Sha’ar HaGilgulim, Volume 1
SHA’AR HAGILGULIM IS the eighth gate, or section, from the writings of the Arizal. As the title makes clear, it is a work about reincarnation and personal rectification, describing, often in detail, processes that affect everyone, but of which so few are aware.
However, they should be aware of them, because knowing such principles increases a person’s opportunity to make better use of his or her life by increasing the chances of personal rectification. Furthermore, such knowledge puts the events of history, past and present, personal and national, into perspective, allowing people to learn from past mistakes and to be better prepared for the future.
Another important aspect of the teachings of Sha’ar HaGilgulim is that it also allows for a more generous appreciation of other people and the way they act. It makes judging others to the side of merit easier since it become clearer, after learning this sefer, that our physical eyes are not the most reliable sources of information when it comes to analyzing other people and the way they behave.
One thing becomes perfectly clear:
Every individual is on a personal journey to personal rectification, and the journey of one person is never the same as that of another.
This alone makes the wisdom of this work invaluable to even the average person, not just the learned Kabbalist.
Nevertheless, there is always reason for concern when translating any Torah sefer into another language, even more so when it belongs to the realm of Kabbalah, and even more so when it is a work such as Sha’ar HaGilgulim. There is the concern of mistranslation, or misunderstanding by the reader, especially when it comes to such deep and often complicated concepts.
Furthermore, Sha’ar HaGilgulim was obviously written for those who are already well-versed in Kabbalah and the writings of the Arizal. In some cases it became imperative to cross-reference material and to provide details from other works for what is just mentioned “in passing” in this one. In some cases the subject matter is just too complex and too complicated to explain meaningfully in a translation such as this one, leaving it up to the reader to continue the research on his own.
However, these are unique times. The explosion of knowledge and increasingly greater accessibility to all aspects of it often results in ever more confusion and misdirection. It is the hope and prayer that this translation of Sha’ar HaGilgulim accomplish just the opposite, leading the reader instead down the true path to personal rectification and the service of God.
To this end the original Hebrew text has been included side-by-side with the translated English text, which is true to the Hebrew text as much as is grammatically possible without sacrificing clarity. It should also be kept in mind that connections mentioned in the text between different Hebrew words and concepts may not be clear after translation into English. In such cases the Hebrew text should be consulted for clarity if it is not pointed out in the footnotes.
Annotations & Diagrams
Some of the material has been annotated, and some diagrams have been included to help clarify important concepts. It would also be wise for the reader to seriously contemplate all of the information within the sefer, take little for granted, and avoid hasty conclusions as he delves deeper into what is an extremely holy and revealing work.
Though in this translation each chapter is called “chapter,” in the Hebrew version of the work they are called introductions (e.g. Introduction One, Introduction Two, etc.). This indicates that as thorough as the information presented may be all of it is still only an introduction, necessitating the reader to assume that a complete understanding of the topic requires much additional background and learning.
As the great Dovid HaMelech warned:
The secrets of God to those who fear Him. (Tehillim 25:14)
To learn something one need only access the information and comprehend its meaning. To know the secrets of God, which are the basis of works like Sha’ar HaGilgulim, one must also have fear of God. There is no substitute.