There are some people on this planet who don’t care which flavor ice-cream they’re eating—or if they eat ice-cream at all! These people do not indulge in physical pleasure; in fact, they despise it. TheirThere isn’t even a struggle service of G‑d is completely altruistic; there isn’t even a struggle. Welcome to the world of the tzaddik, the righteous person.

But this ain’t the level of me and you. Instead of a constant battle between good and evil, the tzaddik has transformed his animal soul so that it, too, desires G‑dliness. The conflict is officially over. Service of G‑d consists of how much he loves G‑d and, by extension, how much he detests evil.

The incomplete tzaddikof which there are many levels—has accomplished this to various degrees. His love of G‑d (and hatred of evil) may be partial. He still has zero expression of the evil of the animal soul in daily life, but there’s a vestige of it still lurking in his heart.

And then, there’s the complete tzaddik, rare in every generation. A complete tzaddik has the highest level of love for G‑d; there is no trace of evil left in his animal soul. He does Torah and mitzvot without any ulterior motive—not even to satisfy a deep, spiritual craving. He serves G‑d for one purpose: G‑d’s sake alone.

In order for us to understand which level we can strive for, we need to understand our limitations. We will never be a tzaddik because that is a person fundamentally different than the rest of us. What remains is to emulate and learn from a tzaddik’s behavior, by cultivating our love for G‑d and lessening our attachment to physical pleasures without being disappointed that we will not, in fact, be rid of our selfish desires so quickly.

Tanya Bit: The more one loves and appreciates G‑dliness, the less one is drawn to indulge in selfish, physical pursuits.

(Inspired from Chapter 10 of Tanya)