Likutei Amarim Chapter 9, Class # 2

Likutei Amarim, middle of Chapter 9

אך הנה כתיב: ולאום מלאום יאמץ

It is written,1 however, “One nation shall prevail over the other nation.”

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.

כי הגוף נקרא עיר קטנה, וכמו ששני מלכים נלחמים על עיר אחת, שכל אחד רוצה לכבשה ולמלוך עליה

For the body is called2 a “small city.” 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 rulewith the consent of the populace;

דהיינו להנהיג יושביה כרצונו, ושיהיו סרים למשמעתו בכל אשר יגזור עליהם

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.

כך שתי הנפשות — האלקית, והחיונית הבהמית שמהקליפה — נלחמות זו עם זו על הגוף וכל אבריו

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.

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

שהאלקית חפצה ורצונה שתהא היא לבדה המושלת עליו ומנהיגתו

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

וכל האברים יהיו סרים למשמעתה ובטלים אליה לגמרי

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,

ומרכבה אליה

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

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.

ויהיו לבוש לעשר בחינותיה וג׳ לבושיה הנזכרים לעיל, שיתלבשו כולם באברי הגוף

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,3 all of which should clothe the limbs of the body,

ויהיה הגוף כולו מלא מהם לבדם

and the entire body should be permeated with them alone.

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.

ולא יעבור זר בתוכם ח״ו

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

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.

דהיינו: תלת מוחין שבראש יהיו ממולאים מחב״ד שבנפש האלקית

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,

שהיא חכמת ה׳ ובינתו

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

להתבונן בגדולתו אשר עד אין חקר ואין סוף

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

ולהוליד מהן, על ידי הדעת, היראה במוחו ופחד ה׳ בלבו

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 Binahengaged 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.4

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.

ואהבת ה׳ כאש בוערה בלבו כרשפי שלהבת

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

להיות נכספה וגם כלתה נפשו בחשיקה וחפיצה, לדבקה בו באין סוף ברוך הוא בכל לב ונפש ומאד

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,5 “And you shall love G‑d, your L‑rd, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might.”

“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.

מעומקא דלבא שבחלל הימני

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.

שיהיה תוכו רצוף אהבה, מלא וגדוש

The kind of love that the divine soul desires entails that [the heart] be inlaid with love from within,6 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:

עד שתתפשט גם לחלל השמאלי, לאכפיא לסטרא אחרא, יסוד המים הרעים שבה

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

שהיא התאוה שמקליפת נוגה

meaning the lust emanating from kelipat nogah.

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.

לשנותה ולהפכה מתענוגי עולם הזה לאהבת ה׳

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,

כמו שכתוב: בכל לבבך, בשני יצריך

as it is written,7 [“You shall love G‑d]… with all your heart” — which our Sages interpret8 (basing themselves on the use of the dual form of the word — לבבך instead of לבך, which allows the verse to imply “with all your hearts”): “With both your natures, with your good inclination and also with your evil inclination.”

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.



9 Kohelet 9:14; Nedarim 32b.10. Chs. 3 and 4.
10  Chs. 3 and 4.
11  For the difference between “awe” and “dread”, and their relationship to the mind and heart, respectively, see ch. 3, note 6.
12  Devarim 6:5.
13  Shir HaShirim 3:10.
14  Devarim 6:5.
15  Berachot 54a.

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