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

Lessons In Tanya (Kehot Publication Society)

Lessons in Tanya is a well-lit and accessible gateway to the Tanya - the fundamental, classic work upon which all concepts of Chabad Chasidism are based.

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.

The Alter Rebbe has thus established7 that each of these two souls has its own, separate abode and way of functioning. Lest we erroneously conclude that each soul goes about its own affairs, not interfering or concerning itself with those of the other, the Alter Rebbe continues:

It is written, however: “One nation shall prevail over the other nation.”8

אַךְ הִנֵּה כְּתִיב: "וּלְאוֹם מִלְאוֹם יֶאֱמָץ",

The verse refers to Jacob and Esau. In terms of a Jew’s spiritual life, it is understood as an allusion to the divine soul and the animal soul, respectively, who are constantly warring with each other.

For the body is called a “small city.”9 The two souls, in relation to one’s body, are just as two kings who wage war over a city, which each wishes to capture and dominate even against its will and to rule with the consent of the populace;

כִּי הַגּוּף נִקְרָא "עִיר קְטַנָּה", וּכְמוֹ שֶׁשְּׁנֵי מְלָכִים נִלְחָמִים עַל עִיר אַחַת, שֶׁכָּל אֶחָד רוֹצֶה לְכָבְשָׁהּ וְלִמְלוֹךְ עָלֶיהָ,

that is to say, each king wishes to direct its inhabitants according to his will so that they obey him in all that he decrees upon them.

דְּהַיְינוּ, לְהַנְהִיג יוֹשְׁבֶיהָ כִּרְצוֹנוֹ וְשֶׁיִּהְיוּ סָרִים לְמִשְׁמַעְתּוֹ בְּכָל אֲשֶׁר יִגְזוֹר עֲלֵיהֶם,

So, too, do the two souls—the divine soul and the vitalizing animal soul, which originates from kelipah and is therefore the very antithesis of the divine soul—wage war against each other over the body and all its organs, the body being analogous to the city and the organs to its inhabitants.

כָּךְ שְׁתֵּי הַנְּפָשׁוֹת, הָאֱלֹהִית וְהַחִיּוּנִית הַבַּהֲמִית שֶׁמֵּהַקְּלִיפָּה, נִלְחָמוֹת זוֹ עִם זוֹ עַל הַגּוּף וְכָל אֵבָרָיו,

Here, too, each soul wishes to direct the city’s inhabitants according to its will, as follows:

The divine soul’s will and desire is that she alone rule over the person and direct him,

שֶׁהָאֱלֹהִית – חֶפְצָהּ וּרְצוֹנָהּ שֶׁתְּהֵא הִיא לְבַדָּהּ הַמּוֹשֶׁלֶת עָלָיו וּמַנְהִיגָתוֹ,

so that all the organs be subject to her discipline, following and obeying her dictates, and furthermore that they surrender themselves completely to her, i.e., that they not only obey her but also surrender their will to her,

וְכָל הָאֵבָרִים יִהְיוּ סָרִים לְמִשְׁמַעְתָּהּ וּבְטֵלִים אֶצְלָהּ לְגַמְרֵי,

and she desires further still that all the organs become a “chariot” for her.

וּמֶרְכָּבָה אֵלֶיהָ,

The divine soul desires that the organs not only surrender their will to it, implying that they do indeed have a will of their own, though it is surrendered to the soul, but rather, it desires also that they have no will other than its own—similar to a chariot, which has no independent will, but is merely an instrument of its driver.

Moreover, the divine soul desires that [the organs] be also a garment, an instrument of expression, for her ten faculties and three garments of thought, speech, and action mentioned above,10 all of which should clothe the limbs of the body,

וְיִהְיוּ לְבוּשׁ לְעֶשֶׂר בְּחִינוֹתֶיהָ וְג' לְבוּשֶׁיהָ הַנִּזְכָּרִים לְעֵיל, שֶׁיִּתְלַבְּשׁוּ כוּלָּם בְּאֵבְרֵי הַגּוּף,

and the entire body should be permeated with them alone.

וְיִהְיֶה הַגּוּף כּוּלּוֹ מָלֵא מֵהֶם לְבַדָּם,

The body’s being harnessed in service of the divine soul might not preclude its serving the animal soul, too, on occasion. The Alter Rebbe therefore adds the phrase: “the entire body should be permeated [by the divine soul] alone,” emphasizing the divine soul’s desire to have exclusive use of the body as an instrument of expression, leaving no place for the faculties and garments of the animal soul.

No alien would then [so much as] pass through [the organs], G‑d forbid, i.e., the animal soul would exert no influence whatsoever on the body.

וְלֹא יַעֲבוֹר זָר בְּתוֹכָם חַס וְשָׁלוֹם,

The above forms a general description of the divine soul’s desire to pervade the whole body. The Alter Rebbe now turns to specifics: which organs would give expression to each particular faculty or garment of the divine soul.

That is to say, [specifically:] the three brains—the three sections of the brain, which correspond to the three intellectual faculties: chochmah, binah, daat—would be permeated with the ChaBaD of the divine soul,

דְּהַיְינוּ, תְּלַת מוֹחִין שֶׁבָּרֹאשׁ יִהְיוּ מְמוּלָּאִים מֵחָכְמָה־בִּינָה־דַּעַת שֶׁבַּנֶּפֶשׁ הָאֱלֹהִית,

namely, [in] discerning G‑d and understanding Him, i.e., applying the faculties of chochmah and binah to the understanding of G‑dliness,

שֶׁהִיא חָכְמַת ה' וּבִינָתוֹ,

by pondering His unfathomable and infinite greatness with these two faculties;

לְהִתְבּוֹנֵן בִּגְדוּלָּתוֹ אֲשֶׁר עַד אֵין חֵקֶר וְאֵין סוֹף,

through applying to this meditation the faculty of daat (knowledge) [as well], i.e., through immersing oneself in the subject of G‑d’s greatness with the depth typical of daat so that one not only understands this greatness but actually feels it, they i.e., his aforementioned faculties of chochmah and binah engaged in pondering G‑d’s greatness will give birth to an awe [of G‑d] in his mind and dread of G‑d in his heart.11

וּלְהוֹלִיד מֵהֶן – עַל יְדֵי הַדַּעַת, הַיִּרְאָה בְּמוֹחוֹ וּפַחַד ה' בְּלִבּוֹ,

Thus, not only his mind but also his heart will be permeated with the faculties of the divine soul: the mind—with the divine soul’s ChaBaD faculties pondering G‑d’s greatness, and the heart—with the divine soul’s emotions (the fear just mentioned and the love soon to be discussed) arising from this contemplation.

There will also be born of this contemplation a love of G‑d, burning in his heart like a flame, like fiery flashes.

וְאַהֲבַת ה' כְּאֵשׁ בּוֹעֲרָה בְּלִבּוֹ כְּרִשְׁפֵּי שַׁלְהֶבֶת,

His soul will thirst and pine with desire and longing to cleave to the blessed Ein Sof with all his heart, soul, and might—as it is written, “And you shall love G‑d, your L-rd, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might.”12

לִהְיוֹת נִכְסְפָה וְגַם כָּלְתָה נַפְשׁוֹ בַּחֲשִׁיקָה וַחֲפִיצָה לְדָבְקָה בוֹ בְּאֵין־סוֹף בָּרוּךְ־הוּא בְּכָל לֵב וְנֶפֶשׁ וּמְאֹד

“With all your heart” means that the heart is filled with the love of G‑d; “with all your soul” implies that the love spills over beyond the heart to affect all the organs of the body—the feet, for example, will move with alacrity to do a mitzvah; “with all your might” means loving G‑d to the point where one will sacrifice his life for Him.

This love will rise from the depths of the heart, that is, from the right ventricle—the seat of the divine soul’s emotional faculties, as mentioned above.

מֵעוּמְקָא דְלִבָּא שֶׁבֶּחָלָל הַיְמָנִי,

The kind of love that the divine soul desires entails that [the heart] be inlaid with love from within,13 and furthermore, not only would the love be (as it were) on the “surface” of the heart, but the heart would also be full, with the love occupying its entire space, as it were, and furthermore, it would be, indeed, filled to overflowing—i.e., the love would overflow into the left part of the heart to affect the emotional faculties of the animal soul which reside there, as the Alter Rebbe continues:

שֶׁיִּהְיֶה תּוֹכוֹ רָצוּף אַהֲבָה מָלֵא וְגָדוּשׁ

[The love] would thus inundate the left part [of the heart] as well to crush the sitra achara; specifically, the element of evil Water in it—in the animal soul,

עַד שֶׁתִּתְפַּשֵּׁט גַּם לֶחָלָל הַשְּׂמָאלִי לְאַכְפָּיָא לְסִטְרָא אָחֳרָא יְסוֹד הַמַּיִם הָרָעִים שֶׁבָּהּ,

meaning the lust emanating from kelipat nogah.

שֶׁהִיא הַתַּאֲוָה שֶׁמִּקְּלִיפַּת נוֹגַהּ,

As mentioned in ch. 1, the animal soul’s element of Water gives rise to lust for physical pleasures derived from kelipat nogah. Now, the animal soul’s spirit of lust is the kelipah counterpart of the divine soul’s spirit of love (for G‑d). Thus, the divine soul’s intense love of G‑d has the power to crush the animal soul’s lust for physical pleasures.

The effect of the divine soul on the animal soul’s element of Water would be to change and transform it from [a lust for] mundane pleasures to a love of G‑d,

לְשַׁנּוֹתָהּ וּלְהַפְּכָהּ מִתַּעֲנוּגֵי עוֹלָם הַזֶּה לְאַהֲבַת ה',

as it is written, [“You shall love G‑d]…with all your heart”14which our Sages interpret (basing themselves on the use of the dual form of the word—לְבָבְךָ instead of לִבְּךָ, which allows the verse to imply “with all your hearts”): “With both your natures, with your good inclination and also with your evil inclination.”

כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב: "בְּכָל לְבָבְךָ" – "בִּשְׁנֵי יְצָרֶיךָ".

Accordingly, the evil inclination (i.e., the lust of the animal soul) must also come to love G‑d, and this, too, is part of the divine soul’s battle plan.

The Alter Rebbe now describes the specific level of love of G‑d that accomplishes this:

This transformation of the animal soul’s lust to a love of G‑d entails rising to attain to the level of ahavah rabbah (“abundant love”), a love surpassing even the level of the “powerful love, like fiery flashes” that was mentioned earlier.

וְהַיְינוּ, שֶׁיַּעֲלֶה וְיָבֹא וְיַגִּיעַ לְמַדְרֵגַת אַהֲבָה רַבָּה וְחִיבָּה יְתֵרָה מִמַּדְרֵגַת אַהֲבָה עַזָּה כְּרִשְׁפֵּי אֵשׁ,

This [level of love] is what Scripture describes as ahavah betaanugim (“a love which experiences delights”); it is the experience of delight in G‑dliness that is a foretaste of the World to Come, since man’s reward in the World to Come consists of delighting in G‑dliness.16

וְהִיא הַנִּקְרֵאת בַּכָּתוּב: "אַהֲבָה בְּתַּעֲנוּגִים", לְהִתְעַנֵּג עַל ה' מֵעֵין עוֹלָם הַבָּא;

This delight is [felt] in the brain containing chochmah (wisdom) and intelligence, which delights in perceiving and knowing G‑d, commensurate with the capacity of one’s intelligence and wisdom—the greater one’s grasp of G‑dliness, the greater his delight.

וְהָעֹנֶג – הוּא בְּמוֹחַ חָכְמָה וָשֵׂכֶל, הַמִּתְעַנֵּג בְּהַשְׂכָּלַת ה' וִידִיעָתוֹ, כְּפִי הַשָּׂגַת שִׂכְלוֹ וְחָכְמָתוֹ;

[This delight] is the level of Water and “seed,” i.e., light that is sown in the holiness of the divine soul,

וְהוּא בְּחִינַת הַמַּיִם וְזֶרַע אוֹר זָרוּעַ שֶׁבִּקְדוּשַּׁת נֶפֶשׁ הָאֱלֹהִית,

which transforms to good the element of Water in the animal soul, from which the lust for physical pleasure had previously arisen.

הַמְהַפֶּכֶת לְטוֹב אֶת בְּחִינַת הַמַּיִם שֶׁבַּנֶּפֶשׁ הַבַּהֲמִית, שֶׁמֵּהֶם בָּאוּ תַּאֲוֹת תַּעֲנוּגֵי עוֹלָם הַזֶּה מִתְּחִלָּה;

This means that the element of Water in the animal soul, which had previously expressed itself as a desire for physical pleasures, now expresses itself as a love of G‑d, having been transformed by the divine soul’s love of G‑d.

It is similarly written in Etz Chaim, Portal 50, ch. 3, on the authority of the Zohar, that the evil of the animal soul is transformed and becomes perfect good like the good inclination itself, when it is stripped of its “unclean garments,” meaning the mundane pleasures in which it had been clothed.

וּכְמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב בְּעֵץ חַיִּים שַׁעַר נ' פֶּרֶק ג' בְּשֵׁם הַזֹּהַר, שֶׁהָרָע נֶהְפָּךְ לִהְיוֹת טוֹב גָּמוּר כְּמוֹ יֵצֶר טוֹב מַמָּשׁ, בְּהָסִיר "הַבְּגָדִים הַצּוֹאִים" מִמֶּנּוּ, שֶׁהֵם תַּעֲנוּגֵי עוֹלָם הַזֶּה שֶׁהוּא מְלוּבָּשׁ בָּהֶם.

The yetzer hara (evil inclination) consists of a powerful drive, an appetite for whatever it perceives as good and desirable. This drive is neutral and may be steered in any direction; however, being clothed in a corporeal body, it inclines toward physical pleasures. These lusts become “unclean garments” for the animal soul’s drive.

By steering it away from physical pleasures toward an appreciation of spiritual pleasures, the divine soul strips the yetzer hara of its “unclean garments” and clothes it in “pure garments” so that it may apply its powerful appetite for pleasures to G‑dly, holy matters.

This, then, is the divine soul’s desire: that it create, by means of its intellectual faculties, a fear and love of G‑d so powerful as to transform the animal soul to good.

The divine soul further desires that similarly, all other emotions of the heart, which are offshoots of fear and love, be dedicated solely to G‑d.

וְכֵן שְׁאָר כָּל הַמִּדּוֹת שֶׁבַּלֵּב, שֶׁהֵן עַנְפֵי הַיִּרְאָה וְהָאַהֲבָה, יִהְיוּ לַה' לְבַדּוֹ.

Thus far, the Alter Rebbe has discussed the divine soul’s desire for dominion over the mind and heart. He now goes on to speak of the other organs of the body.

Also, the entire faculty of speech that is in the mouth, and the thought that is in the mind, be filled exclusively with the divine soul’s garments of thought and speech,

וְכָל כֹּחַ הַדִּבּוּר שֶׁבַּפֶּה, וְהַמַּחֲשָׁבָה שֶׁבַּמּוֹחַ, יִהְיוּ מְמוּלָּאִים מִן לְבוּשֵׁי הַמַּחֲשָׁבָה וְהַדִּבּוּר שֶׁל נֶפֶשׁ הָאֱלֹהִית לְבַדָּהּ,

namely, thoughts of G‑d and His Torah, in which he would speak all day, “his mouth never ceasing from study.”17

שֶׁהֵן מַחֲשֶׁבֶת ה' וְתוֹרָתוֹ, לִהְיוֹת שִׂיחָתוֹ כָּל הַיּוֹם, לָא פָסִיק פּוּמֵיהּ מִגִּירְסָא.

And the faculty of action vested in his hands and the rest of his 248 organs—this faculty being the third of the garments of the divine soul—be engaged in the fulfillment of the mitzvot, i.e., that he utilize his ability to act solely in the observance of mitzvot.

וְכֹחַ הַמַּעֲשִׂיי שֶׁבְּיָדָיו וּשְׁאָר רַמַ"ח אֵבָרָיו יִהְיֶה בְּמַעֲשֵׂה הַמִּצְוֹת לְבַד, שֶׁהוּא לְבוּשׁ הַשְּׁלִישִׁי שֶׁל נֶפֶשׁ הָאֱלֹהִית.

In summary: The divine soul desires that its faculties and garments pervade the body entirely and exclusively.

But the animal soul derived from kelipah desires the very opposite; it desires that the body be pervaded with its faculties and its thought, speech, and action.

אַךְ נֶפֶשׁ הַבַּהֲמִית שֶׁמֵּהַקְּלִיפָּה, רְצוֹנָהּ לְהֵפֶךְ מַמָּשׁ –

But the animal soul desires this for man’s benefit in order that he prevail over her and vanquish her, as in the parable of the harlot [related] in the holy Zohar.18

לְטוֹבַת הָאָדָם שֶׁיִּתְגַּבֵּר עָלֶיהָ וִינַצְּחֶנָּה, כִּמְשַׁל הַזּוֹנָה שֶׁבַּזֹּהַר הַקָּדוֹשׁ:

The parable: A king desired to test the moral strength of his only son. He had a most charming and clever woman brought before him. Explaining to her the purpose of the test, he ordered her to exert every effort to seduce the crown prince. For the test to be valid, the supposed harlot had to use all her charms and guile without betraying her mission in the slightest way. Any imperfection on her part would mean disobedience and the failure of her mission. However, while she uses all her seductive powers, she inwardly desires that the prince should not succumb to them.

So, too, in our case: The kelipah itself desires that man overcome it and not permit himself to be led astray. The entire stratagem is solely for man’s benefit.