Chapter 42 מ״ב
1 א

כְּתִיב: וּבַת כֹּהֵן כִּי תִהְיֶה אַלְמָנָה וּגְרוּשָׁה וְזֶרַע אֵין לָהּ, וְשָׁבָה אֶל בֵּית אָבִיהָ כִּנְעוּרֶיהָ, בִּתְרוּמַת הַקֳּדָשִׁים לֹא תֹאכֵל וְכוּ'. מִקְרָא זֶה נִדְרָשׁ בַּזֹּהַר, דִּמְרַמֵּז עַל הַנְּשָׁמָה, שֶׁנִּבְרֵאת לֵילֵךְ לְהַגּוּף לְתַקְּנָהּ וּלְקַשְּׁטָהּ בְּמַעֲשִׂים טוֹבִים; וּכְשֶׁהָאָדָם עוֹשֶׂה עֲבֵרָה וּפוֹגֵם אֶת נִשְׁמָתוֹ — אָז הַנְּשָׁמָה צוֹעֶקֶת אֶל ה' וְאוֹמֶרֶת: נְתָנַנִי ה' בִּידֵי לֹא אוּכַל קוּם! וְהַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא שׁוֹמֵעַ צַעֲקָתָהּ וְאוֹמֵר לָהּ: נְשָׁמָה, בִּתִּי הַחֲבִיבָה, מְגֻדֶּלֶת אַתְּ הָיִית בְּאוֹר הַכָּבוֹד תַּחַת כִּסֵּא כְּבוֹדִי וְנִקְרֵאת "בַּת חֲבִיבָה", וְהוֹרַדְתִּיךְ אֲנִי לְגוּף הָאָדָם, וְהָיִיתִי סוֹבֵר לְהַעֲלוֹתֵךְ לְמַעֲלוֹת מַעְלָה מַעְלָה בְּמַעֲשֵׂה הָאָדָם הַטּוֹב; וְעַכְשָׁו שֶׁחָטָא הָאָדָם, הִיא יְרִידָה לְךָ, שֶׁיָּרַדְתָּ מֵאִגְרָא רָמָא לְבִירָא עֲמִיקְתָּא, לְגוּף הָאָדָם, וְנִקְרָא הַנְּשָׁמָה עַכְשָׁו 'גְּרוּשָׁה', כִּי הַנְּשָׁמָה נִתְגָּרְשָׁה מִמְּקוֹמָהּ בְּעַל כָּרְחָהּ. וַה' יִתְבָּרַךְ שׁוֹמֵעַ צַעֲקָתָהּ וְנוֹטֵל הַנְּשָׁמָה מֵהַגּוּף וּמְצָרְפָהּ עַל יְדֵי דִּינִים. וְאַחַר כְּלוֹת הַצֵּרוּף וְהַדִּינִים הִיא מִתְעַנֶּגֶת וְאוֹכֶלֶת מֵעֹנֶג אָבִיהָ שֶׁבַּשָּׁמַיִם.

It is written, “And when the daughter of a Kohein shall be widowed or divorced, having no offspring, and she returns to her father’s house as in her youth…” (Vayikra 22:13) [and in the previous verse it is written,] “…she shall not eat of an offering of the holy things.” According to the Zohar (2:95b; 3:7a) this is an allusion to the soul. The soul was created to enter the body in order that it should be rectified and adorned with good deeds. But when a person transgresses, he blemishes his soul, causing it to cry out to Hashem, saying, “Hashem has delivered me into the hands of one against whom I cannot stand” (Eichah 1:14). When the Holy One Blessed is He hears this cry He says to the soul, “My precious daughter, you were raised in illumination and honor beneath the Throne of Glory and were called, ‘precious daughter.’ Then I lowered you into a human body, intending to elevate you to the highest levels through that human being’s good deeds. But now that he has sinned you have been degraded, plummeting from a lofty rooftop to the deep pit of the human body.” At this point the soul becomes known as a “divorcee” because it is banished from its place against its will (“divorced” and “banished” are expressed by the same word in Hebrew). But Hashem hears its cry and takes the soul from the body and purifies it though chastisements, after which it is able to relish the delights of its Heavenly Father.

2 ב

וְזֶה שֶׁאָמַר הַכָּתוּב: וּבַת כֹּהֵן — שֶׁהִיא הַנְּשָׁמָה הַנִּקְרֵאת 'בַּת כֹּהֵן'; כִּי תִּהְיֶה אַלְמָנָה וּגְרוּשָׁה — שֶׁמֵּת הָאָדָם, וְהַנְּשָׁמָה נִקְרֵאת גְּרוּשָׁה מֵהַגּוּף, וְזֶרַע אֵין לָהּ, רַחֲמָנָא לִצְלַן — אֵין לָהּ שׁוּם פְּרִי שֶׁל מִצְווֹת וּמַעֲשִׂים טוֹבִים, שֶׁלֹּא הוֹלִיד מַלְאָכִין קַדִּישִׁין, כִּי מִכָּל מִצְוָה שֶׁעָשָׂה הָאָדָם, נִבְרָא מַלְאָךְ אֶחָד מֵהַמִּצְוָה, וְשָׁבָה אֶל בֵּית אָבִיהָ אַחַר הַצֵּרוּף וְהַלִּבּוּן. אָמְנָם בִּתְרוּמַת הַקֳּדָשִׁים לֹא תֹּאכַל כְּמוֹ שֶׁהָיְתָה אוֹכֶלֶת כְּבָר, לְפִי שֶׁנַּעֲשֵׂית זָרָה, וּכְתִיב: וְכָל זָר לֹא יֹאכַל קֹדֶשׁ, כִּי אִם צַדִּיקִים וַחֲסִידִים — עֲלַיְהוּ נֶאֱמַר: אִכְלוּ רֵעִים, שְׁתוּ וְשִׁכְרוּ דּוֹדִים!

Thus, the verse can be paraphrased as follows: “And when the daughter of a Kohein” — that is, the soul. “…Shall be widowed or divorced” — that is, at the death of its human host when it is banished from the body. “…Having no offspring” — that is, it performed no mitzvos or good deeds and consequently did not give birth to any of the holy angels that are formed from every good deed that a person does. “…And she returns to her father’s house” — that is, after its purification through chastisement. Nevertheless, “she shall not eat of an offering of the holy things,” as she had been accustom to do in the past, because she had become like a “stranger,” of whom it is written, “And no stranger shall eat of the holy things” (Vayikra 22:10). For only the righteous and pious may eat of them, as it is written, “Eat, dear ones, drink and become drunk, beloved ones” (Shir HaShirim 5:1).

3 ג

וְעַל אַזְהָרָה זוֹ, שֶׁלֹּא לִדְחוֹת הַנְּשָׁמָה הַקְּדוֹשָׁה, כְּרוּז יוֹצֵא בְּכָל יוֹם קָלָא מִן קָלָא נָחֵית (כְּמוֹ שֶׁפֵּרְשׁוּ הַתּוֹסָפוֹת: בַּת קוֹל, שֶׁהוּא קוֹל יוֹצֵא מִן קוֹל אַחֵר, כְּמוֹ שֶׁקּוֹרִין בִּלְשׁוֹן אַשְׁכְּנַז: וִידֶר־קְלַאנְג) מֵעֵילָא לְתַתָּא, מְתַבֵּר טוּרִין. מָאן אִנּוּן דַּחֲמָאָן וְלָא חֲמָאָן, אָטִימוּ אוּדְנִין, סְתִימִין עֵינִין, לָא חֲמָאָן וְלָא שָׁמְעִין וְלָא יָדְעִין סִכְלְתָנוּתָא? הֵן אִנּוּן דְּדָחִין נִשְׁמְתָא קַדִּישָׁא מֵאַתְרְהָא, שֶׁלֹּא יִכְתְּבוּן יָתַהּ בְּסִפְרֵי דְּחַיִּים, כְּמָאן דְּאַתְּ אָמַר: יִמָּחוּ מִסֵּפֶר חַיִּים, וְעִם צַדִּיקִים אַל יִכָּתֵבוּ. וַי לוֹן כַּד יִפְּקוּן מֵהַאי עָלְמָא יִתְמֶסְרוּן בִּידֵיהּ דְּדוּמָה וְיִתּוֹקְדוּן בְּנוּרָא.

Concerning this matter a call goes out every day proclaiming that one must not cause his soul to be banished. Thus the Zohar relates (1:62a, Tosefta): A voice from a voice descends from On High, shattering mountains, proclaiming: Who are they who see but do not see? With stopped up ears and closed eyes they neither see nor hear nor understand! These are the ones who cause the holy soul to be banished from its place so that it is not inscribed in the Book of the Living. Thus is it written, “Let them be erased from the Book of the Living and let them not be inscribed with the righteous” (Tehillim 69:29). Woe to them, for when they leave this world they are delivered into the hands of the angel Dumah to be burned with fire!

4 ד

עַל כֵּן כָּל הַיָּרֵא וְחָרֵד מִזֶּרַע יִשְׂרָאֵל יוֹם יוֹם, יַחֲשֹׁב עַל סוֹפוֹ, כִּי הוּא מִתְרַחֵק מֵהַחַיִּים וּמִתְקָרֵב אֶל הַמָּוֶת, וְכָל אָדָם יַחֲשֹׁב לְפִי שְׁנוֹתָיו כַּמָּה יְמֵי חַיָּיו, כִּי טִבְעוֹ שֶׁל אָדָם הוּא רַק שִׁבְעִים שָׁנָה; וְאַף אִם עֲדַיִן רַךְ הוּא בְּשָׁנִים, אֵין לָאָדָם שְׁטָר קִשּׁוּר עַל מִסְפַּר יְמֵי חַיָּיו, וּפֶתַע פִּתְאֹם הַמָּוֶת רוֹדְפֵהוּ. וּרְאָיָה מֵהַגְּמָרָא דִּנְדָרִים: הָאוֹמֵר לֹא אֶפָּטֵר מִן הָעוֹלָם עַד שֶׁאֶהְיֶה נָזִיר — מֵהַהוּא רֶגַע הוּא אִתְפִיס בְּנָזִיר, דְּאַמְרֵינַן: כָּל שַׁעְתָּא וְשַׁעְתָּא דִּלְמָא מַיִת. וְעַל כֵּן אָמְרוּ רַבּוֹתֵינוּ זִכְרוֹנָם לִבְרָכָה: שׁוּב יוֹם אֶחָד לִפְנֵי מוֹתְךָ, וְנִמְצָא כָּל יָמֶיךָ בִּתְשׁוּבָה. וְעִקָּר וּמָקוֹר, שֶׁיִּהְיֶה רָשׁוּם לִפְנֵי כָּל אָדָם דְּבָרִים הַמְעַכְּבִים אֶת הַתְּשׁוּבָה, וְכָל הַמְעַיֵּן בָּהֶם בְּכָל יוֹם — אֲנִי בָּטוּחַ בּוֹ, שֶׁבְּוַדַּאי אֵינוֹ נִכְשָׁל, וְהִנֵּה אַצִּיג לְךָ פֶּרֶק בִּפְנֵי עַצְמוֹ, עֶשְׂרִים וְאַרְבָּעָה דְּבָרִים הֵן הַמְעַכְּבִים הַתְּשׁוּבָה. שׁוֹמֵר נַפְשׁוֹ יִרְחַק מֵהֶן, וְאָז טוֹב לוֹ יִהְיֶה סֶלָה.

Therefore let every Israelite who fears and trembles before Hashem contemplate his end every day. Let him realize that he is drawing further away from life and closer to death. Let every person make a reckoning of how long he has to live, for the natural life span of a human being is only seventy years. And even if he is still young, no one has a written guarantee of how long he will live and death may come upon him suddenly. Proof to this can be seen in the passage in Nedarim (3b) in which it is taught that if a person says, “I will not leave this world without having become a nazir,” he becomes a nazir instantly because he might die at any moment. For this reason the Sages warn (Shabbos 153a): “Repent one day before your death! — Hence you must spend all your days in repentance!” It is essential that every man possess a list of the things that obstruct repentance. And if he will review it every day I am certain that he will not stumble. To this end I will present in a separate chapter a list of the twenty-four things that obstruct repentance. Let whoever is concerned about his soul stay far away from them. Then it will be well with him, selah.