Likutei Amarim Chapter 7, Class # 2

Likutei Amarim, middle of Chapter 7

וכן האומר מילתא דבדיחותא לפקח דעתו ולשמח לבו לה׳ ולתורתו ולעבודתו, שצריכים להיות בשמחה

So, too, concerning speech: The vitality of words spoken for a sacred purpose ascends and is absorbed in Sanctity. For example: he who makes a humorous remark to sharpen his mind and make his heart rejoice in G‑d and His Torah and service, which should be practiced joyfully,

וכמו שעשה רבא לתלמידיו, שאמר לפניהם מילתא דבדיחותא תחלה, ובדחי רבנן

as Rava was wont to do with his pupils, prefacing his discourse with a humorous remark, whereupon the students became cheerful5 and thereby more receptive and better able to understand the discourse.

When a humorous remark is made with this intent, the vitality of the words, which originates in kelipat nogah, is extracted from the evil of kelipat nogah and is absorbed in Sanctity.

אך מי שהוא בזוללי בשר וסובאי יין למלאות תאות גופו ונפשו הבהמית, שהוא בחינת יסוד המים מארבע יסודות הרעים שבה שממנו מדת התאוה

On the other hand, if a person is one of those who gluttonously eat meat and quaff wine in order to satisfy their bodily appetites and animal soul, then since, of the animal soul’s four evil elements, this desire belongs to the element of Water, from which comes the appetite for pleasures,

As explained in the first chapter, all evil characteristics come from the four evil elements of the animal soul, with the appetite for pleasures emanating from the element of Water,

הנה על ידי זה יורד חיות הבשר והיין שבקרבו, ונכלל לפי שעה ברע גמור שבשלש קליפות הטמאות

in such case the vitality of the meat and wine that he ingested is thereby degraded, and absorbed temporarily in the utter evil of the three unclean kelipot.

וגופו נעשה להן לבוש ומרכבה

His (the glutton’s) body becomes a garment and a “vehicle” for these kelipot.

The term “vehicle” is an analogy for total subservience; just as a vehicle is completely subservient to the will of its driver, having no will of its own, so (in this case) is this person totally subservient to the three unclean kelipot.

לפי שעה, עד אשר ישוב האדם ויחזור לעבודת ה׳ ולתורתו

But his body remains so [only] temporarily, until the person repents and returns to the service of G‑d and His Torah — whereupon he ceases to be a vehicle for the kelipot; the energy of the food and drink is then released from the kelipot and returns to Sanctity.

כי לפי שהיה בשר היתר ויין כשר, לכך יכולים לחזור ולעלות עמו בשובו לעבודת ה׳

For, inasmuch as the meat and wine were kosher and permissible and it was only the person’s desire for pleasure that degraded them, they have the power to revert and ascend with him when he returns to the service of G‑d — at which time the strength gained from the food and drink are utilized in serving G‑d.

שזהו לשון היתר ומותר, כלומר: שאינו קשור ואסור בידי החיצונים

This is implied in the terms hetter (“permissibility”) and mutar(“permissible”). That which may be done or eaten is called “mutar”, literally meaning “released” or “unbound”. In our context the term means that the permissible object is not “chained” to the kelipot. That is to say, it is not tied and bound by the power of the “extraneous forces,” i.e., thekelipot and sitra achra which are extraneous to the realm of Sanctity,

שלא יוכל לחזור ולעלות לה׳

preventing it from returning and ascending to G‑d.

Rather, it can return and ascend to G‑d when the person involved returns to the service of G‑d, as explained above.

רק שהרשימו ממנו נשאר בגוף

Nevertheless, even when this energy reverts to Sanctity through the person’s returns to the service of G‑d, a trace [of the evil] remains in the body.

Eating permissible food for bodily pleasure causes the food to descend into total evil. Subsequently, the food becomes part of the body. Though repentance elevates not only the person but also the energy of the food and drink as well, still, having become a part of the body, a vestige of evil remains.

ועל כן צריך הגוף לחיבוט הקבר, כמו שיתבאר לקמן

For this reason the body must undergo the “Purgatory of the Grave,” as will be explained later.1

Like all heavenly punishments, “Purgatory of the Grave” too is a means of spiritual purification. All remaining traces of evil energy created by eating and drinking for bodily pleasure are removed through this punishment.

וכן החיות שבטפות זרע שיצאו ממנו בתאוה בהמית, שלא קידש עצמו בשעת תשמיש עם אשתו טהורה

So, too, with regard to the vitality of the drops of semen emitted from the body with animal lust, by him who has not conducted himself in a holy manner during intimacy with his wife during her state of purity. Here, too, the vitality is temporarily absorbed in the total evil of the three unclean kelipot until the person repents.

In the above instances, the fault lies not in the acts, which in themselves are permissible, but rather in the person’s intention in doing them — acting out of regard for bodily pleasure, not for the sake of heaven.

מה שאין כן במאכלות אסורות וביאות אסורות, שהן משלש קליפות הטמאות לגמרי

Such is not the case, however, with forbidden foods and illicit coition, which inasmuch as they are prohibited acts derive their vitalityfrom the three entirely unclean kelipot.

הם אסורים וקשורים בידי החיצונים לעולם

These are tied and bound by the “extraneous forces” (thekelipot) forever.

ואין עולים משם עד כי יבוא יומם ויבולע המות לנצח, כמו שכתוב: ואת רוח הטומאה אעביר מן האר׳

They (the vitality of these prohibited acts) are not elevated from [thekelipot] until “their day comes” (the time when evil will totally disappear from the world), when “death (i.e., the kelipot, called ”death“ because they oppose G‑dliness, which is life) will be swallowed up i.e., eradicatedforever,” as it is written:2 “And I (G‑d) will remove the spirit of impurity from the earth.” Then, when the kelipot cease to exist, the sparks of holiness will of themselves be freed from them.


5 Pesachim 117a (Rabbeinu Channanel’s reading).


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