Likutei Amarim Chapter 9, Class # 3

Likutei Amarim, end of Chapter 9

והיינו, שיעלה ויבא ויגיע למדרגת אהבה רבה וחיבה יתירה ממדרגת אהבה עזה כרשפי אש

This transformation of the animal soul’s lust to a love of G‑d entails rising to attain to the level of ahavah rabbah (“abundant love”), a love surpassing even the level of the “powerful love, like fiery flashes” that was mentioned earlier.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            והיא הנקראת בכתוב אהבה בתענוגים, להתענג על ה׳ מעין עולם הבא

This [level of love] is what Scripture describes9 as ahavah betaanugim (“a love of delights”); it is the experience of delight in G‑dliness that is a foretaste of the World to Come,since man’s reward in the World to Come consists of delighting in G‑dliness.10

והענג הוא במוח חכמה ושכל המתענג בהשכלת ה׳ וידיעתו, כפי השגת שכלו וחכמתו

This delight is [felt] in the brain containing Chochmah(wisdom) and intelligence, which delights in perceiving and knowing G‑d, commensurate with the capacity of one’s intelligence and wisdom — the greater one’s grasp of G‑dliness, the greater his delight.

והוא בחינת המים וזרע, אור זרוע שבקדושת נפש האלקית

[This delight] is the level of Water and “seed”, i.e., light that is sown in the holiness of the divine soul,

המהפכת לטוב את בחינת המים שבנפש הבהמית, שמהם באו תאות תענוגי עולם הזה מתחלה

which transforms to good the element of Water in the animal soul from which the lust for physical pleasure had previously arisen.

This means that the element of Water in the animal soul, which had previously expressed itself as a desire for physical pleasures, now expresses itself as a love of G‑d, having been transformed by the divine soul’s love of G‑d.

וכמו שכתוב בע׳ חיים, שער נ׳ פרק ג׳, בשם הזהר, שהרע נהפך להיות טוב גמור, כמו יצר טוב ממש, בהסיר הבגדים הצואים ממנו, שהם תענוגי עולם הזה שהוא מלובש בהם

It is similarly written in Etz Chayim, Portal 50, ch. 3, on the authority of the Zohar, that the evil of the animal soul is transformed and becomes perfect good like the good inclination itself, when it is stripped of its “unclean garments,” meaning the mundane pleasures in which it had been clothed.

The yetzer hara (evil inclination) consists of a powerful drive, an appetite for whatever it perceives as good and desirable. This drive is neutral, and may be steered in any direction; however, being clothed in a corporeal body it inclines toward physical pleasures. These lusts become “unclean garments” for the animal soul’s drive.

By steering it away from physical pleasures toward an appreciation of spiritual pleasures, the divine soul strips the yetzer hara of its “unclean garments” and clothes it in “pure garments,” so that it may apply its powerful appetite for pleasures to G‑dly, holy matters.

This, then, is the divine soul’s desire: that it create, by means of its intellectual faculties, a fear and love of G‑d so powerful as to transform the animal soul to good.

וכן שאר כל המדות שבלב, שהן ענפי היראה והאהבה, יהיו לה׳ לבדו

The divine soul further desires that similarly, all other emotions of the heart, which are offshoots of fear and love, be dedicated solely to G‑d.

Thus far, the Alter Rebbe has discussed the divine soul’s desire for dominion over the mind and heart. He now goes on to speak of the other organs of the body.

וכל כח הדבור שבפה והמחשבה שבמוח, יהיו ממולאים מן לבושי המחשבה והדבור של נפש האלקית לבדה

Also, the entire faculty of speech that is in the mouth, and the thought that is in the mind, be filled exclusively with the divine soul’s garments of thought and speech;

שהן מחשבת ה׳ ותורתו, להיות שיחתו כל היום, לא פסיק פומיה מגירסא

namely, thoughts of G‑d and His Torah, in which he would speak all day, “his mouth never ceasing from study.”11

וכח המעשה שבידיו ושאר רמ״ח אבריו יהיה במעשה המצות לבד, שהוא לבוש השלישי של נפש האלקית

And the faculty of action vested in his hands and the rest of his 248 organs — this faculty being the third of the garments of the divine soul — be engaged in the fulfillment of the mitzvot,i.e., that he utilize his ability to act solely in the observance of mitzvot.

In summary: The divine soul desires that its faculties and garments pervade the body, entirely and exclusively.

אך נפש הבהמית שמהקליפה, רצונה להפך ממש

But the animal soul derived from kelipah desires the very opposite; it desires that the body be pervaded with its faculties and its thought, speech and action.

לטובת האדם, שיתגבר עליה וינצחנה, כמשל הזונה שבזהר הקדוש

But the animal soul desires this for man’s benefit, in order that he prevail over her and vanquish her, as in the parable of the harlot [related] in the holy Zohar.12

The parable: A king desired to test the moral strength of his only son. He had a most charming and clever woman brought before him. Explaining to her the purpose of the test, he ordered her to exert every effort to seduce the crown prince. For the test to be valid, the supposed harlot had to use all her charms and guile, without betraying her mission in the slightest way. Any imperfection on her part would mean disobedience, and the failure of her mission. However, while she uses all her seductive powers, she inwardly desires that the prince should not succumb to them.

So too in our case: The kelipah itself desires that man overcome it and not permit himself to be led astray. The entire stratagem is solely for man’s benefit.

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10. The Alter Rebbe here distiguishes various degrees of love: ahavah azah(“ardent love”), and ahavah rabbah (“great love”), also called ahavah betaanugim (“delightful love”) – a serene love of fulfillment. The first is likened to a burning flame; the second – to calm waters. These and other levels of love are later discussed at length. See chapters 15, 16, 18, 40, 41, 46, 49.
11. Bava Batra 86a.
12. Zohar II, 163a.

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