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Gilgul

The following is from Wikipedia (Wikipedia link original url - GNU Free Documentation License) and gives a decent overview. i'm repeating it here to save "reinventing the wheel" :-):


Gilgul, Gilgul neshamot or Gilgulei Ha Neshamot, refers to the concept of reincarnation, emanating from the Kabbalistic framework within Judaism. In Hebrew, the word gilgul means "cycle" and neshamot is the plural for "souls." Souls are seen to "cycle" through "lives" or "incarnations", being attached to different human bodies over time. Which body they associate with depends on their particular task in the physical world, spiritual levels of the bodies of predecessors and so on.

In Kabbalah the most basic component of the soul is called the nefesh and is always part of the gilgul process, as it must leave at the cessation of blood production (a stage of death). It moves to another body, where life has begun. There are four other soul components and different nations of the world possess different forms of souls with different purposes.

The essential Kabbalistic text in regards to gilgul is called Sha'ar Ha'Gilgulim, The Gate of Reincarnations, based on the work of Rabbi Isaac Luria (and compiled by his disciple, Rabbi Chaim Vital). It describes the deep, complex laws of reincarnation. One concept that arises from Sha'ar Ha'gilgulim is the idea that gilgul is paralleled physically by pregnancy.



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