205. Rabbi Yitzchak said: Yisrael said before the Holy One, blessed be He, so long as my soul is within me "have I desired You in the night." Wherefore "in the night?" It is because the Nefesh at that time needs to covet You. "With my spirit within me I seek You," MEANING when the Holy Spirit stirs within me, I seek You with excitement in order to do Your will. "For when Your sentences are on the earth," MEANS at the time when justice, MEANING ZEIR ANPIN, comes down to earth, MEANING to bring fragrance to the world, TO MALCHUT. Then "the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness" (Ibid.), which means that they are capable of tolerating the Judgments of righteousness and mankind should not perish as a result of it. When will "the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness?" "When Your sentences are on the earth." Rabbi Chizkiyah said, "With my soul (Nefesh) have I desired You in the night" refers to the Congregation of Yisrael, NAMELY MALCHUT, while "with my spirit (Ruach) within me I seek You" refers to the Holy One, blessed be He. MALCHUT IS THE SECRET OF NEFESH AND THE HOLY ONE, BLESSED BE HE, IS THE SECRET OF RUACH.
215. Rabbi Aba said to him, "With my soul (Nefesh) have I desired You in the night; with my spirit (Ruach) within me I seek You..." (Yeshayah 26:9). HE QUESTIONS: It should simply state "my Nefesh in the night," MEANING IT SHOULD SAY, 'MY SOUL IN THE NIGHT; WITH MY SPIRIT WITHIN ME I SEEK YOU.' Why write also "I seek You," when it should say, 'it seeks You,' AS IT REFERS TO HIS SPIRIT. He answered: We have established? that it resembles "in whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath (lit. 'Ruach') of all mankind" (Iyov 12:10), MEANING THAT MY NEFESH AND MY RUACH ARE NOT HIS OWN NAMES, BUT ARE TWO LIGHTS - RUACH AND NEFESH - CLAD IN A BODY, AS EXPLAINED FURTHER.
216. Come and see that the Nefesh and Ruach always exist jointly in the world. We have learned the total service that man must serve the Holy One, blessed be He, is as we have learned, "And you shall love Hashem, your Elohim..." (Devarim 6:5). He needs to love the Holy One, blessed be He, with his very soul. This is referred to as an utter love, the love of his Nefesh and Ruach. Just as these NEFESH AND RUACH cling to the body and the body loves them, so must man love the Holy One, blessed be He, and cling to Him, as the love of the Nefesh and Ruach. This is in essence the verse, "With my soul have I desired You in the night," MEANING my very soul THAT IS CLAD IN MY BODY.[YB1]
236. "In the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month" (Vayikra 16:29). Tenth is exact as we have learned THAT TENTH DENOTES MALCHUT. "You shall afflict your souls" (Ibid.): This is exact. We have learned "your souls (Nefashot)" indeed, as it all depends upon Nefesh, AS THE LIGHT OF MALCHUT IS CALLED NEFESH AND NEFESH ALWAYS DENOTES MALCHUT. For this reason, one should eat and drink from the ninth of the month, DENOTING YESOD, more than any other day. Even though we learned this in another manner, it is all very well. They amount to the same thing and each thing is in its own place. This is how it should be.
255. Rabbi Yitzchak said: How fortunate are the pious in this world and the World to Come, as they are all holy. Their bodies are holy and their Nefesh is holy. Their Ruach is holy and their Neshamah is the Holy of Holies. There are three levels - NEFESH, RUACH AND NESHAMAH - just like above, reflecting MALCHUT, TIFERET AND BINAH OF ABOVE. As Rabbi Yehuda has taught, it is written, "Let the earth bring forth living creatures (Heb. 'nefesh')" (Beresheet 1:24), which refers to the soul of Adam. Come and see: These three levels - Nefesh, Ruach and Neshamah - join together, and the superior one is Neshamah.
258. IN THE BOOK OF KING SOLOMON, it is written that the Holy One, blessed be He, made three dwellings for righteous people, FOR THEIR NEFESH, RUACH AND NESHAMAH AFTER THEIR DEMISE. One is for the Nefashot (Heb. plural) of the righteous that did not depart this world and are still in this world, AS THE NEFESH OF THE DECEASED DOES NOT DEPART THIS WORLD. When the world needs mercy and living PEOPLE are in distress, the Nefashot pray for them. They go and tell this to those who slumber in Hebron, MEANING THE PATRIARCHS, who awaken and go to the earthly Garden of Eden, where the Ruach of the righteous are clothed with crowns of light, take counsel with them and make a decree. And the Holy One, blessed be He, fulfills their wish and shows mercy to the world.
259. These Nefashot of the righteous are in this world to protect living PEOPLE. This is known as Nefesh. It does not depart this world and is present in this world to watch and know about and to protect the generation. The friends say that the deceased are aware of distress in the world and the punishment of the wicked in the land is by that NEFESH, as it is written, "That Nefesh shall be cut off from his people" (Vayikra 7:20).
262. We have learned that when the world needs Mercy, THEN the Nefesh of these meritorious righteous men, which is in this world in order to defend the world, rises, flies across the world and alerts the Ruach. The Ruach rises, adorns itself and alerts the Neshamah. The Neshamah alerts the Holy One, blessed be He, and then He has mercy on the world. Then He descends from above downwards, the Neshamah informs the Ruach and the Ruach informs the Nefesh.
263. Every Shabbat and new Moon, NEFESH, RUACH, AND NESHAMAH join and clothe themselves together until they are united to come forth and bow before the most high King. Afterwards, they return to their positions. This is the essence of the verse, "And it shall come to pass, that every new moon, and every Shabbat, shall all flesh come..." (Yeshayah 66:23).
264. When the world needs mercy, the living go and inform the Nefashot (Heb. plural) of the righteous, and weep on their graves. Those who are worthy to inform the righteous men: what is the reason THEY ARE WORTHY? BECAUSE they concentrate on clinging to Nefesh with Nefesh; then the Nefashot of the righteous awaken, assemble, fly to the slumberers of Hebron, inform them of the distress of the world, and they all ascend to the door of the Garden of Eden to inform the Ruach. These Ruchot (Heb. plural) that are adorned in the Garden of Eden, with celestial angels going among them, all inform the Neshamah, the Neshamah informs the Holy One, blessed be He, and all beg for mercy for the living. And the Holy One, blessed be He, shows Mercy to the world on their behalf. This is what Solomon meant in, "So I praised the dead that are already dead."
267. If they do not repent wholeheartedly , entreating and crying for the distress of the world, woe to them, in that they assembled for nothing. They say: Who caused the Holy Torah to be exiled because of them who failed to do repentance. Then they come to list their sins. Therefore, none should go there without repenting or without fasting to seek requests. Rabbi Aba said: Not without three fasts. Rabbi Yosi says: Even one FAST SUFFICES, but it must be on that same day as long as the multitudes sit in great distress. Then they would come together, MEANING NEFESH, RUACH AND NESHAMAH, seeking mercy upon the world.
274. We have learned that it is written, "Yet the soul (Nefesh) of my master shall be bound in the bond of life" (I Samuel 25:29). HE QUESTIONS: It says "the Nefesh of my Master," but it should read 'the Neshamah of my master,' BECAUSE NEFESH REMAINS IN THIS WORLD AND ONLY NESHAMAH RISES TO THE BUNDLE OF LIFE. HE ANSWERS: As we said, fortunate is the share of the righteous men that everything is tied one to another - Nefesh with Ruach, Ruach with Neshamah and Neshamah with the Holy One, blessed be He. The result is that Nefesh is tied to the bond of life, AS IT IS CONNECTED TO NESHAMAH, WHICH IS THE BUNDLE OF LIFE.