The Arizal says (she'ar Hagilgulim) that it's not a problem that Shem and Noach were the same gilgul, although they were father and son, alive at the same time.

In Breshit 48:22 Ya'akov Avinu says he took Shechem from the hand of the Amorite, who Rashi identifies as Eisav, who was still alive.We know that Shechem himself was killed, and his land was given to Yosef by Yaakov avinu.

  1. "And I have given you one portion over your brothers, which I took from the hand of The Amorite with my sword and with my bow." Rashi: [Shechem] one portion over your brothers: Heb. אַחַד עַל אַחֶי‏ שְׁכֶם, the actual [city of] Shechem, which will be for you one share over your brothers.

Rashi: which I took from the hand of the Amorite: From the hand of Esau, who behaved like an Amorite (Gen. Rabbah 97:6). Another explanation [of why Esau is called אמֹרִי]: who deceived his father with the sayings (אִמְרֵי) of his mouth.

So was Shechem was a (at least a partial) gilgul of Eisav?

  • Which part of this is from the Arizal? It would be helpful to include a link.
    – shmosel
    Commented Mar 3, 2023 at 0:34
  • Looks like it's here. He doesn't mention anything about Shechem and Eisav. What makes you think he was a gilgul?
    – shmosel
    Commented Mar 3, 2023 at 0:37
  • It's just a hunch. Yaakov said that he took Shechem from Eisav. It just seems like there may be more to it than what is explicitly written.
    – MosheSF
    Commented Mar 3, 2023 at 2:42
  • 1
    אל תתמה, איך נח ושם היו יחד בזמן א', עם היותם בחי' אחת(about them being comtemporaries)
    – MosheSF
    Commented Mar 3, 2023 at 2:45
  • Welcome to MiYodeya Moshe and thanks for this first question. Great to have you learn with us!
    – mbloch
    Commented Mar 3, 2023 at 4:03

2 Answers 2


There are multiple parts of the soul. And a complete set can be spread amongst multiple people. It could be that Eisav and Shechem had soul pieces that belonged together. Perhaps Shechem and Dinah's daughter were supposed to marry Elifaz or something like that to unite them.

  • This answer underlines that you don't really understand what gilgul is about. The soul doesn't have "parts", like Rambam explains in Moreh Nevuchim on this subject. A soul can branch, like the flow of water branches, but it remains one, connected. Eisav is the son of Yitzchok (1st to be circumcised on the 8th day by covenant), descendant of Adam (born circumcised). Shechem, as far as I have looked at this, is a descendant of the Amorite nation which were a branch of the peoples who existed prior to Adam HaRishon and who were the father to Kayin. None were circumcised. Commented Jun 9, 2023 at 18:31
  • Eisav and Shechem were circumcised. Shechem is a hivite, and thus a regular person, descnded from Adam. As for the parts, it's part of the Chassidic realm of thought. Commented Jun 9, 2023 at 18:59
  • The Chivi at the time of Shechem were also from Kayin. The “Nachash” who impregnated Chava was a Chivite. See Targum Onkelos to Bereshit there. There were 10 pre-Adam lines of mankind spread across the globe. Shechem was not part of the circumcised line until compelled to by the children of Yaacov Avinu. Commented Jun 9, 2023 at 23:23
  • So is Shechem not descended from Noah? He wasn't forced to circumcise, but he did voluntarily. Commented Jun 11, 2023 at 2:59
  • Submission is not necessarily “voluntary”. He wanted Dina. Regarding the subject of those remnants of the pre-humans who survived the flood, there are many examples of apparent survivors. Think of Og and Goliath, for example. Commented Jun 11, 2023 at 8:08

Gilgul doesn't have to mean actual 1:1 reincarnation. It is said that Shechem's taking of Dinah was a punishment for withholding her from Eisav.

Shechem and Eisav were gilgul in the sense that they were the same kind of person even if they weren't factually the same person.

  • MosheSF is only speculating that perhaps the concept of Gilgul HaNeshamot applies to the discussion Eisav and Shechem. You appear to be trying to present the idea I mentioned in my comments to Moshe, but with no sources to support what you are writing and not really explaining it well. Gilgul is not the best term to use to convey what Rashi is explaining even though technically it is a synonym for "transformation" and "mutation". This answer needs work. Commented Jun 9, 2023 at 18:14
  • Actually, I put my answer in before your comment. As for explanations, we don't have hard and fast rules for how gilgulim work. Commented Jun 9, 2023 at 20:21
  • If you want to stand with the answer you presented, that’s your choice. You should look at the Mi Yodeya section discussing what makes a good answer. I’m trying to help you. Commented Jun 9, 2023 at 23:25

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .