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LESSONS IN TANYA: Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Today’s Tanya Lesson
Adar I 12, 5774 · February 12, 2014
Likutei Amarim, middle of Chapter 29

ואם כן הוא רחוק מה׳ בתכלית הריחוק, שהרי כח המתאוה שבנפשו הבהמית יכול גם כן להתאוות לדברים האסורים, שהם נגד רצונו יתברך

If so, that he is actually the animal soul, he is removed from G‑d with the utmost remoteness. For the lusting drive in his animal soul is capable of lusting also after forbidden things, which are contrary to G‑d’s Will.

אף שאינו מתאוה לעשותם בפועל ממש, חס ושלום, רק שאינם מאוסים אצלו באמת כבצדיקים, כמו שכתוב לעיל פרק י״ב

While he does not desire to do them (these forbidden things) in actual practice, G‑d forbid, yet they are not truly repulsive to him, as they are totzaddikim, as explained above (in ch. 12).

There the Alter Rebbe explains that after his prayers, when the love of G‑d is no longer revealed in his heart, a Beinoni can feel a craving for material pleasures, whether they be permitted or forbidden — except that in the case of forbidden matters, he does not actually wish to implement his desires in forbidden actions; they remain instead in the category of “sinful thoughts.”

ובזה הוא גרוע ומשוקץ ומתועב יותר מבעלי חיים הטמאים ושקצים ורמשים, כנ״ל

In this he is inferior to and more loathsome and abominable than unclean animals and insects and reptiles, as mentioned above — for even they do not transgress against G‑d’s Will (see ch. 24), and since he does do so (in his mind, at least) he is worse than they;

וכמו שכתוב: ואנכי תולעת ולא איש וגו׳

and as it is written: 1 “But I am a worm, and not a man…”

As a human being who chooses to lower himself to the level of a worm, I am worse than a worm, for it is a worm by creation rather than by choice.

But what of the times when the divine soul of the Beinoni dominates him, such as during prayer, when he experiences a revealed love of G‑d and there is no room in his heart for any mundane desires? To this the Alter Rebbe answers:

וגם כשמתגברת בו נפשו האלקית לעורר האהבה לה׳ בשעת התפלה, אינה באמת לאמיתו לגמרי, מאחר שחולפת ועוברת אחר התפלה כנ״ל, סוף פרק י״ג

(2Even when his divine soul gathers strength within him to arouse his love of G‑d during prayer, this predominance of the divine soul is not altogether genuine, since it is transient and vanishes after prayer, as mentioned earlier, end of ch. 13.)

The Alter Rebbe explains there that only that which is permanent and unchanging can be described as “true”. Relative to the rank of Beinoni, this arousal of the divine soul during prayer may be considered “truthful”, since the Beinoni is capable of generating it always — whenever he prays. It cannot, however, be described as “absolutely truthful” (emet la‘amito) since it is not constant, occurring only during prayer.

1. Tehillim 22:7.
2. Parentheses are in the original text.
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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