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Michael Laitman, PhD

Where and What Is a Soul?

Location, as you and I think of it in time and space, does not exist in the Upper Worlds. What happens when the soul goes back to the Source? Actually, the soul returns to its root in Adam ha Rishon. “Root of the soul” is the place of the soul in the system of Adam ha Rishon. This is a spiritual location that is very close to the Source, the Creator. You cannot find this spiritual location with the five physical senses.

A soul is a spiritual force. In Kabbalah, souls are arranged in a pyramid, stacked according to their desires. Earthly desires are at the bottom, and spiritual desires are at the very top.

At the base of the pyramid are many souls with small desires (food, sex, sleep, and shelter). These are animal-like desires. The next level has those that desire wealth, something beyond basic needs. At the next level is the desire to control others, through power. Even fewer souls are here. Next is knowledge—these souls are engaged in discovery. At the top of the pyramid are the few souls that strive for attainment of the spiritual world. All these levels make up the pyramid.


On Course

Kabbalists distinguish between what they call “the animate soul” and “a soul.” The animate soul is what we’re all born with: character, likes and dislikes, emotions, and tendencies. But when Kabbalists speak of a soul, they are referring to something quite different: a will to receive, corrected with a Masach that enables it to receive in order to give to the Creator.


This pyramid is also within you. You have the potential to act in all these ways. The pressure of the lower worlds must give way to the purest desire, the infinite desire for truth. Here you prefer to put effort and energy into increasing your desire for spirituality, rather than into earthly, egoistic desires. You don’t have to do it all yourself—it is achieved through study, with groups, and through spreading the knowledge to others.

A Shirt for the Soul

The body is the cover for the soul. You can think of your body as a shirt for the soul. Your soul connects you to all the other souls and to the Upper World, and this connection remains after your biological body is gone.


Spiritual Sparks

In our world, there are no new souls the way bodies are renewed, but only a certain amount of souls that incarnate on the wheel of transformation of the form, because each time they clothe a new body and a new generation.

Therefore, with regard to the souls, all generations since the beginning of Creation to the end of correction are as one generation that has extended its life over several thousand years, until it developed and became corrected as it should be. And the fact that in the meantime each has changed its body several thousand times is completely irrelevant, because the essence of the body’s self, called “the soul,” did not suffer at all by these changes.

—Baal HaSulam, “The Peace”


If you cultivate your altruism and think more about the unity of humanity and less about yourself, your efforts become a spiritual Kli. A Kli perceives the spiritual world, beyond your five senses. You feel the Upper Force in your soul, not in your body.

When spiritual perception is attained, you do not feel the physical life and death. This is because your soul is in the spiritual realm. By focusing on the development of your soul, you can transcend biological (earthly) influences to the point that you are unaffected by them.

Rav Baruch Ashlag used to say that, to a Kabbalist, death and rebirth are as meaningless as taking your dirty shirt off and putting on a clean one. When his father, Rav Yehuda Ashlag, was asked where he wanted to be buried, he muttered in blatant indifference: “I couldn’t care less where you dump my bag of bones.”

No Time in Spirituality

Time is our perception of the changes we experience as our soul develops. When your thoughts and desires change slowly, you feel that time is “crawling.” When they change quickly, you feel that time is “flying.”

Time is sensed only when we experience change. When your spiritual void is full, there are no changes. This is why it is said that there is no time in spirituality.

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