Monday, January 09, 2006

LESSONS IN TANYA: Tuesday, January 10, 2006


Tevet 10, 5766 * January 10, 2006


Today's Lesson:

Likutei Amarim
(Conclusion of Chapter Nine)

[The Alter Rebbe has thus established (7) that each of these two
souls has its own, separate abode and way of functioning. Lest we
erroneously conclude that each soul goes about its own affairs,
not interfering or concerning itself with those of the other, the
Alter Rebbe continues]:

It is written, (8) however, "One nation shall prevail over the other
nation." [The verse refers to Jacob and Esau. In terms of a Jew's
spiritual life it is understood as an allusion to the divine soul
and the animal soul respectively, who are constantly warring with
each other].

For the body is called (9) a "small city." [The two souls, in
relation to one's body, are just] as two kings who wage war over
a city, which each wishes to capture [and dominate even against its
will] and to rule [with the consent of the populace]; that is to say,
[each king wishes] to direct its inhabitants according to his will, so
that they obey him in all that he decrees upon them.

So, too, do the two souls - the divine soul and the vitalizing animal
soul, which originates from kelipah [and is therefore the very
antithesis of the divine soul] - wage war against each other over the
body and all its organs, [the body being analogous to the city and the
organs to its inhabitants.

Here, too, each soul wishes to direct the city's inhabitants according
to its will, as follows]:

The divine soul's will and desire is that she alone rule over the
person and direct him, so that all the organs be subject to her
discipline, [following and obeying her dictates], and [furthermore]
that they surrender themselves completely to her, [i.e., that they not
only obey her, but also surrender their will to her], and [she desires
further still that all the organs] become a "chariot" for her.

[The divine soul desires that the organs not only surrender their will
to it, implying that they do indeed have a will of their own, though
it is surrendered to the soul, but rather it desires also that they
have no will other than its own - similar to a chariot, which has no
independent will, but is merely an instrument of its driver].

Moreover, [the divine soul desires] that [the organs] be also a
garment, [an instrument of expression], for her ten faculties and
three garments [of thought, speech and action] mentioned above, (10)
all of which should clothe the limbs of the body,and the entire body
should be permeated with them alone.

[The body's being harnessed in service of the divine soul might not
preclude its serving the animal soul, too, on occasion. The Alter
Rebbe therefore adds the phrase: "the entire body should be permeated
[by the divine soul] alone," emphasizing the divine soul's desire to
have exclusive use of the body as an instrument of expression, leaving
no place for the faculties and garments of the animal soul.

No Alien would then [so much as] pass through the organs, G-d forbid,
[i.e., the animal soul would exert no influence whatever on the body.

The above forms a general description of the divine soul's desire to
pervade the whole body. The Alter Rebbe now turns to specifics: which
organs would give expression to each particular faculty or garment of
the divine soul].

That is to say, [specifically:] the three brains - [the three sections
of the brain, which correspond to the three intellectual faculties:
Chochmah, Binah, Daat] - would be permeated with the ChaBaD of the
divine soul, namely, [in] discerning G-d and understanding Him, [i.e.,
applying the faculties of Chochmah and Binah to the understanding of
G-dliness], by pondering His unfathomable and infinite greatness [with
these two faculties];

through applying [to this meditation] the faculty of Daat (knowledge)
[as well, i.e., through immersing oneself in the subject of G-d's
greatness with the depth typical of Daat, so that one not only
understands this greatness, but actually feels it], they [i.e., his
aforementioned faculties of Chochmah and Binah engaged in pondering
G-d's greatness] will give birth to an awe [of G-d] in his mind, and
dread of G-d in his heart. (11).

[Thus, not only his mind but also his heart will be permeated with the
faculties of the divine soul: the mind - with the divine soul's CHaBaD
faculties pondering G-d's greatness, and the heart - with the divine
soul's emotions (the fear just mentioned and the love soon to be
discussed) arising from this contemplation].

[There will] also [be born of this contemplation] a love of G-d,
burning in his heart like a flame, like fiery flashes.

His soul will thirst and pine with desire and longing to cleave to the
blessed Ein Sof with all his heart, soul, and might - [as it is
written, (12) "And you shall love G-d, your L-rd, with all your heart,
with all your soul, and with all your might."

"With all your heart" means that the heart is filled with the love of
G-d; "`with all your soul'" implies that the love spills over beyond
the heart, to affect all the organs of the body - the feet, for
example, will move with alacrity to do a mitzvah; "with all your
might" means loving G-d to the point where one will sacrifice his life
for Him.

This love will] rise from the depths of the heart, that is, from the
right ventricle - [the seat of the divine soul's emotional faculties,
as mentioned above.

The kind of love that the divine soul desires entails that [the heart]
be inlaid with love from within, (13) [and furthermore, not only would
the love be (as it were) on the "`surface'" of the heart, but the
heart would also be full, with the love occupying its entire space, as
it were; and furthermore, it would be, indeed], filled to overflowing
- [i.e., the love would overflow into the left part of the heart, to
affect the emotional faculties of the animal soul which reside there,
as the Alter Rebbe continues:]

[The love] would thus inundate the left part [of the heart] as well,
to crush the sitra achra; specifically, the element of Water in it
- [in the animal soul] meaning the lust emanating from kelipat nogah.

[As mentioned in ch. 1, the animal soul's element of Water gives rise
to lust for physical pleasures derived from kelipat nogah. Now, the
animal soul's spirit of lust is the kelipah counterpart of the divine
soul's spirit of love (for G-d). Thus, the divine soul's intense love
of G-d has the power to crush the animal soul's lust for physical

The effect of the divine soul on the animal soul's element of Water
would be] to change and transform it from [a lust for] mundane
pleasures to a love of G-d, as it is written, (12) ["You shall love
G-d]... with all your heart" - [which our Sages interpret (14)
(basing themselves on the use of the dual form of the word -
Levavcha instead of levav, which allows the verse to imply "with all
your hearts']: "`With both your natures, with your good inclination
and also with your evil inclination."

[Accordingly, the evil inclination (i.e., the lust of the animal soul)
must also come to love G-d, and this too is part of the divine soul's

The Alter Rebbe now describes the specific level of love of G-d that
accomplishes this:

This [transformation of the animal soul's lust to a love of G-d]
entails rising to attain to the level of ahavah rabbah ("abundant
love"), a love surpassing even the level of the "powerful love, like
fiery flashes" [that was mentioned earlier].

This [level of love] is what Scripture describes (15) as ahavah
betaanugim ["a love of delights"]; it is the experience of delight
in G-dliness that is a foretaste of the World to Come, [since man's
reward in the World to Come consists of delighting in G-dliness]. (16)

This delight is [felt] in the brain containing Chochmah (wisdom)
and intelligence, which delights in perceiving and knowing G-d,
commensurate with the capacity of one's intelligence and wisdom -
[the greater one's grasp of G-dliness, the greater his delight].

[This delight] is the level of Water and "see'", i.e., light that is
sown in the holiness of the divine soul, which transforms to good the
element of Water in the animal soul from which the lust for physical
pleasure had previously arisen.

[This means that the element of Water in the animal soul, which had
previously expressed itself as a desire for physical pleasures, now
expresses itself as a love of G-d, having been transformed by the
divine soul's love of G-d].

It is similarly written in Etz Chayim, Portal 50, ch. 3, on the
authority of the Zohar, that the evil [of the animal soul] is
transformed and becomes perfect good like the good inclination itself,
when it is stripped of its "`unclean garments,"" meaning the mundane
pleasures in which it had been clothed.

[The yetzer hara (evil inclination) consists of a powerful drive, an
appetite for whatever it perceives as good and desirable. This drive
is neutral, and may be steered in any direction; however, being
clothed in a corporeal body it inclines toward physical pleasures.
These lusts become "unclean garments" for the animal soul's drive.

By steering it away from physical pleasures toward an appreciation of
spiritual pleasures, the divine soul strips the yetzer hara of its
"unclean garments" and clothes it in "pure garments," so that it may
apply its powerful appetite for pleasures to G-dly, holy matters.

This, then, is the divine soul's desire: that it create, by means of
its intellectual faculties, a fear and love of G-d so powerful as to
transform the animal soul to good.

The divine soul further desires that] similarly, all other emotions of
the heart, which are offshoots of fear and love, be dedicated solely
to G-d.

[Thus far, the Alter Rebbe has discussed the divine soul's desire for
dominion over the mind and heart. He now goes on to speak of the other
organs of the body].

Also, the entire faculty of speech that is in the mouth, and the
thought that is in the mind, be filled exclusively with the divine
soul's garments of thought and speech; namely, thoughts of G-d and
His Torah, in which he would speak all day, "his mouth never
ceasing from study." (17)

And the faculty of action vested in his hands and the rest of his 248
organs - this [faculty] being the third of the garments of the divine
soul - be engaged in the fulfillment of the mitzvot, [i.e., that he
utilize his ability to act solely in the observance of mitzvot.

In summary: The divine soul desires that its faculties and garments
pervade the body, entirely and exclusively].

But the animal soul derived from kelipah desires the very opposite;
[it desires that the body be pervaded with its faculties and its
thought, speech and action.

But the animal soul desires this] for man's benefit, in order that he
prevail over her and vanquish her, as in the parable of the harlot
[related] in the holy Zohar. (18)

[The parable: A king desired to test the moral strength of his only
son. He had a most charming and clever woman brought before him.
Explaining to her the purpose of the test, he ordered her to exert
every effort to seduce the crown prince. For the test to be valid, the
supposed harlot had to use all her charms and guile, without betraying
her mission in the slightest way. Any imperfection on her part would
mean disobedience, and the failure of her mission. However, while she
uses all her seductive powers, she inwardly desires that the prince
should not succumb to them.

So too in our case: The kelipah itself desires that man overcome it
and not permit himself to be led astray. The entire stratagem is
solely for man's benefit.


7. This paragraph is based on a comment of the Rebbe.
8. Bereishit 25:23.
9. Kohelet 9:14; Nedarim 32b.
10. Chs. 3 and 4.
11. For the difference between "awe" and "dread", and their
relationship to the mind and heart, respectively, see chapter
3, note 6.
12. Devarim 6:5.
13. Shir HaShirim 3:10.
14. Berachot 54a.
15. Shir HaShirim 7:7.
16. The Alter Rebbe here distinguishes various degrees of love:
ahavah azah ("ardent love"), and ahavah rabbah ("great love"),
also called ahavah betaanugim ("delightful love") - a serene
love of fulfillment. The first is likened to a burning flame;
the second - to calm waters. These and other levels of love are
later discussed at length - chapters 15, 16, 18, 40, 41, 46, 49.
17. Bava Batra 86a.
18. Zohar II, 163a.


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