After elaborating in the previous chapter on the ongoing battle between the divine and animal soul over mastery of a Jew’s body, the Alter Rebbe now proceeds to explain that one who vanquishes his animal soul and transforms its evil into good is a tzaddik.

This level of tzaddik comprises two general categories. The “perfect tzaddik,” also called the “tzaddik who knows only good,” is he who has transformed all the evil of his animal soul to good, while he who has not completely eradicated and converted the evil within him is termed “an imperfect tzaddik” and “a tzaddik who knows (i.e., possesses some vestige of) evil.”

The difference between the two sets of descriptive terms—“complete” and “incomplete” tzaddik and the tzaddik “who knows only good” or “who knows evil”—is as follows. The former set describes the degree of the tzaddik’s love of G‑d, for it is this love that earns for him the title “tzaddik.” In the case of the “complete tzaddik,” it is a complete and perfect love, while the love of the “incomplete tzaddik” is imperfect. The latter set of terms refers to the conversion of the animal soul’s evil to good; an individual in whom it has been entirely transformed is termed “a tzaddik who knows only good,” whereas one in whom a vestige of evil remains is termed “a tzaddik who knows evil.”

It goes without saying that “evil” in this context refers only to the promptings of evil that may be harbored in the heart, not, of course, to actual evil expressed in thought, speech, or action.

When a person causes his divine soul to prevail over the animal soul,

וְהִנֵּה, כְּשֶׁהָאָדָם מַגְבִּיר נַפְשׁוֹ הָאֱלֹהִית

and when he wages war against the animal soul to the extent that he banishes and eradicates its evil from its abode within him, namely, the left part [of the heart],

וְנִלְחָם כָּל כָּךְ עִם הַבַּהֲמִית, עַד שֶׁמְּגָרֵשׁ וּמְבַעֵר הָרָע שֶׁבָּהּ מֵחָלָל הַשְּׂמָאלִי,

as is written: “And you shall eradicate the evil from your midst,”1 which implies that one ought to eradicate the evil within himself,

כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב: "וּבִעַרְתָּ הָרָע מִקִּרְבֶּךָ",

(The person who has in fact eradicated evil from his heart has not only banished the external, practical expression of evil—evil thoughts, words, or actions—but has eradicated the evil itself: it has no place in his heart; he no longer desires evil.)

as to one who achieves this goal but finds that the evil has nevertheless not actually been converted into good, in which case his entire capacity for desire would now be directed only toward good and holiness, since with him, this is not the case,

וְאֵין הָרָע נֶהְפָּךְ לְטוֹב מַמָּשׁ –

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.

he is called “an incomplete tzaddik.”

נִקְרָא "צַדִּיק שֶׁאֵינוֹ גָמוּר"

[He is also called] “a tzaddik who knows evil,” meaning that some vestige of evil still lingers within him, in the left part [of his heart],

וְ"צַדִּיק וְרַע לוֹ". דְּהַיְינוּ, שֶׁיֵּשׁ בּוֹ עֲדַיִין מְעַט מִזְּעֵר רָע בֶּחָלָל הַשְּׂמָאלִי,

except that it finds no expression at all, not even in evil desires, because [the evil,] by reason of its minuteness, is subjugated and nullified by the good and cannot therefore be sensed.2

אֶלָּא שֶׁכָּפוּף וּבָטֵל לַטּוֹב מֵחֲמַת מִיעוּטוֹ,

Hence, he (the tzaddik) may imagine that he has driven it out, and it has quite disappeared.

וְלָכֵן, נִדְמֶה לוֹ כִּי "וַיְגָרְשֵׁהוּ וַיֵּלֶךְ לוֹ" כּוּלּוֹ לְגַמְרֵי,

In truth, however, had all the evil in him departed and disappeared, it would have been converted into actual good.3

אֲבָל בֶּאֱמֶת, אִלּוּ חָלַף וְהָלַךְ לוֹ לְגַמְרֵי כָּל הָרָע שֶׁבּוֹ – הָיָה נֶהְפָּךְ לְטוֹב מַמָּשׁ.

This requires explanation: Perhaps the incomplete tzaddik feels no desire for evil because he indeed no longer has any evil, having converted it to good; why must we say that he only imagines himself to be altogether free of evil?

To explain this, the Alter Rebbe continues with a clarification of the term “complete tzaddik.” The explanation in brief:

As stated in the previous chapter, the complete tzaddik is able to convert his evil to good only by dint of his great love of G‑d, a love known as “love of delights.” Accordingly, the “incomplete tzaddik,” who has yet to attain to this lofty level of love, has obviously not yet accomplished this conversion.

“Love of delights,” then, is the ultimate criterion of where the tzaddik stands vis-à-vis the eradication of his evil.

In the Alter Rebbe’s words:

The explanation of the matter is as follows:

וּבֵיאוּר הָעִנְיָן,

A “complete tzaddik,” in whom the evil has been converted into good and who is consequently called “a tzaddik who knows [only] good,”

כִּי הִנֵּה, צַדִּיק גָּמוּר שֶׁנֶּהְפַּךְ הָרָע שֶׁלּוֹ לְטוֹב, וְלָכֵן נִקְרָא "צַדִּיק וְטוֹב לוֹ",

has attained this level by completely removing [his] filthy garments from evil.

הוּא עַל־יְדֵי הֲסָרַת "הַבְּגָדִים הַצּוֹאִים" לְגַמְרֵי מֵהָרָע,

This means: he despises utterly the pleasures of this world, finding it repugnant to derive from them that pleasure which other people derive,

דְּהַיְינוּ, לִמְאוֹס מְאֹד בְּתַעֲנוּגֵי עוֹלָם־הַזֶּה לְהִתְעַנֵּג בָּם בְּתַעֲנוּגוֹת בְּנֵי אָדָם

namely, the pleasure of merely gratifying the physical appetite instead of using this pleasure toward the service of G‑d.

לְמַלֹּאת תַּאֲוַת הַגּוּף בִּלְבָד, וְלֹא לַעֲבוֹדַת ה',

Physical pleasures dedicated to serving G‑d are in fact holy: e.g., the pleasure of “enjoying the Shabbat” with food and drink. It is not such pleasure that is repugnant to the tzaddik but pleasure for the sake of self-indulgence.

He despises such pleasures, for they are derived from and receive their spiritual sustenance from the kelipah and sitra achara, the very antithesis of holiness.

מִפְּנֵי הֱיוֹתָם נִמְשָׁכִים וְנִשְׁפָּעִים מֵהַקְּלִיפָּה וְסִטְרָא אָחֳרָא.

The “complete tzaddik” utterly hates whatever is of the sitra achara

וְכָל מַה שֶּׁהוּא מֵהַסִּטְרָא אָחֳרָא – הַצַּדִּיק גָּמוּר הוּא שׂוֹנְאוֹ בְּתַכְלִית הַשִּׂנְאָה,

because of his great love, a “profuse love of delights,” and his superior degree of affection for G‑d and His holiness, as mentioned above (in ch. 9, where the Alter Rebbe explained that “love of delights” is the ultimate level in the love of G‑d). To resume: Because of the tzaddik’s great love for G‑d and holiness, he utterly hates the kelipah and sitra achara,

מֵחֲמַת גּוֹדֶל אַהֲבָתוֹ לַה' וּקְדוּשָּׁתוֹ בְּאַהֲבָה רַבָּה בְּתַּעֲנוּגִים וְחִיבָּה יְתֵרָה הַנִּזְכָּרִים לְעֵיל,

since they, i.e., holiness and kelipah, are antithetical; his love of G‑d therefore evokes a commensurate degree of hatred for sitra achara.

כִּי הֵם זֶה לְעוּמַּת זֶה,

So it is written: “I hate them with a consuming hatred,” says King David of those who oppose G‑d, “they have become enemies to me; search me,” he says to G-d, “and know my heart.”4

כְּדִכְתִיב: "תַּכְלִית שִׂנְאָה שְׂנֵאתִים, לְאוֹיְבִים הָיוּ לִי, חָקְרֵנִי וְדַע לְבָבִי וְגוֹ'",

This means: “By searching me and knowing how great is the love of You borne in my heart, You will know how great is my hatred toward Your enemies,” for, as stated, love is the measure of hate.

Hence, according to the abundance of love toward G‑d, so is the extent of hatred toward the spiritual sitra achara which nurtures the physical pleasures and the utter repugnance of the evil of physical pleasures,

וּכְפִי עֵרֶךְ גּוֹדֶל הָאַהֲבָה לַה', כָּךְ עֵרֶךְ גּוֹדֶל הַשִּׂנְאָה לְסִטְרָא אָחֳרָא וְהַמִּיאוּס בָּרַע בְּתַכְלִית,

Since the sitra achara is spiritual and hence distant from physical man, the term “hatred” is appropriate to it; with regard to the evil of physical pleasures, which are closer to man, the term “repugnant” is applicable: the repugnance of having something odious placed before one’s very eyes.

for repugnance is as much the exact opposite of love as is hatred.

כִּי הַמִּיאוּס הוּא הֵפֶךְ הָאַהֲבָה מַמָּשׁ כְּמוֹ הַשִּׂנְאָה.

In any event, we have established that this tzaddik’s utter despisal of evil is predicated on his loving G‑d to the greatest degree. He is therefore called a “complete tzaddik,” since the quality by virtue of which he is termed a tzaddik, i.e., his love of G‑d, is on the highest and most complete level. He is also called a “tzaddik who knows only good”—he possesses only good, having transformed all the evil within him to good.

Hence, the “incomplete tzaddik,” whose “love of delights” is imperfect, must also be lacking in his hatred of evil. This, in turn, indicates that he retains some vestige of evil, albeit unfelt. He is therefore called “a tzaddik who knows evil.”

The “incomplete tzaddik” is he who does not hate the sitra acharathe spiritual kelipot—with an absolute hatred;

וְצַדִּיק שֶׁאֵינוֹ גָמוּר, הוּא שֶׁאֵינוֹ שׂוֹנֵא הַסִּטְרָא אָחֳרָא בְּתַכְלִית הַשִּׂנְאָה,

therefore, he also does not find evil—physical desires and pleasures—absolutely repugnant.

וְלָכֵן אֵינוֹ מוֹאֵס גַּם כֵּן בָּרַע בְּתַכְלִית.

As long as his hatred and abhorrence of evil are not absolute, perforce he must have retained some vestige of love and pleasure toward it.

וְכָל שֶׁאֵין הַשִּׂנְאָה וְהַמִּיאוּס בְּתַכְלִית, עַל כָּרְחֲךָ נִשְׁאַר אֵיזֶה שֶׁמֶץ אַהֲבָה וְתַעֲנוּג לְשָׁם,

The “filthy garments” in which the animal soul had been clothed, meaning (as explained above) the evil inclination and the lusting after worldly pleasures, have [obviously] not been completely shed from it.

וְלֹא הוּסְרוּ "הַבְּגָדִים הַצּוֹאִים" לְגַמְרֵי מִכֹּל וָכֹל,

Therefore, too, [the evil] of the animal soul has not actually been converted to good since it still has some hold on the “filthy garments,” i.e., the desires for pleasure in which the animal soul had previously “clothed” and expressed itself,

וְלָכֵן לֹא נֶהְפַּךְ לְטוֹב מַמָּשׁ, מֵאַחַר שֶׁיֵּשׁ לוֹ אֵיזֶה אֲחִיזָה עֲדַיִין בַּ"בְּגָדִים הַצּוֹאִים",

except that this vestige of evil is imperceptible and cannot express itself in evil desires, etc., because [the evil] is nullified [in the good] by reason of its minuteness and is accounted as nothing, i.e., the overwhelming preponderance of good prevents the evil from being sensed and from finding expression.

אֶלָּא שֶׁהוּא בָּטֵל בְּמִיעוּטוֹ וּכְלָא חֲשִׁיב,

Indeed, he is therefore called צַדִּיק וְרַע לוֹ, which means (not only “a tzaddik who knows (retains) evil,” but also) “a tzaddik whose evil is [his, i.e.,] subjugated and surrendered to him,” to the good within him. Such a tzaddik is identified with the good, since he is overwhelmingly good.

וְלָכֵן נִקְרָא צַדִּיק וְרַע – כָּפוּף וּבָטֵל – לוֹ.

Perforce, then, the fact that he retains some evil indicates that his love of G‑d is also not complete, for a complete love of G‑d would have converted all the evil within him to good.

וְעַל כֵּן, גַּם אַהֲבָתוֹ לַה' אֵינָהּ בְּתַכְלִית,

He is therefore called an “incomplete tzaddik.”

וְלָכֵן נִקְרָא צַדִּיק שֶׁאֵינוֹ גָמוּר.

As explained above, the terms “complete” and “incomplete” denote the tzaddik’s level of love for G‑d, and the terms “who knows only good” and “who knows evil” denote the degree of his eradication and transformation of evil.

Now, this level—that of the “incomplete tzaddik” who “knows evil”—is subdivided into myriads of levels, consisting of [varying degrees in] the quality of the minute remaining evil [deriving] from [any] one of the four “evil elements” of which the animal soul is composed (see ch. 1).

וְהִנֵּה, מַדְרֵגָה זוֹ מִתְחַלֶּקֶת לְרִבְבוֹת מַדְרֵגוֹת בְּעִנְיַן בְּחִינַת מִיעוּט הָרָע הַנִּשְׁאָר מֵאַחַת מֵאַרְבַּע יְסוֹדוֹת הָרָעִים,

In one tzaddik, the remaining evil may consist of the element of Water; in another, the evil may consist of a spark of the element of Fire; and so on. This subdivision of levels is qualitative, based on the type of remaining evil.

The Alter Rebbe will now describe (as it were) a quantitative subdivision, depending on the degree to which the evil loses its identity within the good. In one tzaddik, the vestigial evil may be such that the proportion of good to evil could be described as 60:1; the evil in another tzaddik may be more minute so that it is overwhelmed by a proportion of good that is 1000:1; and so on.

Yet, to borrow a term from the law concerning nonkosher foodstuffs, where in certain cases of error, the rule is that even a preponderance of 60 parts (kosher) to 1 (nonkosher) is sufficient to render the entire mixture kosher (since the nonkosher food is no longer capable of tainting the mixture with its flavor), we may likewise say in our case that a preponderance of good over evil to the degree of 60:1 is also capable of preventing the expression and perception of the remaining evil.

In the Alter Rebbe’s words:

[The subdivision] also takes into account the degree to which [the remaining evil] is nullified [in the good] because of its minuteness,

וּבְעִנְיַן בִּיטּוּלוֹ בְּמִיעוּטוֹ

whether in sixty [times as much good], for example, or in a thousand, or ten thousand, and so on.

בְּשִׁשִּׁים עַל דֶּרֶךְ מָשָׁל, אוֹ בְּאֶלֶף וּרְבָבָה וְכַיּוֹצֵא עַל דֶּרֶךְ מָשָׁל.

These various sublevels in the ranks of “incomplete tzaddikim are the levels of the numerous tzaddikim found in all generations, all of whom belong to the category of the “incomplete tzaddik,”

וְהֵן הֵם בְּחִינוֹת צַדִּיקִים הָרַבִּים שֶׁבְּכָל הַדּוֹרוֹת,

as we find in the Gemara, “Eighteen thousand tzaddikim stand before the Holy One, blessed be He.”5

כִּדְאִיתָא בַּגְּמָרָא, דִּתַמְנֵיסַר אַלְפֵי צַדִּיקֵי קָיְימֵי קַמֵּיהּ הַקָּדוֹשׁ־בָּרוּךְ־הוּא,

Thus, though many attain the level of tzaddik, they are in fact “incomplete tzaddikim.”

But concerning the rank of the “complete tzaddik,” Rabbi Shimon ben Yochai’s statement applies: “I have seen ‘superior men’ (bnei aliyah), and they are but few.”6

אַךְ עַל מַעֲלַת צַדִּיק גָּמוּר, הוּא שֶׁאָמַר רַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן בֶּן יוֹחָאִי: "רָאִיתִי בְּנֵי עֲלִיָּה וְהֵם מוּעָטִים כוּ'",

The reason that [the complete tzaddikim] are called bnei aliyah (literally: “men of ascent”) is that they convert evil and make it ascend to holiness.

שֶׁלָּכֵן נִקְרָאִים "בְּנֵי עֲלִיָּה", שֶׁמְּהַפְּכִין הָרָע וּמַעֲלִים אוֹתוֹ לִקְדוּשָּׁה,

It is similarly written in the introduction to the Zohar 7 that when Rabbi Chiyya wished to ascend to the heichal (heavenly shrine) of Rabbi Shimon ben Yochai, he heard a voice come out and say:

כִּדְאִיתָא בַּזֹּהַר בַּהַקְדָּמָה, שֶׁכְּשֶׁרָצָה רַבִּי חִיָּיא לַעֲלוֹת לְהֵיכַל רַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן בֶּן יוֹחָאִי, שָׁמַע קָלָא נָפִיק וְאָמַר:

“Whichever of you, before coming here, have converted the darkness of the world to light (holiness) and [have transformed] the bitter taste of their animal soul and evil inclination to sweetness (holiness)…[only these may enter].”

"מַאן מִנְּכוֹן דִּי חֲשׁוֹכָא מְהַפְּכָן לִנְהוֹרָא וְטָעֲמִין מְרִירוּ לְמִיתְקָא עַד לָא יֵיתוּן הָכָא וְכוּ'":

Another reason for their designation of bnei aliyah:8

וְעוֹד נִקְרָאִים בְּנֵי עֲלִיָּה,

Even their divine service in the area of “doing good,” in their fulfillment of Torah and its mitzvot, is for the sake of Above, and their service is directed toward a most high level, toward the loftiest heights.

מִפְּנֵי שֶׁגַּם עֲבוֹדָתָם בִּבְחִינַת "וַעֲשֵׂה טוֹב" בְּקִיּוּם הַתּוֹרָה וּמִצְוֹתֶיהָ, הוּא לְצוֹרֶךְ גָּבוֹהַּ וּמַעְלָה מַּעְלָה עַד רוּם הַמַּעֲלוֹת,

[Their divine service] is not [intended] merely to attach themselves to G‑d by serving Him through Torah and mitzvot so as to quench the thirst of their soul which thirsts for G‑d,

וְלֹא כְּדֵי לְדָבְקָה בּוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ בִּלְבָד לְרַוּוֹת צִמְאוֹן נַפְשָׁם הַצְּמֵאָה לַה',

The divine service of tzaddikim of lower levels may indeed be for the purpose of stilling their thirst for G‑d and their desire to cleave to Him, for indeed, the fulfillment of Torah and mitzvot satisfies these needs.

as it is written: “Ho, exclaims the prophet, all who are thirsty for G‑dliness should go to the waters of Torah,”9 i.e., let them engage in Torah, which is likened to water,

כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב: "הוֹי כָּל צָמֵא לְכוּ לַמַּיִם",

as is explained elsewhere, that the “thirsty ones” of this verse refer to those who thirst for G‑dliness.

וּכְמוֹ שֶׁנִּתְבָּאֵר בְּמָקוֹם אַחֵר,

The prophet’s words prove this point. Were he addressing those who thirst for Torah, he need not exclaim “Ho” nor direct them to its “waters.” Whoever thirsts for Torah will find it readily available for study. Rather, the prophet is addressing those who thirst for G‑d, advising them to slake their thirst for Him through Torah, which binds one to G‑d.

The “men of ascent,” however, whom we have been discussing, are beyond this level of divine service. They do not study Torah or perform mitzvot with the intention of quenching their own thirst for G‑dliness, for such service is—in a subtle sense—self-serving, as it is motivated by one’s desire for a certain spiritual profit, namely, the bliss of closeness to G‑d.

Rather, their service of G‑d is as the Tikkunei Zohar10 explains that which our Sages have said: “Who is a pious one (chassid)? He who is benevolent (mit’chassed) toward his Creator (kono).” The Tikkunei Zohar comments that kono (usually translated as “his Creator”) is here to be interpreted as “his nest” (derived from the root ken—“nest”), and thus, the Chasid is he who is benevolent “with his Nest”—i.e., his Source, G‑d. This “benevolence” toward G‑d consists of

אֶלָּא כִּדְפֵירְשׁוּ בַּתִּיקּוּנִים: "אֵיזֶהוּ חָסִיד – הַמִּתְחַסֵּד עִם קוֹנוֹ"; עִם קַן דִּילֵיהּ,

“uniting the Holy One, blessed be He, with His Shechinah (the Divine Presence) so that the light of this union reach and be felt even in the lowest worlds.”

לְיַיחֲדָא קוּדְשָׁא בְּרִיךְ הוּא וּשְׁכִינְתֵּיהּ בַּתַּחְתּוֹנִים,

As is also explained in Raaya Mehemna on Parashat Tetze: “In the manner of a son who exerts himself for his father and mother, whom he loves more than himself, [more than] his own nefesh, ruach, and neshamah

וּכְמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב בְּרַעְיָא מְהֵימְנָא פָּרָשַׁת תֵּצֵא: "כִּבְרָא דְּאִשְׁתַּדֵּל בָּתַר אֲבוֹי וְאִימֵּיהּ, דְּרָחִים לוֹן יַתִּיר מִגַּרְמֵיהּ וְנַפְשֵׁיהּ וְרוּחֵיהּ וְנִשְׁמְתֵיהּ כוּ',

and who sacrifices his life for their sake to redeem them, should they be held in captivity,” and as is also explained elsewhere.

וּמָסַר גַּרְמֵיהּ לְמִיתָה עֲלַיְיהוּ לְמִיפְרַק לוֹן כוּ'", וּכְמוֹ שֶׁנִּתְבָּאֵר בְּמָקוֹם אַחֵר.

Such is the divine service of “men of ascent”: it is wholly altruistic, motivated only by a desire to please G‑d and make His presence felt everywhere.

The Alter Rebbe now goes on to explain that the two aforementioned interpretations of the term “men of ascent” accord with each other and are in fact complementary.

It is a Kabbalistic axiom that the “elevation of mahn” (מ"ן—initials of mayin nukvin, lit., “feminine waters”) effects a corresponding “descent of mahd” (מ"ד—initials of mayin dechurin, lit., “masculine waters”). This means that the arousal of the “feminine” level, i.e., the recipient (which in our case means the efforts of man below in actions directed “upward” toward G‑d), causes a reciprocal arousal of the “masculine” level, i.e., the giver (meaning, in our case, G‑d’s benevolence as it “flows downward” and is bestowed upon man).

Applying this to the service of “men of ascent,” we find the following. That aspect of their service mentioned in the first interpretation—that they elevate evil and convert it to good—constitutes an “ascent of mahn.” The aspect mentioned in the second interpretation—that by their service of love, they draw down G‑d’s Presence upon earth—constitutes a “descent of mahd,” for every mitzvah that they perform (as a channel for the descent of G‑d’s Presence) is an expression of G‑d’s benevolence. Thus, the two interpretations are complementary, since the “ascent of mahn” is what causes the “descent of mahd,” as stated above.

(The Alter Rebbe employs Kabbalistic terms in his explanation, which are explained in Chasidut at length; they will become clearer in the course of further study.)

In the Alter Rebbe’s words:

(11Both interpretations are complementary, for by refining [the good found in] kelipat nogah, as the “men of ascent” do by converting their animal soul (which is derived from kelipat nogah) to good, one elevates “feminine waters” (mahn),

[וּשְׁנֵיהֶם עוֹלִים בְּקָנֶה אֶחָד, כִּי עַל יְדֵי הַבֵּירוּרִים שֶׁמְּבָרְרִים מִנּוֹגַהּ מַעֲלִים "מַיִּין נוּקְבִין",

effecting unions in the higher realms, so as to cause “masculine waters” (mahd) to descend to this world.

וְנַעֲשִׂים יִחוּדִים עֶלְיוֹנִים לְהוֹרִיד "מַיִּין דְּכוּרִין",

These [“masculine waters”] are the “waters” of kindness that flow into and are contained in each of the 248 positive mitzvot, which are all in the nature of “kindness,” or benevolence, and “masculine waters.”

שֶׁהֵם הֵם מֵימֵי הַחֲסָדִים שֶׁבְּכָל מִצְוָה וּמִצְוָה מֵרַמַ"ח מִצְוֹת עֲשֵׂה, שֶׁכּוּלָּן הֵן בְּחִינַת חֲסָדִים וּ"מַיִּין דְּכוּרִין",

This term “masculine waters” as applied to mitzvot means that the mitzvot draw G‑d’s holiness from above, i.e., from the higher realms downward, so that [G‑d’s holiness] be clothed in and revealed within the lowest realms, i.e., our physical world, as explained elsewhere.) Thus, the two interpretations of the term “men of ascent” are complementary.

דְּהַיְינוּ, הַמְשָׁכַת קְדוּשַּׁת אֱלֹהוּתוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ מִלְמַעְלָה לְמַטָּה לְהִתְלַבֵּשׁ בַּתַּחְתּוֹנִים, כְּמוֹ שֶׁנִּתְבָּאֵר בְּמָקוֹם אַחֵר]: