Sunday, January 01, 2006

LESSONS IN TANYA: Monday, January 2, 2006


Tevet 2, 5766 * January 2, 2006


Today's Lesson:

Likutei Amarim
Chapter Six

[In the previous chapters the Alter Rebbe discussed the divine soul; its ten faculties - three intellectual and seven emotional - and its three garments by which it expresses itself, namely, the thought, speech and action of Torah and the mitzvot.

He explained that the garments of the divine soul are actually on a higher level than the soul itself, inasmuch as Torah and G-d are one, and that by "clothing" itself in these garments, i.e., by studying the Torah and by performing the mitzvot, the soul is united with G-d. This is particularly true of Torah study, in which the soul both embraces and is embraced by the G-dliness contained in Torah.

In chapter 6 the Alter Rebbe begins to discuss the animal soul. He explains that its structure exactly parallels that of the divine soul; it too has ten faculties and three garments; only, unlike the divine soul, the substance of the animal soul is kelipah, and its faculties and garments are impurity. By clothing itself in these garments the animal soul descends to an even lower state of impurity.

Concerning the concept of kelipah, we have noted in chapter 1 that although all existence was created by and receives its life from G-dliness, yet, in order that man be able to choose between good and evil, and that he earn his reward by serving his Creator by his own effort, G-d created forces of impurity which conceal the G-dliness in all of creation.

These forces are called kelipah (plural: kelipot), literally meaning "shells" or "peels": Just as the shell conceals the fruit, so do the forces of kelipah conceal the G-dliness in every created being.

There are two categories in kelipot: kelipat nogah (lit. "a kelipah [inclusive] of light"), and "the three unclean kelipot."

The first category, kelipat nogah, contains some measure of good. It is thus an intermediary level between the realms of good and evil, and whatever receives its vitality via the concealing screen of this kelipah may be utilized for either good or evil.

To this category belong all permitted physical objects; they may be used for a mitzvah and ascend thereby to the realm of holiness, or they may be used sinfully, G-d forbid, and thereby be further degraded.

The second category - consisting of the "three impure kelipot" - is wholly evil. Whatever receives its vitality via the concealment of this type of kelipah cannot be transformed into holiness, nor, in some cases, may it even be used in the service of holiness.

To this category belong all forbidden physical objects; whether forbidden only for consumption, in which case they cannot be transformed into holiness but they may serve it, or whether forbidden for any form of benefit, in which case they cannot even serve any holy purpose.]

(1) "The Almighty has created one thing opposite the other."

[Everything in the realm of holiness has its counterpart in kelipah. In our context, the animal soul, with its faculties and garments, is the counterpart (in kelipah) of the divine soul, with its faculties and garments.]

Just as the divine soul consists of ten holy [faculties, which correspond to the Ten Supernal] Sefirot, and is clothed in three holy garments, [i.e., the thought, speech and action of Torah and the mitzvot], so, too, the soul of sitra achra [defined further in this chapter] derived from kelipat nogah, which is clothed in man's blood -[as explained in chapter 1, the animal soul is clothed in the blood, and thereby animates the body - this soul too] consists of ten (2) "crowns of impurity," [i.e., the faculties of kelipah, called "crowns" in kabbalistic terminology].

These [ten faculties] are: seven evil middot (seven emotional traits), [e.g., lust, the equivalent in kelipah of the middah of Chesed ("kindness"); anger, which expresses the middah of Gevurah ("severity"); boastfulness, the equivalent of Tiferet ("beauty"); and so forth], which stem from the four evil elements mentioned above [in ch. 1.

Spiritual entities have their "elements" as physical objects do; in this case evil elements, since this is a soul of kelipah], and the intellect [seichel] which gives birth to these [seven evil middot], which is subdivided into three, viz., Chochmah, Binah and Daat, the source of the middot.

[The intellectual faculties are described as the source of the evil middot] for the middot are commensurate with the quality of one's intellect.

A child desires and loves [i.e., he expresses his middah of Chesed towards] petty things of little value, for his intellect is too immature and deficient to appreciate more valuable things.

Similarly [with regard to the middah of Gevurah]: he is angered and vexed by trivial things, and likewise with regard to boastfulness [which expresses the middah of Tiferet], and other middot.

[This correlation between middot and intellect indicates that the intellect affects the nature and expression of middot, and for this reason, the three intellectual faculties are said to be the source of the seven middot. (3)]

Now these ten unclean categories, when a person thinks [thoughts originating from] them [e.g., when he thinks of ways of obtaining something he desires], or speaks [words originating from them or does an act which serves or expresses them], then the thought in his brain, the words in his mouth and the power of action in his hands and other organs, are called "impure garments" for these ten unclean categories, which clothe themselves in these garments, during the act, speech or thought.

[But what sort of thoughts, words and action are the "garments" of the animal soul? Earlier, in chapter 4, we learned that the divine soul has specific thoughts, etc., in which it clothes itself, namely, thought, speech and action in matters of Torah and the mitzvot. Are we then to understand that the animal soul, too, has specific garments - sinful thoughts, words or actions, perhaps?

Not so, states the Alter Rebbe presently. All thoughts, words and acts that are not directed toward G-d and the service of G-d, even though they are not actually sinful, are garments of the kelipah, and hence, of the animal soul. In his words]:

These [garments of the animal soul] comprise all the deeds that are done under the sun [i.e., all mundane actions], which are all (4) "vanity and an affliction of the spirit," as the Zohar (5) (Parshat Beshallach) interprets this:"a ruination of the spirit [of holinees]."

Similarly, all words and all thoughts that are not [directed] to G-d and to His Will and His service [are all garments for the animal soul.]

For this is the meaning of the term sitra achra - literally "the other side," i.e., not the side of holiness.

[Thus, whatever does not belong to the realm of holiness is sitra achra. But what, in fact, does the realm of holiness encompass?]

The side of holiness is nothing but the indwelling and extension of G-d's holiness.

Now, G-d dwells only on that which is surrendered to Him, whether [the surrender is an] actual [one and visible even in that surrendered being's external aspects] as is the case with the supernal angels [whose entire being is constantly and openly surrendered to G-d] or whether [it is a] potential [surrender], as in the case of every Jew here below in this physical world, who has the capacity for surrendering himself completely before G-d, through martyrdom for the sanctification of G-d's Name.

[As explained further in the Tanya, every Jew has the capacity for such self-sacrifice; in the face of an attempt to coerce him to forsake Judaism he will willingly suffer martyrdom. Thus, every Jew possesses internally within his soul the potential for surrender to G-d, whatever his external state; this potential, however, may reveal itself only in the act of martyrdom. Because he is surrendered to G-d, G-d's holiness rests upon him.]

That is why our Sages (6) have said that "if even one individual sits and engages in Torah study, the Divine Presence rests upon him."

[For when one engages in Torah study his surrender to G-dliness emerges, to affect him on a revealed, external level, since such study entails setting aside one's own notions and presumptions in order to understand and accept G-d's wisdom and Will as expressed in Torah. It is this surrender to G-dliness that causes the Divine Presence to rest upon the Torah student.]

Also, (7) "On each gathering of ten Jews the Divine Presence rests" always; [together, ten Jews form a "congregation of Israel," which is a fit abode for the Divine Presence.]


1. Kohelet 7:14. See Zohar III, 47b.
2. Ibid. 41a; 70a.
3. Comparison of the Alter Rebbe's description here of the faculties
of the animal soul, with his description - in ch. 3 - of the divine
soul, yields several significant differences.
In ch. 3 the seichel faculties are given first; here middot precede
seichel. In both cases the seichel is said to be the source of
middot; yet, whereas in ch. 3 this is explained to mean that
seichel "gives birth" to middot, here it is stated only that middot
are "commensurate" with the quality of seichel.
These variations arise from the fundamental difference between the
nature of the divine soul and of the animal soul. The divine soul
is essentially intellective (wherefore it is called Adam, which, of
the various Hebrew words for "man", means "man, the intelligent
being"). Its middot actually arise out of the seichel; i.e., its
emotions of love and fear of G-d stem from the seichel's
contemplation of His greatness. The animal soul, on the other hand,
is essentially and instinctively passionate. It inclines naturally
towards physical pleasures, and need not ponder their desirability
in order to desire them. Here, the seichel serves merely to steer
and channel the development of middot. Therefore the general
quality of its middot reflects, and is commensurate with, the
general state of its seichel.
4. Kohelet 1:14.
5. II, 59a.
6. Avot 3:6.
7. Sanhedrin 39a.


Chanukah is here!

Our extensive Chanukah website has how-to’s, stories, lessons, games and even recipes! It's sure to make your holiday more meaningful and insightful! All this at:

Tip: Join a public menorah lighting or Chanukah event in your area too!

Send Chanukah Greeting Cards to friends and family:

New! Featured Chanukah Videos:

SEASONS: A Chanukah Thought:
MIRACLES: A Chanukah Film:
MIRACLE LIGHTS: An Animated Production:

Wishing you and your family a Happy Chanukah!


© Copyright
Kehot Publication Society
770 Eastern Parkway / Brooklyn, New York 11213
(718) 774-4000 / FAX (718) 774-2718

Brought to you by

To listen to an audio version of today's lesson, please click one of the following links:


To view this lesson online with Hebrew text and formatting plus many features, please visit:

For more daily Torah study, please visit:


** Enjoyed this email? Please help us continue sharing the
study of Torah and Jewish traditions:

Dedicate or sponsor an email to mark your special occasion!
Please click here:

Please click here to make a donation to

** To subscribe to more email lists please click here:

** To be removed from this email list please click here:,13,261645,0,217
If you would just like your email suspended and resumed at a later
date, please let us know here:

** You are subscribed as: If your e-mail address is changing
please send us your new email address here:

Part of the Chabad Online Network

A division of Chabad Lubavitch Media Center
770 Eastern Parkway * Brooklyn, NY * 11213


No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails