96. The secret of all secrets is passed on to those who are wise in their hearts. There are three levels that are attached to each other, and they are Nefesh, Ruach, and Neshamah. Nefesh is the force from which the body is built. When a man is aroused in this world to mate with his wife, all parts of the body agree on this and are prepared to receive enjoyment from it. Then the Nefesh and the desire of the person indulge willingly in that act. The Nefesh is drawn down and enters the sperm that comes forth.
97. From the combination of that desire and the Nefesh, another power is drawn from the levels of the angels, who are called Ishim (people). They all enter as the sperm flows, and the body is then built and constructed of them. This is the first and lowest power of the three levels.
98. And because the Nefesh offers a sacrifice by attaching itself to the foundation of the body, which is offered as a sacrifice to atone for the Neshamah, then part of it is offered to those grades that are considered as Ishim. Because part of the Nefesh, THE RUACH OF THE NEFESH, is drawn down from them. As it is written, "My offering and my bread for my fire (Heb. ishai)..." (Bemidbar 28:2), WHICH MEANS TO THE ISHIM. So, because it is an offering THAT COMES FROM THE POWER of the Nefesh, the Ishim take their part as well. THEIR SHARE IS DETERMINED BY THE AMOUNT ENCLOTHED IN THE NEFESH THAT OFFERS THE SACRIFICE. And when one leaves this world, that Nefesh never leaves the grave. And because of the power OF THIS NEFESH THAT REMAINS IN THE GRAVE, the dead know and talk with each other.
99. Ruach gives existence to the Nefesh in this world, AS IT DRAWS DOWN THE ABUNDANCE OF LIFE AND PASSES IT ON TO THE NEFESH. THIS IS THE MIDDLE LEVEL OF THE THREE. It is drawn by the arousal of the Nukva OF ATZILUT toward the male OF ATZILUT, when they are in a state of united passion, NAMELY, DURING THE ACT OF MATING. The female is aroused toward the male because of her passion to receive from him the LIGHT OF Ruach, just like a woman in this world who is inseminated by the power of her passion to RECEIVE FROM the man. And this is the secret of the words, "and the spirit (Ruach) shall return to the Elohim who gave it" (Kohelet 12:7). THIS MEANS THAT IT RETURNS TO THE NUKVA, WHICH IS CALLED BY THE NAME OF ELOHIM. AND EVEN THOUGH THE RUACH IS DRAWN FROM ZEIR ANPIN, WHICH IS CALLED YUD HEI VAV HEI, NEVERTHELESS, BECAUSE IT IS THE RESULT OF THE AROUSAL OF THE FEMALE, SHE IS THEN CONSIDERED TO BE THE ROOT CAUSE OF IT. SO AFTER DEATH AND DEPARTURE FROM THE BODY, IT RETURNS TO HER.
100. And this Ruach, AFTER A PERSON'S DEATH, leaves this world and is separated from the Nefesh, WHICH REMAINS HOVERING OVER THE GRAVE, and it enters the Garden of Eden of this world. There, it clothes itself with the air of the Garden of Eden, just as the supernal angels do when they come down to this world. Then, they clothe and cover themselves with the air of this world, because they were created from that spirit (Ruach), as it is written, "Who makes the winds (also: spirits) his angels" (Tehilim 104:4).
101. And in the midst of the Garden, there stands a pillar embroidered with many colors. And when that Ruach wishes to rise up TO THE WORLD OF ATZILUT, it disrobes from that clothing, FROM THE AIR OF THE GARDEN OF EDEN, enters to the pillar, and ascends until it reaches the place from where it came, NAMELY THE NUKVA OF ATZILUT. As it is written, "and the spirit (Ruach) shall return TO THE ELOHIM, WHO GAVE IT."
102. And then, Michael, the High Priest, takes THE RUACH and offers it as a sacrifice of sweet savor to the Holy One, blessed be He, NAMELY ZEIR ANPIN. And it remains there, IN ZEIR ANPIN OF ATZILUT, and enjoys the delicacies of the bundle of Life, WHICH IS DESCRIBED BY THE VERSE, "no eye had ever seen an Elohim, beside You..." (Yeshayah 64:3). Afterwards, it goes down from there and returns to the earthly Garden of Eden. There, it enjoys all the delicacies, clothes itself again with that same clothing, THAT IS, WITH THE AIR OF THE GARDEN OF EDEN, and dwells there crowned with a crown twice as big as the one that it had possessed before IT ROSE UP TO MALE AND FEMALE OF ATZILUT.
103. The Neshamah is a supernal power high above the other two, NAMELY, THE NEFESH AND THE RUACH. It originates from the power of the male, which is the Tree of Life. THAT IS, ZEIR ANPIN, CALLED 'THE TREE OF LIFE,' DRAWS IT FROM BINAH OF ATZILUT, AND BECAUSE HE DOES SO, HE IS CONSIDERED TO BE ITS ROOT. THIS IS JUST LIKE THE RUACH, WHICH THE NUKVA DRAWS FROM ZEIR ANPIN, AND IS THUS CONSIDERED ITS ROOT. INDEED, THE LIGHT OF ZEIR ANPIN IS CALLED RUACH AND THE LIGHT OF BINAH IS CALLED NESHAMAH. THE NESHAMAH, AFTER MAN'S DEMISE, ascends immediately. IT DOES NOT COME FIRST TO THE EARTHLY GARDEN OF EDEN, AS DOES THE RUACH. RATHER, IT ASCENDS TO ITS ROOT IMMEDIATELY, NAMELY, TO ZEIR ANPIN, WHICH IS ITS ROOT WITH NO REGARD TO ITS DRAWING IT. And these three levels - NEFESH, RUACH, AND NESHAMAH - are attached to one another. When they leave THE BODY, they all rise up and return to the places from which they came.
104. When the Ruach leaves this world and enters the cave of Adam and the Patriarchs, they give it a letter as a sign. Then it goes to the Garden of Eden. When it arrives there, it meets the Cherubs and the flame of the revolving sword. If it is meritorious, then they see the letter, which is the sign, and open the gate for it to enter. If they do not see the letter, they reject it and do not allow it to enter.
105. And it dwells there some time, sitting and clothing itself in the image of this world. And on the first day of the month and on Shabbat, when it wants to rise TO THE UPPER GARDEN OF EDEN, the righteous men who are in the Garden of Eden give it a letter as a sign. And it ascends through that same pillar, WHICH IS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE LOWER GARDEN OF EDEN, where it meets the watchmen of the walls of Jerusalem. If it is meritorious, they open the gate and it enters. If not, they take the letter away and throw it out. As it is written, "The watchmen that go about the city found me...the keepers of the walls took away my veil from me" (Shir Hashirim 5:7). THE VEIL is the letter given as a sign, which has been taken away from it, by the watchmen of the walls of Jerusalem. (End of Sitrei Torah)