What determines why any particular soul is placed within a specific person or family? Does the soul have any choice in the matter? Is there any way that parents can somehow choose what soul is placed in their child? Might the placement of souls have anything to do with reincarnation and the set of challenges a person is confronted with regarding family or in life in order to achieve its “tikkun” (rectification)?
This is a very interesting and stimulating question!
The simple, general answer seems to be that in most cases, practically speaking, it is Gd alone who is directly and solely responsible for deciding which souls go to which bodies, thereby determining to a large extent everything that will happen to the soul, based on the context in which
That being said, there are some fascinating exceptions that I can think of which relate to your questions.
The soul generally does not choose a body. In fact, in most cases, if the soul could choose, it would choose to remain in the spiritual plane with all its delights and splendor in the presence of
Parents generally cannot choose the soul of their children. However, parents can have a major influence over what soul
The placement of souls is not dependent on reincarnation, since
One very interesting expression of this involves the Torah mitzvah of yibum. If a man dies leaving a widow with no children, the deceased brother is required to marry the widow in order that their son perpetuate the deceased brother’s lineage. Ramban writes that this happens because the soul of the deceased is reincarnated into the son of the yibum couple. Based on this, the author of Pele Yoetz actually remarks that people who knew the deceased brother while he was alive are required to inform the son what he needs to rectify based on what they know of him from his previous reincarnation!