102. וְנוֹטֵל אוֹתָהּ מִיכָאֵל הַכֹּהֵן הַגָּדוֹל, וּמַקְרִיב אוֹתָהּ קָרְבַּן בְּשָׂמִים לִפְנֵי הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא, [וּבָאָה] וְיוֹשֶׁבֶת שָׁם, וּמִתְעַדֶּנֶת בְּאוֹתוֹ צְרוֹר הַחַיִּים, (ישעיה סד) שֶׁעַיִן לֹא רָאָתָה אֱלֹהִים זוּלָתְךָ וגו’. אַחַר כָּךְ יוֹרֶדֶת לְתוֹךְ הַגָּן שֶׁל הָאָרֶץ וּמִתְעַדֶּנֶת בְּכָל הָעִדּוּנִים, וּמִתְלַבֶּשֶׁת בַּלְּבוּשׁ הַהוּא [וּמִזְדַּוֶּגֶת עִם נַפְשׁוֹ], וְיוֹשֶׁבֶת שָׁם בְּעִטּוּר שֶׁל אֶחָד פִּי שְׁנַיִם מִכַּמָּה שֶׁהָיְתָה בָּרִאשׁוֹנָה. [וְזֶהוּ בְּחֹל. וְעוֹלָה לַיְשִׁיבוֹת שֶׁל גַּן הָעֵדֶן וּמִתְעַסֶּקֶת בַּתּוֹרָה, וּבְכָל רָאשֵׁי חֳדָשִׁים וּמוֹעֲדִים וְשַׁבָּתוֹת יוֹרֶדֶת לְהִזְדַּוֵּג עִם הַנֶּפֶשׁ.]
103. הַנְּשָׁמָה הִיא כֹּחַ עֶלְיוֹן עַל כָּל אֵלּוּ, וְהִיא מִכֹּחַ הַזָּכָר, הַסּוֹד שֶׁל עֵץ הַחַיִּים. וְזוֹ עוֹלָה לְמַעְלָה מִיָּד, וְכָל אֵלּוּ [אוֹתָן] שְׁלֹשׁ הַדְּרָגוֹת נִקְשָׁרוֹת יַחַד זֶה עִם זֶה. וּכְשֶׁנִּפְרָדוֹת, כֻּלָּן עוֹלוֹת וְשָׁבוֹת לְאוֹתוֹ מָקוֹם שֶׁיָּצְאוּ מִמֶּנּוּ.
Zohar Lech Lecha
And in the middle of the Garden, there is a pillar embroidered in all colors. And when the Ruach wants to ascend to the world of Atzilut, she gets undressed from the body, leaving the Nefesh behind. Then she enters within the pillar, and ascends upwards, to the place which she came out of it, as it is written ‘will return to God (Elohim) who gave it’
Then, Michael, the Great Cohen takes the Ruach and brings her as a fragrance offering before YHVH, which is Zeir Anpin. The Ruach sits there, in Zeir Anpin of Atzilut, and adorned in the bundle of life (צרור החיים), which the scripture hints at (Isaiah 64:3) “עַיִן לֹא רָאָתָה אֱלֹהִים זוּלָתְךָ” “Nor has the eye seen any God (Elohim) besides You”
Then the Ruach goes down to the Garden of Eden and gets dressed in the garments from the air of the Garden. She sits there with a crown, which is twice as large as it was before the Ruach ascended to Zeir Anpin and Nukva of Atzilut.
The Neshama is a supernal force that is above Nefesh, and Ruach. It is drawn by the male, Zeir Anpin, from Binah of Atzilut. Because Zeir Anpin draws the Neshama, he is considered as the root of the Neshama. It is like the female that draws the Ruach is considered its root. The Light of Zeir Anpin is called Ruach and the Light of Binah is called Neshama.
After a person passes away, his Neshama departs immediately and ascends up to its root in Zeir Anpin. It is not like the Ruach that goes up first to the Garden of Eden.
The three levels of Light, Nefesh, Ruach, and Neshama are connected together and when they are separated from the body, they go up and return to their own roots.
Nefesh is the lower level of Light in the body but is the most important to sustain the life of a person. The Liver is the control center of the Nefesh in the body.
Ruach is higher and comes from Zeir Anpin. We achieve this additional light in this world by following the ways of the Torah with the general rule “Do good and avoid bad”. The Heart is the center for the Ruach.
Neshama is the highest level of Light that can be achieved in this world. Righteous people that already have the level of Ruach and act selflessly for the benefit of others, can achieve the level of Neshama. Since it’s the highest level, it occupies the brain.
The higher-level controls the level below it. Neshamah and Ruach can leave the person if he loses the righteous path. The level of Nefesh is removed only at the time of death, meaning when the heart stops and there is no blood circulation in the body.