Wednesday, January 18, 2006

LESSONS IN TANYA: Thursday, January 19, 2006


Tevet 19, 5766 * January 19, 2006


Today's Lesson:

Likutei Amarim
(Middle of Chapter Thirteen)

Even if one's entire aspiration is in G-d's Torah, which he studies
day and night for its own sake, this is still no proof whatever that
the evil has been dislodged from its place.

Perhaps, rather, the essence and substance of the evil are in their
full strength and might in its abode in the left part of the heart,
except that its garments - namely, the thought, speech and action of
the animal soul - are not invested in the brain, mouth and hands and
other parts of the body, [to think and do that which is forbidden],
because G-d has granted the mind supremacy and dominion over the

Therefore the divine soul in the mind rules over the "small city,"
i.e., [over] all the parts of the body, making them, [the body's
organs], serve as "garment and vehicle"

[I.e., as a means of expression ("garment") that is totally
subservient to its user (as is a "vehicle" to its rider); thus,
because of its G-d-given supremacy, the divine soul is able to use
the body's organs as a "garment and vehicle]" - through which its
three "garments" - namely, the thought, speech and action of the
Torah's 613 commandments - are expressed "[clothed]".

[It may be, then, that with regard to this individual's thinking and
speaking words of Torah and performing the mitzvot, the divine soul
rules over the body; in this area the divine soul has the upper hand
and the animal soul is subservient].

However, in its essence and substance the divine soul has no
preponderance over the essence and substance of the animal soul,
in the case of a Beinoni, except at those times when his love for
G-d manifests itself in his heart on propitious occasions such as
during prayer and the like.

[Then, as mentioned in the previous chapter, the Beinoni is aroused
to a burning love of G-d that causes the evil of the animal soul to
be nullified before the goodness of the divine soul.

Even then, [during those times when the divine soul gains the upper
hand over the animal soul], it is limited to preponderance and
dominion alone, [i.e., the divine soul succeeds in dominating the
animal soul, not in vanquishing it, in the sense of nullifying its

As is written [of the battle between Jacob and Esau, (6) allegorically
representing the war between the good and evil in man's soul]: "And
one nation shall PREVAIL over the other." [Jacob, exemplifying the
good, merely *prevails* over Esau, the evil, but does not succeed in
totally vanquishing him.

This agrees with our Sages' comment on this verse]: "When this one
rises [and prevails] that one falls, and when that one
rises .... [this one falls]."

[The animal soul, although it had "fallen" during prayer, is
afterwards able to "rise" and rally once again, indicating that the
divine soul had not succeeded in vanquishing it even during prayer,
for which reason even its dominance is only temporary]. (7)

Thus, the divine soul gains strength and ascendancy over the animal
soul, in the source of strength ["Gevurot"], which is understanding
["Binah"] -

[In the Kabbalah's description of the Sefirot, Binah is the source
of Gevurah. In terms of one's divine soul, this means that the
source of its strength ("Gevurah") to combat the animal soul is
found in its faculty of understanding ("Binah"), the faculty with
which it understands the greatness of G-d].

[Thus, when the divine soul gains strength ... over the animal soul
..during prayer,] pondering on the greatness of G-d, the blessed Ein
Sof, and [thereby] giving birth to intense and flaming love of G-d in
the right part of his heart; and then [when the divine soul dominates
the animal soul with its intense and revealed love of G-d], the sitra
achra [the evil of the animal soul] in the left part of the heart is

But it is not entirely abolished, in the case of the Beinoni; it is
so only in a tzaddik, concerning whom it is said, (8) "My heart is
void (9) within me." [The abode in the heart usually occupied by the
evil inclination is void in the heart of a tzaddik].

He - [the tzaddik] - despises and loathes evil with a consummate
hatred [if he is a "complete" tzaddik], or without quite such utter
hatred [if he is an "incomplete" tzaddik], as explained above [in
chapter 10.

All the above applies to the tzaddik]. But in a Beinoni [the evil
merely lies dormant], as with a sleeping man, for example, who can
awaken from his sleep [at any time and reactivate his faculties].

So is the evil in the Beinoni dormant, as it were, in the left part
of the heart], not functioning at all, not even desiring physical
pleasures] - during the recital of the Shema and Amidah, when his
heart is aglow with the love of G-d, [causing the evil of the animal
soul to be dormant]. [Therefore,] after prayer it can reawaken.

[The Alter Rebbe will now describe an even higher level of Beinoni
- one who is permeated throughout the day with the same degree of
love for G-d that he feels during prayer. The animal soul of such
a Beinoni is permanently dormant. Accordingly, we will understand
how it was possible for Rabbah to classify himself mistakenly as
a Beinoni.

In chapter 1 it was proved that the term Beinoni could not refer (as
a literal interpretation would lead us to believe) to a person half
of whose deeds are virtuous and half sinful. Were this so, how could
such a sage like Rabbah, who never neglected his Torah study for even
a moment, make the mistake of classifying himself as a Beinoni?

However, the Alter Rebbe's definition of Beinoni as one who does not
sin in practice, does not seem to satisfy this difficulty. Indeed,
as the Alter Rebbe explained in chapter 12, a Beinoni never sins;
yet he has sinful desires. Rabbah, who was in fact a tzaddik, must
have known full well that he was free of such desire. How then could
he even mistakenly classify himself as a Beinoni?

According to the discussion which now follows concerning the level
of the Beinoni who never even desires evil, this matter is readily

For this reason Rabbah considered himself a Beinoni, though his
mouth never ceased from Torah study, and his desire was in [studying]
G-d's Torah day and night, with a craving, desire and longing, his
soul yearning for G-d with overwhelming love, such as that experienced
during the recitation of the Shema and the Amidah.

[During prayer, as mentioned above, the Beinoni's heart is aroused
to a love of G-d so passionate that he does not feel the evil of his
animal soul at all. Rabbah, however, experienced this arousal of love
not only during prayer but throughout the day. Therefore, his animal
soul was always dormant and he never desired mundane matters.

It was therefore possible for him to consider himself a Beinoni, for]
he appeared in his own *eyes* as a Beinoni who prays all day, [i.e.,
a Beinoni who throughout the day retains the level attained during
prayer], as, indeed, our Sages have said, (10). "Would that a man pray
the whole day long!"

[Such a Beinoni is constantly ablaze with the love of G-d, and
consequently his desire for evil is always dormant, as explained.
Therefore, the absence of any evil desires did not conclusively prove
to Rabbah that he was a tzaddik; it was still possible for him to
maintain that he was a Beinoni - a Beinoni "who prays all day long."

What emerges from all that has been said is that even during prayer
when the Beinoni succeeds in arousing his love of G-d and rendering
the evil dormant, his divine soul has merely prevailed over his animal
soul but has not vanquished it, for which reason it is possible for
this state to cease after prayer. Therefore, the Beinoni's level of
divine service is not considered truthful when compared to the service
of the tzaddik. For "truth" implies continuity and consistency.

The Alter Rebbe goes on to explain that nevertheless, the Beinoni's
love - relative to his standing - is considered a true form of


6. Bereishit 25:23.
7. Based on a note by the Rebbe. The Rebbe explains
thereby why the Alter Rebbe quotes only half of the second phrase -
"When this one (referring to the divine soul) rises, that one (the
animal soul) falls; and when that one (the animal soul) rises ...."
- without concluding the part of the quotation that deals with the
divine soul. The Alter Rebbe's purpose in quoting the second phrase
is to show that the animal soul could rise once again, though it
had "fallen" during prayer. The rest of the phrase is thus
irrelevant here.
8. Tehillim 109:22.
9. The word Chalal has two meanings: "void", and "slain". The Rebbe
points out that the Alter Rebbe understands the Chalal of
this verse to mean "void". This may be inferred from chapter 1,
where he interprets the verse as meaning that "he (David HaMelech)
had no Yetzer Hara." The Alter Rebbe continues there: "for he had
slain it through fasting," only as added explanation (not in order
to interpret the word Chala) - to indicate that David had not
attained the level of Avraham Avinu, who had transformed his Yetzer
Hara (as stated in Talmud Yerushalmi, end of Berachot ch. 9; David
had merely slain it. In the case of Avraham Avinu, his heart was
indeed not void, but in fact this was his virtue: his heart still
housed the Yetzer Hara, but that Yetzer Hara had undergone such a
metamorphosis that is was now a Yetzer Tov.
From Rashi's commentary on Berachot, however, and also from the
plain sense of the Yerushalmi, it appears that the meaning
of Chalal is "slain." In his commentary on this verse in Tehillim,
Rashi cites both interpretations.
10. Berachot 21a.


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