For Purim: How Converts Elevate Jewish Souls

In the Biblical Book of Esther 8:17 we are told that ”… And many of the people of the land Jewified (or Judieized) themselves, for the awe of the God of the Jews had fallen upon them. The verb מִתְיַהֲדִים, which means they made themselves Jews, or in modern terms converted, and rendered literally as “Jewified” is strange.

The traditional understanding, following both of the Aramaic translation Targums, is מִתְגַיְירִין, “converted”; the LXX goes so far as to translate the verb as “became circumcised”. Thus they start behaving like Jews, and this behavior would show the Jews and their supporters that they were “one of them.”

In the Cabalistic book “Gate of Reincarnations”: Chapter Seven, Section 4 by Rabbi Yitzchak Luria as recorded by Rabbi Chaim Vital; translation from Sha’ar Hagilgulim by Yitzchok bar Chaim; commentary by Shabtai Teicher.

When a new soul comes into the world for the first time it can easily attain within the same body the Nefesh of Asiya until the Neshama of the Neshama. The Nefesh will become the “dwelling place” and “throne” of the Ruach, and the Ruach to the Neshama, and so on.

The main point here is that new souls can easily achieve all the highest levels. Furthermore, as new levels are attained, each previous level becomes the “dwelling place” or “throne” of the next level. This is none other than the concept of Hitlabshut, or “enclothing”.

However, this is not the case for (the Gilgul souls of) Level Two, which inclued the sparks that were included in Cain and Abel. Although they can achieve as high as the Nefesh of Atzilut in one lifetime, it will not be with the ease of Level One.

This is what we spoke about regarding the secret of Yibum at night, and the verse,”My Nefesh has desired You at night; even (with) my Ruach that is within me will I seek for You…”(Isaiah 26:9).

In Chapter Three, Section 8 we learned that a person who completes his Nefesh cannot normally receive his Ruach in the same lifetime if his Ruach has already been blemished in a previous gilgul. He will have to die and reincarnate, unless “the need is great”.

By meditating upon the verse, “My Nefesh has desired You at night; even (with) my Ruach that is within me will I seek for You…” when he goes to sleep at night, he can cause his Ruach to descend in place of his Nefesh. This will allow him to rectify the Ruach in the same lifetime that the tikun of the Nefesh was completed.

One of the points that Rav Luria adds here is that the Ruach will descend in the morning in place of the Nefesh while it is clothed within the Nefesh of the convert. It cannot descend into a body without being ensconced within a Nefesh, and its own Nefesh has remained above in the Supernal Well. Therefore, as we shall see, it clothes itself in the Nefesh of the convert.

In addition, Rav Luria has added here a new nomenclature for this phenomenon. He calls it “the secret of Yibum at night”, and has mentioned it here since it is possible, through meditation at night upon the verse mentioned above, to attain all three levels of Neshamah, Ruach, and Nefesh in one gilgul.

After a Nefesh has become completely rectified, it leaves a person at night while he (or she) sleeps, and the Nefesh of a convert enters him (or her) in its place in the morning together with the Ruach of the man (or the woman) him or herself.

At night while a person sleeps he deposits his soul Above. Normally the soul comes back the next morning to continue on with its tikun, which in the case of a completed Nefesh would not be necessary.

Therefore, it remains Above, and instead the Nefesh of a convert returns in its place to make possible the tikun of the Ruach during a single lifetime.

[The Ruach] will be clothed within this Nefesh until it is completely rectified. At that point the first Nefesh will return to the body, and they remain together. The Nefesh will be the “throne” for its own Ruach.

If the person merits even more afterwards, then his Nefesh and Ruach will leave him at night, and in the morning his Neshama will enter him and remain there until completely rectified. After that time, his Nefesh and Ruach will re-enter him, and the three levels will remain together.

However, all of this is only with great effort and difficulty, and after focusing intently. This is the secret of the verse, “If He would take notice of him, then He would gather into Himself his Ruach and Neshama”. (Job 34:14)

If he will be wise, and if he knows the meditation “Yibum at Night”, of which we spoke, and if he will pay attention and focus his heart, then he will be able to gather unto himself, in this body, his Ruach and Neshama without the need for further gilgulim reincarnations.

With the proper wisdom, understanding, and concentration, a person who might normally have required many different gilgulim to rectify his Nefesh, Ruach, and Neshama can use the “Yibum at Night meditation” as a way to complete all three of them during one incarnation.

In addition, another advantage of Level One souls over Level Two souls has been explained. Although Level Two souls can achieve very high levels like Level One souls, they can only do so with great effort and difficulty, when the need is great, and when they are proficient in the meditation called “Yibum at Night.” [Commentary by Shabtai Teicher.]

So Jews who are suspicious of, or negative to, converts to Judaism ignore the words of our Rabbis who taught (Jews that hurting the feelings of converts, and wronging them in any way, was prohibited by six different Torah commandments): “One who wounds the feelings of a convert to Judaism transgresses three ‘you must not’ commandments and… one who oppresses a convert to Judaism transgresses three more” (Talmud Baba Mezia 59b).

The tradition that Prophet Jeremiah was a descendant of Rahab the harlot is found in Talmud Megillah 14b, listing Rahab’s many important descendants, which include eight prophets and one prophetess.

About the Author
Rabbi Allen S. Maller has published over 450 articles on Jewish values in over a dozen Christian, Jewish, and Muslim magazines and web sites. Rabbi Maller is the author of "Tikunay Nefashot," a spiritually meaningful High Holy Day Machzor, two books of children's short stories, and a popular account of Jewish Mysticism entitled, "God, Sex and Kabbalah." His most recent books are "Judaism and Islam as Synergistic Monotheisms' and "Which Religion Is Right For You?: A 21st Century Kuzari" both available on Amazon.
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