It is, however, necessary to understand: Why does the order [of these phases of Divine service] begin with gor’in, [while] u’mosifin [comes only afterwards, implying] that first it is necessary to subtract from the desires of the animal soul and [only] then increase the power of the G‑dly soul? Why not begin with the service of the G‑dly soul? [Indeed, it would appear to be appropriate to follow this pattern because] gor’in u’mosifin is one of the Torah’s attributes, and according to the Torah, “G‑d made man just.”1 [Hence,] it would appear that the first phase of Divine service should involve the G‑dly soul.

[This is true particularly since the inner, spiritual counterpart of] the nesirah2 is relevant not only for a baal teshuvah who has increased the natural power of the animal soul, [but for every person]. [For] every person must follow the pattern of the nesirah in his Divine service. Thus, according to the Torah’s guideline that “G‑d made man just,” [seemingly, gor’in need not be the initial phase of service.3 Instead,] one should begin with the service of the G‑dly soul, illuminating his soul with G‑dly light through the contemplation and the comprehension of G‑dliness. [This will lead to] a G‑dly arousal of love and fear [that will enable the person] to humble the [coarse,] natural emotional attributes of the animal soul.

[In resolution,] the concept can be explained as follows: Each and every Jew possesses two souls, an animal soul and a G‑dly soul, as it is written:4 “I made souls.” The fundamental vitality of the Jews stems from the G‑dly soul. Thus it is written:5 “He blew into his nostrils a living soul.” This refers to the G‑dly soul which is the source of the vitality that gives life [to every Jew]. (This can be seen in actual fact with regard to many matters.6 ) Nevertheless, the animal soul invests itself in a person first, as indicated by the verse:7 “Sin crouches at the opening.” As our Sages comment [on that verse] (Sanhedrin 91b): As soon as [a fetus] stirs [to emerge from the womb], the yetzer hara immediately comes [to him]. See also the extensive comments of Ramaz, Parshas Vayeitzei, p. 179.

The yetzer tov (“the good inclination”), by contrast, comes to a person only after thirteen years.8 Therefore, the yetzer hara is called9 an “old and foolish king,”10 while the yetzer tov is called “a weak, but wise king.”11 Koheles12 refers to [the yetzer tov] as “the second youth.”13 Similarly, Tanya speaks of “the second soul within Israel.”14 The first soul comes “from kelipah and the sitra achra.15 And “the second soul… is an actual part of G‑d.”16

[Although a person also possesses] a G‑dly soul before [he reaches] the age of thirteen and it grants him life, nevertheless, [until that age,] the G‑dly soul lacks expression and revelation.17 To cite a parallel: Before praying [in the morning], a person’s soul [lacks expression within his mind and feelings and] is described as being “in his nostrils,”18 as [indicated by] the verse:19 “Separate yourselves from the person whose soul is in his nostrils.” Through prayer, the person’s G‑dly soul spreads out and is revealed in his body, [mind, and heart]. Similarly, in an individual’s life history, [the G‑dly soul does not have the capacity to fully express itself until the age of thirteen;20 instead, it is] like one “whose soul is in his nostrils.” Only after thirteen can it [fully] express itself.

The explanation as to why the animal soul expresses itself first follows the general principle21 that a shell is formed before the fruit. This pattern is expressed on this material plane; for example, a nut has four shells.22 First, the shells grow and then the fruit. Or to cite another example, [our Sages state:]23Rabbi Meir found a pomegranate. He ate its insides and threw away its shell.” A pomegranate is an important fruit, for the mitzvos are described with the analogy of pomegranate seeds, as alluded to in the verse:24 “Your cheeks resemble a slice of a pomegranate.” On this verse, our Sages [note that רקתך, translated as “your “cheeks,” shares the root letters of ריקנים, “empty ones” and] comment:25 “Even the empty ones among you are as filled with mitzvos as a pomegranate is with seeds.” Thus, a pomegranate has a shell; it grows first. Afterwards, comes the fruit of the pomegranate, its content.

A similar pattern applies to grain. First, the straw and the chaff grow; only afterwards, the [kernels of] wheat. Now in the beginning, the straw and the chaff appear to be of primary importance. Moreover, they, as it were, think of themselves as being of primary importance, as stated in Midrash Rabbah, Parshas Vayishlach,26 “they contested with each other.”

A similar pattern is reflected in the communication of an intellectual concept. At first, analogies and introductory concepts that are not of primary importance are stated. They are parallel to the straw and the chaff. Afterwards, the core of the concept is stated. Thus the fundamental intent is revealed last.

To explain this pattern:27 It has its source in the very root of [our existence. The shell has its source in the realm of Tohu and the fruit, in the realm of Tikkun.] Although Tohu precedes Tikkun,28 [G‑d’s] fundamental intent is the realm of Tikkun, as [implied by] the verse:29 “He did not create it for chaos (Tohu); He created it to be inhabited.”30 And our Sages state:31 “These [later worlds, created in the realm of Tikkun,] were satisfying to Him. These [former worlds, created in the realm of Tohu,] were not satisfying to Him.” And it is written:32 “I loved Yaakov,” for he was first in thought,33 and, in truth, he was the firstborn.34 Nevertheless, in actual fact, Tohu came into being before Tikkun. Similarly, in the chainlike progression of existence through which the worlds came into being, the kelipos were brought into being before [the worlds G‑d desired, i.e.,] “the fruit.”

The ultimate rationale as to why the shell comes into existence before the fruit [can be explained as follows]: If the fruit was brought into being first, the shell could not come into being and it certainly could not enclothe the fruit.35 Therefore, kelipah had to be brought into existence first.

A parallel to this is found in the explanation in Etz Chayim36 regarding [the existence of] the lights (oros) and the vessels (keilim). [In that text,] questions are raised: Why was the tzimtzum37 necessary? [Why was it necessary] for the light to become hidden entirely in order for the existence of the vessels to be revealed, and afterwards, for the light [of the kav]that existed before the tzimtzum to be drawn down again? Why didn’t the light of the kav remain [as it was, without being withdrawn through the tzimtzum]?38

In resolution, it is explained that if the light [of the kav] remained in its original state, it would not have been possible for a k’li to come into existence. After the keilim came into existence, however, their existence would not be nullified, even though the light of the kav shines within them.

A similar pattern can be said to apply to the issue at hand. If the fruit were to be revealed at the outset, it would be impossible for the shell to come into being and, particularly, for the shell to enclothe the fruit. Therefore, the shell is brought into being first, and then the fruit. For this same reason, the animal soul enters [the body first] and [only] afterwards, the G‑dly soul.


The question is raised: Seemingly, Divine service should begin with the service of the G‑dly soul. [Why then must our Divine service begin with gor’in, reducing the expression of the animal soul? In resolution, it is explained that just as] the animal soul enters [a person’s consciousness] before the G‑dly soul, [so too, the service of refining it precedes the service of the G‑dly soul]. [To cite other examples:] a shell comes into existence before the fruit; the realm of Tohu precedes the realm of Tikkun.

The rationale for this sequence is that, were the fruit to come into existence first, it would be impossible for the shell to come into existence, and certainly, impossible for it to enclothe the fruit. [A parallel is drawn to] the manner in which the lights and vessels [in the higher realms] come into existence.