"Every soul of Israel needs to be reincarnated many times, in order to fulfill all 613 commandments of the Torah in thought, speech and action."
The above chapter outlined the view of almost all the major authorities that the soul, after ascending from the body to the World of Souls for judgment and reward, will again be brought down into the body at the time of the Resurrection. This chapter deals with the concept of reincarnation.
The Zohar clearly states that a soul may descend to this world more that once. Moreover, the AriZal writes that every Jew needs to be reincarnated repeatedly, until he has fulfilled all 613 commandments of the Torah at the level of thought, of speech and of action.
Accordingly, one might ask, if a particular soul has been reincarnated in a number of bodies, in which body will it be clothed at the time of the Resurrection?
The AriZal explains that each time a soul descends to this world, one of its components is rectified; through successive descents, the soul as an entirety is rectified. Ultimately, each component of the soul will be resurrected in the body which served as its host.
The concept of components does not mean that no one person will house an entire soul, for each component comprises within itself all the components of the entire soul,
since all souls emanate from one Source.
Thus, all souls were originally contained in the soul of Adam,
and later in the soul of Yaakov Avinu, after which there developed 600,000 souls which further divide into 600,000 sub-souls.
In answer to the original question, then: Even if a soul has been reincarnated a number of times, each host body will be resurrected.
- (Back to text) The Heb. noun is gilgul.
- (Back to text) The AriZal, paraphrased in Tanya - Iggeres HaKodesh, Epistles 7, 29.
- (Back to text) I, 131a; Tikkunei Zohar 40. See also: Tikkunei Zohar 70:132a; R. Chaim Vital, Shaar HaMitzvos; Introduction to Shaar HaGilgulim, sec. 11; Sefer HaBahir, sec. 58 (195).
- (Back to text) "Excepted are the commandments incumbent only upon a king, because he discharges the obligation of all Israel, as he is a corporate collective of them all." See Iggeres HaKodesh, Epistle 29, in Lessons In Tanya, Vol. V, and footnotes there.
- (Back to text) This question is asked by the Zohar itself (I, 131a), and two answers are presented. However, the AriZal quotes (and hence apparently accepts) only the view of R. Yosei, as quoted above. See Ramaz on the Zohar. See also: Tzlach on Berachos 58b, Maggid Meisharim on Parshas Mikeitz, p. 15a. The Zohar (II, 100a) suggests that the soul will be resurrected in the body in which most of its work was accomplished; hence, in the most refined body. See HaMelech BiMesibo (Kehot), Second Night of Sukkos, 5723 .
- (Back to text) Shaar HaGilgulim, Introduction 4; Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XVI, p. 517. On the concept of rectification (tikkun), see Tanya - Iggeres HaKodesh, Epistle 7.
- (Back to text) Supposing, for example, a man excels in observing the mitzvah of loving G-d and thereby rectifies the appropriate component of his soul.
Upon Resurrection, he will also have the ability to contemplate the greatness of G-d and thereby fulfill the mitzvah of "knowing" G-d; likewise, he will also be able to fear G-d. However, these soul-powers will be present only because he loves G-d and therefore wishes to fulfill His will in all other areas; or, in a deeper sense, because he loves G-d so much, he truly wishes to know His greatness and is fearful of doing anything that might separate him from Him Whom he loves. This concept is encapsulated in the Talmudic comment (Sotah 31a) that Avraham Avinu's fear of G-d, as described in the Torah, stemmed from his love of G-d. (See Likkutei Torah, Parshas Masei, p. 88d.)
- (Back to text) See Tanya, chs. 2, 32, 37, and Iggeres HaKodesh, ch. 7.
It is often stated that the soul of R. Shimon bar Yochai was a spark of the soul of Moshe Rabbeinu, and Eliyahu HaNavi bore the same soul as did Pinchas, yet all agree that all of these persons will be resurrected.
- (Back to text) The Midrash relates that G-d showed Adam all the tzaddikim of future generations who would stem from him, some from his head, some from his hair, and so on (Shmos Rabbah 40:3).
- (Back to text) The subject of this chapter is resumed in ch. 5 below.