ARItree-219x300-1-219x300.jpg

I’m going to continue with Arizal meditations, but I’m going into a new area. It’s a study of the root souls of the premiere leaders of our nation, from the Arizal’s point of view. I’m using a special book, called Root Souls, it’s in Hebrew of course, for most of my ideas, but also from a few other works as well.

Moshe Rabeinu is the logical first choice as a leader, so I’ll start with him.

Here are some interesting points about the root soul of Moses:

  1. Moses was the root of all the Jewish people. He was an all-containing person, meaning everything and everybody was basically inside of him. He was connected to everybody because he was an all-containing soul. All the people in the nation of Israel at the time of Moses, and all of us forevermore are all rooted in his soul. We’ve all received, and we continue to receive through him. That is a very significant aspect of who Moses is.

 

  1. Moses was a person who experienced and who knows all of Torah, which includes the oral Torah, the written Torah and all discussions about Torah in the past, present and future, until the end of time. His access to all of Torah, for all time, has incredible ramifications for us all. We all have our own personal relationship with Moses as a result.

 

  1. Moses made a decision, as the leader of the Jewish people, to bring the mixed multitude along with the Jewish people coming out of Eqypt. This group of people was far greater in number than the number of Israelites leaving Eqypt. His decision to include others was controversial, and in fact the presence of other people became the proverbial “thorn in the side” of our nation, at the time of the Exodus and still today.

 

  1. Moses was born circumcised, and aligned with the side of goodness, from birth. He was born after only 7 months in the womb, because he needed less time in gestation to become prepared to come out into the world. And he was born 120 years after the beginning of the Egyptian exile. Since the entire period of the exile was 210 years, Moses was 80 years old when he led the Jewish people out of Egypt.

 

The first 120 years correlates to the 120 years Adam was separated from his wife and had spilled his seed. The Israelites, therefore, were rectifying Adam’s losses during those years, and Moses was called as a leader after the rectification.

 

  1. Moses was the leader of his generation, not only in his own time. G-d declared, because he brought out mixed multitudes along with the Jewish people, and those others became the thorn in the side of the Jewish people in every generation, Moses would come back in every generation, too. He would reincarnate to take care of the mixed multitude, and by his very presence in our times, in a supernatural way, he dwells among us so we can be connected.

 

  1. Moses was, at the same time, the greatest of prophets and the greatest of scholars, and yet he was also the most humble of all human beings. This point needs deep study, in and of itself, meaning coming to understand a soul which is so humble it allows a person to receive everything, all of the prophetic insight and all of Torah.

 

  1. Moses, it is taught, was the reincarnation of Adam’s sons, Hevel (Abel) and Shet (Seth). Those names are represented in his own name, Moshe, with the Shin and the Hey, That source of his soul was a connection to the relationship between Cain and Abel, which played out in Moses’ life as his relationship with Jethro, a reincarnation of Cain. This spiritual reality is an example of the tikkun, the rectification needed at the time.

 

  1. Moses was able to see much more clearly than any other prophet before him, with his connections and his prophetic powers. He was able to see with an untarnished perspective, and to speak with G-d as a friend speaks with a friend. Other prophets saw through a mirror, so to speak, and their prophetic messages need interpretation because they don’t have the direct connection we have.

 

  1. Moses was born and he died on the 7th of Adar, at the age of 120 years old. This is an indication of the span of his years and also of the uniqueness and righteousness of that particular day on the calendar.

 

  1. Moses was considered to be an angel of G-d, certainly a man of G-d, and our Sages teach us that he was able to fast from food and water for 40 days and 40 nights, which is much more like G-d and it is like a human. He was definitely a man, but his face shown with a light so bright that other people couldn’t look at his face at all. In fact, Moses had to wear a mask to conceal that energy.

 

Our Sages tell us that Moses was very, very tall, 10 meters tall. So, he was a tall and a strong man, and generally beyond the level of normal people. But we’re told that if we’re able to find where he is and to pray for him, the Messianic era would arrive immediately. We don’t know exactly where Moses’ grave is located, and maybe it’s because the time isn’t right for us to know. It’s still a mystery…

 

  1. Moses was completely selfless and self-sacrificing as regards the wellbeing of his nation of people. He was willing to give up his own name, his own life for the sake of the nation. Sefirotically, Moses represents the sphere of Netzach of Eternity, of transcendence, of overcoming everything in an eternal way.

 

  1. Moses was the leader, and the one to whom people looked for guidance, and for everything, while at the same time he was very humble. We have to keep this dichotomy in mind in order to try and emulate Moshe in our own lives, to experience who he was and who he is now. We need to be able to look at Moses and see his all-inclusiveness, and then bring it into our lives, too.

 

We need to see and know the people outsides ourselves, and yet experience them inside ourselves. Like Moses, we need to feel the responsibility of all our people, and step up to that responsibility.

We have to be able to feel we have access to a lot more wisdom and G-dliness than we can even imagine, or certainly take credit for. We have to experience humility, even when we are great, or perhaps, as a result of being great. We have to see ourselves as humble people even as we feel the responsibilities.

 

  1. Moses represented the Sefira of Daat, of Knowing, and we have to try to find that inside ourselves as well.
Rav Yitzchak Schwartz

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Rav Yitzchak Schwartz

Rav Yitzchak Schwartz

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