In the kabbalah of the Arizal, which world does the g-dly soul inherant in a human come from?

Do they for example come from the world of Atzilut?

  • Depends on the soul. They come from the Sefiros of the various worlds. All have a common source as well.
    – Yishai
    Oct 9, 2015 at 15:03
  • see shaar gilgulim in the shemonei shaarim
    – ray
    Oct 13, 2015 at 21:20

3 Answers 3


Part 2.

In terms of context, I explained the "how" but not the "why." It's just as important to understand where the soul came from as to where it is going howbeit I'll truncate this much more than the 30,000 character limit from my first answer.

Insofar as the end game is concerned, besides the aforegoing, all that's left, b'kitzur, is just that one must both refine these nefashot internally (sc., by the kochot = seichel, middot [pnimi], chushim [chitzoni-ריח, טעם, שמיעה, ראייה, מגע, תנועה, והתחושה העמוקה?]) with itkafya and eventually ithapcha, in the garments of machshava(, hirhur,) dibur, and ma'aseh, through the 248 bones/limbs/organs + 365 tendons/sinews/nerves/blood vessels (+ 7 middot)(and reaching a komah shleimah by elevating all the sefirot in each of the nefesh-ruach-neshamah-chaya-yechidah through everyone of the five partzufim of each of the five worlds; the 125 degrees per the Baal HaSulam), for each of the 600,000 sparks of Adam HaRishon's 600,000 fragmented souls following the Shevirat HaKelim, by way of the 613 mitzvot (+ 7 rabbinic mitzvot = chushim, which actualize the middot, brought about by the seichel obtained through talmud Torah lo lishma then lishma, which must be read with proper otiot [which includes shape and meaning, but gematria is included in the remez of PaRDeS], tagim, nekudim, and ta'amim in order to expand the lights of Ma"H, Ba"N, Sa"G, and A"B, learned in PaRDeS and quintessentially Chassidus, viz., the four rivers of the Rashash, the Gra, the Ramchal, and the Besht [saving the besht for last] since ha-Ma'aseh Hu ha-Ikar, rectified in the skull, drawing down the 620 lights of keter), as understood through the 12 minhagim (and the Sha'ar hakollel) of the shvatim, per the 70 faces of Torah, and the psak din of each halachah explained with 49 reasons to rule a matter one way and 49 reasons to rule the opposite, in order to effect (tzirufim and) beirurim (i.e, the smelting down and sorting out) of the remaining 288 netzotzot, finalizing tikkun olam (as the partzufim are completed by the 13 tikkunim of the beard which elevate the sefirot d'iggulim and sefirot d'yosher, revealing the three kavim of ChaGa"R) of brudim, in order to merit the 410 worlds of the tzaddikim - at least in this cosmic shemita.

Easy peasy.


Part 1.

This is mostly Chabad philosophy, but since chassidus interweaves all facets of Judaism (not to mention the beginning of Tanya) I think it bears some importance to understand well. Really, I just want to chart this religious Grey's Anatomy of the soul all out because there's a difference between the root source (shoresh/makor) - and if there's a particular sefirah, the place where it's drawn down (mitlabesh), and where it finds expression.

Oh and I'm not translating anything that could be kabbalah as is prohibited by the Ben Ish Chai. Rav Pe’alim, Vol. 1, Yoreh De’ah, 56. I will only use the typical translation to direct the reader back to the Hebrew.

Short answer, malchut of Atzilut. See Flames by the Mitteler Rebbe, ch 2. To this, I agree with Deane's source that most tzaddikim are on a level higher than angels, but not all angels. Some reside in the olam of Atzilut. Igret HaKodesh, epistle 20. I believe there are some in the Heichalot literature that are even higher. Nevertheless, most souls aren't on the level of Atzilut and there's only 36 hidden tzaddikim. However, this doesn't address the levels of souls. Since the word soul is frequently mistook, hence the prohibition to translate kabbalah, I'll first break down the 5 general neshamot. Bereishit Rabbah 14:9. Nefesh originates in Asiya, Ruach in Yetzirah, and Neshamah in Beriah. Tanya (i.e, Likkutei Amarim passim), ch. 52. Chaya is makif in Atzilut and yechidah (A/K/A Etzem HaNeshamah or the neshamah's neshamah) is rooted in the Or Ein Sof B"H. The Key to Kabbalah by Rabbi Nissan Dovid Dubov, s.v., The Soul and the Afterlife.

One can have a derher of his nefesh when the physical vitality is felt, ruach during emotive vitality, neshamah during intellectual vitality, chaya (the conduit from yechidah above to the NaRa"N below) when the awareness of G-D constantly continually creating the world is internalized, and yechidah when one feels the complete unity of G-d. The lattermost is a mesirat haratzon which means that one loses their free will and consequently leads to mesirat hanefesh.

As explained elsewhere, some people have lower rooted souls and others higher. How can both statements be true, that on the one hand all souls come from Atzilut and on the other hand different olomot? Because the Alter Rebbe uses the double lashon shoresh and makor frequently, referring to its root and source. Remember, the Alter Rebbe wrote the Tanya "without a superfluous or deficient letter," Tanya, Approbations. Although I use them interchangeably, they are different stages in the hishtalshelut. I should edit this better, but I just want to convey the main thrust of ideas.

The seat of the Neshamah is in the head, i.e., the brain; the seat of the Ruach is in the heart; and the seat of the Nefesh is in the liver.

For reference, the NaRa"N are lights, the brain-heart-liver are keilim, and the machshava-dibur-ma'aseh are garments.

נר"ן = אורות

מל"כ = כלים

מדו"מ = לבושים

Irrespective, this still leaves open the question of the many parts of the nefesh. I'll begin.

In a simple sense, there's the Divine Soul and Animal Soul. I direct the reader to the copious footnotes for definitions so I can be terse here. Tanya, the first self-help book, only discussed these two because of their immediate relevance. However, there are actually 3 levels, as the Alter Rebbe brings down in 5569 and the Rebbe Rashab in 5659:

וכנודע שיש ג' נפשות בכאו"א מישראל והגם שבלק"א לא נז' רק ב' אבל עפ"י אמת הם ג' והם נפש החיוני' ונפש השכלית ונפש האלקי'

But, in total, there are 5 nefashot, not to be confused with the 5 neshamot, that enliven the body in 3 rungs. I have a ton of questions myself, but I don't want to bombard the forum with topics. I feel like they can all be bunched together as they relate to one subject. I will bold all the questions I still have and highlight additional ideas.

As well, there's a subtle distinction in the Hebrew that's frequently lost in the English. E.g., hasichlit vs. sichli. Sichli refers to the perceptive faculties of nefesh hasichlit, which is a soul way of seeing the world. I believe that the same holds true for the rest. In this regard, the sichli is relegated to the 5 functions of the soul, like the X axis:

  • Zan (Nutritive) – Ingestion, retention, digestion, growth, procreation, metabolism;
  • Margish (Sensory) – The five senses [IMHO, there may be seven: Sight.ראייה, Smell. ריח Taste. טעם Hearing. שמיעה Touch. מגע Vestibular.תנועה Proprioception. התחושה];
  • Medameh (Imaginative) – Retention of images and experiences and well as innovation;
  • Mitorer (Emotional) – Craving or rejection. It’s really the locomotive; &
  • Sichli (Intellect) – Contemplation, conceptualization, the Rational Soul.

Rambam's Shemonah Perakim, ch. 1, as explained by the Sixteenth Street Synagogue, chs. 1 and 2.

As for the nefashot, they are to wit:

  1. Firstly, from my understanding, the Nefesh HaChiyunit (Nh"Ḥ), the Animating Soul, was blown into Adam. Bereishit 2:7. This represents the refined state of man, after the bestial souls have been elevated, but I can't find a source. However, the soul discussed in Tanya ch. 1, is the Nh"Ḥ. Igros Kodesh 11:107 (which itself divides into the medial Intellectual Soul and the lower Animal Soul).

I also don't know what sefirah this corresponds to, but I would hazard to say Keter. Keter of the lower world always connects to malchut of the next higher world. The source of this is ostensibly from Atzmut, stemming from the Supernal Thought.

I also can't find where this is rooted below, so I imagine that it's makif like the chaya-yechidah within a person's daled amot.

  1. Secondly, the Nefesh HaElokit (Nh"E) was given to man at the Brit Milah. The Alter Rebbe amplifies this notion by explaining that although the G‑dly soul has entered with the circumcision, and continues to be manifest throughout the years of education, it enters in the most complete manner only on the occasion of Bar Mitzvah. Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim, Mahadura Basra 4 (end). See Tzemach Tzedek's Tehillim Yahel Or, ch. 2:7 (p. 11). The circumsion is also when the ger receives the Nh"E as the Tzemach Tzedek explains on what Hillel said to the ger in Shabbat 31a. This is a wondrous idea, that until the Jew's bar mitzvah and the goy's conversion, they're identical. On our similar mission, see Rabbi Oliver's Jews and non-Jews.

The Nh"E is primarily mochin, the intelligence, while the middot here are the Yetzer Tov (Y"T). Chassidic Discourses Vol. 1, discourse 1, ch. II; Torah Or, Miketz 38b. This would explain why education/Torah is the antidote to the Yetzer Hara (Y"H). Igros Kodesh, Vol. I, p. 151 (quoting Bava Batra 16a). To me, this would also help understand why we are told that this soul is a Chelek Elokah Mimaal (mamash - Tanya, ch. 2) much later in Iyov 31:2. It does not come right away.

The sefirot here are ChaBaD, chochmah-binah-daat. Chassidic Discourses ibid. The source of the Nh"E is Adam Ila'ah. Chassidic Discourses ibid. (quoting Yechezkel 1:26). I suppose this is the same as the Adam Elyon. See Yehoshua 14:14. It is drawn down by Hashem during conception. Kuntres HaHitpaalut, p. קו (Hebrew) or ch. 18 (English). Interestingly, Rabbi Oliver says that the Nh"E is called Adam. Of the four names for man, Adam is the highest. Shabbat 54b.

  • Adam is the quality of intellect, cold like earth (adamah);

  • Ish is quality of emotions, ablaze like fire (aish);

  • Enosh denotes weakness in one of the two, as it says in Bereishit 41:51(nashani); &

  • Gever is someone who overcame (mitgaber) his/her shortcomings.

Hayom Yom, Elul 4; see Zohar III p. 48a; see also The Source of Living Water (Ki Tetze, Ch. 21). This looks like a parallel to the latter 4 nefashot.

  1. Thirdly, it would seem that man was imbued with the Nefesh HaSichlit (Nh"S), the Intellectual Soul, when the Eitz HaDaat was partook. Bereishit 3:7. The Tzemach Tzedek explains that this is what is meant by “the eyes of the two of them were opened”:

…this means [their eyes were opened to] the aspect of external wisdom, the chochma of the [Nh"S], which is not how it was prior [to the sin]. [Before the sin] they also had wisdom, but it was the chochma of G-dliness. They did not possess whatsoever the aspect of this chochma which is the source of evil. Only after they ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil was [Adam] punished through the aspect of human wisdom (chochma ha’enushis) which is mixed good and evil.

Now, it is known that the Nh"S is the intermediary:

The [Nh"E] is able to [garb itself] in the [Nh"B] via the Tzelem, which refers to the [Nh"S], which is the intermediary between them and connects them…In order for the [Nh"E] to be able to effect the rectification of the [Nh"B] , there is a need for an intermediary, which is they purpose of the [Nh"S].

Maamar “Chavivin Yisroel”, 2nd Day Shavuos 5726 ois 2‐3; Likutei Torah, B’chukosai, 47c. See Sefer Maamarim 5700, p. 92 ff. In general, that is what the Rebbe Rashab says in רנ"ט דף קו:

וכידוע שיש ג' נפשות בד"פ בכאו"א מישראל (הגם שבלק"א נזכר רק ב' נפשות באמת הם ג') נה"א ונפש השכליות ונפש החיונית (דהנפש השכליות הוא ממוצע בין נה"א להנה"ט כו

Basically, the Nh"S is a guf to the Nh"E, and is a neshamah to the Nh"B. Cf., Kuntres HaHitpaalut, p. קלא (Heb.) or ch. 22 (Eng.). To me, then, the only sefiroric bridge is Da'at. The source of this soul is klippah nogah, but a higher level. Cf., Sefer HaMa’amarim 5709, pp. 53-54. Da'at has always confused me, but it's generally agreed that there's da'at elyon and da'at tachton, Tanya, ch. 42, as the Mitteler Rebbe explains in the Hakdama of Sha'ar HaEmunah on Samuel I 2:3; Also see Maamarei Admor HaEmtza'ee, Vayikra Vol. 1, p. 262; Torat Chaim, Bereishit 18c; Shaar HaEmunah 51b. I forget where in the latter books of the Tanya it's brought, but Rabbi Schochet's Mystical Concepts in Chassidism, pp. 76-80, cites Pardes Rimonim 3:8 & 9:5-6; Eitz Chayim, Sha'ar 24 ff., Sha'ar Hahakdamot, Derush Be'inyan Hada'at, pp. 273bff.; et seq. For more, consult Rabbi Ginsberg. I mention all this because this is the only root that is split atwain, a higher level of klippah nogah and a lower level. The only logical explanation is that the source must be in da'at.

While the Tanya says that the abode of the Nh"E is in the mochin, ch. 7 says it is also in the right ventricle of the heart. While I'll have to check the mefarshim on Tanya, I would think that this latter reference is solely referring to the Nh"S.

  1. Fourthly, but perhaps most mysterious to me, is the Nefesh HaTivit (Nh"T), the Natural Soul. It would appear that this was imbued when Hashem first made man out of earth. Both the Nh"S and the Nh"T are usually mentioned together when speaking in a specific manner. For example, the Mitteler Rebbe writes in Sha'ar Emunah:

והכל להיותם בהגשמו' הלבוש דנוגה דעשי' וזהו כל ענין נפש השכלית והיא נפש הטבעי'

(מב, ב)

בירור שמברר' הנשמה לגוף שזהו מה שיכול להיות עלי' הנפש השכלית הטבעית לעלות גם היא לקדוש' האלקי'

(מז, א)

The Nh"S/Nh"T have hasaga from Elokut in the garments of noga and gashmiyut. The pair (Nh"E + Nh"S/Nh"T) can then enclothe in the Animal Soul. That's because the job of the Nh"E is to influence the Nh"B to relate to Elokut via the memutza of the Nh"S/Nh"T.

As my teacher explains it, the Nh"S is the philosopher and the Nh"T is the scientist. I don't know where my melamed got this from, but I would reckon from the Rambam. See Derech Chaim by the Maharal of Prague, perek daled, mishneh 21 (citing Rambam). In his Shemonah Perakim introduction to Pirkei Avot, he immediately delves into the 3 physical nefashot:

דע, שנפש האדם אחת, ויש לה פעולות רבות חלוקות, יקראון קצת הפעולות ההן נפשות, ויחשוב בעבור זה שיש לאדם נפשות רבות כמו שחשבו הרופאים, עד ששם ראש הרופאים פתיחת ספרו שנפשות שלש, הטבעית, וחיונית ונפשית.

It's important to understand how this Rambam applies b'poel to a chassid, so I'll quote in toto Shabbos Parshas Bamidbar, at the Daytime Seudah [New York], ¶9 (but see also ¶10):

Among the arrivals to the periodic fairs in Lubavitch were several respected and successful businessmen from Shklov and Minsk. The heavyweight scholars among them used to visit my great-grandfather the Tzemach Tzedek and expound their chiddushim, their original Torah insights.

One of them, a prominent misnaged, once said to my great-grandfather: “In every context and on every subject, your learned grandfather [i.e., the Alter Rebbe] cites the language of Rambam, and with regard to most of the Talmudic debates and halachic decisions he follows his approach. Why, then, when Rambam names the three souls of man tiv’is (‘the natural soul’), chiyunis (‘the vital soul’) and sichlis (‘the intellective soul’), does your grandfather name them chiyunis (‘the vital soul’), sichlis (‘the intellective soul’) and Elokis (‘the Divine soul’)? What did he do with the tiv’is (‘the natural soul’)?”

The Tzemach Tzedek replied: “Out of the [person animated by a] nefesh hativ’is (‘natural soul’) my grandfather made a chassid. That ‘natural’ person who was transformed into a chassid has three souls: the chiyunis (‘the vital soul’), which regulates how a chassid ought to live, and the sichlis (‘the intellective soul’), which [provides] the mind that a chassid ought to have. And when a person lives as a chassid ought to live, and has the mind that a chassid ought to have, he can then have some appreciation of his nefesh Elokis (his ‘Divine soul’). At that point it is his nefesh Elokis, his Divine soul, that animates him.”

As far as the function of the Nh"T, this is what the Malbim says in Sefer HaCarmel:

נפש הישראלי: בנפש האדם לפי כחותיו נמצא ג' חלוקות, א' נפש הטבעית הצומחת, בחלק התחתון בגוף, וכחותיה יתראו בכלי הבטן להצמיח גוף האדם על מאכלו אשר יבשלו המבשלות האצטומכא, והכבד והקרבים, ויחלקו מנות לכל אברי הגוף, וישמרו תפקידם על ידי כחות הזן המעכל והדוחה. ב' נפש החיונית תשכון בחלק הגוף בלב האדם, ממנו תוצאות חיים בכח המתעורר והמדות. ג' נפש המשכלת משכנה בעלית קיר קטנה בכדור העליון בגוף האדם, הראש והגלגולת, פועלת בכלי המוח בכחות השכל החכמה והבינה.

This sounds a lot like the zan.

While the Nh"E invests into the Nh"B, the neshamah enclothes into the Nh"T as the Mitteler Rebbe writes:

והנה הנפש אלקית הוא מלובש תוך נפש הבהמית שהרי במה נתפעל במוח ולב הוא באותו השכל עצמו שבזה העולם. וזהו מה הנשמה ממלא את כל הגוף כי גוף אין פירושו גוף גשמי רק קאי על נפש הטבעי' שהנשמה מלובשת תוך נפש הטבעית, כך הקב"ה שהוא הוי' בחי' סוכ"ע כי קדוש הוא, ענין קדוש ומובדל כו' ממלא את כל העולם והוא בחי' התלבשות סוכ"ע בממכ"ע.

This is where my knowledge ends. I could say that the sefirot here are the middot since Rabbi Hillel of Paritch implies that [of the Nh"Ḥ?] the middot are called the Nh"T and the mochin are called the Nh"S:

כי גם נה"ט יש בה שני בחי' והמדות שבה נקר' נה"ט והשכל שבה המלובש במוח נקרא נפש השכלית

Kuntres HaHitpaalut, p. קג, perek ג, footnote.

This natural soul was hewn, including its ten powers - desire, intellect, emotions, thought, speech etc., in essence, all from the aspect of the" Garment of [Chashmal of, id. at קיז,] Nogah," see De'ah et HaShem, 1:98, 1:122, but especially 3:12, which is a composite of good and evil, etc. Kuntres HaHitpaalut, p. קו (Hebrew) or ch. 18 (English). It is drawn down through the mother and father. Ibid.

  1. Lastly, there's the Nefesh HaBehamit (Nh"B), the Animal Soul, which is generally a klal for the intermediary nefashot vis-à-vis the Nh"E. Man obtained this dimension last when he was garbed in “garments of skin.” Bereishit 3:21. Eitz Chayim, Shaar 49, Perek 5.

It is explained that the Nh"S and the Nh"B are in fact one soul consisting of two components, the former being the higher component, and the latter, the lower component. Sefer Kitzurim, p. 81, cited in Tanya Betziruf Marei Mekomos, Likkutei Pirushim, Shinuyei Nuscha’os, chs. 1-28, p. 37). See also Likkutei Torah,Tetzei 37d, which states that human intellect comes from the Nh"B.

The middot of the NH"B is the Y" H. Torah Ohr, Miketz, 38b. Cf., Tanya, ch. 13, beg. See Sefer Hamaamarim תרנ"ה, p. 227, footnote.But see Sefer HaMa’amarim 5700, p. 93. The root of the Y"H is the blood (as dam cognates dimyon, fantasy, as opposed to imagination, medameh, which is healthy).

I don't know what sefirah this is, but all the Nh"B is interested in is a natural, physical result. Tanya, Ch. 8; Likkutei Sichos, Vol. 23, p. 139 fn. 46. In kabbalah, I would call this purely a ratzon lekabel, a desire just to receive.

The source is the lower level of klippah nogah, which is primarily evil. Tanya, ch. 7. And it is rooted in the left ventricle of the heart, Ibid., and emerges in the blood. Devarim 12:23.

After the neshamot and nefashot is the guf, which are delineated from bottem to top (NB., we start from the Thought of Hashem and end with the speaking of man):

  • Domem (inanimate - minerals, liquids, etc.);
  • Tzomeach (growth-plants);
  • Chai (living-animal); &
  • Medaber (speaking-human).

והנה באדם יש: א) נפה"א, ב) נפש השכלית, ג) נה"ב, ד) גוף (וי"ל שד' מדרי' אלו הם, מלמטלמ"ע, דצח"ם).

Igros Kodesh, Vol. 2, 170. While the Admur doesn't say who the yesh l'omar is, I have a hergesh it's the Vilna Gaon in his Barak HaShachar commentary on Kohelet.

If the mineral level of domem is referring to the 4 elements, then the root of this is the heyulie. Besides the Mitteler Rebbe's Sha'ar HaYichud (which I must say that I'm preferable to the Strashelyer Rebbe's Sha'ar HaYichud but unfortunately I am not bucky in it - at first glace at the OCR, I couldn't find anything), see further the Sha'ar HaYichud by Rabeinu Bahya ibn Paquda.

Moreover, these 4 elements are the source of essentially the seven-ish deadly sins. Tanya, ch. 1. But they can be used for good too. See Tanya, ch. 3 and Igeret HaKodesh, ch. 15.

According to Sha'arei Kedusha by Rabbi Chayim Vital, the body of man was formed from the four elements of the physical world that have both good and evil included in them. These are fire, air, water and earth. However, man’s body was formed from the choicest portion of these elements. Nevertheless, this choice portion also has an admixture of evil in it. Man’s four humors (i.e., the white, black, red and green humors) were formed from the grossest portion of these elements.

These 4 elements are the four letters of HaShem’s name, quoting Yechezkel 37:9.

Likewise, as mentioned above, the roots of the four elements of a person’s holy soul are drawn from these four letters. Therefore, if a person totally lacks a specific mitzvah, the corresponding organ of his holy soul starves to death and departs, G-d forbid. In turn, when this holiness departs from it, the spirit of impurity from the four elements of the impure soul becomes vested in it. This is the secret of the rabbinic dictum, “Tyre did not become a great metropolis until Jerusalem was destroyed.” Thus, the organ now receives its sustenance from the “impure bread” that was exiled from there.

There's also correlations between these, e.g., the Nh"T is frequently referenced with the נפש הצומחת, Vegatative Soul. See Torah Or 4a; Likkutei Torah Chukat 58a, Brocha 95c. "בכח הטבע והנפש הצומחת" Sefer HaIkkarim, Maamar 4, Ch. 30, ¶5, by Rabbi Joseph Albo. Cf., Bachya on Bereishit 2:7.

As far as chayot go, the souls of the domesticated animals descend from the face of the ox of the Chariot. [Those of] the wild animals descend from the face of the lion in the Chariot. [Those of] the fowl descend from the face of the eagle of the Chariot. Apples From the Orchard. Of course, many connections have been drawn from the various animals to our own soul as Yanki Tauber wrote on Shemini, s.v., The Human Biosphere, so the other faces of the chariot might explain the sources of those parts. An interesting question arises, as my local Rabbi asked, what's the source of fish? There's no aquatic creature on the Merkavah. The Tzemach Tzedek (Ohr HaTorah Shmini 807) writes that fish represent souls of the highest order. The fins represent the love and fear that every soul should have for G‑d, while the scales represent the Torah and mitzvot in which every soul must garb itself. I believe he quotes the Alter Rebbe, what is colloquially called our fish soul, but I forget where in Torah Ohr/Likkutei Torah I heard it in.

The levels of medaber have all been enumerated above as far as I know.


The "Nefesh Elokit" is ״חלק אלוה ממעל ממש״. That translates as "a part of G-d above literally". That means that the "Nefesh Elokit" is from "Atzmut Ain Sof" and actually transcends the aspect of "worlds" altogether.

This is also understood from the posuk in Bereshit 2:7, "and blew into his nostrils the living soul..." Like the Alter Rebbe brings in chapter 2 of Tanya, section 1 quoting the Zohar, "From where is it blown? From within G-d, meaning מתוכיותו ומפנימיותו.

This concept as found in the teachings of the Ari z"l from Rabbi Chaim Vital can be found in Etz Chaim, volume 1, Sha'ar 3, chapter 1 which discusses this first man, called Adam Kadmon or Adam, Kadmon HaKadmonim. It explains that this level of Adam is second to Ain Sof and is called Adam of the creation and that he precedes Atzilut. Going a little further, in chapter 3, it explains that at this level of Adam everything, body and soul are called "Atzmut", essence.

This discussion continues in Sha'ar 4, chapter 1, Ain Sof spread out from Himself, so to speak, lights to be the roots of Atzilut. This is also referred to as the aspect of "Neshamah l'Neshamah". It continues to discuss the details of this and in chapter 2 starts to explain this in the aspect of breath. It explains that in regard to this idea of breath, there is an external aspect and an inner aspect. The inner aspect of breath is in a constant state of cleaving with Ain Sof, meaning never separate. In other words, this breath which is referred to in Bereshit 2:7 is "Atzmut Ain Sof". Thus, the expression used for the Nefesh Elokit, the G-dly soul, that it is ״חלק אלוה ממעל ממש״.

This same idea and wording is repeated by student of the Ari z"l, Rabbi Avraham Azulai in Sefer Chesed l'Avraham, Ma'ayan 4, Nahar 30 toward the end explaining how the level of the Tzaddik is higher than the angels. In the paragraph beginning with the words, "And with what has been clarified in regard to the aspect of the foundations, the level of the angel would be higher than the level of HaAdam..." Rabbi Azulai goes on to explain that because of the Nefesh Elokit this is not the case. Rather because the Nefesh Elokit is a part of G-d above HaAdam is higher than the level of angels. In this context, it is important to recall the ma'amar Chazal from Sanhedrin, "All Israel has a share in the world to come, as it says 'And your people, all of them are Tzaddikim. They will inherit the world forever."

This same concept is also repeated by Rabbi Yishayahu Horowitz in his sefer, Shnei Luchot HaBrit, Sha'ar HaOtiyot, Letter Dalet, in the explanation of derech eretz.

  • Let us continue this discussion in chat. Oct 13, 2015 at 17:59
  • Why do you think that rabbi Azulai was a student of the arizal?
    – mevaqesh
    Jul 6, 2017 at 19:59
  • @mevaqesh Because he says so about himself. It doesn't mean he sat in front of him and heard directly from his mouth. It means he studied his teachings and took them to heart. Jul 6, 2017 at 20:04
  • 1
    Using terms in ways that they aren't commonly used misleads people, and defeats the purpose of language which is to facilitate communication.
    – mevaqesh
    Jul 6, 2017 at 20:06
  • @mevaqesh But just for the record, if not for Rabbi Avraham Azulai, we would not have today most of the teachings of the Ari z"l. He was personally responsible for preserving and transmitting Etz Chaim to all future generations. Jul 6, 2017 at 21:50

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