In the previous chapters the Alter Rebbe elaborated on the composition of the Jew’s divine soul with its ten holy soul-powers and three soul-garments, and his animal soul, with its corresponding ten powers and three garments originating in kelipah. In the present chapter the Alter Rebbe will discuss the battle fought within the Jew between these two souls.
והנה מקום משכן נפש הבהמית שמקליפת נוגה בכל איש ישראל הוא בלב
The abode of the animal soul derived from kelipat nogah in every Jew, i.e., the place where the animal soul (nefesh habahamit) resides and is most manifest, is in the heart; for, as mentioned in previous chapters, the animal soul is predominantly emotional, and the heart is the seat of emotion.
בחלל שמאלי, שהוא מלא דם — וכתיב: כי הדם הוא הנפש
More specifically, the abode of the animal soul is in the left ventricle, as it is filled with blood, and it is written, “For the blood is the soul” (nefesh) — indicating that the soul resides in that ventricle filled with blood, the left ventricle.
ולכן כל התאות והתפארות וכעס ודומיהן הן בלב
Because the animal soul resides in the heart, therefore all lusts and boasting and anger and similar passions are in the heart,
ומהלב הן מתפשטות בכל הגוף
and from the heart they spread throughout the entire body,
וגם עולה למוח שבראש, לחשב ולהרהר בהן ולהתחכם בהן
rising also to the brain in the head, to think and meditate about them and to become cunning in them —
כמו שהדם מקורו בלב, ומהלב מתפשט לכל האברים, וגם עולה להמוח שבראש
just as the blood has its source in the heart, and from the heart it circulates into every organ, rising also to the brain in the head.
Similarly the soul (nefesh) clothed in the blood abides in the heart and spreads out from there to pervade one’s entire body. Thus, in the case of the animal soul, the “brain” (the intellectual faculties) too, instead of motivating the heart and guiding it, merely reacts to it, and serves only as a clever tool for realizing the passions of the heart.
אך מקום משכן נפש האלקית הוא במוחין שבראש, ומשם מתפשטת לכל האברים
But the abode of the divine soul is in the brains that are in the head, and from there it extends to all the limbs.
The divine soul is essentially intellective, and the brain is the seat of intellect.
וגם בלב, בחלל הימני שאין בו דם
[The divine soul resides] also in the heart, in the right ventricle where there is no blood,
וכמו שכתוב: לב חכם לימינו
As it is written, “The heart of the wise man — i.e., the divine soul (in contrast with the animal soul; specifically: the evil inclination, the yetzer hara, which is described as ”an old fool“) — is on his right.”
We thus see that the divine soul resides not only in the brain but in the right ventricle of the heart as well.
As he did when speaking of the animal soul, the Alter Rebbe again singles out the heart from among all the other organs; having said that the divine soul extends to all the organs, he mentions the heart specifically: “and also in the heart.” For unlike the other organs in which merely the extension of the divine soul is manifest, in the heart the divine soul itself (i.e., its emotional faculties) is revealed. The Alter Rebbe now goes on to explain this point.
והיא אהבת ה׳ כרשפי שלהבת
This revelation in the heart of the divine soul residing in the brain is man’s fiery love towards G‑d,
מתלהבת בלב משכילים
which flares up in the heart of discerning men who utilize their power of Chochmah,
who understand and reflect with their faculty of Binah (“understanding”), by which they understand the matter in all its details and ramifications,
בדעתם אשר במוחם
with the knowledge of their brain, i.e., with their faculty of Daat (“knowledge”), by which they immerse themselves and sensitize themselves in that which they understand; thus, the love flares up in the hearts of those who utilize all three faculties of Chochmah, Binah and Daat —
בדברים המעוררים את האהבה
on matters that arouse this love, i.e., in contemplation of G‑d’s greatness (as the Alter Rebbe will soon conclude).
For, as explained in the third chapter, understanding the greatness of G‑d leads one to love Him. This love, then, is one example of the divine soul’s reaching from the brain into the heart.
וכן שמחת לבב בתפארת ה׳ והדר גאונו
Similarly: Another, deeper way in which the heart’s emotion gives expression to the presence of the divine soul in the brain: the gladness of the heart at [apprehending] the beauty of G‑d and the majesty of His glory;
כאשר עיני החכם אשר בראשו, במוח חכמתו ובינתו
the gladness that is aroused when [the divine soul’s intellect, which the Alter Rebbe, borrowing a phrase from Kohelet, describes as] the wise man’s eyes, which are “in his head,” meaning in the brain harboring his wisdom and understanding —
מסתכלים ביקרא דמלכא ותפארת גדולתו עד אין חקר ואין סוף ותכלית, כמבואר במקום אחר
when these “eyes” i.e., intellectual faculties gaze intently at the glory of the King and the beauty of His unfathomable, infinite and boundless greatness, then the heart rejoices and is glad, as is explained elsewhere.
Gazing with the mind’s “eye” means that one not only understands the greatness of G‑d, but also perceives it — as though seeing it with his very eyes. Such perception arouses great joy in one’s heart, and this joy, like the love spoken of earlier, is a direct result and a manifestation of the intellect of the divine soul residing in the brain.
וכן שאר מדות קדושות שבלב הן מחב״ד שבמוחין
Similarly the other holy emotions in the heart too, such as fear of G‑d, and the like, originate from the ChaBaD (wisdom, understanding, knowledge) in the brains.
The Alter Rebbe has thus established 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:
אך הנה כתיב: ולאום מלאום יאמץ
It is written, 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.
כי הגוף נקרא עיר קטנה, וכמו ששני מלכים נלחמים על עיר אחת, שכל אחד רוצה לכבשה ולמלוך עליה
For the body is called 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;
דהיינו להנהיג יושביה כרצונו, ושיהיו סרים למשמעתו בכל אשר יגזור עליהם
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.
כך שתי הנפשות — האלקית, והחיונית הבהמית שמהקליפה — נלחמות זו עם זו על הגוף וכל אבריו
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:
שהאלקית חפצה ורצונה שתהא היא לבדה המושלת עליו ומנהיגתו
The divine soul’s will and desire is that she alone rule over the person and direct him,
וכל האברים יהיו סרים למשמעתה ובטלים אליה לגמרי
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.
ויהיו לבוש לעשר בחינותיה וג׳ לבושיה הנזכרים לעיל, שיתלבשו כולם באברי הגוף
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, all of which should clothe the limbs of the body,
ויהיה הגוף כולו מלא מהם לבדם
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.
ולא יעבור זר בתוכם ח״ו
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.
דהיינו: תלת מוחין שבראש יהיו ממולאים מחב״ד שבנפש האלקית
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,
שהיא חכמת ה׳ ובינתו
namely, [in] discerning G‑d and understanding Him, i.e., applying the faculties of Chochmah and Binah to the understanding of G‑dliness,
להתבונן בגדולתו אשר עד אין חקר ואין סוף
by pondering His unfathomable and infinite greatness with these two faculties;
ולהוליד מהן, על ידי הדעת, היראה במוחו ופחד ה׳ בלבו
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.
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.
ואהבת ה׳ כאש בוערה בלבו כרשפי שלהבת
There will also be born of this contemplation a love of G‑d, burning in his heart like a flame, like fiery flashes.
להיות נכספה וגם כלתה נפשו בחשיקה וחפיצה, לדבקה בו באין סוף ברוך הוא בכל לב ונפש ומאד
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, “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.
מעומקא דלבא שבחלל הימני
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.
שיהיה תוכו רצוף אהבה, מלא וגדוש
The kind of love that the divine soul desires entails that [the heart] be inlaid with love from within, 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:
עד שתתפשט גם לחלל השמאלי, לאכפיא לסטרא אחרא, יסוד המים הרעים שבה
[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,
שהיא התאוה שמקליפת נוגה
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 pleasures.
לשנותה ולהפכה מתענוגי עולם הזה לאהבת ה׳
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,
כמו שכתוב: בכל לבבך, בשני יצריך
as it is written, [“You shall love G‑d]... with all your heart” — which our Sages interpret (basing themselves on the use of the dual form of the word — לבבך instead of לבך, 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 battle-plan.
The Alter Rebbe now describes the specific level of love of G‑d that accomplishes this:
והיינו, שיעלה ויבא ויגיע למדרגת אהבה רבה וחיבה יתירה ממדרגת אהבה עזה כרשפי אש
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.
והיא הנקראת בכתוב אהבה בתענוגים, להתענג על ה׳ מעין עולם הבא
This [level of love] is what Scripture describes 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.
והענג הוא במוח חכמה ושכל המתענג בהשכלת ה׳ וידיעתו, כפי השגת שכלו וחכמתו
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.
והוא בחינת המים וזרע, אור זרוע שבקדושת נפש האלקית
[This delight] is the level of Water and “seed”, i.e., light that is sown in the holiness of the divine soul,
המהפכת לטוב את בחינת המים שבנפש הבהמית, שמהם באו תאות תענוגי עולם הזה מתחלה
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.
וכמו שכתוב בעץ חיים, שער נ׳ פרק ג׳, בשם הזהר, שהרע נהפך להיות טוב גמור, כמו יצר טוב ממש, בהסיר הבגדים הצואים ממנו, שהם תענוגי עולם הזה שהוא מלובש בהם
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.
וכן שאר כל המדות שבלב, שהן ענפי היראה והאהבה, יהיו לה׳ לבדו
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.
וכל כח הדבור שבפה והמחשבה שבמוח, יהיו ממולאים מן לבושי המחשבה והדבור של נפש האלקית לבדה
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;
שהן מחשבת ה׳ ותורתו, להיות שיחתו כל היום, לא פסיק פומיה מגירסא
namely, thoughts of G‑d and His Torah, in which he would speak all day, “his mouth never ceasing from study.”
וכח המעשיי שבידיו ושאר רמ״ח אבריו יהיה במעשה המצות לבד, שהוא לבוש השלישי של נפש האלקית
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.
אך נפש הבהמית שמהקליפה, רצונה להפך ממש
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.
לטובת האדם, שיתגבר עליה וינצחנה, כמשל הזונה שבזהר הקדוש
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.
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.
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