Kabbalah - The Soul

The greatest difference between the Zohar and the Torah, the Hebrew, Bible is the weight the Zohar gives to the subject of the soul. The author of the Zohar is convinced about the pre-existence of souls since the beginning of creation. There are beautiful descriptions of the souls, of how they were hidden in the womb of eternity. Gershom Scholem quotes a section from the Zohar which enables one to visualize the pre-existing souls.

Since the day when it occurred to G-d to create the world, and even before it was really created, all the souls of the righteous were hidden in the divine idea, everyone in its peculiar form. When He shaped the world, they were actualised and they stood before Him in their various forms in the supreme heights [still in the Sefirotic world] and only then did He place them in a treasure-house in the upper Paradise. There the souls live in pure celestial garments and enjoy the bliss of the beatific vision. Their progress from the Sefirotic sphere to the paradisical realm, which latter is already outside G-d, is interpreted as a consequence of the mystical “union of the King and the Shekhinah.”

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