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As Divided for a Regular Year
Tanya for 28 Tevet
This is true of everyone [except he who is truly wicked] - that is, not the Beinoni who is considered "like a rasha," but one who is truly a rasha; in his case it cannot be said that his mind is master over his heart].
[On the contrary, our Sages state that the wicked are under the control of their heart but their heart is not under their control at all - [they are unable to master the desires of their heart, for their mind has no active control over it.
This also resolves an apparent contradiction. The statement, "Tzaddikim have control over their heart," indicates that anyone of a lesser rank, including a Beinoni, is not in control of his heart, while the statement that only the wicked are "under the control of their heart," implies that anyone outside the category of rasha - even a Beinoni - is in control of his heart. Where, then, does the Beinoni actually stand?
The previous discussion of the mastery of mind over heart explains this point. There are actually not two alternatives - of either being in control of one's heart or controlled by it - but three.
The tzaddik controls his heart. He can arouse a love of G-d in his heart, directly, without resorting to his mind as a medium of influence.
The rasha, on the other hand, not only does not control his heart, but is controlled by it.
The Beinoni, although not in control of his heart, as is a tzaddik, rules his heart by way of his mind, which is under his control.
To a certain extent, then, i.e., as regards the practical effect of his heart on his thought, speech, and action, the Beinoni does in fact control his heart. Therefore the Alter Rebbe says of the rasha "his heart is not under his control at all," emphasizing that he is unable to influence his heart even by means of his mind.
The author previously stated that the ability of the mind to master the heart is natural and inherent in the mind. Why, then, do the wicked (resha'im) lack this capacity? He answers]:
This is a punishment for the enormity and potency of their sinfulness.
[However, this raises another question: If they have in fact lost the ability to master their heart, how can it be "very near" to them to observe the mitzvot "with their heart" ? In answer, the author states]:
Indeed, it is impossible for the wicked to begin to serve G-d, [that is, to observe the mitzvot out of a feeling of love and fear of G-d], without first repenting for their past, in order to shatter the kelipot [that were created by their sins], which form a sundering curtain and an "iron wall" that interposes between them and their Father in Heaven. 
[How are these kelipot shattered]? - By means of contriteness of heart and bitterness of soul over one's sins.
As the Zohar interprets the verse,  "The sacrifices to the Almighty (Elokim) are a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart ..., " to mean that through one's breaking his heart the unclean spirit of the sitra achra [the kelipot] is broken, [and this is the sacrifice that we offer to the Divine Name, Elokim].
[When speaking of the sacrifices and the laws pertaining to them, the Torah mentions only the Divine Name Havayeh (as in the oft-repeated phrase describing the sacrifices: "an appealing fragrance to G-d (Havayeh)"). No mention is made of a sacrifice to the Divine Name, Elokim. What, asks the Zohar, does constitute a sacrifice to that Name? The Zohar interprets the previously quoted verse as answering this question. "The sacrifice to Elokim is a broken spirit" (i.e., breaking the spirit of the sitra achra; and this is accomplished by means of) "a broken and contrite heart]."
( See Zohar on Parshat Pinchas, p. 240, and on Parshat Vayikra, p. 8 and p. 5a, and the commentary of Rabbi Moshe Zacuto thereon.)
[Returning now to his original point, that the wicked cannot begin serving G-d with love and fear before repenting their sins, the Alter Rebbe says]:
This is the lower category of repentance, whereby the lower letter hei is raised up from its fall into the forces of evil, the kelipot.
[Teshuvah (repentance), spelled Taf Shin Vav Bet Hei, forms the words (Tashuv Hei) "returning the hei"; this implies that repentance "returns" the hei of the Divine Name, Havayeh (yud kei vav kei), to its proper place. The higher category of teshuvah returns the "higher" (the first) hei to the yud preceding it, while the lower form of teshuvah returns the "lower" hei to the vav preceding it. The teshuvah mentioned earlier as a prerequisite for a love and fear of G-d, is of the lower category].
This [fall of the lower hei of the Divine Name into the kelipot] is the mystery of the Shechinah [the Divine Presence] in exile, as our Sages have said:  "When the Jews were exiled to Edom, the Shechinah went into exile with them."
[In a spiritual sense, in terms of one's service to G-d], this statement means that when one acts like "Edom", [the embodiment of evil], when he sins, he degrades and draws down to Edom, [to the kelipot], the Divine spark which vitalizes his Nefesh, Ruac h, a nd Neshamah with G-dly, holy life. [In this way, the Shechinah within him is drawn into exile].
[What constitutes "exile" in this case is the fact that the Divine spark gives life to his G-dly soul] which is clothed in the animal soul of kelipah situated in the left part of his heart; and as long as he remains wicked, the animal soul reigns over him, dominating his "small city," his body. [Thus the Divine spark within his G-dly soul is in exile in the kelipah of his animal soul.]
The Nefesh, Ruach and Neshamah are thus held captive in exile under it.
[A captive not only lacks the freedom to act as he wishes, but is also forced to carry out the wishes of his captor. The Divine spark within the soul, however, although in exile, is still not in captivity. It has merely lost its ability to affect the person with its G-dly vitality].
When the heart [of the rasha] is broken within him, and [thereby] the spirit of uncleanliness and of the sitra achra are broken, and the forces of evil are dispersed, then the lower hei of the Divine Name - the Shechinah - rises from its fall and stands firm, as discussed elsewhere.
[Only when he repents and thereby frees the Shechinah from exile, and allows the Divine spark within him to affect his soul and body, may he begin to serve G-d with love and fear.
In summary: It is indeed "very near" to us to love and fear G-d, for we are able to create at least an "intellectual emotion" by means of our mind, which is under our control even if our heart is not.
However, this does not apply to the rasha, who is a slave to the desires of his animal soul, and must repent before beginning to serve G-d with love and fear.
- (Back to text) Parentheses are in the original text.
- (Back to text) Bereishit Rabbah 34:10; 67:8.
- (Back to text) Berachot 18b.
- (Back to text) The Rebbe Shlita notes that in the following sentences the Alter Rebbe addresses a difficulty which arises from his previous statement concerning the rasha: If indeed, the mind of the rasha is under the control of his heart, and if the heart is naturally inclined, not toward love and fear of G-d (in any form, not even a love which remains hidden in the mind) but toward material pleasures, then
- It is not only "far", but in fact impossible for him to acquire a love or fear of G-d;
- It will remain impossible for him forever, G-d forbid, for what will arouse him to love and fear once he has lost control over his mind, which is the medium of influence on the heart?
Indeed, answers the Alter Rebbe; in his present state, it is in fact impossible for the rasha to attain a love or fear of G-d. But it is in his hands to change this state of affairs - through repentance, which destroys the evil in his heart.
In this way, the rasha tackles the problem at its source. Once his heart rules him no longer, his mind is free to influence it, and to arouse a love and fear of G-d.
- (Back to text) Cf. Yeshayahu 59:2.
- (Back to text) Tehillim 51:19; Zohar II, 116b.
- (Back to text) Cf. Megillah 29a.
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