Wednesday, January 11, 2006

LESSONS IN TANYA: Thursday, January 12, 2006


Tevet 12, 5766 * January 12, 2006


Today's Lesson:

Likutei Amarim
(Conclusion of Chapter Ten)

Now, this level - [that of the "incomplete tzaddik" who "knows evil]"-
is subdivided into myriads of levels, consisting of [varying degrees
in] the quality of the minute remaining evil [deriving] from [any] one
of the four "evil elements" [of which the animal soul is composed (see
chapter 1).

In one tzaddik the remaining evil may consist of the element of Water,
in another the evil may consist of a spark of the element of Fire, and
so on. This subdivision of levels is qualitative, based on the type of
remaining evil.

The Alter Rebbe will now describe (as it were) a quantitative
subdivision, depending on the degree to which the evil loses its
identity within the good.

In one tzaddik the vestigial evil may be such that the proportion of
good to evil could be described as 60:1; the evil in another tzaddik
may be more minute, so that it is overwhelmed by a proportion of good
that is 1000:1; and so on.

Yet, to borrow a term from the law concerning non-kosher foodstuffs,
where in certain cases of error the rule is that even a preponderance
of 60 parts (kosher) to 1 (non-kosher) is sufficient to render the
entire mixture kosher (since the non-kosher food is no longer capable
of tainting the mixture with its flavor), we may likewise say in our
case that a preponderance of good over evil to the degree of 60:1 is
also capable of preventing the expression and perception of the
remaining evil.

In the Alter Rebbe's words]:

[The subdivision] also takes into account the degree to which [the
remaining evil] is nullified [in the good] because of its minuteness,
whether in sixty [times as much good], for example, or in a thousand,
or ten thousand, and so on.

These [various sublevels in the ranks of "incomplete tzaddikim]" are
the levels of the numerous tzaddikim found in all generations, [all of
whom belong to the category of the "incomplete tzaddik,"] as we find
in the Gemara, (5) "Eighteen thousand tzaddikim stand before the Holy
One, blessed be He."

[Thus, though many attain the level of tzaddik, they are in fact
"incomplete tzaddikim]."

But concerning the rank of the "complete tzaddik," Rabbi Shimon bar
Yochai's statement (6) applies: "I have seen `superior men' (bnei
aliyah) and they are but few."

The reason that [the complete tzaddikim] are called bnei aliyah
[literally: "men of ascent"] is that they convert evil and make
it ascend to holiness.

It is similarly written in the intoduction to the Zohar, (7) that
when Rabbi Chiyya wished to ascend to the heichal [heavenly shrine]
of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, he heard a voice come out and say:

"Whichever of you, before coming here, have converted the darkness [of
the world] to light [holiness], and [have transformed] the bitter
taste [of their animal soul and evil inclination] to sweetness
[holiness] ..... [only these may enter]."

Another reason for their designation of bnei aliyah: (8)

Even their divine service in the area of "doing good," in their
fulfillment of Torah and its mitzvot, is for the sake of the Above,
and their service is directed toward a most high level, toward the
loftiest heights.

[Their divine service] is not [intended] merely to attach themselves
to G-d [by serving Him through Torah and mitzvot, so as] to quench the
thirst of their soul which thirsts for G-d,

[The divine service of tzaddikim of lower levels may indeed be for the
purpose of stilling their thirst for G-d and their desire to cleave to
Him; for indeed, the fulfillment of Torah and mitzvot satisfies these

as it is written:(9) "Ho, [exclaims the prophet], all who are thirsty
[for G-dliness, should] go to the waters [of Torah," i.e., let them
engage in Torah, which is likened to water], as is explained
elsewhere, [that the "thirsty ones" of this verse refer to those who
thirst for G-dliness.

The prophet's words prove this point. Were he addressing those who
thirst for Torah, he need not exclaim "Ho," nor direct them to its
"waters". Whoever thirsts for Torah will find it readily available
for study. Rather, the prophet is addressing those who thirst for G-d,
advising them to slake their thirst for Him through Torah, which binds
one to G-d.

The "men of ascent," however, whom we have been discussing, are
beyond this level of divine service. They do not study Torah or
perform mitzvot with the intention of quenching their own thirst
for G-dliness, for such service is - in a subtle sense - self-serving,
as it is motivated by one's desire for a certain spiritual profit,
namely, the bliss of closeness to G-d].

Rather [their service of G-d is] as the Tikkunei Zohar (10) explains
[that which our Sages have said]: "Who is a pious one (chassid)? He
who is benevolent (mischassed) with his Creator (kono)."

[The Tikkunei Zohar comments, that kono (usually translated "his
Creator") is here to be interpreted as "his nest" (derived from the
root ken - "nest"), and thus, the chassid is he who is benevolent
"with his nest" - i.e., his Source, G-d. This "benevolence" towards
G-d consists of] - "uniting the Holy One, blessed be He, with His
Shechinah (the Divine Presence), [so that the light of this union
reach and be felt even] in the lowest worlds."

As is also explained in Ra'aya Mehemna on Parshat Tetze: "In the
manner of a son who exerts himself for his father and mother, whom
he loves more than himself, [more than] his own Nefesh, Ruach and
Neshamah, and who sacrifices his life for their sake to redeem them,
[should they be held in captivity]," and as is also explained

[Such is the divine service of "men of ascent": it is wholly
altruistic, motivated only by a desire to please G-d and make His
presence felt everywhere.

The Alter Rebbe now goes on to explain that the two aforementioned
interpretations of the term "men of ascent" accord with each other
and are in fact complementary.

It is a kabbalistic axiom that the "elevation of mahn" (mem nun -
initials of mayin nukvin, lit., "feminine waters") effects a
corresponding "descent of mahd" (mem daled - initials of mayin
dechurin, lit., "masculine waters.")

This means that the arousal of the "feminine" level, i.e., the
recipient (which in our case means the efforts of man below, in
actions directed "upward" toward G-d), causes a reciprocal arousal
of the "masculine" level, i.e., the giver (meaning, in our case,
G-d's benevolence as it "flows downward" and is bestowed upon man).

Applying this to the service of "men of ascent" we find the following.

That aspect of their service mentioned in the first interpretation -
that they elevate evil and convert it to good -constitutes an "ascent
of mahn."

The aspect mentioned in the second interpretation - that by their
service of love they draw down G-d's Presence upon earth -constitutes
a "descent of mahd," for every mitzvah that they perform (as a channel
for the descent of G-d's Presence) is an expression of G-d's

Thus, the two interpretations are complementary, since the "ascent of
mahn" is what causes the "descent of mahd" as stated above.

(The Alter Rebbe employs kabbalistic terms in his explanation, which
are explained in Chassidut at length; they will become clearer in the
course of further study.)

In the Alter Rebbe's words]:

( (11) Both interpretations are complementary. For by refining [the
good found in] kelipat nogah, [as the "men of ascent" do by converting
their animal soul (which is derived from kelipat nogah) to good], one
elevates "feminine waters" (mahn), effecting unions in the higher
realms, so as to cause "masculine waters" (mahd) to descend [to this

These ["masculine waters"] are the "waters" of kindness [that flow
into and are contained] in each of the 248 positive mitzvot, which are
all in the nature of "kindness", [or benevolence], and "masculine

This [term "masculine waters" as applied to mitzvot] means [that the
mitzvot] draw G-d's holiness from above, [i.e., from the higher
realms], downward, so that [G-d's holiness] be clothed in [and
revealed within] the lowest realms, [i.e., our physical world], as
explained elsewhere.) [Thus the two interpretations of the term "men
of ascent" are complementary].


5. Paraphrase of Sukkah 45b and Sanhedrin 97b.
6. Ibid.
7. Zohar I, 4a.
8. The Rebbe notes that two reasons are given for the use of
the name bnei aliyah for the same level of tzaddikim, viz., the
higher level. One reason corresponds to the appellation "complete
tzaddik," while the other corresponds to the term "tzaddik who
knows only good." (As we have seen, the "complete tzaddik" is so
called because of the degree of his love of G-d; the explanation
appropriate here is the latter - that his love is utterly selfless.
The "tzaddik who knows only good" is so called because of his
eradication and conversion of evil; the explanation appropriate to
him is the former - that he elevates evil to holiness.)

9. Yeshayahu 55:1.
10. Introduction to Tikkunei Zohar 1b. See Zohar II, 114b; III, 222b;
11. Parentheses are in the original text.


Featured Audio Class on

Vayechi - Jacob's Unrequited Desire
By Moshe New

“Jacob called for his sons and said, ‘Gather and I will tell you what will happen to you at the end of days”. Rashi explains: He attempted to reveal when Moshiach would come, but the Shechinah withdrew from him. So he began to say other things.

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