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Tzava'at Harivash 9

Tzava'at Harivash 9

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When beset by mundane desires, remove them from your mind. Scorn the desire to the point of it becoming hated and despised by you. 1 Incite the yetzer tov against the yetzer hara and your desire, and thus you will subdue them. 2

Do not be depressed at all from not having mundane desires. On the contrary, rejoice exceedingly for meriting to subdue your passion for the sake of the Creator’s glory, may He be blessed. Our sages said of this, “rejoicing in the suffering” (Shabbat 88b).

When you are not drawn after your desire, even in thought, and scorn it, you subdue the kelipot3 very much, as it is said in the Zohar (I:100b): “‘A pure heart’ (Psalms 24:4) is the one that will not let his will and heart be drawn after the sitra achara.” 4

Footnotes
1.
See above, sect. 5-6.
2.
See Berachot 5a: “Man should always incite the yetzer tov (good impulse in man) against the yetzer hara (evil impulse in man) [i.e., to wage battle against the yetzer hara; Rashi], as it is written ‘Tremble (incite) and sin not (or: and you will not sin)’ (Psalms 4:5).” To do so, helps subdue the personal yetzer hara and the power of evil (that is concentrated in worldly pleasures) in general, as explained below.
Note the term “subdues.” It accords with the Baal Shem Tov’s interpretation of “Who is strong? He who conquers (subdues) his [evil] impulse” (Avot 4:1): the yetzer hara is not to be destroyed but conquered, i.e., to harness its energy for good, to utilize it for matters of holiness. (Cf. Shenei Luchot Haberit, Bet David (cur. ed. p. 16b; also ibid. p. 36b.)
3.
“Kelipah (pl. kelipot)-husk(s); shell(s)” (analogous to the crude husk that encompasses the edible fruit) is the mystical term for the realm or forces of evil and impurity.
4.
Sitra achara-the other side,” i.e., the “side of evil and impurity,” as opposed to the “side of holiness.” Sinful thoughts and acts vitalize and strengthen the sitra achara (see below, sect. 87 and 90; and cf. sect. 43, note 8). In turn, overcoming and subduing such thoughts and temptations subdues and weakens the kelipot (see below, sect. 79).
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