Tanya In Simple English Chapter 27
Now if one’s sadness is not due to worry over sins, rather guilt from thinking sexual thoughts or other inappropriate desires, that pop into a person’s head…
Now if these thoughts come not when one is serving God, rather during work / housework etc. and one ceases to think about them, then a person should be very joyous that they are fulfilling the commandment “Do not stray after your hearts and your eyes that tempt you.”
Now the verse is not speaking about Tzaddikim,
describing them as having temptations God-forbid, rather it is speaking about Beinoinim.
For Benoinim receive sexual imagery in their minds, whether it pops in their head (so they can’t be held accountable…)
So when one ceases to think about it, and changes the thoughts to something good – they fulfill this commandment! And our Sages have taught us, a person who actively ceases to do a sin or prevents themselves from doing a sin, is given a reward, as if he did a Mitzvah.
Therefore one must rejoice by fulfilling this commandment exactly as if they were fulfilling a positive commandment.
In point of fact, being sad and feeling guilt over this, actually comes from arrogance – namely a person doesn’t realize that they are on the level of Benoini, whom such thoughts come to.
The person thinks that they are on the level of Tzaddik… whom thoughts like this would never enter their mind.
A person should realize that they are very distant from the level of Tzaddik, and it would be amazing if they were actually on the level of Benoini and not Rasha, even for 1 hour.
This is the path of the Benoini and their challenge, to conquer the Yetzer Hara, and the thoughts that penetrate their mind from their heart and to cease thinking about them – to reject these thoughts.
And every time a person rejects these thoughts, this humbles the Sitra Achara below, and through coming closer to God down here, this arouses a great love from God above – and it humbles the Sitra Achara above – which blows itself up like an eagle, and this fulfills the verse “If it will be blown up like an eagle etc. from there I will humble it, I swear, says God.”
And the Zohar, Parshas Terumah (page 128) speaks amazingly about the tremendous joy that God gets when the Sitra Achara below is quashed and then the love of God flows through all of Heaven, more than any other praise!! and this revelation of God is greater than any other commandment.
As such, a person should never feel down, even if they have to battle with sexual imagery their whole lifetime – maybe this is why they were created, to squash the Sitra Achara constantly!
This is what Iyuv refers to when he said, “God you have made the wicked.” This doesn’t mean that people should God forbid be wicked, rather similar to how the wicked are filled in their mind with bad thoughts and we must constantly be fighting to distract ourselves from these negative images and thoughts – in order to squash the Sitra Achara – though one may not succeed to be able to remove it, as is the case by the Tzaddikim.
There are two types of pleasures that God gets above.
The first is from the annihilation of the Sitra Achara and its transformation from bitterness to sweetness and darkness to light, through the Tzaddikim.
The second is when the Sitra Achara still remains strong, and it Puffs itself up arrogantly – but from that position God humbles it, based on the repelling of it down here below, through the Benoini.
And this is what the verse says, “Make for me pleasant foods that I love.”
The plural of pleasant refers to the two types of pleasures that God gets, and this is what the Shechina told her sons – the generality of the Jewish souls, as explained in the Tikkunim.
Just as in physical food for example there are two types of food, one is made from sweet and pleasant tasting.
The other is made from Sharp or vinegary – it’s only that they have been fixed and gourmet, to the extent that they revive ones soul / energy.
And this is what the verse says that “Everything God does, He does for His sake; And even the wicked to his bad day” in other words that he should return from his wickedness and turn the bad to day, to light.
Furthermore, even entirely permissible things; whenever one restrains their desire even for a short while, with the intention of bending / humbling the Sitra Achara in the left side – for example a person wishes to eat but delays the meal for an hour or less, and studies Torah in that time – as it states in the Talmud, that the fourth hour was when people would eat – but the 6th hour was when the sages did – they would fast for these two hours for this specific reason – although after the meal they would also learn the entire day.
Similarly if somebody restrained themselves from speaking words that they very much enjoy regarding matters of this world – and simalerly from thinking thoughts of anything enjoyed or permissible – even a small amount of the humbling of the Sitra Achara below, causes an incredible love and life of God and holiness to spread above.
And from this Holiness comes a great holiness from above, to man below – to assist him tremendously in his service of God.
So this is what our sages say, “If a person makes himself even a little holy below, he is made very holy above” – in addition to the fact he is fulfilling the Mitzvah of the Torah “to be holy etc.” which refers to being holy even in permissible things – and the explanation of “to be holy” – “make yourselves holy,” meaning even though you may not be removed from the Sitra Achara as it still pulsates powerfully within the left side of your heart – but you conquer your desire, and make yourself holy.
And then “you will be holy!” in other words, the end result is, that you truly will be removed from the Sitra Achara, because God Himself will come down and help repel it from your heart, slowly but surely.