Chapter 13, Class # 3

Middle of Chapter 13

ולא להאמין להעולם שאומרים שהרע שבו נתבטל לגבי הטוב, שזו מדרגת צדיק

and should not believe i.e., accept the world’s opinion which would have him believethat the evil in him has been nullified by the good, for this is the level of atzaddik.

Only the tzaddik succeeds in nullifying and transforming the evil within him. But the “world”, which judges the Beinoni by his actions and sees that he never transgresses, assumes that he too has effectively banished from within him the evil that is the cause of sin; consequently, people regard him as a tzaddik.

He is therefore cautioned against accepting the opinion of “the world.”

אלא יהיה בעיניו כאלו מהותו ועצמותו של הרע הוא בתקפו ובגבורתו בחלל השמאלי כתולדתו

Instead, he should take the view that the essence and core of the evil is in its full native strength and might, in the left part of his heart,

ולא חלף והלך ממנו מאומה

not having vanished or departed from him at all.

ואדרבה נתחזק יותר בהמשך הזמן שנשתמש בו הרבה

On the contrary, with the passage of time [the evil] has gained strength because he utilized it i.e., the animal soul considerably,

באכילה ושתיה ושאר עניני עולם הזה

in eating and drinking and in other mundane pursuits.

As with every faculty, constant use of the animal soul causes it to become even stronger than it was at birth.

The Alter Rebbe thus concludes that the words “consider yourself ‘like arasha’” mean that one must consider himself a Beinoni. The above applies even to those who have reached a lofty spiritual level; they too should consider themselves Beinonim. For should one consider himself a tzaddik and maintain that the evil within him has already been nullified by the good, he will cease to do battle with the evil. If he is mistaken and is not in fact a tzaddik, such an unfounded attitude can cause him to slip drastically from his level, descending even lower than the level of a Beinoni to that of a rasha.

* * *

Until now we have been speaking of a working man who does not have the opportunity to spend all his time in Torah study and divine service. Now the discussion turns to the individual who spends all his time immersed in the study of Torah.

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