Ch. 29, Class # 2


Middle of Chapter 29

ועל נפש האלקית שבו, נאמר: נשמה שנתת בי טהורה היא, שנתת בי דייקא, מכלל שהאדם עצמו איננו הנשמה הטהורה, כי אם בצדיקים

With regard to the divine soul within him it is said: 6 “The soul which You gave within me is pure.” The word “(within) me” cannot be understood as referring to the body alone: the body cannot speak for itself as a complete man. Thus, it must refer also to the (animating) soul. Therefore, the words “(which You gave) within me” imply that the man himself who is saying these words is not identified with the “pure soul”; i.e., the divine soul is a thing apart, which has been “placed within” this “me” — the body and animal soul — except in the case of tzaddikim.

שבהם הוא להפך: שנשמה הטהורה שהיא נפש האלקית הוא האדם, וגופם נקרא בשר אדם

With them the contrary is true: the man himself is the “pure soul,” i.e, the divine soul, while their body is called “the flesh of man” i.e., secondary to the man himself — the divine soul.

וכמאמר הלל הזקן לתלמידיו, כשהיה הולך לאכול היה אומר שהוא הולך לגמול חסד עם העלובה ועניה, הוא גופו, כי כמו זר נחשב אצלו, ולכן אמר שהוא גומל חסד עמו במה שמאכילו, כי הוא עצמו אינו רק נפש האלקית לבד, כי היא לבדה מחיה גופו ובשרו, שהרע שהיה בנפש החיונית המלובשת בדמו ובשרו נתהפך לטוב, ונכלל בקדושת נפש האלקית ממש בצדיקים

It was in this sense that Hillel the Elder would say to his disciples when he went to eat that he was going to do a favor to the7 “lowly and poor creature,” meaning his body. He regarded his body as a foreign thing, and therefore used this expression — that he was doing it a favor by giving it food. For he himself was nothing other than the divine soul. It alone animated his body and flesh, inasmuch as in tzaddikim the evil that was in the vital soul pervading their blood and flesh has been transformed into good and completely absorbed into the holiness of the divine soul, and thus, the divine soul is the man himself.

אבל בבינוני, מאחר שמהותה ועצמותה של נפש החיונית הבהמית שמסטרא אחרא המלובשת בדמו ובשרו לא נהפך לטוב, הרי היא היא האדם עצמו

With a Beinoni, however, since the substance and essence of the vitalizing, animal soul (stemming from the sitra achra) which pervades his blood and flesh has not been transformed into good, it indeed constitutes the man himself, and therefore, by crushing his own spirit the Beinoni actually crushes the sitra achra.

The Alter Rebbe now proceeds to suggest various lines of reasoning that theBeinoni may use in order to humble and crush his spirit — and thereby the sitra achra of his animal soul. The first of these follows from the point just concluded, that the personality of the Beinoni is, in fact, an expression of the sitra achra — the animal soul.

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Footnotes

6. Morning liturgy; Berachot 60b.
7. Vayikra Rabbah 34:3.
8. Tehillim 22:7.

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