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Yehuda Leib HaLevi Ashlag (Baal HaSulam)

600,000 Souls

It is said that there are 600,000 souls, and each soul divides into several sparks. We must understand how it is possible for the spiritual to divide, since initially, only one soul was created, the soul of Adam ha Rishon.

In my opinion, there is indeed only one soul in the world, as it is written (Genesis, 2:7), “and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life.” [1] The same soul exists in all the children of Israel, complete in each and every one, as in Adam ha Rishon, since the spiritual is indivisible and cannot be cut—which is rather a trait of corporeal things.

Yet, saying that there are 600,000 souls and sparks of souls appears as though it is divided by the force of the body of each person. In other words, first, the body divides and completely denies him of the radiance of the soul, and by the force of the Torah and the Mitzva, the body is cleansed, and to the extent of its cleansing, the common soul shines upon him.

For this reason, two discernments were made in the corporeal body: In the first discernment, one feels one’s soul as a unique organ, and does not understand that this is the whole of Israel. And this is truly a flaw; hence, it causes along with the above-mentioned.

In the second discernment, the true Light of the soul of Israel does not shine on him in all its illumination force, but only partially, by the measure he has purified himself by returning to the collective.

The sign for the body’s complete correction is when one feels that one’s soul exists in the whole of Israel, in each and every one of them, for which he does not feel himself as an individual, for one depends on the other. At that time, he is complete, flawless, and the soul truly shines on him in its fullest power, as it appeared in Adam ha Rishon, as in “He who breathed, breathed from within Him.”

This is the meaning of the three times of a person:

  1. A spark of a soul, the act by way of sparkling, as in prohibiting and permitting.

  2. A particular soul, one part out of 600,000. It is permanently completed, but its flaw is with it. This means that its body cannot receive the whole of the soul, and feels itself as being distinct, which causes him much pains of love.

Subsequently, he approaches perfection, the common soul, since the body has been cleansed and it is entirely dedicated to HaVaYaH and does not pose any measures and screens and is completely included in the whole of Israel…

We learned that “if even one man came before his Master in complete repentance, the Messiah King would come at once.” It seems to mean, as they said (Song of Songs, 1), “Moses is equal to 600,000.” We need to understand it, since this would mean that there are twice 600,000 souls—the soul of Moses and the soul of Israel.

But the truth is that there is no more than one soul, as it is known by the measure of each and every soul that purifies and cleanses itself from its filth. Hence, when all the souls are corrected, they will draw onto them the entire Higher soul of Atzilut, to each and every soul, since the spiritual is indivisible. At that time (Zechariah, 14:9) “And the Lord shall be King over all the earth.” Hence, while even a single soul is denied of complete purity, the extension of Kedusha (Holiness) will be deficient in every soul from Israel.

And when a single soul from Israel is purified from all its filth, it will draw onto itself the whole of the soul of Atzilut, and through it, all the souls of its generation will be completed. This is the meaning of one being dependent on the other, as it is written (Sanhedrin, 11), “It was befitting that Divinity would be upon him, but his generation was unworthy of it.”

The content of the words is unanimously bewildering, that the same soul that was rewarded with purification immediately strives to increase the grace of the generation and asks for them, until it elevates its entire generation to its merit.

This is the meaning of “Moses is equal to 600,000.” Because he was their loyal shepherd, he had the same Kedusha (Holiness) that the whole generation had.

Indeed, the whole is found within each item, since in the end, all the souls will unite into one discernment, returning to their spiritual root. Hence, all the miracles and wonders and all the journeys they had travelled throughout the world during the 6,000 years should be experienced by each soul. The good soul draws to itself from all the discernments of Kedusha before it and after it; and the evil soul does to the contrary.

And the changing times are considered generations. However, each generation behaves as its judge, by the mind that judges it, since it receives from the Kedusha of that time.

For this reason, each soul is willing to draw the souls of Moses, Aaron, Samuel, David, and Solomon within it, as times that it experiences. During the exit from Egypt and the reception of the Torah, the soul of Moses appears on it; during the seven of the conquests, the souls of Joshua; and during the building of the Temple, the souls of King Solomon, etc.

This does not refer to the above-mentioned souls in particular, but according to the rule that we said that the spiritual is indivisible, as soon as one is rewarded with a soul, he is rewarded with the soul of the whole of Israel, though according to one’s merit and place. Hence, at a time when one is rewarded with these wonders, one receives into himself the abundance of the soul in that disclosure, hence the name of the owner of that disclosure is upon him.

And they said (Shabbat, 67; Baba Metzia, 113), “All of Israel are sons of kings. Also (Jerusalem Talmud, Masechet Horaiot (Instructions), 3, 5), “A king that dies, all of Israel are worthy of kingship.” This is a great secret, for in all the previous generations, which were but a preparation for Malchut (kingship), special Kelim (vessels) were required for anointment of their judges, such as the souls of Moses and Samuel. But the final purpose depends on the whole of Israel, since when a tiny part of a tiny spark is missing, the end will not be able to appear. Hence, all of Israel are worthy of kingship, since everyone is equal in this true discernment.

For this reason, there is no special Kli (vessel) for drawing that perfection, but anyone who cleanses and purifies his soul to be worthy of extending the revelation of Malchut in the world will literally be called “King David.” This is the meaning of “David, King of Israel, is indeed alive,” for he has not died at all. His Kli is within each and every soul from Israel. This is not the case with the soul of Moses, which is found only in the wise disciples in the generation, as well as in prophets and priests.

This is the meaning of (Jerusalem Talmud; Masechet Horaiot, 3, 5) “A king that dies, all of Israel are worthy of kingship.” This is also the meaning of exempting the public.

This is the meaning of (Sutah, 49), “At the time of the Messiah, Chutzpah (impudence) will mount,” and (Isaiah, 3:5) “the child shall behave insolently against the aged, and the base against the honorable.” This means that even an ignoble child will dare to extend His kingship to the world, as though he were one of the elders and the honorable in the generation.

Should the ignoble, too—one who has a lowly and base soul at its root—aim his heart and purify his deeds to become worthy, he will be rewarded with extending the whole of the soul of a holy nation in his soul, with all the wonders that the holy nation has tasted thus far. This is because they were all but preparations for this wholeness.

Hence, even that particular soul must taste everything, and he will buy his world in an hour due to the ability of that generation to extend the crown of His kingship, which contains everything: “And all need the owner of the needles, and every element in it is required” (Berachot, 64; Baba Batra, 145).

This is the meaning of their words: “Even if one man came before his Master in complete repentance, the Messiah King would come at once.” This means that whoever it was, even if it were only one man in the generation who was rewarded with extending that soul by himself, he will be able to reward his whole generation, since all who are obliged, exempt the public through their duty, and he can do much praying and hold his own until he rewards his entire generation.

This is not so with other kinds of redemptions, which were only in the form of preparations and did not belong to each and every one. For example, the giving of the Torah belongs specifically to the generation of the desert and to Moses. And any other generation, even if they were more worthy, did not extend that discernment, and neither did any other person besides Moses, for one they were interdependent.

However, the Messiah is ready for each and every generation. Because of that, it is also ready for each and every person to extend the discernment of the Messiah, as in “All who are obliged,” as mentioned above.

And the reason is that anointments concern the correction of the Kelim, and the portrayal of all the Kelim as equal, since any division between them is only in their HBD, by their measures. Hence, from the minister who sees the King’s face to the one who sits behind the grindstone, all are equal servants in bringing back the old glory, and in that, there are no degrees between one another.

[1] Translator’s note: In Hebrew, the words “soul” and “breath” are spelled the same.

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