Thursday, January 12, 2006

LESSONS IN TANYA: Wednesday, January 11, 2006


Tevet 11, 5766 * January 11, 2006


Today's Lesson:

Likutei Amarim
Chapter Ten

[After elaborating in the previous chapter on the ongoing battle
between the divine and animal soul over mastery of a Jew's body, the
Alter Rebbe now proceeds to explain that one who vanquishes his animal
soul and transforms its evil into good - is a tzaddik.

This level of tzaddik comprises two general categories.

The "perfect tzaddik," also called the "tzaddik who knows only good,"
is he who has transformed all the evil of his animal soul to good;
while, he who has not completely eradicated and converted the evil
within him, is termed "an imperfect tzaddik" and "a tzaddik who knows
(i.e., possesses some vestige of) evil."

The difference between the two sets of descriptive terms - "complete"
and "incomplete" tzaddik, and the tzaddik "who knows only good" or
"who knows evil" - is as follows.

The former set describes the degree of the tzaddik's love of G-d,
for it is this love that earns for him the title "tzaddik".

In the case of the "complete tzaddik" it is a complete and perfect
love; while the love of the "incomplete tzaddik" is imperfect.

The latter set of terms refers to the conversion of the animal soul's
evil to good; an individual in whom it has been entirely transformed
is termed "a tzaddik who knows only good," whereas one in whom a
vestige of evil remains is termed "a tzaddik who knows evil."

It goes without saying that "evil" in this context refers only to
the *promptings* of evil that may be harbored in the heart; not,
of course, to actual evil expressed in thought, speech, or action].

When a person causes his divine soul to prevail [over the animal
soul], and when he wages war against the animal soul to the extent
that he banishes and eradicates its evil from [its abode within him,
namely], the left part [of the heart], as is written: (1) "And you
shall eradicate the evil from your midst," [which implies that one
ought to eradicate the evil within himself;

The person who has in fact eradicated evil from his heart has not only
banished the external, practical expression of evil - evil thoughts,
words or actions - but has eradicated the evil itself: it has no place
in his heart; he no longer desires evil.

However, as to one who achieves this goal], but [finds that] the evil
has nevertheless not actually been converted into good, [in which case
his entire capacity for desire, would now be directed only toward good
and holiness; since with him this is not the case], he is called "an
incomplete tzaddik."

[He is also called] "a tzaddik who knows evil," meaning that some
vestige of evil still lingers within him, in the left part [of his
heart], except that [it finds no expression at all, not even in evil
desires, because the evil], by reason of its minuteness, is subjugated
and nullified by the good, [and cannot therefore be sensed]. (2)

Hence, he [the tzaddik] may imagine that he has driven it out and
it has quite disappeared. In truth, however, had all the evil in him
departed and disappeared, it would have been converted into actual
good. (3)

[This requires explanation: Perhaps the incomplete tzaddik feels no
desire for evil because he indeed no longer has any evil, having
converted it to good; why must we say that he only imagines himself
to be altogether free of evil?

To explain this, the Alter Rebbe continues with a clarification of the
term "complete tzaddik." The explanation in brief:

As stated in the previous chapter, the complete tzaddik is able to
convert his evil to good only by dint of his great love of G-d, a love
known as "love of delights." Accordingly, the "incomplete tzaddik,"
who has yet to attain to this lofty level of love, has obviously not
yet accomplished this conversion.

"Love of delights," then, is the ultimate criterion of where the
tzaddik stands vis-a-vis the eradication of his evil.

In the Alter Rebbe's words]:

The explanation of the matter is as follows:

A "complete tzaddik," in whom the evil has been converted into good,
and who is consequently called "a tzaddik who knows [only] good," [has
attained this level by] completely removing [his] filthy garments from

This means: he despises utterly the pleasures of this world, finding
it repugnant to derive from them that pleasure which other people
derive, namely, [the pleasure of] merely gratifying the physical
appetite, instead of [using this pleasure] toward the service of G-d.

[For physical pleasures dedicated to serving G-d are in fact holy;
e.g., the pleasure of "enjoying the Shabbat" with food and drink.
It is not such pleasure that is repugnant to the tzaddik, but pleasure
for the sake of self-indulgence.

He despises such pleasures] for they are derived from and receive
their spiritual sustenance from the kelipah and sitra achra, [the very
antithesis of holiness].

For the "complete tzaddik" utterly hates whatever is of the sitra
achra, because of his great love, a "profuse love of delights," and
his superior degree of affection for G-d and His holiness, as
mentioned above [in chapter. 9, where the Alter Rebbe explained that
"love of delights" is the ultimate level in the love of G-d.

To resume: Because of the tzaddik's great love for G-d and holiness
he utterly hates the kelipah and sitra achra] - since they, [i.e.,
holiness and kelipah], are antithetical; [his love of G-d therefore
evokes a commensurate degree of hatred for sitra achra].

So it is written: (4) "I hate them with a consuming hatred, says King
David of those who oppose G-d, they have become enemies to me; search
me, he says to G-d, and know my heart."

[This means: "By searching me and knowing how great is the love of You
borne in my heart, You will know how great is my hatred toward Your
enemies"; for, as stated, love is the measure of hate].

Hence, according to the abundance of love towards G-d, so is the
extent of hatred toward [the spiritual] sitra achra [which nurtures
the physical pleasures], and the utter repugnance of the evil [of
physical pleasures;

Since the sitra achra is spiritual, and hence distant from physical
man, the term "hatred" is appropriate to it; with regard to the evil
of physical pleasures, which are closer to man, the term "repugnant"
is applicable: the repugnance of having something odious placed before
one's very eyes], for repugnance is as much the exact opposite of love
as is hatred.

[In any event, we have established that this tzaddik's utter despisal
of evil is predicated on his loving G-d to the greatest degree. He is
therefore called a "complete tzaddik," since the quality by virtue of
which he is termed a tzaddik, i.e., his love of G-d, is on the highest
and most complete level. He is also called a "tzaddik who knows only
good" - he possesses only good, having transformed all the evil within
him to good.

Hence the "incomplete tzaddik," whose "love of delights" is imperfect,
must also be lacking in his hatred of evil. This, in turn, indicates
that he retains some vestige of evil, albeit unfelt. He is therefore
called "a tzaddik who knows evil]."

The "incomplete tzaddik" is he who does not hate the sitra achra -
[the spiritual kelipot] - with an absolute hatred; therefore he also
does not find evil - [physical desires and pleasures] - absolutely

As long as his hatred and abhorrence of evil are not absolute,
perforce he must have retained some vestige of love and pleasure
towards it.

The "filthy garments" [in which the animal soul had been clothed,
meaning (as explained above) the evil inclination and the lusting
after worldly pleasures], have [obviously] not been completely shed
[from it].

Therefore, too, [the evil of the animal soul] has not actually
been converted to good, since it still has some hold on the "filthy
garments," [i.e., the desires for pleasure in which the animal soul
had previously "clothed" and expressed itself], except that [this
vestige of evil is imperceptible and cannot express itself in evil
desires, etc., because the evil] is nullified [in the good] by
reason of its minuteness, and is accounted as nothing, [i.e., the
overwhelming preponderance of good prevents the evil from being sensed
and from finding expression].

Indeed, he is therefore called Tzadik vera lo, [which means (not only
"tzaddik who knows (retains) evil," but also)] "a tzaddik whose evil
is [his"; i.e.], subjugated and surrendered to him," [to the good
within him. Such a tzaddik is identified with the good, since he is
overwhelmingly good].

Perforce, then, [the fact that he retains some evil indicates that]
his love of G-d is also not complete, [for a complete love of G-d
would have converted all the evil within him to good].

He is therefore called an "incomplete tzaddik."

[For, as explained above, the terms "complete" and "incomplete" denote
the tzaddik's level of love for G-d, and the terms "who knows only
good" and "who knows evil" denote the degree of his eradication and
transformation of evil].


1. Devarim 21:21.
2. See ch. 1, note 6.
3. The Rebbe notes the apparent contradiction between the
two statements made here concerning the tzaddik's evil nature: on
the one hand we are told that the evil is completely driven out and
eradicated, and on the other hand it is stated that it is converted
to good. The Rebbe remarks:
There are actually two aspects to the "evil nature":
the power of the animal soul, and its "filthy garments," the evil
desires into which the animal soul's energy has been channeled.
These "garments" cannot be elevated or converted; they must be
removed and eradicated. The energy of the animal soul and its
tendency to find evil outlets for its energy can then be converted
to good by "clothing it in clean garments," i.e., channeling this
energy into holy outlets. If the energy has not yet been
transformed into good, clearly some of the "filthy garments" must
have remained.
4. Paraphrase of Tehillim 139:22-23.


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