Is it possible to know about previous lives?
We have to begin answering what the purpose of reincarnation is; for starting, everything that Hashem does has a purpose, so the final goal is that every individual and anything in the world gets to its final tikun. The same is with reincarnation, if the person did not complete the tikun in the current life he or she has to come back and try to fix it, it is important to note that one soul can reincarnate several times until it completes its final tikun.
If you are thinking that since there are going to be more chances, in concept, to do the right thing through several reincarnations and decide not to work towards completing your tikun; well, Hashem gives many opportunities for us to achieve the final goal but if the soul already went through many opportunities and instead of fixing it is doing more wrong, that’s it! Hashem burns the soul. Wait, what does it means that Hashem burns the soul? It is not that He disappears from existence that soul, but that He disintegrates that soul into many pieces and scatters those pieces into the souls of righteous people for it to accomplish its tikun.
The main principle of reincarnation is a chesed from Hashem for us to have more chances to complete our tikun. Now, getting into the topic of knowing what we were in past lives, we have righteous people that are and also those who were able to say who people were in a past life. For example, in the writings from the Arizal, specifically “Shaar Hagilgulim” (the gates of reincarnation), in the introduction, rabbi Chaim Vital writes that indeed the Arizal was able to tell what people were in past lives. The Arizal was able even more than just knowing the past life, he was also able to talk to the neshama (soul) without the limitations of the physical body. So the soul as it is knows all the journey it has gone through, all the reincarnations and how the person carrying that soul acted in previous lives.
What is the problem? The issue is that we are not able to connect with our own soul, our soul knows all of the journey since it was created till the current day, since we are more connected to our physical body rather than our soul, we know more about our physical body. If we were more connected to our soul we would be able to know many more secrets about the spiritual realms, about ourselves and about our past lives. So this is the answer, to have access to that type of knowledge we need to connect more and more with our souls, through kabbalistic meditations and focusing more about the spiritual realms.
If a person gets to the point where he or she knows already about his soul, he wouldn’t have any other option but to do good and more good. Basically, acquiring that knowledge leaves the person without any choice but to only act in order to fix what ever his soul needs. Hashem, as a principle, gave us free choice so therefore, in a certain way, it is a little bit contradicting with the premise of free choice if the person has all the knowledge because he would have to only do good. So this is the reason why Hashem is hiding that kind of information from us until the person works very hard and really connects to his soul, then he gets to a level where he has the merit of knowing the secrets of his soul, because at that point even without knowing what he was in previous lives he would still act accordingly.
Let us finish with a blessing from our rabbi, rabbi Shepherd, that we will know how to apply to ourselves the principles of the kabbalistic meditations to experience spiritual elevation in order to connect with our soul and receive all of the knowledge that is there waiting for us to grab it; to get to know what we were in a past life so that we can know what we need to do in this life and have the strength to do it in the best possible way. To be able to finish our tikun and continue in a higher level of existence in the spiritual realms and to connect to Hashem in a deeper way.
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