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Michael Laitman, PhD

Some Q&A’s

All the souls on Earth have been here on previous occasions. It is like a dinner party where the guests keep going in and out. Each time they return, they learn something, leave, then bring it to the next party, which is held in a new house (person). All their experiences from past parties are applied to their present visit. Also, each time a soul visits, its desires strengthen and evolve because of its development in yesterday’s party (life).

Who Was I?

Baal HaSulam writes in the article “The Freedom” that each generation contains the same souls as the previous generation, but in new bodies. The soul that is joined with your body could have been in a variety of persons, but there is no way to know because your soul is focused only on the present.

All of your memories are connected to one another. Everything you have ever experienced remains within you; nothing ever disappears. However, you cannot use it like a filing cabinet and pull out specific thoughts. Past memories appear on their own, in order to understand the present.

All souls are connected within the common soul of Adam ha Rishon. Because they are connected, memory is shared. Like a drop of water in a bucket, souls don’t keep their earthly identities.

Can We Identify People from the Past?

Yes we can. People’s souls return to Earth. Kabbalists see the same soul reincarnated in Adam, Abraham, Moses, Rabbi Shimon, the Ari, and Yehuda Ashlag (all Kabbalist writers). It is as if the same soul covers itself in a contemporary Kabbalist each time it appears in our world. This allows each generation to get to know Kabbalah in its unique way.

However, Baal HaSulam was not born with the soul of the Ari. He was born and lived in his body as everyone does, with his own spiritual potential. In addition, though, he received the potential, the Light, the quality of bestowal called “Ari.” This is the spiritual force of the Ari. He then continued developing it with the method of Kabbalah.


On Course

When Kabbalah speaks of a person being in this world, it is referring to a person’s will to receive in a state of concealment from the Creator, with no intention to give to Him. In other words, before we cross the barrier we are in this world. After we cross it we are in the next world.


You, too, can try to have all the souls joined within you. In that state, you will have other souls beyond your own. One of these additional souls will be called “the donkey driver,” the soul that helps steer you along your spiritual path, which we mentioned in Chapter 9.

Can I Reincarnate as an Animal?

As far as souls are concerned, Kabbalah distinguishes between animals and humans. Animals are animate, while humans are both animate and spiritual. As humans, you and I have the ability to give back to the Creator.

The book, Together Forever, tells the story of a lonely magician who creates things to keep him company. He creates a dog, which is very loyal and good to care for, but the dog cannot reciprocate the specific care the magician gave.


Spiritual Sparks

Reincarnation occurs in all the objects of the tangible reality, and each object, in its own way, lives eternal life.

—Baal HaSulam, “The Peace”


Being able to reciprocate to the Creator is the gift of humanity. Therefore, reincarnation and evolution of souls deals only with human bodies.

How Many Times do I Have to Reincarnate?

In his article, “ Which Degree Should One Achieve?” Rav Baruch Ashlag—Yehuda Ashlag’s son and a great Kabbalist in his own right—asks, “What is the degree one should achieve, so he will not have to reincarnate?” He answers that the soul continues to come back until it completes its correction and returns to its root. You don’t have to correct anybody else, but you should try to give them the means to do it. If you’ve corrected yourself entirely, and did all you could for others, you will not continue to reincarnate.

The number of souls in the universal system is 600,000, and it is unchanging. There are 6,000 years given for all souls to reach attainment. As of 2009, there are 231 years left.

How long the souls continue to come back to Earth depends on how much progress is made toward their correction. You can think of it as your soul being on a journey, and you are the trail guide. If you lead the hikers (souls) to their goal, they won’t have to come back next year to Trail Life, or they will come back stronger and ready to progress more. Any progress is good progress.



A famous Chinese proverb says “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” This is similar to what we do when we help others to learn the knowledge of Kabbalah, which helps correct their souls.


The goal is to bring all the souls to the top of the spiritual mountain, where complete correction is achieved. They become more corrected as they climb. Until all souls reach the top, they will keep returning to our earthly bodies so we can help them climb. Studying Kabbalah speeds up the progress.

Can I Remember Past Lives?

You cannot sense past lives with your bodily senses. You have gone through phases in your life: baby, youth, teenager—all leading to you today. “You today” cannot see “you last week” because “you today” covered it up. All the phases are there, but you can see only the present state, “you today.”

The most advanced point in your soul’s past is your starting point in this life. If you achieve a high degree of spirituality, the next person that joins with your soul will have an even better starting point.

What Remains of Past Lives?

A previous life can also affect this one, usually positively. By simply existing, there is already some correction. This is because in every life cycle, we experience suffering. In that, we are no different from the rest of creation. This suffering leads to spiritual progress as we ask questions and seek change.

We can accelerate correction by making an effort to be spiritual. When we do, we feel pain consciously, and discover its cause. We then decide to change our intentions in order to get rid of the pain. This is how the past affects the present. This is important because there is a need to constantly renew the links between the souls. This fixes their connections in place and makes the unification of all the souls possible. This is called the correction of the collective soul.


Off Course

You do not want to progress through pain. This is not the way. Pain only leads you to thinking you’re a martyr, making you proud and drives you away from the need to become like the Creator. The only good thing about pain is that it indicates that you are not in the right direction.


How Can I Positively Affect My Next Life?

The closer you bring your soul to the Creator in this life, the better off it will be in the next. With the correction you achieve, your soul will be “further along” spiritually in its next visit.

The closeness you achieve with the Creator in this life makes your soul’s “return journey” easier in the next life because your soul is further along on the path to complete correction. People head toward correction either intentionally or by way of pain.

Everything you acquire (attributes, qualities, knowledge) in this world passes away except the changes in your soul. It’s like a seed that will grow in the next rainy season. When the plant dies, its seed falls and sprouts another bud. What remains is the plant’s energy. The spiritual energy that remains in us is a soul.

Kabbalah teaches that the ultimate measure of your life is in the difference between the soul you received at birth and the soul that you have now. This measures the extent to which you have spiritually elevated your soul.

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