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As Divided for a Leap Year
Tanya for 15 Adar I
Let him further consider his dreams [in order to humble his spirit; for one may learn more about himself from his dreams than from his waking, conscious thoughts].
For the most part, they are "vanity, and an affliction of the spirit,"  for his soul does not ascend heavenward [during his sleep]; since it is written:  "Who shall ascend the mountain of the Lord?"
[Meaning, in our context, "Whose soul shall rise heavenward while he sleeps, to see and absorb matters of Torah and holiness, which will in turn be reflected in his dreams?"
And the next verse gives the answer]: "He that has clean hands and a pure heart" - [implying that the soul of one whose hands and heart are not pure, does not ascend, and that is why his dreams are a patchwork of vanity and foolishness.
Furthermore], "those originating from the `evil side' come and attach themselves to him and inform him in his dreams of mundane affairs .... and sometimes mock him and show him false things and torment him in his dreams," and so on, as stated in the Zohar on Vayikra (p. 25a,b). See it there discussed at length.
[We thus see from the Zohar that one may evaluate himself by studying the content of his dreams. Thereby, he can humble his spirit even if he finds himself free of sin, and in this way he may crush the sitra achra within him, as explained above].
The longer he reflects on these matters, both in his own thoughts and by delving deeply into books [which speak of these matters], in order to break down his heart within him and render himself shamed and despised in his own eyes, as is written in the Scriptures,  so utterly despised that he despises his very life, - the more he despises and degrades thereby the sitra achra, casting it down to the ground and humbling it from its haughtiness and pride and self- exaltation, wherewith it exalts itself over the light of the divine soul's holiness, obscuring its radiance.
[Up to now, the Alter Rebbe has proposed means of crushing the sitra achra within one's animal soul by humbling his own spirit through intellectual contemplation.
He now turns to another method, that of "raging" against one's evil impulse, without entering into an analysis of his spiritual level].
He should also thunder against it [the sitra achra] with a strong and raging voice in order to humble it, as our Sages state,  "A person should always rouse the good impulse against the evil impulse, as it is written,  `Rage, and sin not...'"
This means that one should rage - in his mind - against the animal soul, which is his evil empulse, with a voice of stormy indignation, saying to it: "Indeed, you are truly evil and wicked, abominable, loathsome and disgraceful," and so forth, using all the epithets by which our Sages have called it. 
"How long will you obscure the light of the blessed Ein Sof, which pervades all the worlds; which was, is, and will be the same, even in the very place where I stand, just as the light of the blessed Ein Sof was alone before the world was created - utterly unchanged; as it is written:  `I, the L-rd, have not changed," [i.e., the fact of creation has wrought no change in Him], for He transcends time, and so on? [And therefore, the fact that it is now `after' creation, cannot affect Him].
But you, repulsive one, and so forth, deny the truth which is so plainly visible - that all is truly as nothing in His presence - [a truth which is so apparent as to be] `visible to the eye'!"
In this way he will help his divine soul, enlightening its eyes to perceive the truth of the unity of the infinite light of Ein Sof as though with physical sight, and not merely through [the lesser perception of] "hearing" and understanding.
For, as explained elsewhere, this is the core of the whole [divine] service.
[Intellectual comprehension - i.e., the "hearing" - of G-dliness can lead only to a desire and longing for G-d; the level of perception described as "sight" leads far higher - to one's self-nullification before Him].
The reason [that humbling the spirit of the sitra achra is effective in crushing it] is that in truth there is no substance whatever in the sitra achra.
That is why it is compared to darkness, which has no substance whatsoever, and is automatically banished by the presence of light.
Similarly with the sitra achra. Indeed, it possesses abundant vitality with which to animate all the impure animals and the souls of the nations of the world, and also the animal soul of the Jew, as has been explained. 
Yet this vitality is not its own, G-d forbid, but stems from the realm of holiness, [for the realm of holiness is the source of all life, including even the life-force of the sitra achra], as has been explained above. 
Therefore it is completely nullified in the presence of holiness, as darkness is nullified in the presence of physical light.
[Its power lies only in the fact that] in regard to the holiness of man's divine soul, G-d has given it - [the sitra achra] - permission and ability to raise itself against it - [the divine soul] -, in order that man should be roused to overpower it and to humble it by means of the humility and submission of his spirit, and by being abhorrent and despised in his own eyes - [for through this he humbles the sitra achra and abhors it].
The arousal of man below [to crush the sitra achra] causes an arousal above, to fulfill what is written:  "From there will I bring you down, says G-d" [to the sitra achra, which seeks to rise against G-dliness and to obscure it].
This means that He deprives it of its dominion and power, and withdraws from it the strength and authority which had been given it to rise up against the light of the holiness of the divine soul.
Thereupon it automatically becomes nullified and is banished, just as darkness is nullified before physical light.
Indeed, we find this explicitly stated in the Torah in connection with the Spies [sent by Moses to scout out the Holy Land].
At the outset they declared:  "For he [the enemy] is stronger than we," [and, interpreting the word Mee-menu, the Sages say:  "Read not `than we,' but `than He,'" meaning that they had no faith in G-d's ability [to lead them into the Holy Land].
But afterwards they reversed themselves and announced:  "We will readily go up [to conquer the Land]."
Whence did their faith in G-d's ability return to them?
Our teacher Moses, peace unto him, had not shown them in the interim any sign or miracle concerning this, which would restore their faith. He had merely told them that G-d was angry with them and had sworn not to allow them to enter the Land. 
What value did this [Divine anger and oath] have to them, if in any case they did not believe in G-d's ability to subdue the thirty-one kings  [who reigned in the Land at that time], for which reason they had had no desire whatever to enter the Land?
Surely, then, the explanation is [as follows]:
Israelites themselves are "believers, [being] the descendants of believers."
[Even while they stated, "The enemy is stronger than He," their divine soul still believed in G-d.
They professed a lack of faith in His ability] only because the sitra achra clothed in their body [in the person of their animal soul] had risen against the light of the holiness of the divine soul, with its [characteristic] impudent arrogance and haughtiness, without sense or reason.
Therefore as soon as G-d became angry with them, and thundered angrily:  "How long shall I bear with this evil congregation .... Your carcasses shall fall in this wilderness...., I G-d, have spoken: I will surely do it unto all this evil congregation ...., " - their heart was humbled and broken within them when they heard these stern words, as it is written,  "And the people mourned greatly."
Consequently, the sitra achra toppled from its dominion, from its haughtiness and arrogance.
But the Israelites themselves [i.e., as far as their divine soul was concerned] had believed in G-d all along.
[Therefore, as soon as they were released from the dominion of the sitra achra, they proclaimed, "We will readily go up ...." There was no need of a miracle to convince them of G-d's ability. All that was necessary was to divest the sitra achra of its arrogance, and this was accomplished by G-d's "raging" at them.
Similarly with every Jew: When the light of his soul does not penetrate his heart, it is merely due to the arrogance of the sitra achra, which will vanish as soon as he rages at it].
Every person in whose mind there occur doubts concerning faith in G-d can deduce from this episode of the Spies that these doubts are nothing but the empty words of the sitra achra which raises itself against his [divine] soul. But Israelites themselves are believers....
Furthermore, the sitra achra itself entertains no doubts at all concerning faith.
[As explained in chapter 22, the kelipah in its spiritual state (i.e., when not clothed in the human body) does not deny G-d's sovereignty].
It has merely been granted permission to confuse man with false and deceitful words, in order that he may be more richly rewarded [for mastering it].
In this it is similar to the harlot who attempts to seduce the king's son through falsehood and deceit, with the king's approval, as in the parable narrated in the holy Zohar. 
A king hires a harlot to seduce his son, so that the prince will reveal his wisdom in resisting her wiles.
The harlot herself, knowing the king's intention, does not want the prince to submit to temptation.
Similarly with the sitra achra: it is merely fulfilling its G-d-given task in attempting to lure man away from G-d, but actually desires that man resist it, thereby earning a greater reward.
However, this is true only of the *spiritual* kelipah which is the *source* of the animal soul.
The animal soul and evil impulse as clothed within man, on the other hand, are *truly* evil, and their unequivocal aim is to entice man to do evil.
In the context of the parable, this may be described as follows:
The harlot originally commissioned by the king subcontracts a second harlot, and the second a third, and so on.
As the actual executor of the mission becomes successively further removed from the king, the original intention is lost, and finally the prince is approached by a harlot who has her own intentions in mind, not those of the king, as she attempts to seduce the prince.
In any event, we see that any doubts one may have concerning faith in G-d, are merely the empty words of the sitra achra. The soul within every Jew, however, believes in G-d with a perfect faith.
- (Back to text) A play [on words] in Tehillim 15:4.
- (Back to text) See ch. 6.
- (Back to text) Tehillim 24:3,4.
- (Back to text) Berachot 5a.
- (Back to text) Tehillim 4:5.
- (Back to text) Sukkah 52a.
- (Back to text) Malachi 3:6.
- (Back to text) Chs. 6, 7.
- (Back to text) Chs. 6, 22.
- (Back to text) Ovadiah 1:4.
- (Back to text) Bamidbar 13:31.
- (Back to text) Sotah 35a; Menachot 53b.
- (Back to text) Bamidbar 14:40.
- (Back to text) Ibid., v. 39.
- (Back to text) Enumerated in Yehoshua 12.
- (Back to text) Bamidbar 14:27, 29, 35.
- (Back to text) Ibid., v. 39.
- (Back to text) II, 163a. See above, end of ch. 9.
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