Sunday, January 08, 2006

LESSONS IN TANYA: Monday, January 9, 2006


Tevet 9, 5766 * January 9, 2006


Today's Lesson:

Likutei Amarim
Chapter Nine

[In the previous chapters the Alter Rebbe elaborated on the composition of the Jew's divine soul with its ten holy soul-powers and three soul-garments, and his animal soul, with its corresponding ten powers and three garments originating in kelipah. In the present chapter the Alter Rebbe will discuss the battle fought within the Jew between these two souls].

The abode of the animal soul derived from kelipat nogah in every Jew, [i.e., the place where the animal soul (nefesh habahamit) resides and is most manifest], is in the heart; [for, as mentioned in previous chapters, the animal soul is predominantly emotional, and the heart is the seat of emotion.

More specifically, the abode of the animal soul is] in the left ventricle, as it is filled with blood, and it is written, (1) "For the blood is the soul" (nefesh) - [indicating that the soul resides in that ventricle filled with blood, the left ventricle.

Because the animal soul resides in the heart], therefore all lusts and boasting and anger and similar passions are in the heart, and from the heart they spread throughout the entire body, rising also to the brain in the head, (2) to think and meditate about them and to become cunning in them - just as the blood has its source in the heart, and from the heart it circulates into every organ, rising also to the brain in the head. (3)

[Similarly the soul (nefesh) clothed in the blood abides in the heart and spreads out from there to pervade one's entire body. Thus, in the case of the animal soul, the "brain" (the intellectual faculties) too, instead of motivating the heart and guiding it, merely reacts to it, and serves only as a clever tool for realizing the passions of the heart].

But the abode of the divine soul is in the brains that are in the head, and from there it extends to all the limbs. [The divine soul is essentially intellective, and the brain is the seat of intellect.

The divine soul resides] also in the heart, in the right ventricle where there is no blood, as it is written, (4) "The heart of the wise man - [i.e., the divine soul (in contrast with the animal soul; specifically: the evil inclination, the yetzer hara, which is described (5) as "an old fool"] - is on his right."

[We thus see that the divine soul resides not only in the brain but in the right ventricle of the heart as well. As he did when speaking of the animal soul, the Alter Rebbe again singles out the heart from among all the other organs; having said that the divine soul extends to all the organs, he mentions the heart specifically: "and also in the heart." For unlike the other organs in which merely the extension of the divine soul is manifest, in the heart the divine soul itself (i.e., its emotional faculties) is revealed. The Alter Rebbe now goes on to explain this point].

This [revelation in the heart of the divine soul residing in the brain is] man's fiery love towards G-d, which flares up in the heart of discerning men [who utilize their power of Chochmah, who understand and reflect [with their faculty of Binah ("understanding") , by which they understand the matter in all its details and ramifications, with the knowledge of their brain, [i.e., with their faculty of Daat ("`knowledge'"), by which they immerse themselves and sensitize themselves in that which they understand; thus, the love flares up in the hearts of those who utilize all three faculties of Chochmah, Binah and Daat] -

on matters that arouse this love, [i.e., in contemplation of G-d's greatness as the Alter Rebbe will soon conclude.

For, as explained in the third chapter, understanding the greatness of G-d leads one to love Him. This love, then, is one example of the divine soul's reaching from the brain into the heart].

Similarly: [Another, deeper way in which the heart's emotion gives expression to the presence of the divine soul in the brain]: the gladness of the heart at [apprehending] the beauty of G-d and the majesty of His glory; [the gladness that is aroused] when [the divine soul's intellect, which the Alter Rebbe, borrowing a phrase from Kohelet, (6) describes as] the wise man's eyes, which are "in his head," meaning in the brain harboring his wisdom and understanding - [when these "eyes" i.e., intellectual faculties] gaze intently at the glory of the King and the beauty of His unfathomable, infinite and boundless greatness, [then the heart rejoices and is glad], as is explained elsewhere.

[Gazing with the mind's "eye" means that one not only understands the greatness of G-d, but also perceives it - as though seeing it with his very eyes. Such perception arouses great joy in one's heart, and this joy, like the love spoken of earlier, is a direct result and a manifestation of the intellect of the divine soul residing in the brain].

Similarly the other holy emotions in the heart too, [such as fear of G-d, and the like], originate from the ChaBaD (wisdom, understanding, knowledge) in the brains.


1. Devarim 12:23.
2. Note the difference in expression: The emotions merely "spread"
to all the other organs, but "rise" to the brain. When emotion is
assimilated into the intellect it indeed "rises", and is elevated
(- even in the case of the animal soul, where the intellect is
merely the tool of emotion), for the essential nature of intellect
is more refined than that of emotion. With regard to the blood
(mentioned presently), the expression "rises" is again used
specifically in connection with the brain: the blood, too, is
elevated and refined upon ascending to the brain.
3. The Rebbe explains that the specific mention of the brain
(aside from its inclusion with the other organs) parallels the
statement further that the divine soul's abode is in the brain and
the heart.
4. Kohelet 10:2.
5. Ibid. 4:13.
6. Ibid. 2:14.


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