Dressing the Divine Soul
Q: What happens to the animate part of the soul after our death?
A: In “The Preface to the Wisdom of Kabbalah” Baal HaSulam writes that all that exists, except for the Creator, is the desire to receive pleasure; and all distinctions between the created beings are determined by the degree of this desire. The Creator fixes it in each being, and since there are four levels to the desire, there are also four groups of beings: still, vegetative, animate and speaking (man).
Only stage four has an independent desire. The rest are auxiliary, “mechanical” ones. Hence in all the worlds, including ours, there are still, vegetative, animate and speaking. Only man has free will, and is therefore obligated to correct himself with the help of the screen, and change his intentions from “for oneself” to “for the Creator.” If desired, man corrects the preceding stages three, two and one, meaning the animate, vegetative and still.
Man has within an animate stage and a man stage, in which the man stage is his soul, developing from “the point in his heart” to its full size at the end of correction. Man’s biological body and his animate soul are similar to those of animals and have the same fate: according to the degree of cooperation with the Divine Soul, the animate soul rises to correction, and, as we learn, they dress one another, merging into one.