William Q. Judge on Gilgul
The Zohar is a work of great weight and authority among the Jews. In II, 199 b, it says that "all souls are subject to revolutions". This is metempsychosis or a'leen b'gilgoola; but it declares that "men do not know the way they have been judged in all time". That is, in their "revolutions" they lose a complete memory of the acts that have led to judgment. This is precisely the Theosophical doctrine. The Kether Malkuth says, "If she, the soul, be pure, then she shall obtain favor . . . but if she hath been defiled, then she shall wander for a time in pain and despair . . . until the days of her purification". If the soul be pure and if she comes at once from God at birth, how could she be defiled? And where is she to wander if not on this or some other world until the days of her purification? The Rabbis always explained it as meaning she wandered down from Paradise through many revolutions or births until purity was regained.
Under the name of "Din Gilgol Neshomes" the doctrine of reincarnation is constantly spoken of in the Talmud. The term means "the judgment of the revolutions of the souls". And Rabbi Manassa, son of Israel, one of the most revered, says in his book Nishmath Hayem: "The belief or the doctrine of the transmigration of souls is a firm and infallible dogma accepted by the whole assemblage of our church with one accord, so that there is none to be found who would dare to deny it . . . Indeed, there is a great number of sages in Israel who hold firm to this doctrine so that they made it a dogma, a fundamental point of our religion. We are therefore in duty bound to obey and to accept this dogma with acclamation . . . as the truth of it has been incontestably demonstrated by the Zohar and all books of the Kabalists."
These demonstrations hold, as do the traditions of the old Jews, that the soul of Adam reincarnated in David, and that on account of the sin of David against Uriah it will have to come again in the expected Messiah. And out of the three letters ADM, being the name of the first man, the Talmudists always made the names Adam, David, and Messiah. Hence this in the Old Testament: "And they will serve Jhvh their God and David their king whom I shall reawaken for them." That is, David reincarnates again for the people. Taking the judgment of God on Adam "for dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return", the Hebrew interpreters said that since Adam had sinned it was necessary for him to reincarnate on earth in order to make good the evil committed in his first existence; so he comes as David, and later is to come as Messiah. The same doctrine was always applied by the Jews to Moses, Seth, and Abel, the latter spelt Habel. Habel was killed by Cain, and then to supply the loss the Lord gave Seth to Adam; he died, and later on Moses is his reincarnation as the guide of the people, and Seth was said by Adam to be the reincarnation of Habel. Cain died and reincarnated as Yethrokorah, who died, the soul waiting till the time when Habel came back as Moses and then incarnated as the Egyptian who was killed by Moses; so in this case Habel comes back as Moses, meets Cain in the person of the Egyptian, and kills the latter. Similarly it was held that Bileam, Laban, and Nabal were reincarnations of the one soul or individuality. And of Job it was said that he was the same person once known as Thara, the father of Abraham; by which they explained the verse of Job (ix, 21 ), "Though I were perfect, yet would I not know my own soul", to mean that he would not recognize himself as Thara.
(Reincarnation in Judaism and the Bible - The Path – February 1894)
“Qabbalah, the Theos-Sophia of the Jews:”Jewish Theosophists and their Perceptionsof Kabbalah