Likutei Amarim Chapter 14, Class # 2

Middle of Chapter 14.

מה שאין כן בדבר המסור ללב, דהיינו שיהא הרע מאוס ממש בלב ושנאוי

It is different, however, with something entrusted to the heart, i.e., involving one’s feelings, meaning, in our case, that one’s heart actually abhor and despise the evilthat he now craves,

בתכלית שנאה, או אפילו שלא בתכלית שנאה

[whether] with absolute hatred as the perfect tzaddik does, or even not quite so utterly, as does the “incomplete tzaddik.”

הנה זה אי אפשר שיהיה באמת לאמיתו אלא על ידי גודל ותוקף האהבה לה׳, בבחינת אהבה בתענוגים להתענג על ה׳

This cannot be attained in complete truth except through that level of intense love of G‑d called “love of delights,” which consists of delighting in G‑dliness,

מעין עולם הבא

akin to [the bliss of] the World to Come, concerning which our Sages say that souls “will bask in the radiance of the Divine Presence.” Only such “love of delights” creates a hatred of evil, as explained in the previous chapters.

ועל זה אמרו רז״ל: עולמך תראה בחייך כו׳, ואין כל אדם זוכה לזה כי זה כעין קבול שכר

Concerning one who experiences this [“love of delights”] our Sages said,4 “You shall see a glimmer of your reward in the World to Come in your lifetime.” Not every man is privileged to attain this state, for it is in the nature of a reward received from above, and a reward can only be received, not taken.

וכדכתיב: עבודת מתנה אתן את כהונתכם וגו׳

Thus it is written,5 “I (G‑d) will make your priestly office a rewarding service,”

Service of G‑d with this ecstatically blissful love is designated “priesthood” even though it is not restricted to the Kohanim, members of the priestly family of Aaron. The above-quoted verse tells us that this lofty level of divine service is a gift from G‑d,

כמו שכתוב במקום אחר

as is explained elsewhere.6

Consequently, the rank of tzaddik is not within every man’s reach: it is dependent upon one’s loathing of evil, which is in turn contingent on his experiencing that blissful love which is a gift from G‑d. The level of Beinoni,however, is attainable by all.

With this in mind, the Alter Rebbe clarifies the Talmudic passage that describes Job as saying to G‑d: “You have created tzaddikim (righteous men), and You have created resha‘im (wicked men).” In the first chapter of Tanya the Alter Rebbe asked: How can G‑d be said to have “created” righteous and wicked men? If man is wicked, it is his own doing. G‑d ordains only whether one shall be clever or foolish, strong or weak, and the like; he does not declare whether one will be righteous or wicked, for doing so would negate man’s freedom of choice. How, then, could Job say, “You have created men astzaddikim and resha’im?”

The matter becomes clear, however, in light of the Alter Rebbe’s statement here that the ability to become a tzaddik is a gift from G‑d, not granted to every man. “You have created tzaddikim” thus means that G‑d created souls capableof attaining the rank of tzaddik. In the Alter Rebbe’s words:

ולכן אמר איוב: בראת צדיקים כו׳

Therefore did Job say, “You created tzaddikim….”

We can now understand Job’s statement as a reference to those souls created with the capacity of attaining the rank of tzaddik. (The meaning of “You have created resha‘im” is explained in ch. 27.)

וכדאיתא בתיקונים, שיש בנשמות ישראל כמה מיני מדרגות ובחינות

As stated in Tikkunei Zohar,7 there are many grades and degrees in Jewish souls:

חסידים, גבורים המתגברים על יצרם, מארי תורה, נביאים כו׳, צדיקים כו׳, עיין שם

Pious men (“chassidim”), strong men (“gibborim”) who gain mastery over their evil inclination, scholars of the Torah, prophets,…tzaddikim, and so forth. Note there.

Accordingly, within the ranks of the souls there are those who are categorized as tzaddikim.8

4. Berachot 17a.
5. Bamidbar 18:7.
6. See further, ch. 43.
7. Introduction to Tikkunei Zohar 1b.
8. This appears to be the Alter Rebbe’s intention in citing Tikkunei Zohar. However, the Rebbe remarks: “This bears examination.” Possibly, the Rebbe is implying doubt as to whether the Alter Rebbe understands the mention of tzaddikim in Tikkunei Zohar as referring to those souls born with the capacity to become tzaddikim, since the other qualities mentioned there — especially those that characterize the “gibborim, who prevail with might over their Yetzer Hara” — are not hereditary, but are attained by dint of one’s efforts. On the other hand, “gibborim” may refer to souls that are inherently inclined toward Gevurah, as are “chassidim” toward Chesed, and so on.

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