The idea of reincarnation is not a new one,
though it is usually associated with mystical eastern religions that have been
around for thousands of years. One religion with which it is not usually
associated is Judaism, even though the idea figures prominently in the
Zohar, one of the main Kabbalistic works, which can be
dated back to around 120 CE.
One of the reasons it is not commonly
discussed in Judaism is because reincarnation is a mystical concept. Therefore,
it is belongs to the level of Torah learning known as
Kabbalah, learned by few and understood by even
less. For many,
Sod is a closed book.
At one point it was that way for almost
everyone. A turning point however was the life of the “Arizal,” an acronym for
Eloki—Godly—Rebbi Yitzchak [Luria].
Though his life was short, from 1534-72, his
impact was enormous. Aside from explaining many concepts from the
Zohar he greatly expanded the Kabbalah base of knowledge.
His teachings have since been the basis for all works of Kabbalah since his
Though many wanted to learn with the Arizal,
he had principally one student, Rabbi Chaim Vital (1543-1620), to whom he
taught the secrets of Torah and Creation. Most of what Rabbi Chaim learned from
his master was recorded in manuscript form but not published in his lifetime.
Eventually the manuscripts were found and
published in what became called the
or “Eight Gates,” of which Sha’ar HaGilgulim,
or the “Gate of Reincarnations,” is the eighth.
The definitive work on the topic of
Sha’ar HaGilgulim not only reveals secrets about the
human soul, personal
the underlying basis of human interaction, it is also an profound and inside
look at Jewish history. It’s knowledge is invaluable for anyone who believes in
self-growth, and its insights are crucial for the person who wants to make
sense of life in this world.
To this end, much of the material from
has been adapted here and organized into a format that will
allow the individual, learned and unlearned, to greatly enhance his or her
perspective and quality of life.
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