Gilgul, Gilgulim and Reincarnation
The concept of reincarnation in Hebrew is called gilgul, gilgul neshamot or gilgulei ha neshamot.
In Hebrew, the word gilgul means "cycle."
Neshamot is the plural for "souls."
Souls "cycle" through "lives" or "incarnations." These souls attach themselves to different bodies - human and nonhuman- over time.
The most basic component of the soul is called the nefesh. The nefesh is always part of the gilgul process. It must leave the [hysical body at the stage of death.
Then, that soul without a body moves into another body where life has begun. This is the cycling of souls.
There are four other soul components and different nations of the world possess different forms of souls with different purposes.
The essential Kabbalistic text that discusses the idea of "gilgul" is called Sha'ar Ha'Gilgulim ("The Gate of Reincarnations"), based on the work of Rabbi Isaac Luria (and compiled by his disciple, Rabbi Chaim Vital). It describes the deep, complex laws of reincarnation. One concept that arises from Sha'ar Ha'gilgulim is the idea that "gilgul" is paralleled physically by pregnancy.
A golem is a body without a soul.
Gilgul & Reincarnation Web Links:
Compiled from wikipedia and other notes.