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96) The most hidden is given to the wise at heart. Three degrees cling to one another—Nefesh, Ruach, Neshama.
Nefesh is considered a force from which the body is built. When a man wakes up in this world to mate with the Nukva, all the organs agree and erect to enjoy it, and the soul and the will of a man readily enter that act, drawing the soul and permeating it into the semen that he lets out.
97) Out of the desire—and with the extension of the soul that he extends there—another force is drawn, from among those degrees of angels that are called “persons,” and everything enters into the extension of the semen, and the body is built of them. This is the first, lowermost force of those three degrees—the Nefesh.
Man is an offshoot of ZON de Atzilut. Hence, from his root he has only Nefesh. This is so because the light that extends from the Malchut, Nukva de ZA, is called Nefesh. However, through the mitigation, when Malchut rises and is mitigated in Bina, man, too, becomes gripped in Bina. For this reason, man consists of three degrees—Bina, Tifferet, and Malchut.
The light of Bina is called Neshama, the light of Tifferet is called Ruach, the light of Malchut is called Nefesh, and those three degrees extend from the three worlds—Beria, Yetzira, and Assiya. If he is rewarded even more, they extend from Bina, Tifferet, and Malchut of the world of Atzilut.
The first extension is the light of Nefesh, the force from which the body is built, and which extends by the force of the progenitors’ light of Nefesh. This is so because by the force of the great desire of the progenitors, which is a strong agreement from their light of Nefesh, they extend the light of Nefesh of the newborn from the spiritual world of Assiya, and it clothes in the semen that they produce, and the newborn’s body gradually builds out of this spiritual light.
However, it cannot be conceived that there will be illumination of the light of Nefesh without illumination of the light of Ruach, for there is nothing that does not contain male and female. The Ruach is male and the Nefesh is female, hence the light of Ruach extends to him from the world of angels—the world of Yetzira—along with the light of Nefesh. However, in the beginning of the formation of the newborn, it is not actual light of Ruach that is drawn to him, but Malchut de [of] Ruach from the Malchut of the world of angels. This is so because they, too, divide into ten Sefirot, KHB, HGT, NHYM, and are called Malaachim, Erelim, Seraphim, Hayot, Ofanim, Hashmalim, Elim, Elokim, Bnei Elokim, Ishim.
Thus, their last degree is Ishim, Malchut of the angels, whose value is the same as Nefesh de Ruach. It clothes in the newborn’s light of Nefesh and is thus regarded as having two lights, Ruach and Nefesh in Nefesh—Nefesh in Nefesh from the world of Assiya and Ruach in Nefesh from the world of angels, with respect to the Nefesh in them, which are called Ishim.
98) And because this Nefesh offers a sacrifice in Dvekut together with the Yesod of the Guf, who is offered to atone for the Neshama, a part of it is given to those degrees of Ishim, since a part of the Nefesh, which is the Ruach in Nefesh, extends from them. It is written about it, “My food which is presented unto Me for offerings made by fire,” meaning for the Ishim [Ishim is spelled like “my fire” in Hebrew].
Because it is atonement that comes by the force of Nefesh, they take their share, too, according to the measure of their share that is clothed in that soul which sacrifices the offering. And when a person passes away from this world, that Nefesh will never move from the grave, and by that force of the Nefesh that remains in the grave, the dead know and speak to one another.
99) The Ruach is what sustains the Nefesh in this world, extending the abundance of life and giving to the Nefesh. It is the middle of three degrees and it is an extension that comes by the awakening of Nukva de Atzilut to the Dechar [male] de Atzilut while they are of one desire during the Zivug. This is so because then she awakens toward the male because of her desire to receive the light of Ruach from him.
It is like the Nukva of this world, which fertilizes the semen by the force of her craving to receive from the male. It is written about it, “And the spirit will return to God who gave it,” meaning he returned to the Nukva, who is called Elokim. And even though the Ruach extends from ZA, who is called HaVaYaH, still, because he comes with the awakening of the Nukva, she is regarded as its root, and it returns to her after the demise from the body.
100) After man’s demise, this Ruach comes out of this world and parts from the Nefesh, which remains hovering over the grave, while he enters the Garden of Eden in this world. There, he clothes in the air of the Garden of Eden like the upper angels that come down to this world. They clothe this air when they come down to this world because they were made of that Ruach, as it is written, “He makes the winds His messengers.”
101) In the middle of the garden is a pillar that is formed with all the colors. When that Ruach wishes to rise to the world of Atzilut, it undresses that clothing of the air of the Garden of Eden and goes into the pillar, rising up to the place from which it came out, to the Nukva de Atzilut, as it is written, “And the spirit will return to God who gave it.”
102) At that time, the great priest, Michael, takes the Ruach and offers it as an offering of sweet savor before the Creator, ZA. It sits there in ZA de Atzilut and is refined in that bundle of life, on which it is written, “Neither has the eye seen a God besides You.” Afterwards, it comes back down from there to the Garden of Eden on the earth and is refined with all kinds of refinements, dresses that clothing of the air of the Garden of Eden once more, and sits there now in a crown that is twice as big as what it was prior to its ascent to ZON de Atzilut.
103) The Neshama is a superior force to the Nefesh and the Ruach. It is from the male force, which is the tree of life. ZA, called “the tree of life,” pulls her from Bina de Atzilut, and because ZA is pulling her, it is considered her root. It is like the Ruach, that the Nukva is considered its root because she extends it from ZA. However, the light of ZA is called Ruach, and the light of Bina is called Neshama. And after a man’s demise, the Neshama immediately rises up and does not come to the Garden of Eden on the earth first, like the Ruach, but immediately rises to her root, to ZA.
All three degrees NRN are connected to each other. When they part from the Guf, they all rise and return to the place from which they went out.
104) When the Ruach comes out of this world and enters the cave of Adam ha Rishon and the patriarchs, they give him there a letter as a sign, and he goes to the Garden of Eden. When he approaches, he meets the Cherubim there and that flaming sword which turns every way. If he is rewarded, they see the letter that is the sign, open the gate for him, and he enters. If not, they repel him outside.
105) She sits there for as long as she sits there and dresses there in a form of this world. In the beginning of the month and on the Sabbath, when she wishes to rise to the upper Garden of Eden, the righteous in the Garden of Eden give her a letter as a sign and she rises through that pillar in the middle line of the lower Garden of Eden, where she meets the watchmen of the walls of Jerusalem. If she is rewarded, the gate is opened before her and she enters. If not, the letter that is the sign is taken away from her and she is repelled outside. Then she says, “The watchmen that go about the city found me, …the keepers of the walls took away my mantle from me.” “My mantle” is the letter that is the sign that the keepers of the walls of Jerusalem took from her.
Death comes to the world due to the sin of the tree of knowledge that disclosed the point of Midat ha Din [quality of judgment] of Malchut, which is not corrected through the six thousand years. This is the reason why there is not a righteous man on earth that does not sin. And even if a person is rewarded with extending NRN with his good deeds, the angel of death still has the strength to reveal the point of Midat ha Din that is hidden in his root, and then he dies. This is so because wherever this point appears, the lights of life depart, and after six thousand years, when this point is mended, then it will be said, “And death shall be swallowed up forever.”
However, Midat ha Din de Tzimtzum Aleph controls only Malchut, not the upper nine, hence it remains only over the body—which extends from this Malchut, and on the Nefesh, the light of Malchut, from which the body is built—but not over Ruach and Neshama, the upper nine. This is so because the Ruach is ZA, which contains HGT NHY, and the Neshama is the light of Bina, which contains GAR, and they are not blemished whatsoever but exit the body and depart to their root.
But still, there is a difference between Ruach and Neshama. Ruach is the light of ZA, which sustains the Nefesh. Hence, it is mingled with Malchut de Midat ha Din. This is the reason why it cannot immediately rise to its root but requires mitigation from Bina once again. But the Neshama, which is the light of GAR, has no contact with this Malchut of Midat ha Din, hence she requires no mitigation. For this reason, when the body dies, she immediately rises to her root. Thus, there are three discernments between them:
- The Nefesh and the body on which there is the force of Midat ha Din, by appearing at the time of death, which is called “grave.”
- The Ruach, which has the correction of returning to its root by receiving mitigation from Bina.
- The Neshama, which immediately rises to her root without any mitigation.
It writes that when a man passes away from this world, that Nefesh will never move from the grave. The grave is the force of Midat ha Din in Malchut, from which a man dies. He is locked there until the revival of the dead, and it hovers primarily over the body, Malchut, and over the Nefesh—the light of Malchut that sustains the body—hence they are in the grave.
It is also written that when the Ruach comes out of this world and enters the cave of Adam ha Rishon and the patriarchs, they give him there a letter as a sign, since the harsh Klipa, the grave, does not govern the Ruach, but requires mitigation from Bina once again. Hence, it enters the Cave of Machpelah, the place of mitigation of the two letters Hey together, which are Malchut and Bina. This mitigation is called “a notebook,” which is a folded letter, like the fetus in its mother’s womb, which is folded like a notebook, its head on its knees, indicating the ascent of NHY to HGT, three within three.
When the Ruach receives this notebook from Adam and the patriarchs, it is a sign that he was sufficiently mitigated in Bina. And then he goes to the Garden of Eden, which is the lower Garden of Eden, since a garden is Malchut. And when she is corrected to being in the lights of Bina, which is called “Eden,” Malchut is called “the Garden of Eden,” and then two general matters are discerned in her: 1) the general Bina in Malchut, which is the lower Garden of Eden, and 2) the general Malchut in Bina, which is the upper Garden of Eden. There it speaks of Ruach and Neshama together in general, and here it speaks in particular. This is why he says that only the Ruach rises to the lower Garden of Eden.
It is also written that at the beginning of the month and on the Sabbath, when she wishes to rise to the upper Garden of Eden, the righteous in the Garden of Eden give her a letter as a sign. In the beginning of the month and on Shabbat, the Ruach rises to the upper Garden of Eden, hence a second mitigation is required in Bina. All this relates only to Ruach, which requires those mitigations in Bina. But the Neshama immediately rises up because she does not need mitigations.
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