It’s like there’s two people living inside of me. I feel the need to be altruistic, coupled with the need for self-preservation. I feel my heart bleed for the poor, but can’t bear to part with too muchWho am I? hard-earned money. I have all the intentions of being a loving, patient, spouse and parent; I feel indignant, provoked, and just want my own space. Who am I?

Ready for the bombshell? There really are two forces inside of me. The contradictions swirling around does not make me a hypocrite, but is the inevitable result of the way G‑d created me. As it says about every Jew: “And neshamot [souls] which I have made.” (Isaiah 57:16) This means that in every one of us are two opposing drives, each with their own set of desires.

One is called the “animal soul,” the natural instinctive life force that runs in our bloodstream. Like an animal, this drive is focused on its own survival, considering only its own immediate needs. The other is the “G‑dly soul,” which drives the desire to cling to G‑d and fulfill His commandments.

An eternal game of tug of war, indeed.

Tanya Bit: Struggling is not a sign of hypocrisy, but of my animal soul trying to assert itself.

(Inspired from Chapter 1 of Tanya)