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KABBALAH of the HEART | Sefer Tanya


Who’s the boss of your body: your heart or your brain? Rabbi Tzvi Freeman explores the untapped powers of the mind.



LESSONS IN TANYA: Tuesday, February 4, 2014
Today’s Tanya Lesson
Adar I 4, 5774 · February 4, 2014
Likutei Amarim, middle of Chapter 27

ובכל דחיה ודחיה שמדחהו ממחשבתו, אתכפיא סטרא אחרא לתתא

With every repulsion of this thought from his mind, the sitra achra is suppressed here below in This World,

ובאתערותא דלתתא אתערותא דלעילא

and, since “the arousal from below (in our case, the initiative of the Beinoni in suppressing the sitra achra) produces a corresponding arousal above,”

ואתכפיא סטרא אחרא דלעילא המגביה עצמה כנשר

the sitra achra above in the supernal worlds (the root of the sitra achra of this world) which soars like an eagle, is also suppressed,

לקיים מה שכתוב: אם תגביה כנשר וגו׳ משם אורידך נאם ה׳

thus realizing the verse, 1 “Though you soar aloft like the eagle…I will yet bring you down from there, says G‑d.”

וכמו שהפליג בזהר פרשת תרומה דף קכח בגודל נחת רוח לפניו יתברך כד אתכפיא סטרא אחרא לתתא

Indeed the Zohar, in Parshat Terumah (p. 128), extolls the Divine satisfaction that occurs when the sitra achra is subdued here below,

דאסתלק יקרא דקודשא בריך הוא לעילא על כולא יתיר משבחא אחרא, ואסתלקותא דא יתיר מכולא וכו׳

for “thereby G‑d’s glory rises above all, more than by any other praise, and this ascent its greater than all else, etc.”

Thus, it is the evil thoughts which enter the mind of the Beinoni that enable him to fulfill G‑d’s command in averting his attention from them, thereby subduing the sitra achra.

ולכן אל יפול לב אדם עליו ולא ירע לבבו מאד

Therefore one should not feel depressed or very troubled at heart (— he ought to be somewhat troubled by the occurence of these thoughts, otherwise he may become indifferent to them and will cease to wage war against them; but he ought not to be sorely troubled by them),

גם אם יהיה כן כל ימיו במלחמה זו

even if he be engaged all his days in this conflict with the thoughts which will always enter his mind.

Though he may never rise to the level which precludes their occurence, yet he should not be depressed.

כי אולי לכך נברא, וזאת עבודתו: לאכפיא לסטרא אחרא תמיד

For perhaps this is what he was created for, and this is the service demanded of him — to subdue the sitra achra constantly.

ועל זה אמר איוב: בראת רשעים

Concerning this Job said to G‑d: 2 “You have created wicked men,” as though it were preordained that one man be wicked, and another righteous.

In the first chapter, the Alter Rebbe pointed out that this is contradicted by the statement in the Gemara that before a child is born, G‑d decrees whether he shall be wise or foolish, strong or weak, and so on, but does not determine whether he will be righteous or wicked — this is left to one’s own choice. The meaning of Job’s statement becomes clear, however, in light of the above discussion. True, G‑d does not ordain whether man will act wickedly, but He does “create wicked men,” in the sense that their minds work like the mind of the rasha, with evil thoughts constantly occuring to them. G‑d created them in this way so that they will engage in battle with these thoughts, and thereby subjugate the sitra achra — as the Alter Rebbe now goes on to say.

ולא שיהיו רשעים באמת, חס ושלום

The implication of Job’s statement is not that they were created to actually be wicked, G‑d forbid, i.e., sinful in thought, speech and action,

אלא שיגיע אליהם כמעשה הרשעים במחשבתם והרהורם בלבד

but that there should occur to them, in their thoughts and musings alone, that which occurs to the wicked, 3 i.e., that evil thoughts should enter their mind, as they do in the mind of the wicked,

והם יהיו נלחמים תמיד להסיח דעתם מהם כדי לאכפיא לסטרא אחרא

and they shall eternally wage war to avert their minds from them in order to subjugate the sitra achra,

ולא יוכלו לבטלה מכל וכל, כי זה נעשה על ידי הצדיקים

yet they will never be able to annihilate the sitra achra in their soulscompletely, for this is accomplished by tzaddikim.

A tzaddik subjugates his animal soul to such a degree that it is unable to arouse temptation in his heart. His mind is therefore untroubled by evil thoughts. Those, however, of whom Job said that they were “created wicked,” cannot rise to this level. It is always possible for evil thoughts to enter their minds; their task is not to give them free rein.

1. Ovadiah 1:4.
2. Bava Batra 16a.
3. Cf. Kohelet 8:14.
The Tanya of Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, elucidated by Rabbi Yosef Wineberg    More articles…  |   RSS Listing of Newest Articles by this Author

Translated from Yiddish by Rabbi Levy Wineberg and Rabbi Sholom B. Wineberg. Edited by Uri Kaploun.
Published and copyright by Kehot Publication Society, all rights reserved.

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