The Alter Rebbe now proceeds to suggest various lines of reasoning that the beinoni may use in order to humble and crush his spirit—and thereby the sitra achara of his animal soul. The first of these follows from the point just concluded, that the personality of the beinoni is, in fact, an expression of the sitra achara—the animal soul.

If so, that he is actually the animal soul, he is removed from G-d with the utmost remoteness. For the lusting drive in his animal soul is capable of lusting also after forbidden things, which are contrary to G-d’s will.

וְאִם כֵּן הוּא רָחוֹק מֵה' בְּתַכְלִית הָרִיחוּק, שֶׁהֲרֵי כֹּחַ הַמִּתְאַוֶּה שֶׁבְּנַפְשׁוֹ הַבַּהֲמִית, יָכוֹל גַּם כֵּן לְהִתְאַוּוֹת לִדְבָרִים הָאֲסוּרִים שֶׁהֵם נֶגֶד רְצוֹנוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ,

While he does not desire to do them (these forbidden things) in actual practice, G-d forbid, yet they are not truly repulsive to him as they are to tzaddikim, as explained above (in ch. 12).

אַף שֶׁאֵינוֹ מִתְאַוֶּה לַעֲשׂוֹתָם בְּפוֹעַל מַמָּשׁ חַס וְשָׁלוֹם, רַק שֶׁאֵינָם מְאוּסִים אֶצְלוֹ בֶּאֱמֶת, כְּבַצַּדִּיקִים, כְּמוֹ שֶׁנִּתְבָּאֵר לְעֵיל [פֶּרֶק י"ב].

There, the Alter Rebbe explains that after his prayers, when the love of G-d is no longer revealed in his heart, a beinoni can feel a craving for material pleasures, whether they be permitted or forbidden—except that in the case of forbidden matters, he does not actually wish to implement his desires in forbidden actions; they remain instead in the category of “sinful thoughts.”

In this, he is inferior to and more loathsome and abominable than unclean animals and insects and reptiles, as mentioned above—for even they do not transgress against G-d’s will (see ch. 24), and since he does do so (in his mind, at least), he is worse than they,

וּבָזֶה הוּא גָּרוּעַ וּמְשׁוּקָּץ וּמְתוֹעָב יוֹתֵר מִבַּעֲלֵי חַיִּים הַטְּמֵאִים וּשְׁקָצִים וּרְמָשִׂים כַּנִּזְכָּר לְעֵיל,

and as it is written: “But I am a worm and not a man….”7

וּכְמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב: "וְאָנֹכִי תוֹלַעַת וְלֹא אִישׁ וְגוֹ'"

As a human being who chooses to lower himself to the level of a worm, I am worse than a worm, for it is a worm by creation rather than by choice.

But what of the times when the divine soul of the beinoni dominates him, such as during prayer, when he experiences a revealed love of G-d and there is no room in his heart for any mundane desires? To this, the Alter Rebbe answers:

(8Even when his divine soul gathers strength within him to arouse his love of G-d during prayer, this predominance of the divine soul is not altogether genuine, since it is transient and vanishes after prayer, as mentioned earlier, end of ch. 13.)

[וְגַם כְּשֶׁמִּתְגַּבֶּרֶת בּוֹ נַפְשׁוֹ הָאֱלֹהִית לְעוֹרֵר הָאַהֲבָה לַה' בִּשְׁעַת הַתְּפִלָּה – אֵינָהּ בֶּאֱמֶת לַאֲמִיתּוֹ לְגַמְרֵי, מֵאַחַר שֶׁחוֹלֶפֶת וְעוֹבֶרֶת אַחַר הַתְּפִלָּה, כַּנִּזְכָּר לְעֵיל סוֹף פֶּרֶק י"ג].

The Alter Rebbe explains there that only that which is permanent and unchanging can be described as “true.” Relative to the rank of beinoni, this arousal of the divine soul during prayer may be considered “truthful,” since the beinoni is capable of generating it always—whenever he prays. It cannot, however, be described as “absolutely truthful” (emet la’amito) since it is not constant, occurring only during prayer.