Friday, January 06, 2006

LESSONS IN TANYA: Shabbat, January 7, 2006


Due to Shabbat observance, the Shabbat edition of Lessons In Tanya is sent on Friday. Shabbat Shalom!

Tevet 7, 5766 * January 7, 2006


Today's Lesson:

Likutei Amarim
Chapter Eight

There is an additional aspect in the matter of forbidden foods, for which reason they are called issur ["bound" and attached]:

Even if one ate a forbidden food unwittingly and his intention in eating was for the sake of heaven, i.e., in order to serve G-d with the energy derived from it; moreover, even if he actually carried out his intention, having studied and prayed with the energy derived from that food; the vitality contained in it does not ascend or become clothed in the words of Torah and prayer that he studies and prays with the energy of that food as is the case with permitted foods, because it is held captive in the power of the sitra achra of the three unclean kelipot which do not permit the energy of the food to be elevated to Sanctity.

[Had the food been permitted, the very act of eating for the sake of heaven would suffice to extract the good from the evil of the food's vitality, as explained above. In this instance, however, forbidden food was eaten for the sake of heaven].

[This is so], even if it is [forbidden by reason of] a Rabbinic prohibition, for (1) "the words [i.e., the prohibitions] of the Scribes are even more stringent than the words of the Torah ..."

Therefore, the yetzer hara [evil impulse] and the force that lusts after forbidden things is also (2) "one of the non-Jewish demons," which is the yetzer hara of the nations, whose souls are derived from the three unclean kelipot. [They therefore lust after forbidden matters, since the forbidden matters, too, derive their energy from the three unclean kelipot].

On the other hand, the evil impulse and the craving force after permissible things [even when done solely] to satisfy one's craving [in which case, as mentioned earlier, even the permissible matter descends into the utter evil of the three unclean kelipot; still it] is (2) "one of the Jewish demons"; [it is, as it were, a Jewish evil impulse], for it [the vitality of a permitted thing] can be reverted to holiness, as was explained above. (3)

[Since the food itself is permissible, therefore, though it was eaten to satisfy bodily desire, it can still be elevated to holiness (when the person returns to the study of Torah and the service of G-d). The yetzer hara for forbidden matters, however, is intrinsically un-Jewish, i.e., essentially foreign to the Jew's character. As explained elsewhere, one acquires this "foreign" yetzer hara by immersing himself in "permitted" pleasures. These so coarsen him that he begins to lust after prohibited matters as well - a desire totally unnatural for the Jew.

Although the vitality of permitted foods eaten out of bodily desire can revert to holiness through the person's repentance], nevertheless before it has reverted to holiness it is sitra achra and kelipah, and even afterwards [after the person repented and elevated the energy of the food to holiness] a trace of it remains attached to the [person's] body, since each item of food and drink that one ingests immediately becomes blood and flesh of his flesh.

[Since the food which became his flesh and blood was evil at the time of consumption - having been eaten for the sake of bodily pleasure - a trace of the kelipah remains in the body even after the person has repented and elevated the vitality of the food to holiness].

That is why the body must undergo the "Purgatory of the Grave" [a specific punishment for the body (4)] in order to cleanse it and purify it of the uncleanness which it had received from the enjoyment of mundane things and pleasures, which are from the impurity of the kelipat nogah and of the "Jewish demons" [i.e., the "Jewish yetzer hara" which desires permitted matters]; unless one had never derived enjoyment from this world all his life [i.e., either he actually derived no enjoyment, or his enjoyment was not of this world, since all his actions were completely for the sake of mitzvot and holiness], as was the case with Rabbeinu HaKadosh [Rabbi Judah the Prince, who said at the time of his demise that he had had no enjoyment of this world even to the extent of his "small finger".

He who never derived pleasure from this world all his life need not undergo the "Purgatory of the Grave." However, anyone who has not attained this level must undergo this punishment to purify his body of the uncleanness received from the enjoyment of mundane pleasures.


1. Mishnah, Sanhedrin 88b; Bamidbar Rabbah 14:12.
2. Zohar III, 253a; 277a.
3. Ch. 7.
4. See Zohar II, 151a, and especially Rabbi Chayim Vital, end of Sefer
HaGilgulim, and Sefer HaKavanot, p. 55b.


Featured Audio Class on

Vayigash - Joseph's Leadership Role
By Moshe New

The lesson from Joseph: the strength and ability to be a leader and sustain society not just physically but spiritually as well.

More Audio/Video


© 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