Let him further consider his dreams in order to humble his spirit, for one may learn more about himself from his dreams than from his waking, conscious thoughts. For the most part, they are “vanity and an affliction of the spirit,”15 because his soul does not ascend heavenward during his sleep, since it is written: “Who shall ascend the mountain of the L-rd?”16meaning, in our context, “Whose soul shall rise heavenward while he sleeps to see and absorb matters of Torah and holiness, which will in turn be reflected in his dreams?” And the next verse gives the answer: “He that has clean hands and a pure heart”—implying that the soul of one whose hands and heart are not pure does not ascend, and that is why his dreams are a patchwork of vanity and foolishness.

עוֹד יָשִׂים אֶל לִבּוֹ, רוֹב חֲלוֹמוֹתָיו, שֶׁהֵם הֶבֶל וּרְעוּת רוּחַ, מִשּׁוּם שֶׁאֵין נַפְשׁוֹ עוֹלָה לְמַעְלָה, וּכְמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב: "מִי יַעֲלֶה בְּהַר ה', נְקִי כַפַּיִם וְגוֹ'",

Furthermore, “those originating from the ‘evil side’ come and attach themselves to him and inform him in his dreams of mundane affairs…and sometimes mock him and show him false things and torment him in his dreams,” and so on, as stated in the Zohar on Vayikra (p. 25a, b). See it there discussed at length.

וְ"אִינוּן סִטְרִין בִּישִׁין אָתְיָין וּמִתְדַּבְּקָן בֵּיהּ וּמוֹדְעִין לֵיהּ בְּחֶלְמָא מִילִּין דְּעָלְמָא וְכוּ', וּלְזִמְנִין דְּחַיְיכָן בֵּיהּ וְאַחֲזִיאוּ לֵיהּ מִילֵּי שְׁקָר וְצַעֲרִין לֵיהּ בְּחֶלְמֵיהּ כוּ'", כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב בַּזֹּהַר וַיִּקְרָא [דַּף כ"ה עַמּוּד א' וְעַמּוּד ב'], עַיֵּין שָׁם בַּאֲרִיכוּת.

We thus see from the Zohar that one may evaluate himself by studying the content of his dreams. Thereby, he can humble his spirit even if he finds himself free of sin, and in this way, he may crush the sitra achara within him, as explained above.

The longer he reflects on these matters, both in his own thoughts and by delving deeply into books which speak of these matters, in order to break down his heart within him and render himself shamed and despised in his own eyes, as is written in the Scriptures, so utterly despised that he despises his very life—

וְהִנֵּה, כָּל מַה שֶּׁיַּאֲרִיךְ בְּעִנְיָינִים אֵלּוּ בְּמַחֲשַׁבְתּוֹ וְגַם בְּעִיּוּנוֹ בִּסְפָרִים, לִהְיוֹת לִבּוֹ נִשְׁבָּר בְּקִרְבּוֹ, וְ"נִבְזֶה בְעֵינָיו נִמְאָס" כַּכָּתוּב, בְּתַכְלִית הַמִּיאוּס, וּלְמָאֵס חַיָּיו מַמָּשׁ,

the more he despises and degrades thereby the sitra achara, casting it down to the ground and humbling it from its haughtiness and pride and self-exaltation, wherewith it exalts itself over the light of the divine soul’s holiness, obscuring its radiance.

הֲרֵי בָּזֶה מְמָאֵס וּמְבַזֶּה הַסִּטְרָא אָחֳרָא וּמַשְׁפִּילָהּ לֶעָפָר, וּמוֹרִידָהּ מִגְּדוּלָּתָהּ וְגַסּוּת רוּחָהּ וְגַבְהוּתָהּ, שֶׁמַּגְבִּיהַּ אֶת עַצְמָהּ עַל אוֹר קְדוּשַּׁת נֶפֶשׁ הָאֱלֹהִית לְהַחֲשִׁיךְ אוֹרָהּ.

Up to now, the Alter Rebbe has proposed means of crushing the sitra achara within one’s animal soul by humbling his own spirit through intellectual contemplation. He now turns to another method, that of “raging” against one’s evil impulse, without entering into an analysis of his spiritual level.

He should also thunder against it (the sitra achara) with a strong and raging voice in order to humble it, as our Sages state, “A person should always rouse the good impulse against the evil impulse, as it is written,17 ‘Rage, and sin not.’”18

וְגַם, יַרְעִים עָלֶיהָ בְּקוֹל רַעַשׁ וְרוֹגֶז לְהַשְׁפִּילָהּ, כְּמַאֲמַר רַבּוֹתֵינוּ־זִכְרוֹנָם־לִבְרָכָה: "לְעוֹלָם יַרְגִּיז אָדָם יֵצֶר טוֹב עַל יֵצֶר הָרָע, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: רִגְזוּ וְגוֹ'",

This means that one should rage—in his mind—against the animal soul, which is his evil impulse, with a voice of stormy indignation, saying to it: “Indeed, you are truly evil and wicked, abominable, loathsome, and disgraceful,” and so forth, using all the epithets by which our Sages have called it.19

דְּהַיְינוּ, לִרְגּוֹז עַל נֶפֶשׁ הַבַּהֲמִית, שֶׁהִיא יִצְרוֹ הָרָע, בְּקוֹל רַעַשׁ וְרוֹגֶז בְּמַחֲשַׁבְתּוֹ, לוֹמַר לוֹ: "אַתָּה רָע וְרָשָׁע וּמְשׁוּקָּץ וּמְתוֹעָב וּמְנֻוָּול וְכוּ' – כְּכָל הַשֵּׁמוֹת שֶׁקָּרְאוּ לוֹ חֲכָמֵינוּ־זִכְרוֹנָם־לִבְרָכָה – בֶּאֱמֶת;

“How long will you obscure the light of the blessed Ein Sof, which pervades all the worlds, which was, is, and will be the same, even in the very place where I stand, just as the light of the blessed Ein Sof was alone before the world was created—utterly unchanged,

עַד מָתַי תַּסְתִּיר לִפְנֵי אוֹר־אֵין־סוֹף בָּרוּךְ־הוּא, הַמְמַלֵּא כָּל עָלְמִין, הָיָה הֹוֶה וְיִהְיֶה בְּשָׁוֶה, גַּם בְּמָקוֹם זֶה שֶׁאֲנִי עָלָיו, כְּמוֹ שֶׁהָיָה אוֹר אֵין־סוֹף בָּרוּךְ־הוּא לְבַדּוֹ קוֹדֶם שֶׁנִּבְרָא הָעוֹלָם, בְּלִי שׁוּם שִׁינּוּי,

as it is written: ‘I, the L-rd, have not changed,’20 i.e., the fact of creation has wrought no change in Him, for He transcends time, and so on? And therefore, the fact that it is now after’ creation cannot affect Him.

כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב: "אֲנִי ה' לֹא שָׁנִיתִי", כִּי הוּא לְמַעְלָה מֵהַזְּמַן וְכוּ',

“But you, repulsive one (and so forth) deny the truth which is so plainly visible—that all is truly as nothing in His presence—a truth which is so apparent as to be ‘visible to the eye’!”

וְאַתָּה מְנֻוָּול וְכוּ', מַכְחִישׁ הָאֱמֶת הַנִּרְאֶה לָעֵינַיִם, דְּכוּלָּא קַמֵּיהּ כְּלָא מַמָּשׁ בֶּאֱמֶת, בִּבְחִינַת רְאִיָּיה חוּשִׁיִּית".

In this way, he will help his divine soul, enlightening its eyes to perceive the truth of the unity of the infinite light of the Ein Sof

וְהִנֵּה, עַל יְדֵי זֶה יוֹעִיל לְנַפְשׁוֹ הָאֱלֹהִית, לְהָאִיר עֵינֶיהָ בֶּאֱמֶת יִחוּד אוֹר־אֵין־סוֹף

as though with physical sight and not merely through the lesser perception of “hearing” and understanding,

בִּרְאִיָּה חוּשִׁיִּית, וְלֹא בְּחִינַת שְׁמִיעָה וַהֲבָנָה לְבַדָּהּ,

for, as explained elsewhere, this is the core of the whole [divine] service.

כְּמוֹ שֶׁנִּתְבָּאֵר בְּמָקוֹם אַחֵר, שֶׁזֶּהוּ שֹׁרֶשׁ כָּל הָעֲבוֹדָה.

Intellectual comprehension—i.e., the “hearing”—of G-dliness can lead only to a desire and longing for G-d; the level of perception described as “sight” leads far higher—to one’s self-nullification before Him.

The reason that humbling the spirit of the sitra achara is effective in crushing it is that in truth, there is no substance whatsoever in the sitra achara. That is why it is compared to darkness, which has no substance whatsoever, and is automatically banished by the presence of light.

וְהַטַּעַם, לְפִי שֶׁבֶּאֱמֶת אֵין שׁוּם מַמָּשׁוּת כְּלָל בַּסִטְרָא אָחֳרָא, שֶׁלָּכֵן נִמְשְׁלָה לְחֹשֶׁךְ שֶׁאֵין בּוֹ שׁוּם מַמָּשׁוּת כְּלָל, וּמִמֵּילָא נִדְחֶה מִפְּנֵי הָאוֹר,

Similarly with the sitra achara. Indeed, it possesses abundant vitality with which to animate all the impure animals and the souls of the nations of the world and also the animal soul of the Jew, as has been explained.21 Yet this vitality is not its own, G-d forbid, but stems from the realm of holiness, for the realm of holiness is the source of all life, including even the life-force of the sitra achara, as has been explained above.22 Therefore, it is completely nullified in the presence of holiness, as darkness is nullified in the presence of physical light. Its power lies only in the fact that in regard to the holiness of man’s divine soul, G-d has given it (—the sitra achara) permission and ability to raise itself against it (—the divine soul) in order that man should be roused to overpower it and to humble it by means of the humility and submission of his spirit and by being abhorrent and despised in his own eyes—for through this, he humbles the sitra achara and abhors it.

וְכָךְ הַסִּטְרָא אָחֳרָא, אַף שֶׁיֵּשׁ בָּהּ חַיּוּת הַרְבֵּה, לְהַחֲיוֹת כָּל בַּעֲלֵי חַיִּים הַטְּמֵאִים וְנַפְשׁוֹת אוּמּוֹת הָעוֹלָם, וְגַם נֶפֶשׁ הַבַּהֲמִית שֶׁבְּיִשְׂרָאֵל כַּנִּזְכָּר לְעֵיל, מִכָּל מָקוֹם, הֲרֵי כָּל חַיּוּתָהּ אֵינָהּ מִצַּד עַצְמָהּ חַס וְשָׁלוֹם, אֶלָּא מִצַּד הַקְּדוּשָּׁה כַּנִּזְכָּר לְעֵיל, וְלָכֵן הִיא בְּטֵלָה לְגַמְרֵי מִפְּנֵי הַקְּדוּשָּׁה, כְּבִיטּוּל הַחֹשֶׁךְ מִפְּנֵי הָאוֹר הַגַּשְׁמִי. רַק שֶׁלְּגַבֵּי קְדוּשַּׁת נֶפֶשׁ הָאֱלֹהִית שֶׁבָּאָדָם, נָתַן לָהּ הַקָּדוֹשׁ־בָּרוּךְ־הוּא רְשׁוּת וִיכוֹלֶת לְהַגְבִּיהַּ עַצְמָהּ כְּנֶגְדָּהּ, כְּדֵי שֶׁהָאָדָם יִתְעוֹרֵר לְהִתְגַּבֵּר עָלֶיהָ, לְהַשְׁפִּילָהּ עַל יְדֵי שִׁפְלוּת וּנְמִיכוּת רוּחוֹ, וְ"נִבְזֶה בְעֵינָיו נִמְאָס".

The arousal of man below to crush the sitra achara causes an arousal above to fulfill what is written: “From there will I bring you down, says G-d”23 to the sitra achara, which seeks to rise against G-dliness and to obscure it.

וּבְאִתְעָרוּתָא דִלְתַתָּא – אִתְעָרוּתָא דִלְעֵילָּא, לְקַיֵּים מַה שֶּׁנֶּאֱמַר: "מִשָּׁם אוֹרִידְךָ , נְאֻם ה'",

This means that He deprives it of its dominion and power and withdraws from it the strength and authority which had been given it to rise up against the light of the holiness of the divine soul.

דְּהַיְינוּ, שֶׁמְּסִירָהּ מִמֶּמְשַׁלְתָּהּ וִיכָלְתָּהּ, וּמְסַלֵּק מִמֶּנָּה הַכֹּחַ וּרְשׁוּת שֶׁנִּתַּן לָהּ לְהַגְבִּיהַּ עַצְמָהּ נֶגֶד אוֹר קְדוּשַּׁת נֶפֶשׁ הָאֱלֹהִית,

Thereupon, it automatically becomes nullified and is banished, just as darkness is nullified before physical light.

וַאֲזַי, מִמֵּילָא בְּטֵילָה וְנִדְחֵית, כְּבִיטּוּל הַחֹשֶׁךְ מִפְּנֵי אוֹר הַגַּשְׁמִי.

Indeed, we find this explicitly stated in the Torah in connection with the spies sent by Moses to scout out the Holy Land. At the outset, they declared: “For he (the enemy) is stronger than we,”24 and, interpreting the word מִמֶּנּוּ, the Sages say: “Read not ‘than we,’ [but ‘than He,’]”25 meaning that they had no faith in G-d’s ability to lead them into the Holy Land. But afterward, they reversed themselves and announced: “We will readily go up [to conquer the Land].”26

וּכְמוֹ שֶׁמָּצִינוּ דָּבָר זֶה מְפוֹרָשׁ בַּתּוֹרָה גַּבֵּי מְרַגְּלִים, שֶׁמִּתְּחִלָּה אָמְרוּ: "כִּי חָזָק הוּא מִמֶּנּוּ" – "אַל תִּקְרֵי מִמֶּנּוּ כוּ'", שֶׁלֹּא הֶאֱמִינוּ בִּיכוֹלֶת ה', וְאַחַר כָּךְ חָזְרוּ וְאָמְרוּ: "הִנֶּנּוּ וְעָלִינוּ וְגוֹ";

Whence did their faith in G-d’s ability return to them? Our teacher Moses, peace unto him, had not shown them in the interim any sign or miracle concerning this, which would restore their faith. He had merely told them that G-d was angry with them and had sworn not to allow them to enter the Land.27

וּמֵאַיִן חָזְרָה וּבָאָה לָהֶם הָאֱמוּנָה בִּיכוֹלֶת ה'? הֲרֵי לֹא הֶרְאָה לָהֶם מֹשֶׁה רַבֵּינוּ עָלָיו הַשָּׁלוֹם שׁוּם אוֹת וּמוֹפֵת עַל זֶה בֵּנְתַיִים, רַק שֶׁאָמַר לָהֶם אֵיךְ שֶׁקָּצַף ה' עֲלֵיהֶם וְנִשְׁבַּע שֶׁלֹּא לַהֲבִיאָם אֶל הָאָרֶץ;

What value did this Divine anger and oath have to them if in any case they did not believe in G-d’s ability to subdue the thirty-one kings28 who reigned in the Land at that time, for which reason they had had no desire whatsoever to enter the Land?

וּמַה הוֹעִיל זֶה לָהֶם, אִם לֹא הָיוּ מַאֲמִינִים בִּיכוֹלֶת ה' חַס וְשָׁלוֹם לִכְבּוֹשׁ ל"א מְלָכִים, וּמִפְּנֵי זֶה לֹא רָצוּ כְּלָל לִיכָּנֵס לָאָרֶץ?

Surely, then, the explanation is as follows: Israelites themselves are “believers, [being] the descendants of believers.”29 Even while they stated, “The enemy is stronger than He,” their divine soul still believed in G-d. They professed a lack of faith in His ability only because the sitra achara clothed in their body in the person of their animal soul had risen against the light of the holiness of the divine soul, with its characteristic impudent arrogance and haughtiness, without sense or reason.

אֶלָּא וַדַּאי, מִפְּנֵי שֶׁיִּשְׂרָאֵל עַצְמָן הֵם "מַאֲמִינִים בְּנֵי מַאֲמִינִים", רַק שֶׁהַסִּטְרָא אָחֳרָא הַמְלוּבֶּשֶׁת בְּגוּפָם הִגְבִּיהַּ עַצְמָהּ עַל אוֹר קְדוּשַּׁת נַפְשָׁם הָאֱלֹהִית בְּגַסּוּת רוּחָהּ וְגַבְהוּתָהּ, בְּחוּצְפָּה בְּלִי טַעַם וָדַעַת,

Therefore, as soon as G-d became angry with them and thundered angrily: “How long shall I bear with this evil congregation…your carcasses shall fall in this wilderness…I, G-d, have spoken: I will surely do it unto all this evil congregation…,”30

וְלָכֵן, מִיָּד שֶׁקָּצַף ה' עֲלֵיהֶם, וְהִרְעִים בְּקוֹל רַעַשׁ וְרוֹגֶז: "עַד מָתַי לָעֵדָה הָרָעָה הַזֹּאת וְגוֹ'", "בַּמִּדְבָּר הַזֶּה יִפְּלוּ פִגְרֵיכֶם וְגוֹ", "אֲנִי ה' דִּבַּרְתִּי, אִם לֹא זֹאת אֶעֱשֶׂה לְכָל הָעֵדָה הָרָעָה הַזֹּאת וְגוֹ'",

—their heart was humbled and broken within them when they heard these stern words, as it is written, “And the people mourned greatly.”31 Consequently, the sitra achara toppled from its dominion, from its haughtiness and arrogance.

וּכְשֶׁשָּׁמְעוּ דְּבָרִים קָשִׁים אֵלּוּ, נִכְנַע וְנִשְׁבַּר לִבָּם בְּקִרְבָּם, כְּדִכְתִיב: "וַיִּתְאַבְּלוּ הָעָם מְאֹד", וּמִמֵּילָא, נָפְלָה הַסִּטְרָא אָחֳרָא מִמֶּמְשַׁלְתָּהּ וְגַבְהוּתָהּ וְגַסּוּת רוּחָהּ,

But the Israelites themselves i.e., as far as their divine soul was concerned had believed in G-d all along.

וְיִשְׂרָאֵל עַצְמָן הֵם מַאֲמִינִים.

Therefore, as soon as they were released from the dominion of the sitra achara, they proclaimed, “We will readily go up….” There was no need of a miracle to convince them of G-d’s ability. All that was necessary was to divest the sitra achara of its arrogance, and this was accomplished by G-d’s “raging” at them.

Similarly, with every Jew: When the light of his soul does not penetrate his heart, it is merely due to the arrogance of the sitra achara, which will vanish as soon as he rages at it.

Every person in whose mind there occurs doubts concerning faith in G-d can deduce from this episode of the spies that these doubts are nothing but the empty words of the sitra achara, which raises itself against his divine soul. But Israelites themselves are believers….

וּמִזֶּה יָכוֹל לִלְמוֹד כָּל אָדָם שֶׁנּוֹפְלִים לוֹ בְּמַחֲשַׁבְתּוֹ סְפֵקוֹת עַל אֱמוּנָה, כִּי הֵם דִּבְרֵי רוּחַ הַסִּטְרָא אָחֳרָא לְבַדָּהּ, הַמַּגְבִּיהַּ עַצְמָהּ עַל נַפְשׁוֹ, אֲבָל יִשְׂרָאֵל עַצְמָן הֵם "מַאֲמִינִים כוּ'".

Furthermore, the sitra achara itself entertains no doubts at all concerning faith. As explained in ch. 22, the kelipah in its spiritual state (i.e., when not clothed in the human body) does not deny G-d’s sovereignty. It has merely been granted permission to confuse man with false and deceitful words in order that he may be more richly rewarded for mastering it.

וְגַם הַסִּטְרָא אָחֳרָא עַצְמָהּ, אֵין לָהּ סְפֵיקוֹת כְּלָל בֶּאֱמוּנָה, רַק שֶׁנִּיתַּן לָהּ רְשׁוּת לְבַלְבֵּל הָאָדָם בְּדִבְרֵי שֶׁקֶר וּמִרְמָה, לְהַרְבּוֹת שְׂכָרוֹ,

In this, it is similar to the harlot who attempts to seduce the king’s son through falsehood and deceit with the king’s approval, as in the parable narrated in the holy Zohar.32

כְּפִיתּוּיֵי הַזּוֹנָה לְבֶן הַמֶּלֶךְ בְּשֶׁקֶר וּמִרְמָה בִּרְשׁוּת הַמֶּלֶךְ, כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב בַּזֹּהַר הַקָּדוֹשׁ:

The parable: A king hires a harlot to seduce his son so that the prince will reveal his wisdom in resisting her wiles. The harlot herself, knowing the king’s intention, does not want the prince to submit to temptation. Similarly with the sitra achara: it is merely fulfilling its G-d-given task in attempting to lure man away from G-d but actually desires that man resist it, thereby earning a greater reward.

However, this is true only of the spiritual kelipah, which is the source of the animal soul. The animal soul and evil impulse as clothed within man, on the other hand, are truly evil, and their unequivocal aim is to entice man to do evil.

In the context of the parable, this may be described as follows: The harlot originally commissioned by the king subcontracts a second harlot, and the second a third, and so on. As the actual executor of the mission becomes successively further removed from the king, the original intention is lost, and finally, the prince is approached by a harlot who has her own intentions in mind, not those of the king, as she attempts to seduce the prince.

In any event, we see that any doubts one may have concerning faith in G-d are merely the empty words of the sitra achara. The soul within every Jew, however, believes in G-d with a perfect faith.