Likutei Amarim Chapter 27, Class # 4

Middle of Chapter 27

ולכן אל יפול לב אדם עליו ולא ירע לבבו מאד

Therefore one should not feel depressed or very troubled at heart (— he ought to be somewhat troubled by the occurence of these thoughts, otherwise he may become indifferent to them and will cease to wage war against them; but he ought not to be sorelytroubled by them),

גם אם יהיה כן כל ימיו במלחמה זו

even if he be engaged all his days in this conflict with the thoughts which will always enter his mind.

Though he may never rise to the level which precludes their occurence, yet he should not be depressed.

כי אולי לכך נברא, וזאת עבודתו: לאכפיא לסטרא אחרא תמיד

For perhaps this is what he was created for, and this is the service demanded of him — to subdue the sitra achra constantly.

ועל זה אמר איוב: בראת רשעים

Concerning this Job said to G‑d: 4 “You have created wicked men,” as though it were preordained that one man be wicked, and another righteous.

In the first chapter, the Alter Rebbe pointed out that this is contradicted by the statement in the Gemara that before a child is born, G‑d decrees whether he shall be wise or foolish, strong or weak, and so on, but does not determine whether he will be righteous or wicked — this is left to one’s own choice. The meaning of Job’s statement becomes clear, however, in light of the above discussion. True, G‑d does not ordain whether man will act wickedly, but He does “create wicked men,” in the sense that their minds work like the mind of the rasha, with evil thoughts constantly occuring to them. G‑d created them in this way so that they will engage in battle with these thoughts, and thereby subjugate the sitra achra — as the Alter Rebbe now goes on to say.

ולא שיהיו רשעים באמת, חס ושלום

The implication of Job’s statement is not that they were created to actually be wicked, G‑d forbid, i.e., sinful in thought, speech and action,

אלא שיגיע אליהם כמעשה הרשעים במחשבתם והרהורם בלבד

but that there should occur to them, in their thoughts and musings alone, that which occurs to the wicked, 5 i.e., that evil thoughts should enter their mind, as they do in the mind of the wicked,

והם יהיו נלחמים תמיד להסיח דעתם מהם כדי לאכפיא לסטרא אחרא

and they shall eternally wage war to avert their minds from them in order to subjugate the sitra achra,

ולא יוכלו לבטלה מכל וכל, כי זה נעשה על ידי הצדיקים

yet they will never be able to annihilate the sitra achra in their souls completely, for this is accomplished by tzaddikim.

A tzaddik subjugates his animal soul to such a degree that it is unable to arouse temptation in his heart. His mind is therefore untroubled by evil thoughts. Those, however, of whom Job said that they were “created wicked,” cannot rise to this level. It is always possible for evil thoughts to enter their minds; their task is not to give them free rein.

ושני מיני נחת רוח לפניו יתברך למעלה

For there are two kinds of Divine pleasure:

אחת, מביטול הסטרא אחרא לגמרי, ואתהפכא ממרירו למתקא ומחשוכא לנהורא, על ידי הצדיקים

one, from the complete annihilation of the sitra achra, and the conversion of bitter to sweet and of darkness to light (— the former referring to the emotional faculties of the animal soul, and the latter to its mental faculties), which is accomplished by tzaddikim;

והשנית, כד אתכפיא הסטרא אחרא בעודה בתקפה וגבורתה, ומגביה עצמה כנשר

and the second: when the sitra achra is subdued while it is still at its strongest and most powerful, soaring like an eagle,

ומשם מורידה ה׳ באתערותא דלתתא על ידי הבינונים

and from this height G‑d topples it in response to human initiative i.e., as a result of one’s efforts at subduing the sitra achra in his soul. This is accomplished by Beinonim.

Each of the two aforementioned categories — those who were “created righteous” and who were “created wicked” — brings about one of these two kinds of Divine gratification.

וזהו שאמר הכתוב: ועשה לי מטעמים כאשר אהבתי

This is alluded to in the verse, 6 “And make me delicacies, such as I love,”

מטעמים לשון רבים, שני מיני נחת רוח

where the word matamim (“delicacies”) is written in the plural, indicating two kinds of pleasure.

והוא מאמר השכינה לבניה כללות ישראל, כדפירשו בתיקונים

These words are the charge of the Shechinah to its children, the community of Israel, as explained in Tikkunei Zohar — that with these words G‑d asks of the Jewish people to please Him with their divine service.

וכמו שבמטעמים גשמיים, דרך משל, יש שני מיני מעדנים

Just as with material food, there are two kinds of delicacies—

אחד, ממאכלים ערבים ומתוקים, והשני מדברים חריפים או חמוצים

one of sweet and luscious foods, and the other of sharp or sour articles which are unpleasant to eat in their natural state,

רק שהם מתובלים ומתוקנים היטב עד שנעשו מעדנים להשיב הנפש

but have been well spiced and prepared so that they become delicacies which revive the soul — so too are there two kinds of spiritual delicacies.

One is provided by tzaddikim, who are occupied solely with matters that are “good” and “sweet” — holy matters. Having conquered the evil of their animal soul, they no longer need grapple with the sitra achra. Their divine service consists of increasing the light of holiness. The second kind of delicacy is provided by Beinonim, who are occupied with “bitter” matters, with battling against the sitra achra in their soul, and with the evil thoughts that it spawns.

וזהו שאמר הכתוב: כל פעל ה׳ למענהו, וגם רשע ליום רעה

This is indicated in the verse, 7 “The L-rd has made everything for His sake; even the wicked for the day of evil.”

How can it be said that the rasha was created for G‑d’s sake?

פירוש: שישוב מרשעו ויעשה הרע שלו יום ואור למעלה

This means, however, that he should repent of his evil, and turn his evil into “day” and light above,

כד אתכפיא סטרא אחרא ואסתלק יקרא דקודשא בריך הוא לעילא

when the sitra achra is subdued, and the glory of G‑d is uplifted on high.

Thus, the meaning of the words “even the wicked for the day of evil” is that the purpose of the wicked is to transform the “evil” into “day”.


4. Bava Batra 16a.
5. Cf. Kohelet 8:14.
6. Bereishit 27:4.
7. Mishlei 16:4.

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