2.2.2 Karet as described by the Kabbalah of Information
The analysis of the essence of karet outlined below is based on the following assumptions:
- If the commandment’s violation is punishable by karet, this commandment belongs to the Beri’ah world.
- According to the teaching of ‘Alter Rebbe’, karet severs the Divine soul from the second hey of G-d’s Name, the letter which corresponds to Sefirah Malchut of the world of Atzilut (the Beri’ah world’s Sefirah Keter).
- The Torah contains 37 commandments, the violation of all of them is punishable by karet.
- Karet’s effects can be reversed through a rather arduous path of repentance (teshuvah) attained by suffering.
- The violation of certain commandments (such as failure to observe the Shabbat, sacrifice of children to Moloch, black magic) is punishable by death and karet.
In light of the above, the following questions need to be answered:
- What is the essence of the Divine soul?
- Why do the commandments, the violation of which is punishable by karet, belong to the Beri’ah world?
- Does karet affect a person in life and also in death?
- What are the consequences of karet?
1. As viewed by Judaism, the soul’s structure is comprised of five levels of consciousness: Nefesh, the vital level (the malkuth sephirah of assiah world); ruach, the emotional level (the Middot Sephirah of the Yetzirah world); neshamah, the intellectual level (the Binah Sephirah of Beri’ah world); chayah, the covert level (the chokhmah sephirah of Atzilut world); and Yechidah (the Ein Sof participle of Adam Kadmon world).
This classification, however, does not include the concepts of the Divine and animal soul. These notions are described in the works of the Alter Rebbe (The Tanya and Torah Or). According to him, the animal soul is responsible for the person’s communication with the external world and their overall earthly activities. It can belong either to the domain of Good or that of Evil. The Divine soul, on the other hand, belongs only to the domain of Good.
As stated by the Alter Rebbe (Torah Or), “The source of the animal soul is placed higher than the source of the Divine soul. The animal soul is inherently superior to the Divine one. That is why the animal soul reigns over its Divine counterpart even after falling from grace.”
On the subject of the Divine soul, the Alter Rebbe writes the following (Torah Or: “Before descending into this world, it was an intrinsic part of the Atzilut world, fearing and loving Elohim. Then it descended and covered itself with body and the animal soul that dimmed and obscured Elohim’s Light, thus dressing the Divine soul in “foul clothes” – Middot, coming from the Qliphoth and the animal soul. This descent is done, regardless, so that the Divine soul may later ascend. For only through descending can it learn to perform Birur (extrication of the Divine Sparks) through studying the Torah and obeying the commandments.”
We can thus draw, for the time being, the following conclusions:
1. The Divine soul never violates the commandments.
2. The Divine soul lies dormant within every Jew and is actualized after they become a Bar/Bat Mitzvah.
3. The animal soul lives within everyone from the moment of conception.
4. Why do the commandments and their violations, which are punishable by karet, belong to the Beri’ah?
In the Theory of Evil article, I delineated the existence of the domain containing the commandments (the side of Good) and the one containing the anti-commandments (the side of Evil, Sitra Ahra). Accordingly, the Divine soul is located in the information space of the commandments, whereas the animal soul can alternate between its position relative to the domains of Good and Evil.
In my previous works, I have also introduced the Law of Likeness, which articulates that the distance and interaction between structures existing in an informational space both depend on how similar their contents are. The Divine soul is similar in its content to the Tree of Sefirot of the Atzilut world. The distance between the animal soul and the Tree of Sefirot could change.
The Divine Soul never sings, its location in the informational space is fixed.
From that we can conclude that the Divine soul is a set of the Neshama-level intellectual principles that reflect the informational content of the Atzilut world (the Torah and commandments).
The Torah (Vayikra 22:3) reads, ‘Throughout your generations, any man among any of your offspring who, while his defilement is still upon him, comes near to the Holy Sacrifices that the children of Israel consecrate to the Lord that soul shall be cut off (karet) from before me. I (Ani) am Havayah.’ Ani designates the Atzilut world’s Sefira Malchut (the Beri’ah world’s Keter Sefira).
A person who contacted a dead body and entered the Temple domain without cleansing himself with the ashes of a red heifer was also punished by karet. In my article ‘The Address of G-D’, I have illustrated that the Ark of the Covenant is a projection of the Atzilut world’s Sefira Malchut (the Beri’ah world’s Sefira Keter). Thus, the Divine soul of a person who comes near the projection of the Atzilut world’s Sefira Malchut (the Keter Beri’ah) is severed from that Sefira, which corresponds to the second letter hey of the Tetragrammon.
Violations of some of the commandments are punished by karet and death.
Among them failure to observe the Shabbat, the sacrifice of children to Moloch and the performance of magical actions via Ov and Yidoni.
If karet could only affect a person in a lifetime, the simultaneous exercise of karet and punishment by death would be nonsensical. This entails that karet affects the body in life and the soul in the afterlife.
2. In a lifetime, karet (severing of the Divine soul) bereaves the person of his connection to the Torah and commandments, thus making him prone to Sin and, at the same time, complicating the process of repentance (teshuvah). This changes the character of Divine Providence.
If the person had not repented in his lifetime (meaning, no teshuvah was accomplished), karet affects their soul after death. But how?
The Torah (Lech-Lecha 15:15) reads, 'The Lord spoke to Abraham, ‘But you will come to your forefathers in peace; you will be buried in a good old age.’
Chukat reads (20:24): The Lord said to Moses and Aaron at Mount Hor, informing them of Aaron’s coming death, ‘Aaron shall be gathered to his people.’
Haazinu reads (32:50): The Lord spoke to Moses on that very day, saying, ‘And die on the mountain upon which you are climbing and be gathered to your people, just as your brother Aaron died on Mount Hor and was gathered to his people.’
It can be thus concluded that after death in this world, a Jew’s soul joins its people, while karet (as described in the Torah) cuts it off from the community of Israel.
So, we have a dichotomy: gathered to your people – cut off from your people.
In his work The Gate of Reincarnation, Rabbi Yitzchak Luria (Ari) introduces the concepts of ‘vertical’ and ‘horizontal’ connection of Jewish souls.
‘Vertical’ connection – a person’s soul coming from the Assiah world’s Sefira Malchut is connected to all the Sefirot Malchut in every other world.
‘Horizontal’ connection – all individual souls coming from the same root are located next to each other in the spiritual worlds and comprise a single partzuf.
Everything outlined above is in full accordance with the Kabbalah of Information thesis that stipulates the dependence of the distance between structures (souls) in the information space on the similarity of their information contents.
From that follows that karet (cutting off) breaks the ‘vertical’ and ‘horizontal’ connection of the Jewish soul. As a result the soul can communicate with G-d only through the Other Side and is separated from other Jewish souls (punished by solitude)
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