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Tanya for Monday, 24 Shevat, 5777 - February 20, 2017

Tanya
As Divided for a Regular Year

Tanya for 24 Shevat

23 Shevat, 5777 - February 19, 201725 Shevat, 5777 - February 21, 2017


Therefore one should not feel depressed or very troubled at heart - [he ought to be somewhat troubled by the occurence of these thoughts, otherwise he may become indifferent to them and will cease to wage war against them; but he ought not to be sorely troubled by them], even if he be engaged all his days in this conflict [with the thoughts which will always enter his mind.

Though he may never rise to the level which precludes their occurence, yet he should not be depressed].

For perhaps this is what he was created for, and this is the service demanded of him - to subdue the sitra achra constantly.

Concerning this Job said [to G-d: [4] "You have created wicked men," as though it were preordained that one man be wicked, and another righteous.

In the first chapter (of Tanya), the Alter Rebbe pointed out that this is contradicted by the statement in the Gemara that before a child is born, G-d decrees whether he shall be wise or foolish, strong or weak, and so on, but does not determine whether he will be righteous or wicked - this is left to one's own choice.

The meaning of Job's statement becomes clear, however, in light of the above discussion.

True, G-d does not ordain whether man will act wickedly, but He does "create wicked men," in the sense that their minds work like the mind of the rasha, with evil thoughts constantly occuring to them.

G-d created them in this way so that they will engage in battle with these thoughts, and thereby subjugate the sitra achra - as the Alter Rebbe now goes on to say.

The implication of Job's statement is] not [that they were created] to actually be wicked, G-d forbid, [i.e., sinful in thought, speech and action], but that there should occur to them, in their thoughts and musings alone, that which occurs to the wicked, [5] [i.e., that evil thoughts should enter their mind, as they do in the mind of the wicked, and they shall eternally wage war to avert their minds from them in order to subjugate the sitra achra, yet they will never be able to annihilate the sitra achra in their souls completely, for this is accomplished by tzaddikim.

[A tzaddik subjugates his animal soul to such a degree that it is unable to arouse temptation in his heart.

His mind is therefore untroubled by evil thoughts. Those, however, of whom Job said that they were "created wicked," cannot rise to this level. It is always possible for evil thoughts to enter their minds; their task is not to give them free rein].

For there are two kinds of Divine pleasure:

One, from the complete annihilation of the sitra achra, and the conversion of bitter to sweet and of darkness to light - [the former referring to the emotional faculties of the animal soul, and the latter to its mental faculties], which is accomplished by tzaddikim;

And the second: when the sitra achra is subdued while it is still at its strongest and most powerful, soaring like an eagle, and from this height G-d topples it in response to human initiative [i.e., as a result of one's efforts at subduing the sitra achra in his soul]. This is accomplished by Beinonim.

[Each of the two aforementioned categories - those who were "created righteous" and who were "created wicked" - brings about one of these two kinds of Divine gratification].

This is alluded to in the verse, [6] "And make me delicacies, such as I love," where the word matamim "[delicacies]" is written in the plural, indicating two kind of pleasure.

These words are the charge of the Shechinah to its children, the community of Israel, as explained in Tikkunei Zohar - [that with these words G-d asks of the Jewish people to please Him with their divine service].

Just as with material food, there are two kinds of delicacies - one of sweet and luscious foods, and the other of sharp or sour articles [which are unpleasant to eat in their natural state], but have been well spiced and prepared so that they become delicacies which revive the soul - [so too are there two kinds of spiritual delicacies.

One is provided by tzaddikim, who are occupied solely with matters that are "good" and "sweet" - holy matters.

Having conquered the evil of their animal soul, they no longer need grapple with the sitra achra. Their divine service consists of increasing the light of holiness.

The second kind of delicacy is provided by Beinonim, who are occupied with "bitter" matters, with battling against the sitra achra in their soul, and with the evil thoughts that it spawns].

This is indicated in the verse, [7] "The L-rd has made everything for His sake; even the wicked for the day of evil."

[How can it be said that the rasha was created for G-d's sake]?

This means, however, that he should repent of his evil, and turn his evil into "day" and light above, when the sitra achra is subdued, and the glory of G-d is uplifted on high.

[Thus, the meaning of the words "even the wicked for the day of evil" is that the purpose of the wicked is to transform the "evil" into "day".

   

Notes:

  1. (Back to text) Bava Batra 16a.

  2. (Back to text) Cf. Kohelet 8:14.

  3. (Back to text) Bereishit 27:4.

  4. (Back to text) Mishlei 16:4.



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