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Michael Laitman, PhD

How Many Souls Does a Kabbalist Have?

Q: Baal HaSulam (Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag) wrote that he would not have been able to attain his degree if the Creator had not placed the soul of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai in him. Before that he had his own soul, and after that, the soul of Rabbi Shimon entered him. Did it unite with his original soul, or did he have two souls in one body?

A: The body is born, lives and dies in this world. There is a force that sustains it, with its unique attributes, character and skills. Together, these qualities form a being in our world that is no different from a beast. Animals live amongst themselves, separated from one another, but not as much as people, because they are not as well developed. The level of development is determined by the amount of the variations in that creation.

For example: stones of the same kind are no different from one another. Among plants of the same kind there are minor differences. One can already recognize unique characteristics in animals, and these are apparent in man in every aspect. But all of this can be attributed to the same sustaining force–the animate soul.

Everything that happens to man in his past, present and future belongs to this world. There are people who can predict the future, see the past, sense diseases and so on, but all that relates only to our world, to the animate soul.

Spirituality is above the body, above the desire to take pleasure in material things. It is therefore not connected with the body. A “body,” in Kabbalah, means “desire.” If a person has acquired a screen, he feels the dressing of the Spiritual Light within.

The sensation of the Light, the Creator, within such a desire is called a “soul.” The Light changes according to the screen, and any change in the screen is called a “reincarnation of the soul.”

A person in our world has only the animate reviving force, as do all other animals. If a person gets a desire to take pleasure in the Creator, a desire for the Upper One, a screen may be obtained by studying Kabbalah (there is no other way), and one will then receive a spiritual soul in addition to the animate soul. The animate soul does not change, but the spiritual soul changes all the time. A Kabbalist has two souls: the animate, and the spiritual.

Naturally, a Kabbalist is born with the animate soul and only later attains the higher, spiritual soul. It is said that everyone must come to the degree of Moses, meaning they must attain a soul such as that of Moses. Everyone must come to complete adhesion with the Creator and unite with the spiritual root that is in PartzufAdam HaRishon (the First Man), which contains all the souls within it.

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