From the end of ch. 30 up to this point, the Alter Rebbe discussed various forms of joy which one ought to strive to attain when saddened over his spiritual shortcomings: the joy of one’s soul on its being released from exile within one’s body and animal soul; the joy of being close to G-d through awareness of His unity; the joy occasioned by contemplating G-d’s joy in the crushing of the sitra achara; and so on.

The Alter Rebbe now goes on to state that all these forms of joy do not conflict with the bitter remorse and sadness that one experiences over one’s spiritual failings. For, although joy and sadness are opposites, they can nonetheless coexist when each has its own, distinct cause.

All the specific types of joy enumerated above do not preclude one from being shamed and despised in his own eyes or from having a broken heart and a humble spirit, even at the very time of his joy.

וְהִנֵּה, בְּכָל פְּרָטֵי מִינֵי שִׂמְחוֹת הַנֶּפֶשׁ הַנִּזְכָּרִים לְעֵיל – אֵין מֵהֶן מְנִיעָה לִהְיוֹת "נִבְזֶה בְעֵינָיו נִמְאָס", וְ"לֵב נִשְׁבָּר", וְרוּחַ נְמוּכָה – בִּשְׁעַת הַשִּׂמְחָה מַמָּשׁ,

For the shame and so on is prompted by [one’s awareness of the lowliness of] his body and animal soul,

מֵאַחַר כִּי הֱיוֹתוֹ נִבְזֶה בְעֵינָיו וְכוּ' – הוּא מִצַּד הַגּוּף וְנֶפֶשׁ הַבַּהֲמִית,

while his joy is felt on account of his divine soul and the animating spark of G-dliness clothed within it, as mentioned above (in ch. 31).

וֶהֱיוֹתוֹ בְּשִׂמְחָה – הוּא מִצַּד נֶפֶשׁ הָאֱלֹהִית וְנִיצוֹץ אֱלֹהוּת הַמְלוּבָּשׁ בָּהּ לְהַחֲיוֹתָהּ, כַּנִּזְכָּר לְעֵיל [בְּפֶרֶק ל"א].

We find a similar statement in the Zohar: “Weeping is lodged in one side of my heart, and joy is lodged in the other.”14

וּכְהַאי גַּוְנָא אִיתָא בַּזֹּהַר: "בְּכִיָּה תְּקִיעָא בְּלִבַּאֵי מִסִּטְרָא דָא, וְחֶדְוָה תְּקִיעָא בְּלִבַּאֵי מִסִּטְרָא דָא":

Rabbi Elazar exclaimed these words upon hearing from his father, Rabbi Shimon, an esoteric exposition on the destruction of the Temple. On one hand, he now felt even more keenly the enormity of the tragedy; on the other hand, he was filled with joy over the secrets of Torah being revealed to him.

We thus see from the Zohar that two opposite emotions, stemming from separate causes, can exist in one’s heart side by side.