Pinchas: Chapter 10

Levirate marriage and reincarnation


We learn why levirate marriage is permitted even though it is normally forbidden for a man to marry his brother's wife. We are told that the flow of the letter Vav causes the letter Yud to turn, and from here the explanation uses the concept of flow to show how the soul of man returns to God. If it returns in perfection it runs back into the great sea, but if not, it reincarnates. And if a man has no children his soul is not perfect. When a man has committed evil during three incarnations he will not be given a fourth chance, but is sent to Gehenom for judgment. A parallel is drawn between the three colors of the rainbow, the three incarnations, and the three Sfirot associated with them. Someone who becomes righteous through the experience of many incarnations will not then come back to this world again. For the soul of the man who died childless, his widow becomes a home and his brother who fathers children by her becomes a redeemer. We learn that Moses has reincarnated in a number of generations to save the souls of Yisrael, and that God ascribed the merit of all these people to Moses. Moses had been destined to receive the Torah in the generation of the Flood, but this did not happen due to the sins of the people. Rabbi Shimon stands up and concludes this section by giving an example of a poor rabbi who is being punished now for his sins in an earlier incarnation.


The Zohar converses upon the Sfirot of Binah and Zeir Anpin and the letters Yud, Hei and Vav along with their respective numerical values. The significance of this is positive on many fronts: Sexual iniquities, associated with incest, are purified by the Zohar's sacred verses. Our own souls are rectified, freeing us from another incarnation and from the decrees of judgments which are executed in Hell. Those who have left this world childless are redeemed by our heartfelt reading of this passage. Repentance is stirred in our hearts so that our souls merge with the Creator, as a river merges with the sea, in the World to Come.

Our visual embrace of these verses sets the supernal sun into motion as it rises majestically on the horizon. Its Light moves upon the face of the Earth. For us, the rays are warming and blissful; but for the wicked, these flames are the fires of Hell itself. The wicked are the genuinely evil who walk among us, lifetime upon lifetime, soulless beings who seek, not repentance or spiritual change, but only the propagation of greater evil. As the Light scintillates everywhere, its rays catch the wicked, blotting them out of existence in one fell swoop.