Monday, January 16, 2006

LESSONS IN TANYA: Tuesday, January 17, 2006


Tevet 17, 5766 * January 17, 2006


Today's Lesson:

Likutei Amarim
(Conclusion of Chapter Twelve)

However, the impression retained in his mind [from his meditation,
during prayer, on G-d's greatness], and the [natural] love and fear
of G-d hidden in the right part of his heart, enable him to prevail
over and dominate the evil [animal soul's] craving, preventing the
evil from gaining the supremacy and dominion over the "city" [the
body], and carrying out its craving from the potential to the actual
by clothing itself in the organs of the body [in actual speech or

Furthermore: even in the mind alone, with respect to sinful thought,
the evil has not the dominion and power to cause him [G-d forbid] to
think such thoughts consciously; i.e., [to cause the mind] to accept
willingly, G-d forbid, the evil thought that rises of its own accord -
[unbidden] - from the heart to the mind, as explained above. (7)

[Evil thoughts will occur to him involuntarily, because the evil in
his heart craves evil; however, the evil does not have the final say
on what he will let his mind accept willingly; the Beinoni's conscious
mind is dominated by the divine soul].

Instead, immediately upon [the thought's] rising to [the mind], he
- [the Beinoni] - thrusts it aside [as it were] with both hands,
and averts his mind from it, the instant he realizes that it is an
evil thought.

He will refuse to accept it even as a subject for mere conscious
thought, and will certainly not entertain the notion of acting on it,
G-d forbid, or even speaking of it. For he who willingly indulges in
such thoughts is deemed a rasha at that moment, while the Beinoni is
never wicked even for a single moment.

[Obviously, then, the Beinoni would not willingly entertain evil
thoughts. The discussion of his mastery over his animal soul has thus
far centered on matters pertaining to man's relationship with G-d. It
now moves to another area]:

So, too, in matters "between man and his fellow-man." [The Beinoni
will not grant expression in thought, speech or action to any evil
feelings toward his fellow].

As soon as there rises from his heart to his mind any animosity or
hatred, G-d forbid, or jealousy, anger or a grudge, and their like,
he will bar them from his mind and will, [refusing even to think of

On the contrary, his mind will prevail over and dominate the feelings
of his heart, to do the exact opposite [of that which the heart
desires, namely, to conduct himself toward his fellow with the quality
of kindness [as opposed to the quality of "severity", where hatred and
anger originate], and to display towards his fellow a disproportionate
love, in suffering from him to the furthest extreme, without being
provoked into anger, G-d forbid, or to take revenge in kind, G-d
forbid, [even without anger];

but, on the contrary, to repay offenders with favors, as taught in the
Zohar, (9) that we should learn from the example of Joseph's conduct
with his brothers, [when he repaid them for the suffering they brought
upon him, with kindness and favors.

Thus, in his relations with his fellow-man as well, the Beinoni does
not permit the evil in his heart to express itself in thought, word or

It is thus understood from this chapter, that with regard to practice,
the divine soul, is the Beinoni's only master. He neither thinks,
speaks nor does anything forbidden, but acts only in acordance with
Torah and mitzvot.

As regards his essence, however, i.e., his intellect and emotions, he
has another master as well; his animal soul is still powerful, and it
can and does arouse evil desires in his heart.

In connection with the statement made earlier in this chapter, that
the time of prayer is propitious for spiritual elevation, an aphorism
of the previous Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi J.I. Schneersohn, comes to

When a Jew studies Torah he feels like a student before G-d, his
teacher, Whose wisdom he is studying. When he prays, he feels like
a child before his father].


9. Zohar I, p. 201a.


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