Ch. 24, Class # 4

Middle of Chapter 24 

אבל באמת לאמיתו, אפילו עבירה קלה, הרי העוברה עובר על רצון העליון, ברוך הוא

In truth, however, even he who commits a minor sin transgresses the Divine Will,

והוא בתכלית הפירוד מיחודו ואחדותו יתברך, יותר מסטרא אחרא וקליפה הנקראת אלקים אחרים ועבודה זרה ממש, ויותר מכל הדברים הנשפעים ממנה בעולם הזה

and he is completely sundered from G‑d’s unity and oneness even more than the sitra achra and kelipah, which are called ”strange gods“ and ”idolatry“, sincekelipah does not violate G‑d’s Will, whereas he does, and more than all things of this world that are derived from them,

שהם בהמות טמאות וחיות ועופות טמאים ושקצים ורמשים

namely, the unclean cattle, beasts, and birds, and the vermin and reptiles which all receive their life-force from the three completely unclean kelipot.

The person who transgresses even a minor sin, then, is worse and lower than the kelipot and all that derives from them.

וכמאמר: יתוש קדמך

As our Sages have said, 6 ”When a man sins, he is told: ’The gnat preceded you.’

The simple meaning of this statement is: ”You have no cause for pride! Even the lowly gnat was created before you!“ But the deeper spiritual meaning is that the gnat takes precedence over the sinner in rank — as the Alter Rebbe goes on to explain:

פירוש: דאף יתוש שמכניס ואינו מוציא

This means that even the gnat which as the Talmud states consumes [food] but does not excrete, indicating a kelipah which is the height of selfishness — it does not giveanything of itself,

שהיא קליפה היותר תחתונה ורחוקה מבחינת הקדושה, המשפעת בתכלית ריחוק, קודמת לאיש החוטא בהשתלשלות וירידת החיות מרצון העליון, ברוך הוא

which is the very lowest form of kelipah, and is far removed from holiness, which characteristically gives of itself even to those far from it — for holiness implies humility, which leads to kindness and to benevolence, while kelipah represents egocentricity and selfishness; now even the very lowest kelipah, symbolized by the gnat, takes precedence over the sinner in the order of descent of the Divine life-force from the Divine Will.

This means that the kelipah symbolized by the gnat derives its life-force from a higher level of G‑dliness than that from which the sinner is sustained.

וכל שכן שאר בעלי חיים הטמאים ואפילו חיות רעות, שכולם אינם משנים תפקידם, ופקודתו יתברך שמרה רוחם, ואף על גב דאיהו לא חזי כו’

And surely the other unclean creatures and even the ferocious beasts [are higher than the sinner]. All of these do not deviate from their Divinely intended purpose, but obey G‑d’s command. Although they cannot perceive it, for the animal cannot perceive G‑d’s command, yet their ”spirit“ perceives it. 7

I.e., the life-force animating them, which is aware of the Divine Will, does not permit them to act in violation of it.

וכמו שכתוב: ומוראכם וחתכם יהיה על כל חית הארץ, וכפירוש רז״ל, שאין חיה רעה מושלת באדם אלא אם כן נדמה לה כבהמה

As it is written: 8 ”The fear and dread of you shall lie upon every beast of the earth,“ and as our Sages explain: 9 ”A wild beast will never defy a human being unless he appears to it like an animal.“

והצדיקים, שאין צלם אלקים מסתלק מעל פניהם, כל חיות רעות אתכפיין קמייהו, כמו שכתוב בזהר גבי דניאל בגוב אריות

In fact, when confronting tzaddikim, from whose face the Divine image never departs, the evil beasts are humbled before them, as is stated in the Zoharconcerning Daniel in the lions’ den.

Not only did the lions not harm him, but on the contrary they humbled themselves before him. 10 At any rate, what emerges from the above is that even the animals do not violate G‑d’s Will.

ואם כן החוטא ועובר רצונו יתברך אפילו בעבירה קלה, בשעת מעשה הוא בתכלית הריחוק מקדושה העליונה, שהיא יחודו ואחדותו יתברך

It is thus clear that he who sins and transgresses against G‑d’s Will even in a minor offense, is, at the time he commits it, completely removed from the Divine Holiness, meaning G‑d’s unity and oneness,

יותר מכל בעלי חיים הטמאים ושקצים ורמשים המושפעים מסטרא אחרא וקליפת עבודה זרה

even more so than all the unclean creatures, the vermin and the reptiles which derive their sustenance from the sitra achra and the kelipah of avodah zarah.

All the aforesaid demonstrates how one’s hidden love for G‑d can enable him to overcome his desire to transgress any sin. When he considers that thereby he becomes separated from G‑d even more than the unclean creatures, he will recoil from every sin just as he recoils from the thought of idolatry — because of his awareness that it represents an attack on his love of G‑d and his faith in Him.

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