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Observations placeholder

Zohar - III 120b -121 - Mesirat nefesh



Type of Spiritual Experience


For an explanation of what happens in less mystical language, the person is out of body [no longer attached to life] and he throws himself allegorically into the abyss which may appear like an abyss to him – a whirling pool of nothing, where he/she undergoes allegorical death, in that he/she has their personality wiped completely.  The personality dies and the spirit world take over via the Higher spirit.  This ultimate act of submission –in Judaism is known as mesirat nefesh.  The kabbalists called this ‘mystical death’.

A description of the experience

Zohar III 120b-121

Come and see:  When a person prays in this way, with actions and words, and establishes union, by virtue of his deeds upper and lower worlds are blessed.  Then a person must regard himself, after he completes the Shemonoh Esreh, as if he departed from this world and has separated himself from the Tree of Life and died near the Tree of Death, which returns his pledge to him, as it is said
he (Jacob) gathered up his feet into the bed and expired and was gathered unto his people” (Gen 49:33)

As he confessed his sins and prayed on account of them.  Now he must be gathered near the Tree of Death and fall upon his face saying
“Unto thee, O Lord, Do I lift up my soul” (Psalms 25:1)

At first glance I gave her [soul] to Thee as a pledge; now that I have effected unification and performed act and word properly, and confessed on account of my sins, behold I surrender my soul to thee completely”

A person ought to regard himself as if he has departed this world, that his soul has surrendered to the sphere of death.  Therefore there is no leter vav in it [ie in Psalm 25] for vav represents the Tree of Life and this Psalm represents the Tree of death.

What does this mean to us?

The mystery is that there are sins that are not expiated until a person leaves this world, as it is written

“Surely this iniquity shall not be expiated by you until you die” (Isaiha 22:14).

And this person submits himself completely to death and surrenders his soul to this region, not in a pledge as at night, but as one who has truly left this world.  One must perform this devotion with sincerity of heart; then the Holy One, blessed be he, will take pity on him and forgive his sins

The source of the experience


Concepts, symbols and science items

Science Items

Activities and commonsteps



Activity not known