Chapter 9

פרק ט

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.

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.

וְהִנֵּה, מְקוֹם מִשְׁכַּן נֶפֶשׁ הַבַּהֲמִית שֶׁמִּקְּלִיפַּת נוֹגַהּ בְּכָל אִישׁ יִשְׂרָאֵל, הוּא בַּלֵּב

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”1 (nefesh)—indicating that the soul resides in that ventricle filled with blood, the left ventricle.

בְּחָלָל שְׂמָאלִי שֶׁהוּא מָלֵא דָם, וּכְתִיב: "כִּי הַדָּם הוּא הַנָּפֶשׁ".

Because the animal soul resides in the heart, therefore, all lusts and boasting and anger and similar [passions] are in the heart,

וְלָכֵן, כָּל הַתַּאֲוֹת וְהִתְפָּאֲרוּת וְכַעַס וְדוֹמֵיהֶן הֵן בַּלֵּב,

and from the heart they spread throughout the entire body,

וּמֵהַלֵּב הֵן מִתְפַּשְּׁטוֹת בְּכָל הַגּוּף

rising2 also to the brain in the head,3 to think and meditate about them and to become cunning in them—

וְגַם עוֹלֶה לַמּוֹחַ שֶׁבָּרֹאשׁ, לְחַשֵּׁב וּלְהַרְהֵר בָּהֶן וּלְהִתְחַכֵּם בָּהֶן,

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.

כְּמוֹ שֶׁהַדָּם מְקוֹרוֹ בַּלֵּב, וּמֵהַלֵּב מִתְפַּשֵּׁט לְכָל הָאֵבָרִים וְגַם עוֹלֶה לְהַמּוֹחַ שֶׁבָּרֹאשׁ.

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.

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.

אַךְ מְקוֹם מִשְׁכַּן נֶפֶשׁ הָאֱלֹהִית, הוּא בַּמּוֹחִין שֶׁבָּרֹאשׁ, וּמִשָּׁם מִתְפַּשֶּׁטֶת לְכָל הָאֵבָרִים,

The divine soul is essentially intellective, and the brain is the seat of intellect.

[The divine soul resides] also in the heart, in the right ventricle, where there is no blood,

וְגַם בַּלֵּב בֶּחָלָל הַיְמָנִי שֶׁאֵין בּוֹ דָּם,

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 described4 as “an old fool”)—is on his right.”5

וּכְמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב: "לֵב חָכָם לִימִינוֹ".

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.

This revelation in the heart of the divine soul residing in the brain is man’s fiery love toward G-d,

וְהִיא אַהֲבַת ה' כְּרִשְׁפֵּי שַׁלְהֶבֶת

which flares up in the heart of discerning men who utilize their power of chochmah,

מִתְלַהֶבֶת בְּלֵב מַשְׂכִּילִים

who understand and reflect with their faculty of binah (“understanding”), by which they understand the matter in all its details and ramifications,

הַמְבִינִים וּמִתְבּוֹנְנִים

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,

בְּדַעְתָּם אֲשֶׁר בְּמוֹחָם

on matters that arouse this love, i.e., in contemplation of G-d’s greatness (as the Alter Rebbe will soon conclude).

בִּדְבָרִים הַמְּעוֹרְרִים אֶת הָאַהֲבָה.

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.

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;

וְכֵן שִׂמְחַת לֵבָב בְּתִפְאֶרֶת ה' וַהֲדַר גְּאוֹנוֹ,

the gladness that is aroused when [the divine soul’s intellect, which the Alter Rebbe, borrowing a phrase from Ecclesiastes, describes as] the wise man’s eyes, which are “in his head,”6 meaning in the brain harboring his wisdom and understanding—

כַּאֲשֶׁר עֵינֵי הֶחָכָם אֲשֶׁר בְּרֹאשׁוֹ, בְּמוֹחַ חָכְמָתוֹ וּבִינָתוֹ,

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.

מִסְתַּכְּלִים בִּיקָרָא דְמַלְכָּא וְתִפְאֶרֶת גְּדוּלָּתוֹ עַד אֵין חֵקֶר וְאֵין סוֹף וְתַכְלִית, כִּמְבוֹאָר בְּמָקוֹם אַחֵר.

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.

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.

וְכֵן שְׁאָר מִדּוֹת קְדוֹשׁוֹת שֶׁבַּלֵּב, הֵן מֵחָכְמָה־בִּינָה־דַּעַת שֶׁבַּמּוֹחִין.