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The English Tanya A paraphrased translation

The English Tanya A paraphrased translation

Intro: What is unique about this translation is that it is not a translation.
The Tanya – the most important modern Jewish mystical / philosophical work has long been considered a very difficult read. My grandfather and father helped readers through “Lessons In Tanya” however for the modern man who has very little time or patience I felt a new English Tanya was necessary.

This is a paraphrased translation.

In other words I took the ideas in the sequence they are presented in – in the Tanya – and I rewrote them into an idiom that modern man finds more compelling.

The goal of a translation is to make an inaccessible wisdom accessible.

To this extant it is hoped that this paraphrased translation – coupled with headings that help break up the monotony of a long chapter and practical meditations, gleaned from the chapters and placed at the end, when appropriate – will help more and more people drink from the book of which Rabbi Levi Yitzchok of Berdichev reportedly exclaimed upon receiving it, “Amazing, how such a big G-d, can be contained in such a small book.”

All errors are mine alone.

Chapter 1

There are two souls / drives within man

The following five ideas are introduced / explained in this chapter:

  1. There is an oath we all take prior to entering into this world.
  2. There are five spiritual categories of people.
  3. There are two definitions of what a Tzaddik Rashah and Benoini are.
  4. Every person has two souls.
  5. The uniqueness of the Jewish Animal Soul

The Soul’s Oath

The oath that every soul must swear prior to coming to live on earth.

We have learned in the third chapter of Niddah (a section of the Talmud called Niddah, where the Sages taught that) G-d administers an oath to a Soul about to descend into a body:
“Be good and do not be bad, and even if the entire world will tell you that you are good, consider yourself as if you are bad”.

Questions on the Oath

Three questions on the oath

The above-mentioned oath flies in the face of another statement of the Sages (in Pirkei Avos that) “one shouldn’t consider oneself as bad”.


Furthermore a person is only happy when they consider themselves as a good person (and conversely sad or despondent if they consider themselves as bad.)

Now as we know that there is a general rule that G-d desires that we should be happy good people, as the verse states “Serve G-d joyously,” which teaches us that one should be a happy good person – then why would G-d ask us to “consider ourselves as bad?!” (For a negative self-perception leads to sadness and depression.)


(It is important to mention that self-perception is at the heart of reality. There are many diseases that are due to an erroneous self-perception, such as insanity caused by delusions of grandeur. So if a person considers him or herself bad, then they will get depressed (or sad) and they will not be able to be a happy good person.)

However if a person has no shame (of G-d or man) then we see how people – for example the Germans who considered themselves to be good – can behave worse than the vilest beast. This leads us to wonder what is the correct self-perception one should have.


[One of the great gifts G-d gave us is the ability to self regulate. In fact the Rebbe Rashab – considered perhaps the greatest Jewish mysticism philosopher – was once asked by a secular person, “What is Chassidus?” He replied “it is when the heart is ruled by the mind.”
This person asked him, “Are they not two continents divided by an ocean?”
He replied, “The goal is to build a bridge, or at least lay down electrical wires underneath, so that there is communication between them.”

In other words man – including mans’ self-image, which lies at the heart of his interactions with others – can and should be regulated by their conscious mind.

We are not at the mercy of stimulus; we can create the stimulus which will mold us into good people.

The question here is, should we consider ourselves – despite the fact that we must be – a good person; or is it better to have fear of G-d, and consider oneself as bad, so as not to do bad things.]

Five Character types

In order to answer the above important questions, we need to first understand the five categories of people mentioned in the Talmud.

The Talmud teaches that there are five categories of good / bad people (a good person is called a Tzaddik, and a bad person a Rasha).

  1. A Tzaddik who is only good.
  2. A Tzaddik who has some bad in him.
  3. A Rasha who has good in him.
  4. A Rasha who is entirely bad.
  5. And the Benoini.


Tzaddikim are influenced by their Good Side – the Yetzer Tov,
Reshayim by their bad side – the Yetzer Hara,
and the Benoinim by both.

In the Zohar it is explained that “a Tzaddik who is only good” refers to a “complete Tzaddik,” and a “Tzaddik who has some bad in him” refers to an “incomplete Tzaddik.”

The Talmud explains that Tzaddikim are ruled by their Yetzer Tov (to be explained shortly.)
Reshayim (plural for Rashah) are ruled by their Yetzer Hara, and Benoinim are ruled by both.

yetzer hara

[It is very important to explain what the Yetzer Tov and the Yetzer Hara are. When a Jew begins to pray, he or she is immediately flooded with foolish nonsensical ideas relating to other aspects of his or her life (e.g. business ideas etc.)

This is because, when the Jew begins to fulfill his or her mission in life, the angel appointed to entice the Jew astray – to lead the Jew off the good Jewish path – begins to interfere.

This can be seen empirically for before the person began to pray (and after the person concludes praying) the same “urgent” issues not only did not require his or her attention, they simply did not exist.

Upon closer examination we realize, that G-d has given every person two independent angels responsible for enticing the person to choose good or bad respectively.

Thus when a person desires to do a good thing, the Yetzer Hara (the “bad” angel) immediately implants negative or distracting thoughts in the person’s mind.

Conversely if a person desires to do a bad thing, the Yetzer Tov puts in feelings of morality and repentance in their mind.)

What is a Benoini

What is the level of the Benoini?

To understand the nature of the Benoini, a story from the Talmud is related.

Rabbah (a great Sage said) “I am a Benoini”. So Abayah (another great Sage) said to Rabbah, “Master, you are not allowing anyone else life” (i.e. if you are a Benoini then everyone else is a Rasha (as others cannot compare to your great level…) and we know that Reshayim are considered dead even while they are alive, thus you are depriving everyone else of real life).

Now we know that Rabbah was such a great sage that even the angel of death could not take his soul (without his permission,) for his lips never ceased moving due to his constant study of Torah, (and the angel of death can only take someone, when they are not involved in a good deed.)

So if Rabbah who never ceased studying Torah considered himself a Benoini, this means that a Benoini is holding on the level that he is always doing good. [This is despite the fact that Rabbah was truly a Tzaddik, and we shall study later on in Tanya how he was able to make this mistake.]

Freedom of Choice?

How can we even say that a person is born bad or good, as Iyov Job stated (Talmud Bava Basra); for the one thing that G-d allows us to choose – despite the fact that everything else is chosen for us – is whether we will be a Tzaddik or a Rasha, namely good or bad.


(In fact the creation of this world is for the purpose to allow people freedom to choose between good or bad.)

Iyov (Job) said, “You (G-d) created Tzaddikim and you created Reshayim”, yet we find that the Talmud teaches, that G-d does not ordain if a person will become a Tzaddik or Rasha, rather this is left to freedom of choice.


How is it even possible to have a category called a Benoini, for if a person does something wrong they are considered bad until they repent; and when they repent they are considered a complete Tzaddik… so when could there be such an amorphous state, called a Benoini?

Also when can we categorize someone as a Benoini, for when a person does Teshuvah [repents from sins] they are called a complete Tzaddik, but even the tiniest of sins instantly makes a person into a Rasha, thus when can a person be deemed a Benoini? (For they are seemingly either a Tzaddik or a Rasha).

Two Definitions in Tzaddik, Rashah and Benoini

There are in fact two definitions of Tzaddik, Rashah and Benoini; the first is what is called “a borrowed definition” and is compared to someone who is declared innocent by winning a verdict, although by no means is he really a Tzaddik.

In order to understand the categories of Tzaddik, Rashah and Benoini, we must preface that there are two definitions of Tzaddik, Rasha, and Benoini.

The common definition relates to a scale of Mitzvos / good deeds versus sins.

When there are more Mitzvos vs. sins, a person is considered a good person / Tzaddik; (at least according to G-d who grants the person abundant health and happiness in the annul judgment of man on Rosh Hashanah or after death;) however if there are more sins than merits, then the person is considered bad / a Rashah, and if there is an equal amount of merits and sins, the person is considered a Benoini.

However this is only a “borrowed definition,” to describe a person who won a verdict. (Just like someone who wins a court case is not necessarily a good person, rather they have been victorious or considered not guilty in a particular case, and likewise someone who loses a case is not necessarily a bad person, unless he is unremorseful and does not listen to the judgment i.e. repaying what he owes etc.)

A True Tzaddik

What the true definition of Tzaddik is:

However, truthfully, Tzaddik refers to someone like King David who utterly destroyed his Yetzer Hara, having fasted and prayed for forty years (eating at nights only) and thus managed to annihilate his Yetzer Hara, whereby he lacked any desire for evil and was only permeated by his Yetzer Tov, with an insatiable desire for G-d and goodness.

Thus the true definition of a Tzaddik is someone who has killed their Yetzer Hara (unlike someone who has merely been exonerated in court, yet the desire for evil is still within him).

Whoever has not reached this level cannot be considered a Tzaddik even if their Mitzvos outweigh their sins.

For this reason, seeing that there would be very few such pious people, G-d arranged that their Souls should come scattered throughout history in every generation (serving as role-models for the rest of us).

The Two Souls

There are in fact two souls / drives within everyone.

One soul consisting of G-dly aspirations namely the G-dly soul which aspires to unite with G-d and be like G-d, which will be described in chapter two and onward, and the second, an animal soul consisting of instincts.

To help us understand this a little bit better, think about how unlike an animal, man has a brain, however as you are well aware, often it is hard to get your body / animal to listen to your brain, because the instincts are pretty strong.

To understand the ranks of Rasha and Benoini, it is necessary to preface Rabbi Chaim Vital’s (a Kabbalists) comment on the Biblical verse, “I have created Souls”.

Why did G-d referring to one person say in plural, “I have created Souls?” Wouldn’t it have been more correct to say, “I have created a Soul for man”.

The answer is that in every Jew there are in fact two Souls.
One Soul stems from the Kelipah and Sitrah Achra. [When G-d created the world the intention was that man should be able to choose between good and bad.
Within G-d and holiness (Kedushah) there is only good, thus evil has no ability to exist there. Thus G-d creates Kelipah (lit. shells – meaning something that conceals the fruit within) and Sitra Achra (“the other side” – as opposed to the side of holiness. On a very fundamental level, the difference between goodness / holiness, and arrogance, namely sitra achra and Kelipah, is seen in the ability of good people to love and get along with one another; however bad people are always fighting, as their arrogance does not allow others to enjoy tranquility, for their jealousy of them causes hatred, and thus they are starting wars, whether big or relationship based etc.

The Alteh Rebbe explains at length in chapter seven that reality is divided generally into three zones.

  1. The zone of goodness and holiness receives its existence (the atoms and souls therein) from Kedushah, (directly to some extant from G-d Himself); then there are two zones that G-d created that give life to evil: the lower one is called the three entirely impure Kelipos. And the higher one which is sort of a mixture of good and evil, is called Kelipos Nogah. If evil did not exist, freedom to choose good over evil could not exist either).

The animal soul is the Soul necessary for survival, and it comes into the blood of a person which gives him life. (From the name “animal Soul” we can deduce that it is similar to the instinctual soul found in animals as well.)

There are four foundations from which all physical things are a composite of, and likewise this Soul that animates the physical body contains a spiritual counterpart of each of these foundations, which gives rise to instincts relating to these four foundations:

The first foundation is fire and the instincts that come from the foundation of fire, are anger and arrogance both of which are similar to fire in that fire rises upward; for both anger and arrogance are from feeling above or greater than another person. This is why a person feels anger, as their ego was bruised. Had they not been so egotistical they would not have felt slighted.

The second foundation is water. Water causes delicious fruits and vegetables to grow, and this is similar to man’s instincts for pleasure in food, music etc.

The third foundation is air. Air refers to man’s instincts for meaningless activities such as “having fun,” or watching a comedy, both of which are like air i.e. lacking solid substance.

The fourth foundation is earth. Earth is heavy and this refers to mans’ instinct for laziness and sadness, for both are comparable to earth, as both laziness and sadness drag a person down, and can be said to be characteristic of the heaviness / lethargy of earth (unlike air and fire which rise upwards).

The Jewish Animal Soul

The uniqueness of the animal soul found in Jews and as we shall soon read in some gentiles as well.

There are in fact two categories in Kelipah (the spiritual forces that allow for evil to exist as mentioned above). The higher category is called Kelipahs Nogah that stems from the source of the “Tree of Knowledge” which combines knowledge of good and bad.

This combined knowledge indicates that it contains both good and evil in it.
As such, the Jewish Animal Soul comes from Kelipos Nogah and contains instincts for compassion and goodness, as well as the negative instincts from the four negative aspects of the four foundations (mentioned above.

This is empirically seen in that Jewish people naturally excel in creating charitable and mercy based institutions, at a level disproportionate to their rather minor .04 percent, relative to the rest of humanity. This includes very many people who are not religious and are thus not acting out of duty rather innately, due to the natural instincts for compassion and goodness, found in Jewish souls.)

The Gentile Animal Soul

The gentile animal soul.

However the Gentile Animal Soul comes from a lower level of Kelipah, called the “Three Entirely Impure Kelipahs” which does not contain any good in it at all.
For this reason generally Gentiles do not feel an instinctual drive to be compassionate and thus are completely self-centered.
As for the many acts of goodness that we see, most are in fact for the recognition that comes from being perceived as a good person.

[The barometer of goodness is not in the act of goodness but in the compassion that precedes it. This can be clearly seen in the following example. Mr. A is good while Mr. B is selfish. Mr. A prefers not to have to give charity, as he desires that no man should suffer the humiliation of needing to accept charity from another man. However Mr. B wants to give charity, for he actually prefers that there should be poor people, as he wants the recognition from his peers that he is a charitable man.

We must also mention that there are many good gentiles having Souls that stem also from Kelipos Nogah, and thus are also instinctually driven towards selfless acts of goodness and kindness.

Furthermore when the Lubavitcher Rebbe was asked by CNN what his message to the world is he said (app.) “Moshiach is on his way, we need to increase in acts of goodness and kindness!” which indicates a duty amongst all people towards acts of goodness and kindness, and one is only told to do what one is capable of achieving.]

Chapter 2

The G-dly Soul (chapters 2,3)

There are four ideas introduced / explained in this chapter:

  1. The G-dly soul is G-d.
  2. The Rebbe of the generation connects the Jews of his generation manifestly to their source.
  3. Marital Intimacy must be a giving act.
  4. Through “holy” [giving] marital intimacy a lofty brain is drawn down for one’s child.

The G-dly Soul

The G-dly soul is literally a part of G-d.

The second Soul in the Jew is the G-dly Soul.

When G-d created Adam, the Bible states that G-d blew into his nostrils a “Soul of Life”.

The reason the terminology “blew” is used, is to teach us that just as when a person blows they tire quickly – for blowing comes from within a person (as opposed to talking which doesn’t tire a person at all) similarly G-d “blew a Soul from within” meaning, G-d placed A Part Of Himself within Adam.

The G-dly Soul on earth

The origin and unity of the G-dly Soul

The G-dly Soul is compared to a child, for although the child exists independently (externally) from his father and mother, nevertheless the complete DNA of the child is the fathers and mothers.

So from the child’s brain to the child’s toenails, everything in the child is the combined DNA of the parents.

Similarly the G-dly Soul, no matter how far it has gone from its original source – G-d – it always remains directly connected to G-d.

The Rebbe of The Generation

Understanding the saying of the Sages that whoever connects to a Torah Scholar is as if he connected to G-d.

From the previous paragraph we may understand the saying of the Sages that “He who connects to a Torah Scholar is as if he connected to G-d”.

This is because the Tzaddik’s Soul is connected to G-d directly, and can thus give G-dly energy to those who are connected to him.

[However those who rebel against the Tzaddik of the generation, receive G-dly energy from the hind part of the Tzaddik, meaning indirectly.]

(The uniqueness of the Tzaddik may be compared to a Formula 1 Race.

Whereas all cars need to make pit stops to refuel, imagine for a moment a nuclear powered car with a limitless supply of energy.

The highest of the four spiritual worlds that precede our physical one and from where G-d’s energy for creation flows through, is the world of Atzilus; in the highest level of Atzilus – Chochmah – Souls are born.

However most Souls make pit stops along the way obtaining some of the characteristics (fuel) from the three lower worlds, and thus only through attaching to the Tzaddik of the generation (like the Lubavitcher Rebbe) can these Souls reattach to their original source of being, on earth, for as the Tzaddik of the Generation’s Soul (which is also the source Soul for all the Souls of his generation) did not make any pit stops on its descent to earth, thus Souls that are “Soul-bound” to the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s Soul (for example) are continually re-energized by their original source of energy, which has a limitless capacity to energize all Souls, as it is a part of G-d (as G-d is one with his world of Atzilus and G-d is infinite).

So it would be like one of the racing cars attaching themselves to the nuclear car and re-energizing themselves constantly.

This may be better understood by the following analogy that the Rebbe himself gave to a student who asked the Rebbe “What is a Rebbe”? The Rebbe replied, that “just like there is light all over New York and it may be traced back to a power station, and in that station there is a single switch that can turn on all the lights in New York, similarly a Rebbe is that switch”.

In other words the Rebbe can light up the G-dly Souls (and lights up the G-dly Souls particularly of those Jews who are attached to him) in His generation.

This can be seen empirically by the selflessness that his disciples display for fellow Jews. They leave hearth and home [their birthplace and comfort zone, Crown Heights] to travel to Siberia, Alaska etc. to bring light to fellow Jews.)

Marital Intimacy

Understanding the difference between achieving a good “garment” for your child and a good Soul for your child

The Zohar teaches that someone who practices holy marital intimacy can draw down a special “garment” for his child’s Soul. (By holy marital intimacy the Zohar means that the person is focused on giving not receiving.) This refers to the child’s natural intelligence as expressed in vocabulary and other talents that the G-dly Soul needs to express itself.

However sometimes a lofty Soul (a Soul that remains very much a part of G-d in a revealed sense, having not made too many pit stops on its descent to earth) is born to low people (who certainly did not practice holy marital intimacy; as every Soul is tested and challenged to see if it will break through its milieu to unite with G-d, and as this Soul is so lofty thus the challenge is appropriate for it).

Chapter 3

The G-dly Soul (Chapters 2, 3)

The following two ideas are introduced / explained in this chapter:

  1. The Ten Sefiros
  2. The G-dly Soul’s Intellect and Emotions


The Ten Soul Abilities

Souls come from Atzilut, a world where G-d emanated ten distinct energies (best understood by first understanding them in human form, although the human form actually derives from the spiritual form.

These ten energies are further split into three mothers – the three intellectual energies of Chochmah/Wisdom, Binah/Understanding, and Daas/Knowledge; and the seven offsprings: Chesed/Love, Gevurah/Fear/Awe, Tiferes/Beauty, Neztach/Power, Hod/Harmony, Yesod/Connectivity, Malchus/Humility.

I will briefly explain the ten levels (which are central to Kabbalistic thought).

When a person has a desire for something they need to actualize their desire by using their Soul’s energies. The first step to actualizing their desire is to conceive a plan of action. This conception stage has three parts. Chochmah, Binah, Daas.

Chochmah is when a person conceives of the plan. Binah is the details of the plan, and Daas as will be explained is the creation of the subsequent emotions of love and fear felt for the plan, as a result of intense concentration and cogitation on the desired plan.

Let us say someone has come up with an ingenuous way of making money. After the first three stages of Chochmah, Binah and Daas, conception, planning, and concentration / cogitation, the person will then become emotional about their plan; these emotions are primarily a love to execute the plan, and a corresponding fear of failing to execute the plan; and then the combination stage of this love and fear is called Tiferes. Then comes power (Netzach) which means the perseverance to carry out the plan, despite any obstacle that might present themselves, and Hod, the harmonious method of carrying out the plan (discussing it with all parties and achieving consensus for example,) then Yesod the inner desire / connectivity with the plan (the intimacy with it), and Malchus the actual stage of communication, both to self as well as to others e.g. the people who are needed to help implement the plan.

(For example, if I believe that selling pizzas is a good way to make money, then the idea to sell pizzas is Chochmah. The details (i.e. learning how to make pizzas, hiring employees, getting premises, getting a loan for initial expenses etc.) are all part of Binah (the Business Plan). The continued concentration and cogitation on this idea creates a love – an emotional bond with the idea (as most businessmen are actually emotionally attached to their businesses, having invested their own time and effort in it). I now love the idea of selling pizzas; I have consequently created a corresponding fear of not having a business plan, of not learning how to make pizzas, of not finding the right employees, of not finding premises, of not getting a loan (O.K. you get the idea.)

The balance between fear and love is Tiferes. Tiferes within human emotions is mercy. I don’t know what it is in the Pizza selling scheme so I will focus on what it means in human terms. Abraham was Chesed for he was kind and generous to all. Yitzchok is associated with Gevurah, an intense fear or awe of G-d which resulting in a more secluded lifestyle dedicated to not doing anything wrong. However Yaakov is the attribute of Tiferes, a combination of the love and fear, which is called mercy.

One has mercy on someone who needs mercy. So unlike Abraham who would look for people to give hospitality to, whether rich or poor, mercy which tends towards the side of Chesed / giving, is more concerned with those who need assistance.

In a sense it is a truer attribute, for just giving, is fulfilling one’s need to give; while being merciful is judging a situation and giving according to what one is needed for.

O.K back to selling pizzas; From my love for selling pizzas stems also a “perseverance power,” to persevere against all odds that may keep me from fulfilling my goal of selling pizzas.

From the fear side there is a harmony factor, that I desire to speak nicely to all people (as I do not want them to be chased away by bad manners and thus I might lose my ability to implement the idea).

When I speak to people, if I connect to them – if I see them as individuals whom I want to influence, (the combination of Netzach and Hod – Perseverance Power and Harmony) then I make sure to meet them at their level and my very desire to influence them, assists in my ability to meet them at their level and influence them. This is the level of Yesod.

Then the actual communication, the actual talking to others about the idea is Malchus.)

The G-dly Souls emotions are love for G-d and fear or awe of G-d. This love and fear or awe, are born in the intellect as will be explained.

The G-dly Souls Emotions

The methodology to creating love and fear or awe of G-d

When a person uses their intellect to conceive of G-d’s greatness – how G-d is the source of every atom and molecule and without G-d’s direct creative power invested in every atom and molecule they would simply disappear as if they were never created (this is explained at length in Shaar Hayichud V’ha-emunah the second part of Tanya) and furthermore when a person realizes that above this creative direct energy is a far greater capacity, the actual capacity to create, which so to speak, hovers above, yet is directly responsible for the direct energy that enters the atoms of all matter, to create them into existence ex-nihilo (matter out of nothingness / which is the natural state of matter – i.e. not to exist). When a person further contemplates how both the direct and hovering energy are not even like a drop in the ocean of G-d’s infinite power and ability to create everything that we see, thus the entire universe, all the galaxies, the solar system, earth, continents, countries, and neighborhoods, are not even (quite literally) like a drop in the ocean, relative to G-d’s infinite power which has the ability to create infinite universes, galaxies, solar systems, earths, continents, countries, and neighborhoods then one begins to appreciate G-d’s infinite power and ability.

When one truly meditates on this (combining Chochmah / the concept, and Binah / the details of the concept) immediately a love and fear or awe are born for G-d.

First a sense of awe at G-d greatness and then a fear to not be far from this infinite power and then a love / desire, to unite with this power.

However for this love and fear or awe to remain permanently a part of one’s conscious mind and heart, and not a meditation that fades as quickly as it came, it is necessary for a person to consistently and deeply reengage in this awesome meditation; for only then will a permanent bond of love be fashioned between man and G-d.

Chapter 4

The G-dly Soul’s “Garments” (Chapters 4,5)

The following two ideas are introduced / explained in this chapter:

  1. The “Garments” of the G-dly Soul.
  2. The unity effected through Torah and Mitzvos.

The G-dly Soul‘s Garments

The three garments of the G-dly Soul

The G-dly Soul contains three garments. 1. The ability to act, and in reference to the G-dly Soul, this refers to the ability to perform Mitzvahs, such as putting on Teffilin for men or lighting Shabbos candles for women.

  1. The ability to speak, and in reference to the G-dly Soul this means when a person speaks about any of the 613 Mitzvahs as they are defined in Jewish law, for then his speech is a garment for the G-dly Soul.
  2. The garment of thought, when a person uses their intellect to study the 613 Mitzvahs or any part of the Torah, for then their thought is the garment for the G-dly Soul’s desire to study Torah.

(We should mention two points that the author clarifies briefly. The first is that in man there are 613 parts (365 sinews and blood vessels and 248 various limbs and organs) these 613 parts correspond to the 613 Mitzvahs in the Torah.

The second thing, that the author clarifies is that there are four levels to understanding the Torah. The first is the basic / Pshat, the second are the hints / Remez, the third is the allegory / Drush, and the fourth is the esoteric / Sod i.e. Kabbalistic. So every line of the Torah can be studied with any of the above mentioned four commentaries.)

Connecting to G-d

The connection between the G-dly Souls emotions and the performance of the 613 Mitzvahs

When a person has created an emotional love and fear or awe of G-d, then they have created the true reason to perform the Mitzvahs – particularly the Mitzvah of studying Torah, which is considered as important as performing all the Mitzvahs.

The reason for this is, that G-d is infinite and man is finite.

The G-dly soul’s love is an attraction to unite with G-d. (This can be seen in human terms, as the person whom you love you are attracted to.)

Therefore this love creates the desire to perform the 248 Mitzvahs for the only way to unite with G-d – to bridge the infinite divide between finite man and infinite G-d – is to do what He asks us to do.

(This is comparable to a brilliant professor and a young child whom have very little in common, for the professor is into his calculations and the child is into candies etc. except that if the professor is thirsty and the young child attends to a need of his, such as bringing him a drink to quench his thirst; then this act of kindness to the professor will unite him in a permanent and loving bond with the professor who is grateful for the assistance.

Similarly, although there is no intrinsic connection with finite man and G-d, nevertheless through G-d’s “food and drink” – the study of Torah and performance of Mitzvahs, we unite in a loving bond with G-d.

Furthermore as G-d says, “I receive pleasure that I have requested and you fulfill my will”. Judaism, unlike the error made by other religions that have anthropomorphized G-d (seeing G-d as a very great human thus limiting G-d to human emotions, needs etc.) understands, that the only way to bridge an infinite gap (as in the parable above) is through the bridge laid by the infinite being. To worship G-d contrary to his desires (although perhaps pleasing to a human) would be the ultimate in foolishness.

Conversely by doing what G-d explicitly requests of us in the Torah, we can rest assured that we are fulfilling His will and making Him very happy by so doing.)

Fear of G-d is defined as a person who does not want to separate from G-d, and therefore they do not do any of the 365 sins mentioned in the Torah, as the sin severs their relationship with G-d. (This would be just like a person who loves someone else, and thus in order to keep the affection between them ongoing, they do not want to harm or anger the person they love.)

Often the reason why people brought up religiously do Mitzvahs and do not do Aveiros / sins has more to do with habit than with an inner feeling and intent, so the true meaning of Judaism comes about as a result of one’s intense longing to unite with G-d, and the corresponding fear to not severe one’s intimate relationship with G-d.


A deeper appreciation of G-d – Awe of G-d

(The best way to describe this (“Awe of G-d”) is to describe how one felt in the presence of the Rebbe.

One certainly only felt love from, and thus for the Rebbe.

However there was also (as a result of the great love felt for the Rebbe) a sense that one did not want to disappoint the Rebbe, and thus one was on one’s best behavior before the Rebbe.

Again there was no fear; whoever knew the Rebbe knew that He was only love, however due to the love one felt for the Rebbe one did not want to act in an improper manner and thus have the Rebbe become upset by one’s behavior.

Perhaps this is also similar to how one feels in the presence of a father whom one does not physically fear but respects. The respect causes the person to be on their best behavior in order that the father should maintain their continued love for the child.)

So a deeper appreciation of G-d leads one to realize, that G-d is constantly watching everyone and wants to know if we are acting our best (much like parents whom love their children do.)

When a person realizes that this is the case, then coupled with their great love for G-d, they will never sin (commit one of the 365 sins mentioned in the Torah) for they do not want to disappoint their loving Father in Heaven.

Unity in G-d

The greatness of the three garments of the G-dly Soul

The Torah and G-d are one entity. This is because the Torah is G-d’s wisdom, and unlike human wisdom which is separate from the human (for example, when someone studies something, they and the thing that they are studying are initially two separate entities (which is why they can be oblivious to it for their entire life) only when they are studying it are they then delving into the subject and uniting with it; however after they have studied it, and it is so to speak in the hard-drive, they can then use their RAM (active conscious thoughts, for those of you not up to date on computer speak) to delve into something else.)

However, G-d is one with the wisdom that emanates from Him. There is no division between G-d and His wisdom. (This is impossible for a human to understand properly, for we are limited to the models of human intellect and assimilation of information into the human mind – which is, relative to G-d, like a stone relative to a super-computer.)

This is why when a person studies Torah they are not studying G-d’s wisdom, they are uniting directly and totally with G-d (as will be clarified further).


Why Torah is compared to water

Water (usually) comes from one of two places, either it melts from the snow on mountains and travels down into rivers and streams or it comes from the rain and it falls down onto earth; thus we see that water travels from the highest places to the lowest.

The Torah originated in the world of Atzilus, where it is one with G-d. There is no jealousy, hatred, anger, cruelty, evil, or poor people in the world of Atzilus, a perfect universe. The Torah obviously thus comes in many formants. Whatever is said in the Torah, can be studied in the world of Atzilus and the many lower worlds, using different parables and analogies and relating purely to goodness and kindness.

However the fundamental aspect of the Torah which is to create harmony does not change in any world.

This is G-d’s fundamental desire to unify diversity into a single wholeness under G-d.

There are many different situations that require harmony, some like the harmony necessary between the different Angels – some that serve G-d exclusively with love, and others exclusively with awe and reverence – however what is germane to all worlds, is the fundamental aspect of harmony under G-d.

This is applicable be it to the angels in Heaven or man on earth, be it about financial concerns or different modes of excellence; G-d desires harmony! and the Torah is a relationship / justice guide.

In this vein the 613 Mitzvahs of the Torah – with harmony as the underlying theme – traveled from the peaks of perfection in Atzilus to this world – the depths of imperfection – However the methodology employed by the Torah for creating harmony between disparate entities has not changed; just as pristine waters come from the clouds or the mountaintops and are the very same waters that give man life-giving water on earth (only the place has changed, the essence is the same).

Torah and you

The descent of Torah

The Torah thus began in the pristine atmosphere of Atzilus and traveled through the spiritual worlds until it reached this physical world.

The descent of the Torah was into the 24 books of the Torah (The 5 books of Moses, the 11 books of the prophets, and the 9 scriptures / writings.) These books are feasible for any man with intellect to understand, so therefore our intellect can grasp the Torah.

Furthermore our speech can say the Torah, and our actions can fulfill the Mitzvahs of the Torah.

Furthermore our ten Soul energies can be involved in the Torah and the 613 limbs and sinews in our body (as explained at length before) can be united with G-d, thus having G-d’s Infinite Light and energy, wholly encircle and enter us in a wonderful union and intimate bond.

The benefit in this world

Understanding the Sages declaration that it is better to spend one hour of Teshuvah and good deeds in this world, than all the delights of the next world (and the delights of the next world are better in one hour, then seventy / eighty years of every pleasure conceivable in this world).

The delight in the next world (Heaven) consists of comprehending G-d’s greatness. (Think about the great delight Einstein would have had, had he finally found the unified-theory which he was working on for over twenty years.)

However as G-d is infinite and man is finite, thus one can at best only grasp a ray of G-d’s infinite light, never truly grasping G-d at all.

But as we just studied, when a person physically does a Mitzvah, then they unite in an infinitely close and wonderful union with G-d.

This union can only be achieved on earth through the performance of Teshuvah and good deeds, both of which are impossible to achieve in Heaven.

(My grandfather Rabbi Yosef Wineberg A’H, relates that one of the reasons he joined Lubavitch as a youngster was because he was at the deathbed of a Lubavitcher Chasid who said, “I can leave my family, but how can one leave Torah and Mitzvahs…!”)

Uniting with G-d

Understanding how Mitzvahs preformed on earth can unite one with G-d

Although when a person performs a physical Mitzvah, say putting on Teffilin, one is using a physical object; namely the physical Teffilin, nevertheless this can be compared to someone who hugs a king.

When a person hugs a king, it makes no difference if the king is wearing a flimsy nightshirt or decked in royal attire. It is truly the hearts that are uniting, and the garments do not impede the union of the hearts.

Similarly, despite the fact that physical matter is being used in this G-dly Teffilin-embrace, the union is nevertheless true.

Another example

A second parable to better understand how Mitzvahs preformed on earth can unite one with G-d

Similarly, when a person shakes hands with another during cold weather and the other person is wearing a glove, it doesn’t matter – because the formality of shaking hands is still the same.

Similarly, when one does a Mitzvah, despite there being a physical object which the person uses to perform the Mitzvah, there is nevertheless an absolute true and perfect union between man and G-d.

Chapter Five

The G-dly Soul’s Garments (Chapters 4, 5)

To gain a better understanding of the terminology “Tefisah” (“grasping” G-d) which Eliyahu referred to, saying that, “No thought can be Tofes / grasp you” (G-d)

The following idea is introduced / explained in this chapter:

  1. The unity and auras that Torah and Mitzvos create.


The interaction between the learner and the subject under study

When a person learns something then his mind is grasping (encompassing) the subject being studied.

At the same time the subject is encompassing the mind that has delved within it, as he is delving into the subject when he is learning it.

The Union with G-d during Study

An example

When someone studies a law in the Torah, for example, if Reuven claims A. and Shimon claims B. then the ruling should be C.; then although a person cannot grasp G-d, nonetheless one can grasp the law that G-d has taught in the Torah.

This wonderful union of being encompassed by and encompassing G-d’s wisdom (referred to in the previous paragraph) is the closest union and bond know to man, and thus man unites with G-d completely and totally, during the study of Torah.

Spiritual aura

The spiritual aura of doing a Mitzvah

When a person does a Mitzvah – even the Mitzvah of saying words of Torah – then G-d’s infinite light surrounds a person from head to toe.

Aura of studying Torah

The spiritual light and aura of studying Torah

When a person studies Torah, not only do they receive the previously mentioned aura which comes upon everyone who performs a Mitzvah; additionally an internal aura or light occurs, as the study of a subject internalizes the subject, thus G-dly light and energy enter the person’s mind internally as well.

Torah & Mitzvos – Food and Garments

Torah the “food of the Soul”, Mitzvahs the “garments of the Soul”

Just like when someone eats, the food gives them life through becoming part of their very blood and flesh, similarly the Torah one studies gives life to one’s G-dly Soul.

This is why our Sages teach us, that the Torah one studies becomes food for them in Heaven while the Mitzvahs one performs becomes one’s clothing in Heaven. As mentioned, the Torah gets internally “digested”. While the Mitzvahs create an aura surrounding the individual.

The Torah study is an internal light, while the Mitzvahs create an “encompassing” light that surrounds the person completely.



The Animal Soul and its garments from Kelipos Nogah and how they are sometimes from the three lower Kelipos; and the specific punishments for it; and that sometimes they get elevated into holiness (Chapters 6,7,8)

The following two ideas are introduced / explained in this chapter:

  1. Kelipah
  2. Feeding Kelipah

Negative energies

The ten negative energies of the Animal Soul

G-d created that the physical world and world of Kelipos and Sitra Achra are a mirror image to the holy spiritual worlds.

So just as there are ten holy energies (mentioned before which the G-dly Soul uses to inspire itself and unite with G-d) similarly there are ten unholy energies stemming from the four negative foundations (discussed in chapter 1) belonging to the animal Soul.

There are the seven emotions (as the animal Soul is primarily an emotional creature) and then there are the three intellectual abilities that influence the emotional side.  

This can easily be seen from the way a child – who is primarily Animal Soul (for the G-dly soul is only fully developed within them from Bar or Bas Mitzvah (12 or 13)) wants silly things such as candies etc., for his or her intellect has not matured enough to appreciate better things (such as the latest BMW : ).)

In other words, the Animal soul has emotions for the instinctive pleasures mentioned in Chapter one. These emotions are relative to a person’s intellect, and hence the variation in peoples’ ambitions.

Garments of Kelipah

The three garments of Kelipah and G-d’s light on earth

When a person eats, drinks, or does anything that is not for G-d, then the three garments of thought, speech, and action that do these things become garments for Kelipah.

The negative spiritual forces are then enclothed in man’s speech, thought, or action.

G-d’s light rests either on someone who is actively engaged in doing a Mitzvah or studying Torah (as discussed before) and also on someone who in potential will be humble and servile to G-d, which applies to each and every Jew, as Jewish people always exist in potential, in a state of humility before G-d (as is evidenced by their willingness to give up their lives in order not to forsake G-d, as will be explained further in chapter 18 and 19).

G-d’s light

G-d’s light rests when one person studies Torah or when ten Jews gather;

The three wholly unclean Kelipos.

Our Sages teach that when a Jew studies Torah, G-d’s light rests on Him and when ten Jews gather, G-d’s light is upon them.

However most things in this world are not nullified before G-d and do not serve G-d, and thus they do not receive a direct light from G-d to create the matter within them ex-nihilo, rather they receive a light that goes through many contractions until it creates that which exists in defiance to G-d’s will.

For this reason there is a lot of pain and suffering in this world, as G-d’s light goes through so many contractions until it is so to say exiled within the suffering and pain in this world.

Similarly, the vitality and life in the 365 prohibitions (say a Jew eating pork G-d-forbid) comes from the three wholly unclean Kelipos. (Meaning the Jew who consumes the pork receives his life from the three wholly unclean Kelipos.)

Chapter 7

The Animal Soul and its garments from Kelipos Nogah and how they are sometimes from the three lower Kelipos; and the specific punishments for it; and that sometime they get elevated into holiness (Chapters 6,7,8)

The following two ideas are introduced / explained in this chapter:

  1. The effect of Treif [non-Kosher food.]
  2. Forbidden relationships

Kelipos Nogah

Kelipos Nogah and its elevation

The life and the energy that creates ex-nihilo all Kosher animals, kosher fruits, and vegetables (which includes almost everything in this world, for most things are inherently neutral such as rocks, water, air, etc.) all receive their energy from Kelipos Nogah.

 Kelipos Nogah as mentioned in Chapter 1 is the source of the Jewish Animal Soul and it also contains good in it.

When a person eats Kosher food or drinks a Kosher drink without any higher purpose [i.e. there is nothing meaningful to their day] then the sustenance that they receive is no better than their animal Soul itself, and all of it remains in the level of Kelipos Nogah.


Kelipos Nogah is an intermediary level between the lower three wholly unclean Kelipos and the higher level of holiness.


However if a person eats a good steak or drinks a fine wine to feel good, and to expand their thinking capacity, and therefore be able to expound on Torah better, as Rabbah (a great Sage would do) or when one enjoys a Shabbos meal (as we are instructed to do) then the good rises out of the Kelipos Nogah, and enters into Kedushah / holiness.

(Although this concept may seem very strange, for seemingly a piece of meat is a static entity, so how do the molecules shift from Kelipah to holiness, from bad to good?

However based on Dr. Emoto’s research, we can actually see pictures of the molecules in water (after it is frozen) that have been blessed or a negative word is attached to it, and we see that in the water which has been blessed the molecules line up precisely; however the water that had a negative word on it, results in ugly crystals that look gnarled and confusing. Furthermore we know that human observation does change particles. So this concept – that the intention makes a difference – has been proven empirically by science.)

A good joke for G-d

The importance of a good joke for G-d


When one serves G-d, it needs to be with joy and happiness. When Rava (a great Sage would start his profound Talmudic lecture) he would begin with a joke and all the Rabbis would laugh.

Although one may erroneously think that a joke is a bad thing, it all depends on the reason for telling the joke. If the reason is so people can study Torah with joy and an open heart, then that joke (which obviously did not disparage anyone) becomes a G-dly joke.


Kosher food

When Kosher food descends into Kelipos, and how Kelipos can be elevated to Kedushah / holiness

When a person eats Kosher food not for the sake of living (which is considered a neutral act) but for the sake of pleasure, then momentarily the food descends to the level of the three wholly unclean Kelipos. (As pleasure in of itself is a narcissistic goal.)


If afterwards a person then uses the energy from the food to pray to G-d, then the energy having originally come from Kelipos Nogah will elevate and subsequently be sustained by holiness.


However not-kosher food, no matter how much good is done with the energy derived from it, it remains tied up and bound to the three wholly unclean Kelipos; its original source.


Unless a person repents, to the extent that the sin is considered a merit; meaning that the sin caused him to repent (like Elazer Ben Duduai who upon realizing how sinful he was, felt so much remorse that his Soul ascended to G-d, and a Heavenly voice proclaimed that some people can inherent Heaven in a moment.
For it was precisely the sins, and the remorse that it made him feel, which changed him into a good person.) Or until when Moshiach comes and the three wholly unclean Kelipos will be completely swallowed up / disintegrate and then that negative energy will disappear.


Regarding this great level of repentance our Sages have stated, that in the level of a Baal Teshuvah / penitent, a Tzaddik Gomur (the greatest Jew as will be discussed, and as mentioned briefly in chapter one) cannot reach. The reason for this is, that the Baal Teshuvah (one who returns to Judaism after having sinned first) was compelled through a feeling of being distant to become close – however the Tzaddik who loves G-d very much was always close to G-d, and one cannot compare the longing felt by someone who was far to someone who is close. (An example for this can be from a spouse who travels far away and is separated unfortunately from their spouse; then their longing is far greater than the longing of a spouse who is close to their beloved. I recall seeing a picture in the newspaper, of a couple from South Korea whom were cruelly separated when the North separated from the South, and he was stuck there for over fifty years. In the picture of their embrace one sees the longing of 50 years on their faces.)

However someone who does an average Teshuvah (“please forgive me, I am sorry, I will not do it again,”) does not elevate the unclean food into holiness, for although G-d will forgive the individual, nevertheless the Teshuvah is not on the level, to convert the original un-holiness to holiness.

Wasted semen

The elevation of wasted semen


If someone wastes semen, then the life force in the semen gets lowered into the three wholly unclean Kelipos.

However when a person repents properly and says the Shemah at night (Krias Shemah She-al Hamitah) it slays the Kelipos that were brought about through the wasteful semen and the life-force then gets elevated and comes from Kedushah / holiness.


This is the meaning of the saying of the Sages, “Whoever reads Krias Shemah She-al Hamitah is likened to one who holds a double edged sword” (to slay the Kelipos caused by wasteful semen).


Forbidden relationships

The difference between wasted semen and forbidden relationships


Although when a person wastes semen he adds a tremendous amount of Kelipah in this world, nevertheless it is not included as a sin together with the forbidden intercourses mentioned in the Torah. The reason for this is because when a person commits the sin of a forbidden intercourse, then the life force involved in that sin descends into a very strong Kelipah in the three wholly unclean Kelipos and cannot be elevated from there, even if with proper Teshuvah (unless one has Teshuvah Me-Ahava, the level of Teshuvah mentioned previously, which converts sins into merits (like the story of Elazer Ben Dudau.)

Chapter 8

The Animal Soul and its garments from Kelipos Nogah and how they are sometimes from the three lower Kelipos; and the specific punishments for it; and that sometime they get elevated into holiness (Chapters 6,7,8)

The following five ideas are introduced / explained in this chapter:

  1. Two types of Yetzer Haras
  2. The effect of eating Kosher for mundane reasons
  3. The effect of wasting time
  4. The effect of studying sciences for negative reasons
  5. The permissibility of studying science for good reasons

Yetzer Haras

The two Yetzer Haras

(For a definition of the Yetzer Hara see chapter 1)

When a Jew eats non-kosher food, even inadvertently, or even if he or she eats something that the Rabbis forbid (for example, the Rabbis forbid chicken to be eaten with milk) then because its life force comes from the Kelipah it will not be elevated to Kedushah, even though the person uses this energy for good.


The desire to eat non-kosher food comes from the Yetzer Hara of non-Jews. And the desire to eat kosher food but only for physical pleasure comes from the Jewish Yetzer Hara.


Kosher food

The effect of eating Kosher food only for physical pleasure


When someone eats Kosher food only for pleasure (and it can thus be elevated to holiness later as discussed before) nevertheless, a remainder of the un-holiness (Kelipah) is attached to him, as the food immediately becomes a part of his or her body. For this reason, prior to entering Heaven there is a cleansing process called chibut-hakever, which makes a person forget the pleasures of this world (as the person invited pleasure into his life, and it is necessary to forget the old pleasures in order to appreciate the more refined pleasures of Heaven (just as a cannibal must forget the “pleasure” of cannibalism to enter into civilization, and begin to appreciate harmony between all men.)

However someone like Rebbe (Rabbi Yehudah, the leader of the Jewish people app. Year 300 who despite living royally) never enjoyed, or allowed himself any enjoyment from anything physical, would therefore not need this cleansing process. (The purpose of his royal lifestyle was so the Gentiles would respect the Jewish people. (Obviously the Gentiles would have greater respect for a leader who lived like a king then like a pauper; at least in those days.))

Wasting time

The effect of wasting time permissibly


If someone cannot study Torah and thus they naturally waste a lot of time and they have done nothing wrong (as their lack of Torah study was due to a thick head unfortunately) then the Soul goes through the cleansing process called caf hakela (one watches a video of one’s life interspersed with the higher joy and reality of Heaven, causing immense remorse over wasted time) in order to enter Heaven.

Evil words

The effects of evil words


The effects of evil words like scoffing and slander however bring out the three wholly unclean Kelipos, and for this Kaf Hakela does not help to cleanse the Soul enough to enter Heaven, and some time in Gehinom (hell, an intense purification process) is necessary.


Not studying Torah

The effects of not studying Torah when possible.


The effects of not studying Torah due to laziness also require a cleansing period in Gehinom.


This includes people who study science (with an exception, as will soon be explained,) as that time should be used for Torah study.

Furthermore someone who wastes their time – as opposed to someone who studies science – only negatively affects their emotions (stemming from the desire for wasting time from the foundation of air as mentioned in chapter 1) however someone who studies science instead of learning Torah, also effects their mind (as opposed to the person who wastes time who is not really using their mind, as is evidenced by the fact that anyone (even a non-intellectual) can waste time and understand the chit-chat that goes on during wasted time.)



The exception to the above rule


If however a person study’s science to create a living, whereby he or she can be a good person (as everyone needs to make a living, and this assists them in being a good person) then this is perfectly acceptable.

Furthermore someone can study science to assist them in their Torah studies (for example knowing astronomy will help understand the laws of Kidush Hachodesh, the calculation of when a new Jewish month is ordained) and this is why Rabbi Moshe Ben Maimon and Rabbi Moshe Ben Nachman and their peers studied science (and were in fact world renown Doctors and scientists).

Chapter 9

The war between the two Souls


The following five ideas are introduced / explained in this chapter:

  1. The location of the Animal Soul
  2. The location of the G-dly Soul
  3. Emotions from the G-dly Soul
  4. Little city
  5. The war

The location of the Animal Soul

The physical location of the Nefesh Habihamis – The Animal Soul


The animal Soul is located in the left ventricle of the heart; this is why anger and lust emanate from the heart and then go to the other parts of the body, and to the brain, in order to think about how to achieve the desired lust or express the anger (such as taking revenge, G-d forbid.)

The location of the G-dly Soul

The physical location of the Nefesh Ha-elokis, the G-dly Soul


The physical location of the G-dly Soul is in the mind and from there (after contemplating the greatness of G-d, and arousing a love for G-d) it travels to the right ventricle in the heart, to passionately feel a fiery love for G-d.


Emotions from the G-dly Soul

The creation of other emotions from the G-dly Soul

Similarly, the creation of a sense of awe at the splendor of G-d’s kingdom through contemplating on ideas that create such an awe (such as seeing the tremendous harmony in nature, and the exact proportions used in all of creation from galaxies to sunflowers, “the Divine code”) this then travels from the mind and lodges firmly in the heart, to feel this sense of awe at G-d’s great majestic splendor.

Little city

The little city


The body is called a little city, for just as two kings war to conquer a city, each wishing that all the citizens of the city should follow their wishes exclusively…


The war

The war over the city


The two kings: the G-dly Soul and the animal Soul that gives life to the body, both desire that all the faculties of the Soul and the garments of man should be completely subjugated to their will.


In the G-dly Soul this means that the persons Chochmah / intellect and wisdom, should be used to inspire one, through coming up with new ideas on the grandeur and greatness of G-d and to contemplate upon them to the extent that a passionate love for G-d is created in the right ventricle, which should then spill over into the left ventricle; whereby the Yetzer Hara should change its mind about pursuing the pleasures of this world and instead purse G-dliness; and the deep appreciation and delight which comes about from knowing G-d, through deep meditation and discovery of G-d;  And that all of man’s limbs and his thought, speech and action should be wholly devoted to G-d exclusively.

However the Yetzer Hara and the animal Soul desire precisely the opposite, as the example of the harlot mentioned in the Zohar.

In other words, the Yetzer Hara and the Animal Soul desire to be the sole ruler of man’s thoughts, speech and actions.

(The Zohar mentions the following example, once upon a time there was a harlot who was commissioned by a king to try an entice the crown prince. The harlot had to use all of her charm to try to seduce the crown prince. The true reason why the king hired the harlot was because he wanted to see if the crown prince would be seduced or not, in order to reward him for withstanding this degree of temptation and remaining a true prince. The harlot, meanwhile in the depth of her heart also desires that the crown prince refuse her amazing charm and beauty, for she too desires that the crown prince should be rewarded; however as she has a mission from the king, she faithfully does whatever she can to ensnare and trap the crown prince. Similarly, the Yetzer Hara truly desires that man should achieve his mission in life and subsequently be rewarded for doing so, and thus wishes that man should resist the lure of physical pleasures that the Yetzer Hara uses to trap him with.)

Chapter 10

A Tzaddik who is only good and a Tzaddik who has some bad in him.

The following six ideas are introduced / explained in this chapter:

  1. Tzaddik Vra Lo [with bad]
  2. Tzaddik Vtov Lo [completely good]
  3. Tzaddik who is not complete
  4. Tzaddik who is incomplete
  5. Levels of Tzaddikim
  6. Bnei Aliyah

Tzaddik Vra Lo

The level of the Tzaddik Vra Lo, The Tzaddik who has some bad in him (mentioned in chapter one)


If someone fights with his Yetzer Hara to the extent that the Yetzer Hara has been banished from the left ventricle, however it has not been converted to good (the conversion process is an intellectual process whereby one educates the Yetzer Hara that the pleasures of G-dliness and goodness are better than physical pleasures) then that person is called Tzaddik Vra Lo, a Tzaddik who knows evil.


Tzaddik Vtov Lo

The level of the Tzaddik Vtov Lo, the Tzaddik who is only good


The Tzaddik who is only good has not only vanquished the Yetzer Hara, he utterly and totally despises the pleasures of the world (which are done only for the sake of having pleasure, and not for a G-dly reason as discussed before).


The reason he despises these pleasures is because these pleasures introduce Kelipah into this world (as discussed before).

The verse states, “I have a consummate hatred against your enemies, search and know my heart (that it is complete with you).” The Kelipos are referred to as the enemies of G-d and thus the Tzaddik who passionately loves G-d hates G-d’s enemies / the Kelipos, just as passionately.

Love and repulsion [hate] are opposites. If someone loves someone else then they will hate the enemy of the person they love.

For example, if someone really loves Jewish people they will commensurately hate terrorists whose sole aim is to murder Jewish people (Chas Vshalom). Likewise they will be utterly disgusted by and hold in complete contempt the terrorist’s barbaric killings of Jews. (In fact the Lubavitcher Rebbe was the perfect example of this, he said, that the communists in Russia said, that he hated them even more than his father-in-law did. His father in law tirelessly fought them and sacrificed to maintain Judaism in Russia – and the Rebbe said “they’re right”.)


Tzaddik who is not complete

The Tzaddik who is not complete (mentioned in chapter 1)


The Tzaddik who is not complete lacks this consummate disgust [hatred] of evil that the complete Tzaddik has. This lack of disgust shows some minute vestige of love for it (for as disgust and hatred are the opposite of love, therefore) because there is a vestige of love, thus the complete disgust and repulsiveness towards evil is likewise lacking in the incomplete Tzaddik. 

However because there is such a tiny amount of this vestige of love for evil, it is thus completely subjugated under and nullified to the good that predominates in the Tzaddik’s (who is incomplete) heart.


It is for this reason that he never receives a conscious impulse to do evil, as the love for it is certainly not strong enough to penetrate his conscious thoughts.


Tzaddik who is incomplete

Why he is called a Tzaddik who is incomplete


Based on the above-mentioned principle that disgust and hate are the opposite of love, we can thus see from the fact that the “Tzaddik who is incomplete” retains a level of subconscious love for evil that it conversely indicates that his love for G-d is not complete either (for if his love for G-d would be complete then his corresponding disgust of evil would be complete as well).


For this reason he is called an incomplete Tzaddik.

Levels of Tzaddikim

The incomplete Tzaddik and the complete Tzaddik


There are thousands of levels of incomplete Tzaddikim as there are many variations as to how much of the Yetzer Hara has been subjugated and is nullified to good.

Is it sixty to one? A thousand to one? Many thousands to one etc.?

Furthermore as studied in chapter 1 there are four foundations of evil within the animal Soul, so are all four foundation equally nullified? Is one nullified more than the other etc.?

However regarding a Tzaddik Gomur, a complete Tzaddik, Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, said, “I have seen Bnie Aliyah, ‘Men of ascent’ (Tzaddik Gomurs) and they are (very) few.”


This is the story related in the Zohar that when Rabbi Chiya desired to ascend to the Heavenly abode (the abode in Heaven) of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, he heard a voice (from Heaven i.e. G-dliness) say, “Whoever has not turned bitterness into sweetness and darkness into light may not enter here.”


(The Tzaddik Gomur has changed his dark and bitter Yetzer Hara into sweetness and light – a love and delight in G-d.)


Bnei Aliyah

Another reason why the Tzaddik Gomur is called Bnei Aliyah


Another reason why the Tzaddik Gomur is called Bnei Aliyah (the first reason was that they change darkness and make it ascend into light as mentioned before) is because they do not serve G-d and change darkness into light for their personal desire to unite with G-d, rather they love G-d so much, that they desire to unite G-d and his light (the Shechinah) on earth, which is G-d’s desire.

This is like a child who loves his or her parents so much, that he or she is prepared to give up their own life to save their parent’s life (for example, if they were swimming, they would pull their parent out of a current and lose their life just to save their beloved parent).


[Both these explanations of why they are called Bnei Aliyah (1. because they change darkness into light, 2. they do this to unite G-d and his light on earth, for G-d’s benefit) constitute one idea, for through elevating the Kelipah from earth into holiness, a corresponding rainfall of kindness and compassion comes from Heaven back to earth. (Like the mist which evaporates from earth, turns into clouds that later water and give life to earth; so through their conversion from darkness to light (downwards to upwards, G-d’s will is fulfilled upwards to downwards.)

Chapter 11

A Rasha.



The following two ideas are introduced / explained in this chapter:

  1. Rasha Vtov Lo [with good]
  2. A lower level
  3. Rasha Vra Lo [without good]


Rasha Vtov Lo

The Rasha Vtov Lo – The Bad man who has good


The Rasha Vtov Lo is the mirror image to the Tzaddik Vra Lo, the incomplete Tzaddik.

Like the incomplete Tzaddik there is an overflow from one side of the heart to the other, in this case from the left ventricle (bad) to the right ventricle (good). Just like the Tzaddik Vtov Lo there are thousands of different levels, for in one Rasha Vtov Lo it may be only once in a while that Yetzer Hara floods the other side of the heart and actually causes a sin, furthermore it may be a minor sin such a scoffing and not actual slander, but an insinuation of slander; (as the story is told that one Rabbi wrote a book on the horrors of Lashon Hara / slander, and it was taken to a Chassidic Rabbi to comment on and the Chassidic rabbi said that “A krum mit di noz is oich lashon hara – snubbing with one’s nose is also Lashon Hara.” When the book was brought back to the author, and upon hearing that the Chassidic Rabbi did not give accolades for his book, he lifted his nose to snub the Chassidic Rabbi.)

The Rasha Vtov Lo may get a person only to fantasize about intercourse which our Sages teach one should not do; or it may be an excellent time to study Torah and the Yetzer Hara entices the Rasha Vtov Lo to do something else.


However, after the Rasha Vtov Lo does these sins, he regrets them deeply, causing a sincere Teshuvah (as discussed elsewhere how to do a sincere Teshuvah..) and G-d forgives him.

A lower level

A lower level of Rasha Vtov Lo


A lower level of a Rasha Vtov Lo is someone whose Yetzer Hara gets him to often sin, and not only in one of his garments but in all three garments, of thought, speech and action; however in-between the sins, the good in his G-dly Soul emanating from the right ventricle gives way to feelings of remorse, but he cannot overpower the powerful urge to sin and thus he is often filled with remorse.

This is the majority of sinners who contain good within them, as our Sages say “wicked people are filled with remorse”.

Rasha Vra Lo

The Rasha Vra Lo (the remorseless man)


However, a person who never feels remorse and repeatedly sins has allowed the evil in his left ventricle to completely vanquish and conquer the good in his right ventricle pushing out the good from him, until it only hovers above him (thus he never even feels remorse).


This is why our Sages say that wherever there are ten Jews (regardless of levels) the Shechinah (Divine light) resides there (for at the very least the Shechinah hovers above all of them).


Chapter 12

The Benoini


The following four ideas are introduced / explained in this chapter:

  1. The Benoini
  2. The Benoini during and after prayer
  3. The Benoini’s thoughts
  4. The Benoini’s reactions


The Benoini

The Benoini is a man that does not allow the evil in his left ventricle to ever convince him to do something wrong in thought speech and action.

Furthermore, he has attained a level of complete self-control for G-d and goodness so that it will be impossible for the evil to ever get him to sin, even just in sinful thought. (As will be explained.)

However, the evil has not been banished from the left ventricle; it remains there in its full strength – apart from special times like during prayer which is a time when a person can evoke a lot of love for G-d (which is the purpose of Shema and its blessings) until the evil is subjugated and nullified due to the spillover of goodness from the right ventricle.

The Benoini during and after prayer

The difference in the Benoini’s heart during and after prayer


However after praying the evil in the left ventricle reappears and asserts itself in desiring physical and lustful pleasures.


The Benoini’s thoughts

The constant presence of evil in the Benoini


After prayer the Benoini will lust for physical pleasures like any normal person; however everyone has been given the ability through self-control to decide what it is that they will think about.

So although no one is immune from lust and desiring the pleasures of this world (for the sake of pleasure itself) one does have complete control if they should focus on them or not.

As the Benoini never does the wrong thing, the moment he realizes that he is thinking about something other than a thought for G-d or goodness, he immediately ceases to think about it and completely changes the subject (in his thoughts).


The Benoini’s reactions

The Benoini’s self control

When the Benoini feels anger or hatred, resentment or jealousy, he immediately controls himself and not only does not (Chas Vshalom) take revenge, he in fact acts kindly toward the individual who has harmed him; forgiving him in his heart and suffering silently from this bad person.

The example of how one should behave in the face of hurt, is from Yosef and his brothers. (Although Yosef’s brothers cruelly sold him into slavery (after they had first planned to kill him) Yosef harbored absolutely no resentment towards them at all.

Not only that, he took care of his brothers and their families, and he is a role-model of how a person can be terribly hurt by another and not only forgive them, but act kindly and nicely towards them.

The trick of course is believing that everything comes from G-d, and just as Yosef whose faith in G-d was rewarded by becoming (after Pharaoh) the most powerful person in the world with an ability to save millions of people from starvation, so too by trusting that everything that happens comes from G-d, and it is in fact only a matter of time before the goodness of the tragedy will be revealed… this allows a person to bear pain with fortitude and not be changed into a bad person by it (similar to someone who goes into the operating room, knowing that he will experience pain and discomfort, for a far better goal later).


Chapter 13

Everyone should try to be a Benoini (Chapters 13,14)


The following five ideas are introduced / explained in this chapter:

  1. Benoini power
  2. The Benoini’s self-image
  3. The Benoini after prayer
  4. The Benoini during prayer
  5. True Love


Benoini power

Understanding the phrase mentioned in Chapter one that Benoinim are judged / ruled by both (their Yetzer Tov and Yetzer Hara)

The actual phrase is that “Benoinim are judged by both”, not ruled. In the Benoini he is not (Chas Vshalom) ruled by the Yetzer Hara as we know that he never sins (even in thought) rather the Yetzer Hara is like a judge (in a Jewish court there are three judges and majority rules) who is entitled to say his opinion but the law will not necessarily follow his judgment for there are two other judges that get to say their opinions.

Practically speaking the Yetzer Hara puts a thought into the person’s head (the thought stemming from the emotions in the left ventricle, traveling up to the mind to contemplate it) immediately the Yetzer Tov counters the thought (the Yetzer Tov residing in the mind in any event.)

So now we have two judges – the third judge is actually G-d who shines a light in the humans’ mind to help the Yetzer Tov vanquish the Yetzer Hara (as our Sages teach, “if not for G-d’s assistance, the Yetzer Tov could not vanquish the Yetzer Hara’s designs.”)

The Benoini’s self-image

The answer to why G-d tells a person to consider oneself bad (mentioned at length in chapter 1)

The explanation is as follows. The Benoini is actually a very good person – having complete self control in thought, speech, and action, however because what goes on in a persons’ heart is not evident to others, thus people may tell him that he is a Tzaddik (someone who has banished all evil from within him) – To this G-d tells the Benoini, “Consider yourself as if you are bad.”

Not that he should G-d forbid consider himself bad (and get depressed which would lead to not being able to be happy and good, contrary to the principle that G-d wants happy good Jews) but that within his heart there is a left ventricle filled with bad desires, and not only is it filled but as when he was younger through eating and drinking and fulfilling some of those desires, the desires became quite strong and passionate.

It is true, that the Benoini controls his thoughts, speech, and action, however he should not think that he is incapable of having a negative desire and that he is a Tzaddik… for even if the whole world tells him that he is a Tzaddik… he should not believe them and consider himself only a Benoini – (“as if he is bad;” meaning there is bad in his left ventricle, but not that he does anything bad – for by knowing that one has the capacity to sin (due to the evil lodged in the left ventricle) one will be very vigilant not to sin.

If on the other hand the person sees themselves like Tzaddik who lacks the capacity to sin – having banished the bad completely – then the person’s delusion of greatness will cause him to sin.)


The Benoini after prayer

The state of evil in a Benoini’s heart

In the Benoini’s heart evil is considered as if it is asleep during the time of prayer when he arouses a great love for G-d that spills over and temporarily vanquishes the evil in the left ventricle.

And just as a person becomes alert only when they are up – similarly during the time of Teffilah/prayer, the Benoini has so-to-say, put the evil in the left ventricle to sleep; however immediately after prayer the evil “wakes up;” and is ready to reassert its desires and try to influence the Benoini to pursue them so that it should rule the small city (as discussed at length before).


The Benoini during prayer

The answer to why a Tzaddik like Rabbah considered himself a Benoini.

This is why Rabbah (who was in fact a Tzaddik (mentioned in chapter 1)) considered himself as a Benoini.

For although the evil never actually entered his mind (which should have indicated to him that in fact he was a Tzaddik) nonetheless he thought that perhaps the evil was there – but it was just that his constant love for G-d created a subjugation of evil – similar to when he was saying the Shema and hence the evil was constantly suppressed, (so in his humility he did not consider himself a Tzaddik, rather a very high level of Benoini).

This is what the Sages refer to when they say, “If only we prayed all day…”. (Meaning if only we achieved that great level of love for G-d that is achieved during the recitation of Shema during prayer, all day; which was the level of love that Rabbah felt for G-d all day.)


True Love

Is the love that the Benoini achieves during prayer real love?

Something that is real and true lasts forever, so relative to the Tzaddik who attains a perfect love for G-d and always maintains this great level (like Rabbah actually did) the Benoini’s love is not true.

However I (the author) call this love, true love; for truth depends on the level.

Truth for a Benoini is the level of love achieved during prayer for the fact that he can re-establish this love all the time indicates that it is true despite the fact that after prayer – during the rest of the day – he does not feel this level of love.

However as during prayer he can always reinstate it, therefore relative to his level and abilities it is a true and complete love for G-d.

Chapter 14

Every man should try to be a Benoini (Chapters 13,14)


The following eleven ideas are introduced / explained in this chapter:

  1. A Meditation
  2. The limits of the Benoini’s Love
  3. Heaven on earth
  4. G-d’s interference
  5. Souls
  6. Understanding the oath
  7. Keeping Promises
  8. Kicking a habit
  9. Food Addictions
  10. Achieving the Tzaddik’s intense love
  11. The benefit of the attempt

A Meditation

The Benoini is the middle road, which every man should travel


The state of the Benoini is achievable, all the time for every Jew.

For the Benoini does not vanquish his or her natural negative instincts, rather the Benoini controls his actions, speech, and thoughts, which everyone always has the ability to do.

One who is finding it difficult to control a temptation that is in contradiction to the Torah need only to say to him or herself, “I do not want to separate myself from my loving Father in Heaven and sins do separate a Jew from his Father in Heaven. And even the most sinful Jew is prepared to sacrifice his life for G-d (if forced to convert to Christianity or another religion as will be explained at length in chapter 19;)  So the only reason a sinner sins, is because he or she is forgetting that every sin separates one from G-d (not only the sin of conversion.) “If that is the case, I will be clever (and not foolish) I will make sure to never separate myself from G-d, and I will overcome my temptation in order to remain attached to my beloved G-d”.


The limits of the Benoini’s Love

The limitation of a Benoini’s love


The Benoini can control his actions, thoughts and speech, however he cannot control his heart – to feel disgusted and repulsed by evil, for this can only come about through a tremendous love, which is similar to the love all Jews will have in the world to come.


Heaven on earth

Understanding the saying of the Sages, “You will see your world (your reward) during your lifetime”


Although Mitzvahs are rewarded in Heaven and during the coming of Moshiach (the Messianic era) nevertheless, for Tzaddikim who achieved this nullification and elimination of their Yetzer Hara, G-d gives them a reward of this love even during their lifetime on earth, prior to the coming of Moshiach. (The reward is a higher level of love; and as we know scientifically, the more love one has, the more serotonin and other feel-good chemicals are released through the bloodstream, so happiness can actually be defined as a state of intense-love; and the more love there is, the greater the reward.)


G-d’s interference

The answer to why Iyov said, “You have created Tzaddikim and Reshayim” (mentioned in chapter 1)


In chapter 1. we mentioned that Iyov said to G-d, “You have created Tzaddikim and Reshayim [good and bad people]” and we asked how this could be in light of the teaching of the Sages that G-d does not decide if man will be a Tzaddik or a Rasha, for it is an individual’s choice.

However according to what we have just learnt this will become understood. For in fact G-d does create a Tzaddik and a Rasha. The Tzaddik is the individual who has a great and intense love for G-d and this great love was actually given to him as a reward for his efforts by G-d, so in this sense it is correct to say that G-d has created Tzaddikim.

(Also it is correct to say that G-d created Reshayim, for a person naturally is a Rasha, for it is only through self-control that one begins to tame the beast within, to arrive at the level of Benoini.)



The Soul levels


In the Zohar it states, that there are Souls (meaning inherently) that are Chassidim (which refers to great piety) there are Giborim / Strong ones (which refers to people capable of conquering their instincts, easier than most can) Tzaddikim, Neviem / prophets, as G-d told the Prophet Yeshayahu, “I have chosen you from birth.”

So there are distinctions within the Jewish people already from birth, with some people already chosen for the esteemed title of Tzaddik or Novi prophet.

However the majority of Israel need to fight their Yetzer Hara consistently on the path to becoming a Benoini.
* * *

Understanding the oath

Understanding the double terminology of the vow, “Be a Tzaddik, and don’t be a Rasha” (for if someone is a Tzaddik, they certainly are not a Rasha.)


The reason for this double terminology is because not everyone merits to become a Tzaddik, so at least “Don’t be a Rasha,” for that is within everyone’s capacity to never sin by doing Mitzvahs and refraining from evil; and through the study of Torah which is equivalent to all the Mitzvahs combined.

Keeping Promises

Fulfilling the oath “Be a Tzaddik”


Despite the fact that only a Tzaddik has an internal disgust for evil nevertheless everyone needs from time to time to attempt to reach this level through the advice of our Sages: For example, if someone lusts after a woman who is wrong for him then by imagining her body as a sack filled with excrement, then one can actually change ones lust into disgust.


Kicking a habit

Applying the above methods of changing lust into disgust for other things


The above method for changing lust into disgust can be used on a host of instincts which are harmful or bad. By associating that which one desires with excrement or more disgusting things, one can stop lusting after them.


Food Addictions

A meditation on the future of good food


Similarly all good food eventually turns into excrement, so one can lower their lust for good food, by realizing its future.


Achieving the Tzaddik’s intense love

The future of all worldly pleasures; and an attempt to achieve the Tzaddik’s love of G-d


When one thinks about how anything pleasurable eventually ends up in the garbage with worms crawling all over it, we can begin to disassociate with physical pleasures.

We can then attempt to try and achieve the Tzaddik’s great love for G-d, by contemplating on the greatness of G-d and even though this will only produce a fantasy of love (a love that is not permanent) nevertheless one then fulfils his part of the oath, to “Be a Tzaddik” (by attempting to achieve the Tzaddik’s love for G-d) and if G-d deems it fit, G-d may reward the individual who tries to be a Tzaddik with this great level of love for G-d, on a permanent basis.


The benefit of the attempt

The benefit of attempting to achieve the Tzaddik’s love of G-d


Furthermore, although this love is a fantasy of love (as explained in the last paragraph) nevertheless a bit becomes second nature.

If one gets in the habit of feeling a great love for G-d due to meditation on G-d’s greatness, eventually this love will become second nature to the individual.

(Einstein said, “There are only two ways to live life, one as if everything is a miracle, and the other as if nothing is a miracle.”)


A further benefit of the attempt

A further benefit of creating a second nature like that of the Tzaddik’s


When a person habitually achieves disgust through the previously mentioned meditations and when he or she achieves a consistent love for G-d on the level of the Tzaddik – through the contemplation of G-d greatness all the time – then a little bit of disgust will actually become part of his nature (so although he has not banished the Yetzer Hara completely, if at all… nevertheless a tiny bit of lessening of the desire for evil will take place).

 Furthermore G-d may reward him (through the impregnation in his Soul with the Soul of a Tzaddik  -who feels this genuine love for G-d) with genuine, lasting, and a permanent love for G-d.


Chapter 15

Within the rank of Benoini there is an Oved Elokim and a non Oved Elokim (Chapters 15, 16)


The following five ideas are introduced / explained in this chapter:

  1. The Benoini Labors for G-d
  2. The Tzaddik’s Distinction
  3. A Non-laboring Benoini
  4. Another Non-laboring Benoini
  5. Achieving A Laboring Status for a Non-laboring Benoini

The Benoini Labors for G-d

Understanding the difference between a Tzaddik and Oved Elokim / Laborer for G-d


An Oved Elokim refers to the Benoini; the reason is that the Benoini is in a constant labor (working) for G-d as his Yetzer Hara is very much alive, so in order to serve G-d properly he or she needs to consistently fight with his or her Yetzer Hara.

For this reason he is called a “Laborer for G-d” as he is constantly laboring for G-d.


The Tzaddik’s Distinction

The name Tzaddik in contradistinction to an Oved Elokim


However the Tzaddik is called Eved Hashem – G-d’s servant.

The difference between the two is that the Benoini who is Oved Elokim denotes a current labor and has not achieved the title of being a servant.

The title servant applies to one who has already been designated and rewarded for his achievement by becoming G-d’s servant.

(This is like calling someone “wise” which refers to someone who has already acquired wisdom; in contradistinction to a student who is attempting to become wise and is constantly in the process of acquiring new wisdom, but the name “wise”  (like a “Wise-man”) cannot yet be applied to him.)


A Non-laboring Benoini

Two levels in the Benoini, the Oved and the Lo Oved; The laborer and he who does not need to labor


Even within the category of Benoini there is a Benoini who does not need to labor to do good.

The reason for this is that the fight with the Yetzer Hara comes from stymieing the drives and desires that the Yetzer Hara sets forth; however if someone naturally is a frigid person and they are also studious by nature (so therefore it is not challenge for him to learn Torah all the time) then he has no great drives that he needs to overcome, and no need to create a strong love of G-d to counteract the physical drives.

Another Non-laboring Benoini

Another kind of Lo Oved Benoini


Similarly someone who has trained himself (through habit) to study Torah all the time does not need to exert any effort to be a Benoini, for his “second nature” is to always be involved in Torah.

 However anyone – even this type of Benoini – who wants to break out of his norm and add to his hours of learning, then he needs to work hard and put in effort.


Now we can understand what it says in the Talmud that “A person who learns or reviews his lesson a hundred times is not considered as someone who is laboring, but he who reviews it one hundred and one times is considered someone who is laboring.”

For in those days the common practice was to review the lesson one hundred times (in order to memorize it and thus this became a habit) so someone who extends themselves beyond their habitual practice is someone who is laboring, for this requires effort.


The Talmud brings there the example from the wagon drivers who would charge one Zuz (their currency) for ten Parsah (say ten miles) and two Zuz for eleven Parsah. The reason for this was, because the standard distance was ten Parsah, however if someone needed to go beyond the standard, they would have to pay double.


Achieving A Laboring Status for a Non-laboring Benoini

 The superiority of the one hundred and first time

As mentioned before, the one hundred and first time (of studying) relates to someone who habitually studies one hundred times.

To break out of his habit and to do it one hundred and one times takes effort and this energy comes about through love of G-d born of understanding G-d’s greatness in his mind.

For this reason the one hundred and first time actually earns this Benoini the title of Oived Elokim – a laborer for G-d.

Achieving A Laboring Status for a Non-laboring Benoini

The hidden love in the hearts of every Jew

Because we are the children of Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov, and they had a consummate love for G-d, serving G-d at every moment of their lives, therefore we have inherited through their Souls (being their children) at the very least, a subconscious love for G-d which is always within our hearts, whether we realize it or not.

In later chapters this will be explained more fully.


Getting back to the subject at hand, if a Benoini does not use his intellect in his mind to create a love for G-d in order to give him the extra energy to overcome the Yetzer Hara, he may use his inner love (his subconscious love) to do the trick.


However if someone does not fight with their Yetzer Hara at all (either by arousing a new love, born of meditation in G-d’s greatness or by activating the already dormant love in their heart) then they cannot be considered an Oved Elokim – a laborer for G-d [despite the fact that all of their thoughts, speech and actions may be perfect.]

Chapter 16

Within the rank of Benoini there is an Oved Elokim and a non-Oved Eloikim (Chapters 15, 16)


The following five ideas are introduced / explained in this chapter:

  1. The Fundamentals For A Benoini
  2. Intellectual Meditation for the Benoini
  3. The Result Of the Meditation
  4. Mitzvah Wings
  5. Mitzvah Wings 2


The Fundamentals For A Benoini

The great principle for the Benoini


And this is the great principle for the Benoini that the main thing is to control one’s instincts through arousing a love for G-d in one’s mind to be able to overcome the Yetzer Hara, and in order to inspire within oneself a reverence for G-d which will keep one from transgressing any of the 365 prohibitions of the Torah (and even a tiny sin prohibited only by the Rabbis) and furthermore to develop a burning passionate love for G-d which will lead one to fulfill the 248 Mitzvahs in the Torah and especially the Mitzvah of Torah study which is equivalent to all the Mitzvahs combined.


In other words, the meditation lies at the heart of his ability to overcome his Yetzer Hara.


Intellectual Meditation for the Benoini

The Intellectual love in the Benoini


Furthermore even a Benoini who is not capable of achieving a fiery love, meaning to consciously feels a love and reverence for G-d due to his meditation – he too can nonetheless be perfect, simply by thinking the meditation – in other words, meditating intellectually to the extent that it causes action.


So in other words although he may not feel the love, but if his meditation creates the impetus to become a Benoini [thinking, speaking, and doing good] this is sufficient.

The Result Of the Meditation

The Souls longing for G-d


The Soul thus wishes to depart from its chamber – the body – to unite with G-d.

It is like a widow who cannot find her husband, tied to him by invisible ties (as she may not remarry until her husband is found alive or dead for otherwise it would be adultery;) similarly the Soul is stuck in the body against her will, tied by invisible strings (namely G-d’s desire for the Soul to remain in the body,) however the Soul itself wishes to attach itself to its original source G-d.

When an individual creates a love for G-d, then they quench this longing to unite with G-d through practically resolving to study Torah which unites their mind with G-d, and through the practical performance of Mitzvahs that unites their body with G-d.

And this is the meaning of the saying of our Sages that “G-d connects a good thought to action”.

It would seem more accurate to have said, G-d considers a good thought as if it were achieved.

Rather the meaning is that because the person is serving G-d therefore G-d connects this meditation to action, as will be explained shortly.


Mitzvah Wings

The elevation of Mitzvahs


(To understand this concept it is necessary to preface a story of the Baal Shem Tov. The Baal Shem Tov once entered a study hall of Talmudic scholars and said, “I cannot enter into this room because it is filled with Torah.” This comment was no praise; in fact it was a great criticism of the Torah study that these scholars were engaging in.

For Torah like any Mitzvah can be done for one of two reasons, either selfish (to be recognized and become acclaimed by peers and the masses) or out of the longing to unite with G-d which can only be achieved through Torah study and the performance of Mitzvahs.

When the act is done for selfish reasons, like recognition and the like, then the Torah study does not elevate – it remains in this physical world that it originated from (as it is no better than the animal Soul within this world, motivated by selfish interests to study).

However a Mitzvah which is based on love for G-d (or refraining from a sin which is done out of fear of G-d, not a fear of man) then this Mitzvah is elevated to G-d, into the spiritual worlds, so the good deed leaves the confines of this physical world and makes an impression in a spiritual world.


So when we study Torah or do a Mitzvah with love in our hearts (and conversely refrain from sinning due to fear or respect for G-d in our hearts) this gives the Mitzvah wings.


Mitzvah Wings 2

The levels to which the Mitzvah ascends

When a person does a Mitzvah not from a love or awe born of conscious meditation but from the natural love and fear hidden within the recesses of a Jew’s heart which are an inheritance to all Jews from our patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; then the Mitzvah can only rise to the world of Yetzirah.

For the world of Yetzirah – an emotional world – is where Mitzvos done out of an emotional love ascends to (albeit emotions not born of intellectual conscious understanding but which come from the Jews innate latent love and fear of G-d).


So this is what it means that G-d attaches action to good thoughts.

The good thoughts refer to meditations of G-d’s greatness which produce an intellectual love and fear of G-d [but not to the extent that it is openly felt in one’s heart; an example of this difference is that when one feels something often they involuntary move their hands, however if one simply understands that something is good, it doesn’t create excitable hand movement; though it still may effect behavior.]

Now although this would normally only give wings to elevate the deed (the Mitzvah) only to the world of Yetzirah; G-d in his kindness gives it wings to elevate it to the world of Beriah (the comprehension of G-dliness world).

Mitzvos that are done out of an intellectual understanding of G-d mentioned before (namely, the meditation that G-d’s energy is the direct source for everything – is also beyond, and is the creative ability for everything – and all of it is nothing compared to his infinite ability to create) and the intellect becomes a passionate revealed heartfelt longing, then as this was a “comprehension” born meditation of G-d, which led to the performance of the Mitzvos, these will naturally rise to the world of Beriah.

Chapter 17

How it’s easy to be a Jew


The following four ideas are introduced / explained in this chapter:

  1. A Question
  2. Strengthening the Dilemma
  3. The Answer
  4. An Exception

A Question

Understanding the perplexing statement in the Torah that keeping Judaism is very easy

Two of the Mitzvahs are love for G-d and fear or awe of G-d, this being the case it would appear that the statement in the Torah that it is very easy to do the Mitzvahs is incorrect. For it is not easy to change one’s desires away from one’s natural instincts towards a genuine love of G-d.

Furthermore, the Talmud itself asks, “Is fear of G-d an easy thing to achieve?” And if fear or awe of G-d is difficult to achieve, how much more so love for G-d which is even more difficult.


Strengthening the Dilemma

An additional question on the above perplexing statement

Furthermore, the Sages have stated that only the Tzaddikim have complete control of their hearts – so as we are speaking about love or fear or awe for G-d, we cannot assume it is easy for the Rasha or even the Benoini whom have a great presence of the Yetzer Hara in their hearts, to achieve the said levels?!

The Answer

The answer to the above question

If we carefully examine the verse from the Torah it says, “It is very near (easy) for you to fulfill the Mitzvahs, in your mouth and in your heart in order to do it.”

The emphasis is on a love from the heart that leads to action. As we know, now is the time to do Mitzvahs, and tomorrow (in the next world) is the time to receive rewards for it.

So the key factor is achieving a love that leads one to actually do the physical Mitzvahs. Now because everyone has the ability to think whatever inspirational thoughts they choose, thus the Benoini can choose to think of G-d’s greatness – and even if this does not create an emotional love and fear, but just an intellectual one – since it will motivate his behavior, this is the love and fear that G-d desires, meaning a love and fear that create positive thoughts, speech, and actions.

So the main thing is not vanquishing the Yetzer Hara in the heart but subjugating the Yetzer Hara, so one will practically observe the Torah and Mitzvahs.

Furthermore, once one has created the love and fear then simply through self-control one can do what’s right – for again one has the mind-power to order one’s behavior – therefore one can always fulfill in thought, speech, and action G-d’s wishes.

So this is the meaning of the verse: It is easy to achieve a love that will bring about action.


An Exception

Gaining control over one’s speech and actions


Through one’s thoughts, a person can thus control their speech and actions.

However, this does not apply to a true Rasha, for a true Rasha does not have the ability to influence his heart at all; and the G-dliness is in exile in the Sitra Achra in him, and the only way he can begin to have self-control is through first repenting.

The reason for this is, that through repentance the G-dliness is released from its prison – bound in the Sitra Achra… – and thus can now assist him in controlling himself in the future.

When one is remorseful over the fact that their sins caused G-d, enclothed in their G-dly soul, to be lowered into excrement – the three unholy Kelipos – this remorse breaks the hold of the Kelipahs thus releasing the G-dly soul which then assists the individual.


Chapter 18

From chapter 18 to 25 the author continues to explain how it is very easy to always be a good Jew.


The following five ideas are introduced / explained in this chapter:

  1. It is very easy
  2. Chochmah of Atzilus
  3. Every Jew Believes
  4. Self-Sacrifice for G-d is Not Intellectual
  5. The Reason


It is very easy

Understanding better the word “Me-od” – Very, that “it is VERY easy” for Jews to practice Judaism

Even someone who cannot create a love based on meditation on G-d’s greatness can have complete self-control over their thoughts, speech, and action and serve G-d completely as will be explained.


Chochmah of Atzilus

The gift of Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov

Because the Jewish people are the descendants of Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yakov, they merited that even the Soul of even the lowest Jew contains holiness stemming from Chochmah of Atzilus, that contains the pristine light of G-d.

[Sometimes the sinners in Israel actually draw down very high Souls that were trapped in Kelipah.]


Every Jew Believes

The standard belief in G-d that every Jew has

To believe one does not need to be a genius. Every single Jew has a complete belief in G-d which is why even the simplest Jew is ready to undergo severe torture and even death in order to remain a Jew.

This stems from an inherited belief that they receive via their Souls as descendants of Avraham, Yitzchok, and Yaakov who were great believers.

The verse states, “A Fool Believes Everything;”

And as we are all foolish compared to G-d, from the smartest Jew to the simplest, we are thus all believers in G-d.


Self-Sacrifice for G-d is Not Intellectual

Even the simplest Jew is ready to sacrifice their life for G-d


Even the simplest Jew is always ready to give up his or her life for G-d. We find that it is not due to a meditation in the value of Judaism (which they are usually completely unaware of) rather…


The Reason

The reason why even the simplest Jew is ready to sacrifice their lives for G-d

…The reason for this is that within them is a light of G-d coming from Chochmah that does not permit a Jew to consciously rebel and thus be separated from G-d.


Chapter 19

From chapter 18 to 25 the author continues to explain how it is very easy to always be a good Jew.


The following 8 ideas are introduced / explained in this chapter:

  1. A Flame’s Nature
  2. The Soul Flame
  3. Holiness
  4. A Trapped Flame
  5. Two parts to the flame
  6. A Dormant Flame
  7. From Pilot Light to Full Steam
  8. From Pilot Light to Full Steam 2

A Flame’s Nature

To understand this emotional supra-rational attachment to G-d, we need to preface what it means, “G-d’s candle is man’s Soul”

We find a unique characteristic in a flame, the flame is always ascending, all flames rise upward.

According to the Kabbalah they reflect a desire to go to the source of fire under the lunar sphere (this refers to the spiritual source for fire.)

In other words there is a source from where mystically speaking fire is created. The flame wants to go home, although within it’s home it will be completely nullified out of existence (as a flame within the sun for example ceases to be an independent entity and can only be referred to, as the singular entity of the sun) nevertheless this is its inherent nature to go home and be one with its source.

 (Perhaps a parable can be like a child who wants to be with their parents despite the fact that they have absolutely no say when they are with their parents; however this is their identity, so they are willing to forgo independence for their identity.)

The Soul Flame

The comparable nature in the Jews Soul


Within the Jew’s Soul there is a comparable nature to the flame, in that the Soul wishes to go back to its source in G-d and despite the fact it will be completely nullified out of existence there (for only G-d is realized there,) this is its nature.

This nature is not a logical act, rather it is its nature (nature refers to something that is not logical but a reality.)


The Soul desires to go back to Chochmah of Atzilus where it came from. 



The nature of holiness


The principle of holiness is everything that comes from Chochmah of Atzilus (at least originally) and thus it desires to go back to Chochmah of Atzilus and in a revealed state it is nullified (humbled) before G-d.


However the nature of the Kelipos and all that comes from the Kelipos is to feel oneself as an independent entity, and to only desire more and more and more (for oneself.)


A Trapped Flame

The state of the spark of holiness in a Jewish Rasha


In a Jewish Rasha, the state of the spark of G-d within Chochmah of Atzilus that is in his Soul is in a state of exile, chained by his wickedness, in a prison / body.

Thus this spark can truly be compared to a king thrown into a dungeon.


Two parts to the flame

The two states of where the Chochmah of Atzilus is, in a state of exile

The lower level of Chochmah of Atzilus does get imprisoned in the Kelipah (which then covers over the holiness and pretends that it is O.K. to sin…) however the higher level of Chochmah of Atzilus in the G-dly Soul remains in the brain and thus does not get imprisoned in Kelipah.

A Dormant Flame

The state of Chochmah of Atzilus in the G-dly Soul in a Rasha


However the Chochmah of Atzilus which is within the G-dly Soul of the Rasha is as if it is sleeping (it is dormant) and thus it cannot effect their thinking (as explained at length previously).


From Pilot Light to Full Steam

The awaking of the Chochmah of Atzilus in the G-dly Soul of the Benoini

If however this same Rasha who is completely involved in narcissistic pleasure is challenged (“kiss the cross, or the sword…”) his G-dly Soul awakens (the fear that he will be separated from his source awakens him) and it inspires him to be a Jew.

From Pilot Light to Full Steam 2

The effect of the awakening of the G-dly Soul within the Rasha


Despite the fact that the Rasha does not have control over his heart and thus his actions, however when the G-dly Soul awakens and inspires him, he is even ready to give up his life to serve G-d.

All the previous pleasures of the world are like nothing to him and he willingly gives up his life to remain united with G-d.


From Pilot Light to Full Steam 2

The extent to which the G-dly Soul’s arousal effects the Rasha


The Rasha challenged with remaining Jewish (“the cross or the sword”), not only is inspired to choose death but even refuses to merely pretend for a very short period of time to embrace a foreign faith (as was the case when the murderous crusaders came sweeping across European towns on their way to Israel, offering the innocent Jews an immediate choice to literally kiss the cross or die, the heroic Jews all chose death, despite the fact they could have temporally kissed the cross, and then the crusaders would have passed through their towns and left the Jews completely unscathed, and the Jews could have returned back to their Jewish ways.) So the G-dly Soul’s energy when awakened, is enough not only to encourage the Jew to remain Jewish, but to not even momentarily pretend even in a superficial and false manner that he is not a Jew.

Such is the love felt for G-d.

(When the Nazis were creating lists of all Jewish people in France they came to the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s apartment and asking what religion they belonged to, the Rebbetzin cleverly replied Orthodox (which could also be understood as Russian Orthodox.)

 The Lubavitcher Rebbe went to the Nazi’s Yimach Shemam’s office to register as an Orthodox Jew.

So the Rebbe not wanting to be separate from G-d for even a moment went back (to what could have been a suicide mission) and reregistered as an Orthodox Jew.)


In other words, this chapter teaches us that there is a hidden love for G-d in every Jewish soul as an inheritance from the forefather’s great love for G-d.

Yet this love is not strong enough to overpower the Yezter Hara’s drive for pleasures of this world which is why in fact a Jew may sin.

However when it comes to issues of faith (i.e. conversion G-d forbid) this soul / love awakens, and so completely dominates a Jew’s life, that he is even prepared to sacrifice his life for the love he feels for G-d.

Chapter 20

From chapter 18 to 25 the author continues to explain how it is very easy to always be a good Jew.


The following 3 ideas are introduced / explained in this chapter:

  1. The Foundation of Judaism
  2. G-d remains One
  3. Insignificance

The Foundation of Judaism

The foundation of Judaism

It is well known that the first two Mitzvahs of the Torah are the foundation of Judaism.

The first of the Ten Commandments is to believe in one G-d (preventing the belief in idols or other faiths.)

The second is not to worship idols (or other faiths.)

We know that the first Mitzvah represents all of the “Do” Mitzvahs (the 248 “Do” Mitzvahs,) and the second Mitzvah represent the “Don’t Do” Mitzvahs (the 365 prohibition Mitzvahs.)


G-d remains One

The explanation of the above


In order to understand the above, we need to preface the idea that although G-d created a world (a universe) and in fact created four spiritual worlds that precede this physical universe, nevertheless there has not been a single difference in G-d before and after G-d created the world.

So G-d remains completely as He is without the slightest change in Him whatsoever, the reason for this is that all of reality that we know, came about through one sentence uttered by G-d (and just as when you utter one sentence, this does not change who you are before or after you uttered the sentence, for relative to everything you have ever said and will say… relative to everything you have thought and will think that sentence practically doesn’t exist.

The first sentence of the Torah “In the beginning G-d created Heaven and earth” is the sentence that gave rise to all spiritual and physical worlds (Heaven and Earth;) furthermore scientifically this is obvious, for everything is made up of time, space and the matter and souls within it.

Our Sages state, that G-d first created the building blocks of creation, then reshaped it into the seas, oceans, man etc. on the subsequent days of creation.

So everything that we call reality is really only one single sentence of G-d’s infinite ability to create universes, realities etc.)



Thoughts and their Source


The source of the “speech of thought” (the letters of thought) comes from the Chabad in one’s brain, the Chochmah, Binah Daas.

 Chochmah, Binah, Daas is the stage prior to the actual creation of the actual thought.


So relative to the ability to create thoughts, one sentence pales totally in comparison to it.


Chapter 21

From chapter 18 to 25 the author continues to explain how it is very easy to always be a good Jew.

The following 4 ideas are introduced / explained in this chapter:

  1. G-ds Speech
  2. G-d’s speech 2
  3. It’s all relative
  4. G-d is not separate from His Universe


G-ds Speech

G-d speaks the world into existence

When we speak about G-d’s speech we shouldn’t mistakenly think that it is like human speech.

Human speech differentiates between the words being said and the power of thought that conveys these words.

They are two separate abilities, one lower than the other.

The reason we use speech – “that G-d created the world though speech” – is because speech connotes expressing an idea.

An idea itself need not be expressed to be beneficial to the thinker yet to a recipient it must be articulated, expressed, and thus revealed to him.


G-d speech 2

G-d’s speech doesn’t leave him

G-d’s speech – meaning, even after He spoke the ten sayings which create the world – is still within Him; sort of like a person who conveys a desire – “pass me some chocolate” – when those words are still within his own thoughts, and furthermore as those words are concealed within the desire for the chocolate before it has even taken on letters of thought – which then become letters of speech.

It’s all relative

It’s relative

So relative to G-d… the world that He speaks into being [see Shaar Hayichud Va-haemuna for more on this] is Him.

It doesn’t exist outside of Him.

It is only relative to us recipients, whom are not capable of seeing G-d – that need His speech to cause the chain of descent [Tzimtzumim] that allow for G-d’s desire to create a world where we exist.

However in G-d’s perspective, nothing exists outside of Him.

G-d is not separate from His Universe

The parable from the snail

The snail is not a snail without its shell.

Whenever we think of a snail we think of it with its shell. This is not the case with a person. We do not think of a person with his house, rather we think of the person.

Although the snail lives in his shell, but because his shell is actually a part of him, we consider it to be part of the snail itself.

Similarly G-d creating the world are two sides of the same coin.

Although to us we only see the world, however G-d’s creation of the world emanated from within him.

(It is like we are all living in G-d’s brain.)

This being the case, the snail always is aware of its shell, and its shell is not something that is separate from it, similarly G-d is constantly aware of the entire universe (down to the fungus or moss growing on a rock or tree) and G-d is not separate from it.

However this is G-d’s perspective (which obviously is the true one).

In our perspective, because we do not see G-d, we see a foreign reality, a universe devoid of G-d.

Chapter 22

From chapter 18 to 25 the author continues to explain how it is very easy to always be a good Jew.


The following 2 ideas are introduced / explained in this chapter:

  1. G-d and Evil
  2. Why Evil Is Not Nullified To G-d


G-d and Evil

Understanding how G-d gives life to the Kelipos and Sitra Achra

Just like in human speech, the purpose is to convey something to someone else, similarly in the creation of the world, the terminology, “G-d spoke the world into being” is used because G-d’s “speech” gives life to everything.

The difference between the life that G-d gives to those things that are humble before G-d – those things from the side of Kedushah, versus the life that G-d gives to the Kelipah and Sitra Achra which is repugnant and the antitheses to G-d and goodness, is, that just as if someone were to give something to a friend they would do so in a manner of giving, in a manner of kindness, in a manner of love, in a manner of joy, in a manner of happiness, similarly, G-d gives to that which is humble before Him and good – in such a manner.

However to the Kelipos and Sitra Achra G-d gives them life in a manner that one would give to an enemy (for example, that the court ordered one to give to); it would be in Talmudic terminology “thrown over the shoulder” one would not want to look at his enemy’s face, rather he would throw it over his shoulder, and in this way get the undesired task over and done with (like writing a letter and sticking it under the door not desiring to see the evil face of the bad person).

Another example to help understand this is from a business man who works to provide for his family, so the ultimate purpose of his business is for his family at home; however he often travels to distant lands and buys and sells products there, all for the benefit of his home.

He sees the journeys to the distant lands as a hassle, and he is not very comfortable there either; however in order to provide for his family he makes the journey… all the time his true love is not in the distant land but right back at home.

In a similar sense the ultimate reason why G-d created Kelipos and Sitra Achra is in order for the Tzaddikim to subdue them so G-d can reward the Tzaddikim for this amazing effort and service.

This is like the journey to the distant land which is not the person’s desire at all, but a necessary prerequisite for the resultant ability to provide lavishly for his family.

Why Evil Is Not Nullified To G-d

The reason why Kelipah is arrogant

True life is that which is attached to G-d, the source of all life. This only comes to that which G-d desires to give life to, which is the side of Kedushah whom are as we explained completely nullified and humbled before G-d.

However to the Kelipah, the life force sort of hovers above it and only a tiny portion of G-d’s light enters it, which is why they arrogantly feel only themselves and consider themselves to be an independent entity separate from G-d, even to the extant sometimes believing they have created themselves. (As Pharaoh claimed that he created the Nile river and often arrogant Kings claimed to be God.

Perhaps a modern example of the difference of this energy can be from a battery which as it gets on its last leg gives off very little juice, so it is enough juice for something to pretend to be alive and moving, however shortly the thing will die and cease to function.

Similarly the Kelipos receive enough life to imagine themselves alive eternally, however with the speedily arrival of Moshiach they will disintegrate, like the death that occurs to their battery, which then ceases to give off any life or energy at all, and only that which remains attached to G-d will remain.)


Chapter 23

From chapter 18 to 25 the author continues to explain how it is very easy to always be a good Jew.


The following 12 ideas are introduced / explained in this chapter:

  1. Mitzvah Power
  2. Mitzvah Power 2
  3. You & Mitzvos
  4. Hand Mitzvos
  5. Action Speech and Thought Mitzvos
  6. G-d’s Car
  7. The greater Unity of Thought and Speech
  8. Torah Study
  9. Torah Study Supersedes Prayer
  10. Why We Pray Daily
  11. Meditation / Reverence For Torah Study
  12. Study Torah


Mitzvah Power

Understanding that which the Zohar states that the Torah (and the Mitzvahs therein) is one with G-d

The Torah and the Mitzvahs (as discussed previously) is G-d’s pure will.

Will comes from a person’s desire and desire comes from that which will give a person delight / pleasure.

An amazing thing is now taught about the power of a Mitzvah in this physical world.

Because this is what gives G-d pleasure, the life-force of Kedushah / holiness all depends on Jewish people doing Mitzvahs in this physical world.

When a Jew does a Mitzvah in this physical world, he or she gives life not only to themselves, not only to this world – but also to the spiritual worlds, for a Mitzvah brings out a reciprocal amount of delight, energy, and light from G-d which not only infuses the Jew performing the Mitzvah and this world, but also it gives light to every single creature (be it angels or Souls) in Heaven; from the highest of spiritual worlds to the lowest of spiritual worlds.

(Perhaps the example may be given that a Mitzvah is like a long rope which is attached to G-d above and when the Jew does the Mitzvah the rope then is pulled downwards and thus G-dliness is extended right throughout all the spiritual worlds straight down to the Jew performing Mitzvahs – thus G-dliness permeates both the Jew as well as all the spiritual worlds.

(We know that the Baal Shem Tov did a great Mitzvah on his Bar Mitzvah which revealed a great light in all the spiritual worlds and Elijah the Prophet offered great scholarly teachings to him if he would only tell him what the Mitzvah was which gave G-d so much joy – and thus so much light permeated the Heavens – however the Besh”t replied that, that which he did was between him and G-d.))

Mitzvah Power 2

Understanding how the Mitzvahs are the vessel that contain G-d’s desire

The Mitzvahs are G-d’s will and desire. Just like the body is the vessel that contains (through implementation of) the desire of the Soul, for we see that as soon as someone wants to move their hand or foot, the movement happens instantaneously – without any delay – similarly the Mitzvahs immediately and inevitably draw down G-d’s desire.


You & Mitzvos

Which part of the Mitzvah is the vessel that draws down G-dliness?

The life force and the energy contained in a Mitzvah is the vessel that immediately draws down G-dliness into it.


Hand Mitzvos

The vessel of the hand

When the hand gives Tzedakah, then at that time the hand is the vessel for G-d’s will.

Action Speech and Thought Mitzvos

The vessels of the feet, the mouth, speech, and mind

When a person walks or goes to do a Mitzvah then their feet become the vessel for G-d’s will at that time.

When a person speaks words of Torah, then his mouth and tongue become a vessel for G-d’s will at that time.

And when a person thinks Torah or about G-d’s greatness, then the person’s mind becomes a vessel for G-d at that time.


G-d’s Car

The explanation of what it means that our forefathers Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov were G-d’s vehicle

(Just like your car does only what you want (it cannot choose where to drive to, rather you drive it to where you want it to go;) The bodies of our forefathers Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov were completely humble and subservient to G-d’s will, doing only that which G-d wanted, so they became so to speak G-d’s vehicle.


The greater Unity of Thought and Speech

The greater unity of thought and speech in G-d’s Torah and Mitzvos

There is a differentiation between the physical body which is a vehicle (and a vehicle, though doing what the driver wants, nevertheless remains a separate entity from the driver) and the G-dly Soul’s thinking about or verbally studying the Torah and Mitzvos (such as the Halachos (the specific laws in Shulchan Aruch each representing a strand of G-d’s inner desire.)

As these (thought and speech) are called inner garments of the G-dly Soul (in contradistinction to action, which is an outer garment) so they and the G-dly Soul itself are united in an absolute union with G-d’s Torah at the time of study, and are thus one with G-d Himself, as G-d is one with his Torah.

Torah Study

Understanding the greatness of Torah study

So when a Jew studies Torah, although he or she may not be aware of it, their G-dly Soul and its garments of thought and speech are now completely united with G-d himself.

And this energy gives energy and light to all the spiritual worlds.

And there is a fundamental difference between the light that the spiritual worlds get and the unity that the G-dly Soul gets.

The G-dly Soul studying Torah has an absolute unity with G-d, however in Heaven there is merely a great effulgence of light.

If all the light were to be revealed, then Heaven would get “burned” into oblivion from the greatness.

And this is why the study of Torah on this world is actually so great, because on this world we do not see in a physical sense the union that is taking place between our G-dly Soul and G-d, thus this union can in fact take place.

(In contradistinction to the Heavenly realms where spirituality is visible, thus this unity cannot happen – for if it would the intensity of the G-dly light would obliterate everything else (like the sun’s heat melting everything near it, and it then ceases to exist.)

Torah Study Supersedes Prayer

Understanding the greatness of Torah study over Davening (prayer)

We know that prayer combines G-dliness with parts of the spiritual worlds.

In this sense it may appear that prayer is superior to Torah study for then G-dliness is unified on high, however based on what we just studied (that in fact there is a far greater union when we unite G-d with our G-dly Soul down here, for then the union is absolute and not a radiation of energy at best) we understand that in fact the study of Torah far exceeds the unity that is created through prayer.

Why We Pray Daily

Understanding why someone who does not study Torah all day should stop to pray.

Although all scholars pray, nevertheless if a scholar is completely involved in Torah study, he does not need to stop for prayer as they are involved in such a great Mitzvah of Torah study, which as we have just mentioned, is greater than prayer.

The question should then be asked if this is the case why should anyone pray? The answer is that because they are in any event not studying Torah then, they should at least achieve the tremendous achievements of prayer.


A meditation on the greatness of Torah study

A thinking person can now understand the greatness of Torah study, for G-d – before whom all the worlds, the physical and the spiritual, are not even like a speck of dust (as explained previously) – is united completely with his G-dly Soul when a Jew studies Torah, both in thought and in speech.


Reverence For Torah Study

Understanding what the Torah means by saying that G-d “gave all these Chukim / laws to fear him”

When a person has the previous meditation, he or she realizes that all the laws of the Torah create a tremendous awe and reverence, for it is precisely through them that a person becomes completely unified with G-d.

[In other words imagine that an act would make you one with G-d – this is Torah study.]


Study Torah

The main thing is the Torah Study (for the right reasons of course)

Even someone who does not arouse a special awe and reverence for Torah study through this meditation, nevertheless fulfils the Mitzvah (to study Torah) one hundred percent, as the main thing is the actual study of the Torah as explained previously; (and the purpose of awe and fear is to achieve the actual Mitzvah, which in this case is the actual Torah study.)

Chapter 24

From chapter 18 to 25 the author continues to explain how it is very easy to always be a good Jew.


The following 7 ideas are introduced / explained in this chapter:

  1. Severing One’s Connection
  2. Man Debasing Himself
  3. Evil On Earth
  4. Mistaken Premise
  5. Sinning = Stupidity
  6. “Auras”
  7. Sin but Don’t Die

Severing Ones Connection

What happens if one (Chas Vshalom) prohibits one of the 365 “Don’t Do” Mitzvahs

In contradistinction to the 248 “Do” Mitzvahs are the 365 “Don’t Do” Mitzvahs; Now just as the action of the fulfillment of the 248 Mitzvahs unites one with G-d, violating any of the 365 prohibitions (Chas Vshalom) severs one from G-d.

Man Debasing Himself

The debasement of man by doing one of the 365 prohibitions

Although we have said before that Kelipos call themselves G-d (like Pharaoh did) this is only when the Kelipos operate in a human body – as the Soul of the human.

However when the Kelipah is in Heaven, the Kelipah is cognizant of the fact that it is getting energy from the hind part of G-dliness.

Thus when Billam – who was very much part of the Kelipah world (Billam was a Gentile prophet in the Bible,) – he nonetheless said “I cannot disobey G-d’s will,” knowing that ultimately the source of his life was from G-d. This is why when a human does any of the 365 prohibitions he is in fact at the lowest level of Kelipah – and attaches oneself to the lowest level of Kelipah then – for even the higher levels of Kelipah (the spiritual forces prior to entering into the human world) do not willingly disobey G-d at all.


The extension of the above principle

Unfortunately a Jew who violates one the 365 prohibitions is in fact lower than the Kelipah from which he is drawing energy from, for the Kelipah as mentioned acknowledges (at least in its source, G-d,) while the person who engages in one of the 365 prohibitions is completely denying his source; (for if he or she would acknowledge G-d as their source and life-force, then they would certainly not go against him, much as an employee would not go against their boss.)

Evil On Earth

Why evil has flourished on earth

This is why the evil in this world is at its lowest point (for evil in this world denies G-d completely, which allows all types of heinous crimes, denying any retribution (which of-course will come ‘round,’ as the saying goes “what goes around comes around” (and we only need to look at those civilizations, that harmed the Jewish people to see the truth in this statement, for Rome, Babylonia and a host of others including the third reich, were completely obliterated and their civilization and their cultures have disappeared (a civilization consists of its belief system being upheld in an independent country) while those cultures in the east, that have not molested the Jewish people have largely remained intact (another good example is Communist Russia.

Rabbi Sholom Dovber the fifth Lubavitcher Rebbe told his son that as the communist were persecuting Jews, therefore the communist culture would not survive and we have all witnessed its miraculous demise (without a brutal war which was the source of all the previous regimes collapsing – which is a sign that the Messianic times are around the corner (as in the Messianic era, there will be worldwide peace).

Mistaken Premise

A person does not sin unless he is thinking foolishly

Even a woman of loose values would not commit adultery if she would only think that as she is prepared to give up her life for G-d, so why should she commit an act which would separate her from G-d.

Furthermore the lack of understanding that any of the 365 prohibitions sunders one’s connection to G-d is also “thinking” foolishly.

Sinning = Stupidity

Why sinning is more foolish than the lowest animal

This foolish behavior is really a great stupidity, for a person who goes against G-d’s will is even lower then a mosquito. (The mosquito is the lowest form of Kelipah on earth, for it takes and does not give, as opposed to other creatures that form an integral part of the food chain.)

The reason why a person who goes against G-d is lower then a mosquito is because even mosquitoes only act according to their instincts, which have been given to them by G-d.

Furthermore there is a spiritual “Soul” of the mosquito that actually causes every single thing it does which is exactly according to G-d’s will; for the spiritual “Soul” of the mosquito effects the instinctual side of the mosquito on earth and thus even the mosquitoes which are the lowest form of Kelipah, do not really go against G-d’s will.

(One Sage clarified how every creature does G-d’s will. He said, “I saw how a scorpion climbed on the back of a frog to cross a stream wherein he bit someone on the other side, and then hitched a ride back on the same frog!”

The fact that the scorpion went to do a specific mission indicates its fulfillment of a higher mission.)



“Your aura will cause fear to all animals”

Our Sages teach that an animal will never harm man (and we do see that all animals are naturally afraid of men) unless the animal does not perceive a man but an animal.

(There must be some kind of aura that if we behave correctly induces this fear upon the animal.)


The effect of a G-dly man on a wild animal

We all know the true story of how when Daniel (an adviser to King Nevuchadnetzar) was thrown into the pit with lions (that were starved and they would normally immediately gobble up the unlucky prisoner), the lions were like pussycats (sitting tamely at his feet).

(Similarly there are many stories of lions acting like tame pussycats for great Tzaddikim. This is because the Tzaddikim carry a G-dly light and the animals are completely nullified and tame upon perceiving this light (we know that animals are able to see and hear wavelengths that humans cannot.)


Sin but Don’t Die

Why one should commit a sin under threat of death

Our Sages teach us that besides for the three sins of Murder, adultery, and idol worship, a person threatened with death should rather commit the sin then die.

(In fact they must commit the sin according to Jewish law – unless the purpose of forcing the Jew was because it was a Jewish act and then even for a minor Jewish custom like Jewish garb, a Jew may give up his or her life for G-d.

Unfortunately this was an all too common occurrence with our people.)

The question may be asked, if every sin severs a person from G-d, shouldn’t a Jew give up his or her life instead of committing any sin?

The answer is that our Sages teach that it is preferable to break one Shabbos, so a person can keep many Shabboses in the future.

However if the sin that a person does (not when they are under threat, but voluntarily) is a sin that does not cause a complete separation, then such minor sins allow the person to return to G-d after committing them.


Chapter 25

From chapter 18 to 25 the author continues to explain how it is very easy to always be a good Jew.


The following 9 ideas are introduced / explained in this chapter:

  1. It’s Easy
  2. Dedicating Your Heart
  3. Home Sweet Home
  4. The Divine Soul’s Arousal
  5. Beating The Devil
  6. Eternal Union
  7. Repentance Works
  8. You Can Always Repent
  9. Forgiveness vs. Treachery


It’s Easy

The explanation that it is very easy (“near” to you) to always be a Jew

And now we understand the meaning that it is very easy to be a Jew (for according to everything that we have learnt it does not take too much to understand how wise it is to act Jewishly through the performance of the 248 positive commandments and refraining from the 365 prohibitions).


Dedicating Your Heart

The explanation of the word “your heart” that “it is very easy to be a Jew … in your heart…”

Previously the author asked the question that it seems to be actually difficult (to be a Jew in your heart) for what goes on in one’s heart is not a simple matter nor under one’s control (unless one is a Tzaddik as explained previously.)

However when we are referring to generating enough love or fear / awe of G-d in order to not transgress any of the 365 prohibitions, then according to all that we have just studied, it is in fact very easy to acquire this love and fear / awe.

For when we realize that we do not want to be torn asunder from G-d, and we would even be prepared to give our very life for G-d, thus is it not so much easier to not fulfill a specific desire?… (say for non-Kosher food…) So by realizing / meditating that, “If I am prepared to give my life for G-d, I can certainly give up a transitory pleasure for G-d,” – through this one can truly achieve the necessary heart-commitment to G-d.

Home Sweet Home

Teshuvah – Repentance

For any sin a person can repent.

Although the Talmud teaches us that someone who declares “I will sin and then I will repent” is not assisted in his repentance, this does not mean that he cannot repent, rather it means that whenever someone chooses to do a good thing G-d helps him along the way by making a clear path for his positive journey.

However for this person who initially decided to use repentance as a trick, this pathway is not set up for him, however he too can certainly repent.

The story is told about Acher – Elishah Ben Avuha – who was one of the great scholars of Israel and he left Judaism and he heard a Heavenly voice declare that, “All can repent besides from Acher.”

Acher then left Judaism completely.

However unfortunately Acher did not understand that everyone, including himself could repent; it is only that the pathway to achieve repentance would not have been easy (as it always is,) however with perseverance even he would have been able to repent completely and reinstate his close bond with G-d as before.

The Divine Soul’s Arousal

The timelessness of the Divine Soul

Every Jew is constantly ready at any moment to give up his or her life for G-d, for the Divine light rests in his Soul.

This light is higher than time and thus affects time.

So if someone is challenged, [for example, “the cross or the sword…”] then their Jewish identity which is timeless surfaces; and affects how they behave in this physical world which is bound by time and space.

Beating The Devil

The strength against the Yetzer Hara

As every Jew is constantly ready to give up his or her life for G-d, thus it is very easy to combat the Yetzer Hara that makes one sluggish and lazy to not study Torah or pray with Kavanah / concentration.

The same applies to the indifference that the Yetzer Hara gives man so he should not give charity properly; when man thinks that he would even be willing to accept death (chas vshalom) rather than give up his Jewish identity, then how much infinitely more should be done to develop a deep and close union with G-d (like when he or she does a Mitzvah – for then there is no separation between him and G-d – thus this union is exceptionally close then, so therefore) one should certainly do the right thing.

Eternal Union

The eternity of man’s union with G-d

When we unify with G-d, this union becomes an eternal union.

The reason for this is that G-d is higher than time, so that which unifies with G-d, remains eternal.

So every Mitzvah we do becomes an eternally unified connection / attachment with G-d.


A further point of the eternity of the Mitzvah in Heaven

Only on earth is this Mitzvah bound to time which is why a person on earth can be good at one time and then afterwards be bad.


Repentance Works

What to do if you do something wrong

When someone does something wrong, then they can immediately repent; and then they are back in the “good books” so to speak.

(Repentance consists of remorse, resolution to be good in the future, and a verbal declaration (apology) of the sin to G-d.

However the main point of repentance is one’s future behavior.)


You Can Always Repent

The repentance for wasting time and not studying Torah

This is why three times a day in the Shmoina Esrie (a prayer said thrice daily by praying Jews) we ask for G-d’s forgiveness, this request for forgiveness is for wasting time / not using that time to study Torah.

One could wonder why are we constantly asking G-d for forgiveness…? But as the saying goes “to err is human, to forgive is Divine.” (Translator: I quoted the statement as an explanation of the author’s intent.)


Forgiveness vs. Treachery

Why the constant prayer for forgiveness is not consider as if one is relying on forgiveness

We mentioned before, if someone says, “I will sin and then I will repent, he is not assisted in his repentance.”

It would seem that this constant failure to live up to G-d’s standers of always studying Torah (in spare time) would constitute a person who is effectively always relying on G-d’s forgiveness.

However this is not the case, for the person who says, “I will sin and then I will repent,” (in this way trying to get the best of both worlds,) is sinning precisely because he can repent; while the person who inadvertently sins or sins out of laziness is not sinning and relying on the “repentance factor” (rather out of laziness, lust etc.) and thus G-d accepts his repentance each and every time he requests it.

Now we will understand why Moshe Rabeinu instituted that the Jewish people should say the Shema in the morning and at night. (The fundamental theme of the Shema is that one is prepared to give up one’s life (as millions of Jews actually did saying these words.) [This should be meditated on when saying Hashem Echad.]

Now as G-d had promised the Jewish people entering into Israel that all the inhabitants would fear them (which actually happened) so why did they need to remind themselves that they were prepared to give up their lives for G-d, if this challenge would not even face them.

Furthermore Moshe was talking specifically to the Jewish people going into Israel whom would not be faced with this problem.

However according to everything we learned this becomes abundantly clear, for the very practice of Judaism is dependent on this constant reminder that we are prepared to give up our lives at any moment for G-d; this is necessary in order for us to be prepared to always unify with G-d through doing the “Do” Mitzvahs, and remain united with G-d through not severing our relationship through doing Avieros (any of the 365 “Don’t Do” Mitzvahs mentioned in the Torah.)

Chapter 26

How to deal with sadness (Chapters 26,27,28)


The following 6 ideas are introduced / explained in this chapter:

  1. Be Happy
  2. Sadness is Un-Jewish
  3. How to be happy in the face of physical suffering
  4. Where Guilt Comes From
  5. Beating Bad Guilt
  6. Remorse Needs a Dedicated Time


Be Happy

The Yetzer Hara vs. Yetzer Tov boxing match

Just like in a wrestling or a boxing match a person who is lazy or feeling sluggish will lose to the more alert energetic person, even if the other person is weaker than them – so too in the battle against the Yetzer Hara; Being alert which comes from being happy is fundamental to being able to conquer the Yetzer Hara.

It is impossible to beat the battle with the Yetzer Hara if a person is feeling lazy and sluggish (which stems from sadness and a feeling of dullness / heaviness in the heart.)

A person can only beat the Yetzer Hara if they are feeling alert, (which comes from joy and an open / happy heart, and a heart which is free from all worries or sadness, whatever the cause may be.)

Sadness is Un-Jewish

The joy factor

As for the verse that “there is a benefit in sadness” this does not mean that sadness is a benefit but that there is a benefit to sadness.

It works like this, if a person is arrogant they cannot be happy for then their heart is alone and they are not unified with G-d; however if a person breaks their arrogance through telling themselves that they are bad and arrogant, then after they have become depressed and sad, they should remind themselves that G-d loves them and thereby bring joy to themselves.

Now that they broke the Kelipos within themselves they can truly be joyous for previously the Kelipos were dividing and separating them from G-d.

This current joy is thus “the benefit” of the sadness.

In other words the benefit is not in the sadness but in the subsequent joy that follows the sadness.

This is why the holy Ari taught that after a time of sadness (such as in a sad part of prayer) one should infuse oneself with joy, for a. the joy following the sadness allows one to serve G-d joyfully and b. in fact is a far greater level of joy then normal joy.

This is similar to the homily by the wisest of all men King Solomon who said, “I have seen that light is better than darkness.”

Now this observation is pretty obvious, but what King Solomon is really teaching is that it is only the man who has been subjected to darkness who can truly appreciate – and thus rejoices in – light.

Similarly, the joy that comes after sadness is a far greater form of joy; (and perhaps a more permanent one as well.)

The Holy Ari explains that the emphasis of the verse that tells the Jewish people to be happy Jews, to “Serve G-d joyfully,” is not on the service of G-d but on the joy that accompanies the service to G-d.

(This underscores a central tenet of Chasidic philosophy (and the main point the author is bringing forth currently) that joy must be a constant presence in the Jew’s life, and this is a fundamental principle in the life of a Jew.

(This is in contradistinction to other Jewish philosophies that often used fear of damnation as a means of trying to bring man closer to G-d.)

* * *

How to be happy in the face of physical suffering

A Hidden Good

How can man be constantly happy, particularly in the face of physical hardship such as financial pressure or a sick child (Chas Vshalom,) or even one’s own ailing health or physical pain?

(Firstly I must write (this is the translator writing…NOTE – This was written Before COVD) that much of what ails us today is not as bad as the ailments of yesteryear.

The financial pressures of today are largely self-imposed. There is no need for BMW’s and taking out a second mortgage to make the kitchen more modern; furthermore many of the diseases that would cause endless grief to people, and to parents, have been eradicated or are easily preventable; (in the olden days children would often Nebach die young;) and even if one is ill G-d-forbid or in pain, many modern medicines and pain killers have helped ease the suffering.

This is not to say that there is no genuine suffering; illnesses such as cancer still ravage human bodies, often there is financial pressure just to keep the basic of lifestyles going, with sometimes both husband and wife working hard, and sometimes G-d forbid a child is genuinely ill in a life threatening situation, so we will speak about these genuine problems later….

For now I want to focus on the saying of our Sages that “who is rich? Someone who is happy with what they have.”

I was very impressed watching a program regarding a British lady who married a poor black man from Zanzibar.

Their lifestyle is pretty much third world (tiny house, no running water, bread, just a basic staple etc.) however she correctly said that “There are problems everywhere…” so while often the water and the power don’t work, nevertheless there are other problems elsewhere (such as crime, congestion, loneliness) which is not a problem in her part of Zanzibar.

Here is a woman who instead of feeling sorry for herself, was happy with the good that she had in her life.

Let us compare her with the daughter of a billionaire banker who went on a summer trip with my cousin, a Rabbi from a South American country. This girl went with her friends to the largest toy store in the U.S. All the children were having a grand old time buying the latest and coolest toys while this girl was sad and sat alone in a little aisle. My cousin asked her “what is the problem?” “I have all these toys already?” she said. So the child, not being able to appreciate the gift of what she had, could only feel sad.

So before we speak about how to be happy in the face of genuine problems, we need to speak about how to be happy in the face of genuine blessings.

Why is it that one person is happy with a little, and another is sad with everything?

The classic story is of Jacob and Esau who met, both being exceptionally wealthy, and when Jacob offered a large gift to his brother Esau, his brother said, “You keep it for I have a lot.” Jacob said, “No you take it, for I have everything.”

The fundamental difference between these two approaches, is gratitude – Jacob was grateful for what he had, thus he felt he had everything he needed (for this reason he could also share what he had with others;) on the other hand Esau, who was being magnanimous believed that he could always have more! which is why he said “I have a lot” but there is never really enough.

I recall reading an interview with Ted Turner who was complaining that he couldn’t buy things with his money for “after two hundred million, which could purchase five houses, and an airplane, what else is there to buy?!” He has the Esau problem.)

Now getting back to the author’s advice – when there is a genuine shortage of money or illness G-d forbid, a person should remember that everything that G-d does (which is everything) G-d does for the best.

However there are two worlds (in Heaven) that emanate all that happens below. (In fact the Sages teach that a button doesn’t fall off one’s shirt without it being preordained in Heaven; so every joy and every stress is directly given from Heaven for a reason.)

We should not think that stress is a punishment, rather it comes from another world in Heaven which is the spiritual reward side.

For every stress in this world, a person (who accepts it joyfully as a gift from G-d) will receive untold fortunes in the next world.

This is very much like a bank account where one worked exceptionally hard to put money into the account however as the money is there it begins to accrue interest and slowly but surely with time, the person becomes fabulously wealthy.

The verse says that for “those who accept difficulties with joy, G-d loves them like the strength of the sun”.
What does this mean?
We know that when Moshiach comes G-d will unleash the full power of the sun (we are currently protected from its full power by a covering over the sun.)
This full strength will be the reward for people who accepted suffering joyfully, knowing that everything that G-d does is for the best.

In a Kabbalistic sense, everything comes from Heaven, but there is the “Hidden Heaven” and the “Revealed Heaven,” – the “Hidden Heaven” is represented by G-d’s first two letters of the name Yud – Hay, – Vav – Hay and the final two letters represent the “Revealed Heaven.”

The “Hidden Heaven” is where the source for everything spiritually good – which often does include suffering/ darkness in this world for “sunlight” in the next. (Perhaps this is why before people die there is often a period of suffering in order for them to enter Heaven with zero interruptions and conversely sometimes the wicked are paid-off in full measure in this world and they have no share in the next world.
This is what King Solomon said, “I have seen a reward which is a punishment.”
Sort of like someone getting a large severance pay after being fired, as the money was only in order to fire (get rid of) the person.)

However that which is revealed goodness, comes from the “Revealed Heaven,” the last two letters of G-d’s name.

(Translator: I recall my father writing to me during a difficult period that I went through, that from Heaven there comes kindness and strictness, and one should never expect only kindness, (again strictness is not punishment, rather it is a hidden good.
To expect only kindness would be like a student only expecting their teacher to do exactly what they want, which would lead to the student never learning anything at all.)

Incidentally this is also the nature of our prayers; we are not asking G-d to take away the benefit of the suffering, rather that he should show us revealed kindness instead.

The story is told of the third Lubavitcher Rebbe, the Tzemach Tzeddek who once showed a great deal of affection to a very simple man.
His son – later to become the fourth Lubavitcher Rebbe tried to find out if there was anything special about this man.
All his enquiries lead nowhere so finally he asked his father – the Rebbe – why he showed such special attention to this simple person.
The Rebbe replied that “this man has a very very hard life yet he never complains” and regarding such a man it states that “G-d loves them like the strength of the sun.”
So although the average person saw a simple man, the Rebbe saw the greatest man of all, for his acceptance of everything that G-d does is one of the greatest levels of holiness achievable, as it shows an absolute trust in G-d; One who has a complete trust in G-d like a child who has complete faith in their parents, lovingly accepts any rebuke without the slightest hint of resentment or anger, knowing that everything the parent does for them, is only for the child’s own benefit.

From everything that I have studied I have concluded that life on earth is about trusting that G-d knows what he is doing; this is like pilots who upon entering training school are told to trust the odometer; if the pilot feels that he is going up and the odometer say that he is going down, he must learn to ignore his own instincts and emotions in favor of the message from the odometer.

This trust will save the pilots life every time.

Similarly one must learn to trust that only G-d’s way will bring man happiness and everything that G-d does is part of his way.

Furthermore the Baal Shem Tov teaches that when we see the good in bad, G-d changes bad to good.)


Where Guilt Comes From

Conquering sadness emanating from worrying about one’s spiritual state (and recognizing the Yetzer Hara’s tactics)

When someone is doing something good, immediately the Yetzer Hara tries to “change the subject.”

A person should know that if while they are dong good they are feeling sadness over their spiritual state (meaning, feeling guilty over sins) this is simply a ploy by the Yetzer Hara to bring them down (and eventually cause them to sin.) The proof of this is, for if this was emanating from the Yetzer Tov it would certainly not be happening while someone is in the midst of doing a good thing.

(Translator: I have to say in my own life, the Yetzer Hara works on overdrive whenever I am involved in something good.
While I am eating or preparing for bed, I do not feel that what I am doing is wrong, however as soon as I start doing a good thing, the Yetzer Hara immediately tries to show me how I am wrong in this… or in some other thing which effectively is meant to divert my attention away from doing the good thing I am doing.
It has taken me years to become accustomed to the Yetzer Hara’s behavior / taunts which now allows me to usually just ignore it – for I know that he is simply a trouble-maker that needs to be ignored in order for me to carry on doing a good thing.)

Even if someone is in middle of their work day and suddenly they feel sad about their spiritual state (if their work is a positive thing such as providing for their family etc…) then this too is part of the Yetzer Hara’s tactics.
He is trying to make the individual sad and depressed and eventually get the person to sin; (in fact the Baal Shem Tov teaches, that “More than the Yetzer Hara wants man to sin, the Yetzer Hara wants man to feel guilty (and thus sad and depressed) over their sins”).


Beating Bad Guilt

How to respond to the thoughts of sadness over one’s spiritual state

Whether this thought of sadness regarding one’s spiritual state occurs to the person during Torah study or prayer, or even during their workday, one should tell themselves that “This is not the time to be sad.”
This applies even to severe sins that a person may have done and the Yetzer Hara is trying to get them to think about them, one should say that “now is not the time to think about it.”
(In this way the person can be happy and thus have the energy and alertness to fight off the Yetzer Hara in all other spheres.)


Remorse Needs a Dedicated Time

The appropriate time to feel remorseful over one’s sins


In truth one needs to make appropriate times to contemplate deeply about one’s sins and realize that one has sinned against the great King of Kings, G-d, and one needs to reflect upon who G-d is, for only in this way will one truly feel remorseful over their sin. (One doesn’t usually feel great remorse over squashing an insect, however by knowing G-d’s infinite greatness, one will feel remorse for the pain caused to G-d by their sin.
Perhaps this is similar to a child who understands his parent’s greatness and therefore feels more remorse over the pain they caused their parent, then a normal child that doesn’t care much about it.)

(The time for this contemplation the author describes elsewhere.)

Furthermore after one has felt sadness one can truly feel joyful (as we learnt previously, that one needs to contemplate that “G-d in His great mercy has forgiven me” and like we said, the joy after sadness is like the greatness of light after darkness.)


Chapter 27


The following 8 ideas are introduced / explained in this chapter:

  1. The Greatness Of Changing The Station in Your Head
  2. Keep Fighting
  3. Two G-dly Pleasures
  4. Iskafiyah
  5. Torah Scholar’s Iskafiyah
  6. Iskafiyah in the mouth and mind
  7. Be Special
  8. The End Result


The Greatness Of Changing The Station in Your Head

Dealing with sadness stemming from bad thoughts and desires.

If a person’s sadness stems not from sins that they committed rather from a sense of depression over negative desires that crop up in their mind coming from the animal Souls’ four negative foundations, then: if these thoughts are coming to him when he is in middle of his workday (or a housewife in middle of her work) in fact he or she should be thrilled that they are not delving into these fantasies, or negative thoughts, and desires.

This is truly a great Mitzvah (for as we say in Shema “one should not follow the fantasies of the heart and eyes.”) So in fact one has just united oneself in a very real way with G-d (by not contemplating negative fantasies), so instead of being depressed that one has received these desires one should be thrilled that they have fulfilled the Mitzvah of not fantasizing about (or trying to achieve) these bad desire.

Certainly this Mitzvah does not refer to Tzaddikim, for Tzaddikim never get a conscious desire for evil (as we explained before.)

This being the case a Benoini or average person who feels upset that they have fantasies or negative desires should realize that they are being arrogant in believing themselves to be like a Tzaddik who does not have such negative desires.

Furthermore a Benoini or anybody who pushes away these fantasies or negative desires creates the greatest delight that G-d has. For then they subdue the Kelipos and as the Zohar says, “When the Kelipos are subdued, the joy of G-d descends into all the worlds!”, (Heaven and earth as we explained before.) Furthermore it is precisely this that is the job of the Benoini to achieve all the time, and it is precisely this that gives G-d the greatest joy.


Keep Fighting

Why one should not allow this constant battle to tire him or her out

Thus one should not be crestfallen and not get depressed (Chas Vshalom) though they might be constantly fighting the Yetzer Hara in what seems like an endless struggle as they cannot vanquish the Yetzer Hara (as it is firmly lodged in their left ventricle) so it might seem like a viscous cycle, however perhaps this is the very reason why G-d created you, so you can subdue the Yetzer Hara constantly.

This is in fact another interpretation of the concept that G-d created wicked people.

This does not mean that anyone should be wicked G-d forbid, but that a fundamental aspect of creation is the wickedness and immoral tendencies which is naturally found in man, for the purpose is that man rise above this wickedness and become a good person constantly, by disregarding the urges of the Yetzer Hara and as mentioned before, this makes the Divine light go right through all the worlds, from Heaven down to earth.


Two G-dly Pleasures

The two kinds of pleasures that G-d receives. The pleasure from the work of Tzaddikim and the pleasure from the work of the Benoinim

The first pleasure is the pleasure that G-d receives from the work of the Tzaddikim whom change bitterness into sweetness and darkness into light. (Imagine going to a show where a magician changed a bitter radish into a sweet one and darkness into light, it would truly be a wondrous and delightful sight.)

The second pleasure is the pleasure that G-d gets from the service of the Benoinim who humble the Sitra Achra and Kelipos that rise up against G-d. (Wouldn’t it be great to see an evil arrogant man (say Hitler) fall)?


There are two kinds of pleasures for G-d similar to the pleasure from sweet foods and the pleasure from spicy foods

There is a delight from sweet foods. This is like the Tzaddikim who change bitterness into sweetness.

Then there is a second type of food that is enjoyable and that is a spicy food, (or spices that give a great taste to otherwise a bland piece of chicken.) This is similar to the work of the Benoinim who humble the Sitra Achra from arrogantly going against G-d. (The Benoini is like a bland food made tasty for he or she is the average person doing un-average (special) work.)



A new concept in Iskafiyah

(I would like to preface this with a little anecdote. When I was a child I once wanted food now. My mother was cooking and she was a little bit upset at my demand for food now, so she said, “Haven’t you ever heard of Iskafiyah?” Well now it’s your turn to learn about Iskafiyah J Iskafiyah literally means humbling. This refers to the humbling of the Yetzer Hara and the Kelipos by not giving them what they want (like any person feels humbled upon not receiving their demands.)

There is another form of Iskafiyah, (not only doing the right thing) but delaying one’s meal for the sake of Iskafiyah (to humble the Sitra Achra.

It should be noted that in our generation of plenty the Rebbe referred to Iskafiyah as not putting extra sugar on your already sugar friendly cornflakes.)


Torah Scholar’s Iskafiyah

The Iskafiyah of Torah Scholars

The Talmud tells that in the olden days everyone would eat breakfast four hours after sunrise, but the Torah scholars would eat it only six hours after sunrise.

This was in order to have Iskafiyah.


Iskafiyah in the mouth and mind

The Iskafiyah of the mouth and the Iskafiyah of the mind.

Similarly someone who really wants to say something (obviously not something wrong but something not good either) and withholds himself from saying it or someone who wants to think about something (obviously not something wrong but also not something good) and has Iskafiyah, not only does this Iskafiyah give G-d great pleasure (as mentioned about the tasty spicy food) but it also causes a great assistance from Heaven in man’s spiritual quest to unite with G-d.

Be Special

Being Holy

Often in the Torah it commands us to “be holy.” This concept of holiness does not mean to be a Tzaddik, for we cannot be a Tzaddik however we can crush the Sitra Achra and Kelipos by not giving into their demands and in this way the average person becomes holy (holy is unique.)


The End Result

“And you will become holy”

Through acting in this holy manner – not giving into the Sitra Achra and in fact depriving it and thereby causing G-d’s glory to descend on earth, eventually G-d will grant us that we truly become holy, banishing the Sitra Achra completely.

(It should be noted the famous statement of the Maggid of Mezritch that, “a small hole in the body is a large hole in the Soul.” So Iskafiyah only applies to delaying gratification not to matters that affect a person’s well-being, including that which gives a person sustenance; it applies only to matters that one is humbling the Sitra Achra, however one is not hurting oneself at all.)

Chapter 28

The following 6 ideas are introduced / explained in this chapter:

  1. Changing the Station
  2. Your Not A Kabbalist
  3. It Ain’t Personal
  4. Why Now
  5. Two Souls One Mind
  6. Dealing With Intrusions


Changing the Station

What to do if negative thoughts come into a person’s mind while studying Torah or Praying


Even if negative thoughts enter a person’s mind while studying Torah (lustful thoughts) the person should not entertain those thoughts (“like a welcome guest”…) rather should shift one’s concentration immediately away from them (as we can control what we think about.)

Your Not A Kabbalist

One should not Kabbalisticly elevate negative thoughts

One should not elevate the thoughts as is practiced by the Kabbalists (returning the thoughts to the comparative original source in Kedushah) for such things are only for Tzaddikim who do not receive negative thoughts of their own (as mentioned before) only from other people (in order to elevate them.)

Why a person should not elevate the thoughts

For if someone receives thoughts from the left ventricle (representing evil) within his heart, how can he elevate the thoughts if he himself is bound below (you can’t pull yourself up by your own hair….)

It Ain’t Personal

Why not to get depressed by these negative thoughts

A person should be sure to not get depressed by these negative thoughts, by realizing that these thoughts (are not from within themselves or their desire) rather from the Kelipah and Sitra Achra within them.

Why Now

Why the Kelipah is specifically implanting these negative thoughts now

It is know in the manner of wrestlers (or boxers) that when one is winning, the other tries harder (thus the Kelipah seeing that a Jew is bringing the Divine light into him, is afraid of losing the battle and is thus trying to distract the Jew’s service to G-d).

Expanding on why the Kelipah is particularly implanting these negative thoughts now

Therefore when the Kelipah and Sitra Achra see a person is succeeding in achieving his or her mission in life (meaning through Torah study or prayer) they strengthen themselves to implant distracting thoughts in the person’s mind. (As the Rebbe Rashab clarifies that one sees empirically that as they begin Davening / praying, silly ideas come into their head.)

People should not make the mistake to assume that this means they are not praying properly (as people think…) rather they should realize that the opposite is true; particularly because they are praying therefore they are receiving these distracting thoughts.


Two Souls One Mind

Why it can’t be that the person is failing

They (people who believe that negative thoughts is a sign that their prayer is not sincere) would be correct if there would be only one mind in the human and it is the same mind that thinks thoughts and prays (for then what the same mind is doing is an indication of where this singular mind is up to).


Why this is not the case

The absolute truth is that there are really two Souls in the person’s mind and each one is trying to fill up the mind exclusively with her thoughts (which is why like wrestlers that when one strengthens itself, the other tries to gain a better footing.)

The clear distinction of the origin of thoughts

All Torah and fear or awe of Heaven thoughts, come from the G-dly Soul; and all thoughts relating to matters of the mundane physical world emanate from the animal Soul.

However the G-dly Soul is enclothed in the animal Soul, thus it cannot prevent the entry of the animal’s Souls thoughts.

Dealing With Intrusions

Two methods of ridding oneself of the negative thoughts

When a person receives these negative thoughts he should not get depressed about them (as mention before why…) rather he should picture as if an anti-Semite is standing and trying to disturb his prayer (which is the situation…) and thus the only true way to deal with this is to simply ignore (pretending that you are deaf) and focus solely on the prayer; however if these thoughts are really getting to the person… (I can say in my own prayers it does greatly distress me how difficult it is to concentrate due to the influx of foreign thoughts…) thus one should ask G-d – whom the individual is a part of – to have mercy on the person! as a father has mercy on his son, for the son is truly a part of the father, thus as we are a part of G-d, so therefore G-d should do it for his sake and G-d in turn as a merciful father will surely have mercy and prevent the Yetzer Hara from giving the person negative thoughts (at least during that prayer session).

Chapter 29

Humility (chapters 29 30 31)


The following 5 ideas are introduced / explained in this chapter:

  1. Dullness
  2. Chop Em Down / Inducing Humility
  3. Who are you?
  4. Shout Em Down
  5. Historical Proof



Another problem for Benoinim

However we need to offer a new set of advice for the Benoinim (as opposed to the last three chapters on how to overcome sadness in order to be alert and thus energetic in the battle against the Yetzer Hara) for sometimes – and sometimes frequently – it happens that the heart of the Benoini is like lead (unfeeling and uncaring so they cannot arouse a love for G-d) during prayer.


Chop Em Down / Inducing Humility

Another problem and the solution

Also at times the gloomy heart does not have the energy to fight the Yetzer Hara (not due to sadness but a dullness (heaviness…) – insensitive and unfeeling heart).

The solution to this is as Rav said in the Holy Zohar, “A log that doesn’t light one chops it up” (as it is very difficult to light a large log, however woodchips light very easily.)


The application of this advice for a person

“A Soul that doesn’t light up from the light of the Soul is chopped up (humbled”).

“The light of the Soul” refers to the light of one’s Soul and intelligence that doesn’t dominate over man’s corporeality (meaning their Yetzer Hara and body, as it should… for the corporeality is like a log that is too thick and large to light.)

Why the light of the Soul and intellect doesn’t allow one to control the Yetzer Hara

Due to the coarseness and arrogance of the Kelipah that conceal and obscure the light of one’s Soul and intellect, thus the light of one’s Soul and intellect does not manage to be in charge of the body (rather the Yetzer Hara and Kelipah is.)

The application of this advice for a human

Thus one needs to create “chopping down ego times” when a person sets aside times to think how truly low and repulsive they are as its says, “A broken heart” referring to the person themselves!, for the Benoini is Kelipah and Sitra Achra as they are the rulers of his heart (..not his thoughts, speech, and action though…) for their strength has never weakened from the day he was born (as he merely controls reactions to impulses but is not in charge of the Kelipah and Sitra Achra within him, that give rise to these impulses.

In other words, the person – like the log – needs to chop himself up – humble himself, and only then will the light of his Soul and intellect control his heart.)

Who are you?

The difference – over whom the essence of a person is – between Benoinim and Tzaddikim

(Benoinim as we mentioned before can be called Kelipah as this is the dominant part of their personality.)

This is why they say in morning prayers, “The Soul that you have put into me…”. Indicating that there are two separate entities, the “Soul” and “me.” (So the Soul is not them, rather put into them.)

However Tzaddikim are their Souls, and their flesh/body is called “the flesh of man” (indicating a distinction between them and their bodies, for they are their Souls, not their bodies).

A proof from Hillel

This is why when Hillel would go to eat he would tell his students that he is going to feed a poor lowly creature, for he did not identify with his body, for his Soul had converted the animal Soul within his blood and body to good (so it was all a part of his Soul, and he could refer to his body in third person).

The difference in the body of the Benoini

However the Benoini’s Kelipah and Sitra Achra are the source of his animal Soul, thus he is very far from G-d, the furthest distance possible as his desires are negative, and at the very least he doesn’t despise evil (meaning even if he doesn’t consciously desire evil, he still doesn’t find it repulsive like G-d and Tzaddikim do).

Why the Benoini is lower than worms

King David (a Tzaddik said) “I am but a worm and not a man”. For when the person contemplates that even non-kosher animals, worms bugs etc. do not defy G-d’s will (for whatever they do is a direct result of G-d’s will), “However I the human defying G-d, am thus lower than a worm, as King David said.”

Furthermore when the Benoini contemplates the sins that he did as a youngster (for now the Benoini doesn’t sin, otherwise he would be a Rasha), when the Benoini realizes that the effect that one caused in Heaven still goes on, for time is frozen in Heaven (sort of like carving statues) thus his sin is eternal, as King David said “My sin stands before me constantly, for even if a person did Teshuvah, now that he is on a higher level he must do a higher Teshuvah (all this of course is to break the Kelipah that doesn’t allow the individuals G-dly Soul and intellect to dominate over it and be a good Jew.)

What if the individual never sinned (so how can he break his ego)?

However if someone never sinned then they should take the advice of the Holy Zohar to be from “the accounting people” making an account of their previous thoughts speech and actions to see if they were all for G-d, or if perhaps some were not and as it is known that when one thinks positive thoughts they are then a vehicle for Kedushah from where these thoughts emanate from, however when one thinks things not dedicated to goodness and kindness then they are a vehicle for the Sitra Achra from where such thoughts emanate from.

Another method for one who never sinned to break his or her ego

Furthermore one should contemplate that the majority of his dreams are silliness and this is because the Soul doesn’t elevate (to Heaven) at night. As it says, “Who will go up to G-d’s mountain, one with clean hands and a pure heart”, and thus at night as it is written in the Zohar, the Kelipos give him negative thoughts and sometimes things that give him anguish (indicating his association with the Kelipah; this is all a tactic for one to truly feel humbled and not so special…. thus breaking the Kelipah’s arrogance which doesn’t allow them to love G-d).

The continuous meditation on these ideas and its effect

The more one meditates and contemplates these things the more the Kelipah will be humbled, a person can also look into (Jewish Mussar) books that elaborate on this (Messilas Yesharim etc.) A person should thus despise his very life, and all this causes a breaking of the obscurement that the Kelipah covers over the light of the G-dly Soul, not allowing it to shine within the individual : (

Shout Em Down

Another method to destroy the Yetzer Hara’s arrogance

One should take the advice of our Sages to shout at the Yetzer Hara calling it the realistic and appropriate names that our Sages called it, such as “evil”, “despicable,” “repulsive” etc. as our Sages say, “a person should, always have their Yetzer Tov shout down the Yetzer Hara”.

The effect and purpose of humbling the Yetzer Hara

The effect of humbling the Yetzer Hara is that now one’s G-dly Soul will allow him to see “visually” not only in the (secondary “information gathering sense…” of) hearing, that G-d’s reality is the only true reality.

In fact Kelipos is likened to darkness that has no inherent reality and as soon as light shines it immediately disappears. Thus although there is a tremendous energy in Kelipah giving life to all non-kosher animals and the person’s body, nonetheless when the light of the Soul shines it completely dissipates; (Of-course this energy only comes originally from holiness for the purpose) so that man should humble it by despising himself, thus revealing G-d’s glory within him (as G-d desires to dwell within man).

[In other words Kelipah – darkness by its very nature will dissipate when shouted at / when a light is shined on it. Furthermore the purpose of its creation is its humbling.]


Historical Proof

A proof this method works and what do when one “doubts” G-d

We see from the story of the spies who reported negatively on the Land of Israel implying that even G-d couldn’t conquer it for them, which caused the Jewish people to cry out against Mosheh to not want to enter Israel. Then after G-d told Moshe that the complainers would die in the desert and Moshe reported that G-d was angry at the Jewish people, suddenly they changed their minds, desiring to go into Israel. The question begs, if they truly believed G-d couldn’t conquer the kings, then why would they want to enter Israel now. The answer is that they really believed G-d could conquer the kings as all Jews “are believers the sons of believers” however the Yetzer Hara was allowed to obscure their reasoning and essence (obviously with the intention that they would do the right thing instead of the wrong, for the Yetzer Hara like the harlot in the parable mentioned in the Zohar is only trying to increase man’s reward though silly ideas, such as denying G-d’s capabilities and existence, however the Yetzer Hara itself has no doubt about G-d – rather like a conman is conning the individual).

When the Jewish people were humbled (realizing their stupidity and rudeness over denying G-d) they then said, “Let us go up!”. So we see that through humbling the Yetzer Hara – through shouting it down – (and this system is  ingrained with the Yetzer Hara, that when man humbles itself, it is not allowed to conceal the Jews essential belief in G-d, thus the trust in G-d comes to the surface – and through shouting it down, one reclaims his initial and essential trust, faith, and belief in G-d and his might.


Chapter 30

The following 6 ideas are introduced / explained in this chapter:

  1. Humility
  2. Humility’s’ Extant
  3. How to achieve it
  4. The Ramifications of this idea
  5. Another Meditation
  6. Whose Who


To be humble before all people

Additionally a person should meditate (or contemplate on this), to fulfill the directive of our Sages, “to be humble before all people”:


Humility’s’ Extant

The extant of this humility

This humility means before even the lowest of the low. (It is appropriate to mention a short story, once a “low” person came to the Alteh Rebbe and asked for advice on how to fix a certain sin he did. The Alteh Rebbe bowed his head in concentration for five minutes (and we all know how precious a minute or even a second is to a Rebbe) he then lifted his head and answered the man. His son Rabbi Dovber (later to become the Mitteleh Rebbe) asked his father “how come it took so long to answer this man, when the answer to this was already very well known and simple to you.” The Alteh Rebbe answered, “I wanted to take the opportunity to do what our Sages say, “To be humble before all people” and I searched through his Soul and found nine things in which he is better than me.)

How to achieve it

The method to achieve humility before all men

The method to achieving humility even before the lowest of the low is through “not judging a person until you have walked a mile in their shoes!” (as the English saying goes… The Sages say “Do not judge someone until you are in their place” i.e. “shoes”.)

The reason this “low” person sins is because his “place caused it…” for he walks in the market place, and his eyes see sights that he craves, which causes him to sin. (Perhaps we can apply this to not judging the secular world for pre-marital intimacy, drugs etc. for they are watching this all the time from the media, peers etc. so who can really say that if they were brought up in the same environment they wouldn’t be doing exactly the same thing.)

The difference between the above mentioned “low person” and someone who does not have his Yetzer Hara and challenges

However one who stays at home, so he doesn’t see so much (so thus he is less aroused, so this may be why He is not sinning) or it could be that his Yetzer Hara is not so passionate in this genre… (for all Yetzer Hara’s are different, having different emphasis. Some would be for lust, other laziness, others comedy, others anger etc.).

Why it is not an excuse where a person is at

However even someone who does go to the marketplace (and sees negative things (or watches TV, surfs the net etc.)) and has a big Yetzer Hara, may not excuse themselves from sinning, for the fear and dread (or awe) of G-d should constantly be before them (preventing them from sinning.)

For one should control their behavior as we said before… the mind naturally can control the emotions (passions, lusts etc.), by realizing that G-d is constantly “standing over him” and watching him.

The test of serving G-d

Thus everyone needs to truly see if they are meeting the great test of serving G-d in the positive commandments to break the Yetzer Hara – to pray passionately with devotion, breaking the Yetzer Hara’s hold on them.

The method is to be humble prior to Teffilah (as the Alteh Rebbe mentions in other places, one should feel remorse for their sins prior to prayer, and ask Hashem to forgive them, thus one A. feels remorseful / being humble, and B. happy – for G-d has forgiven them, and thus begins prayer having broken the Kelipos as well as in a state of subsequent joy.)

Furthermore during prayer itself… is the person truly waging the mighty battle against the Yetzer Hara to pray properly and with concentration and devotion or not?…

However someone who has not reached this level, has not reached the true test of the Yetzer Hara that “burns” passionately within him.


The Ramifications of this idea

The continuation of this meditational fight

Similarly (this applies to) Bentshing (grace after eating), all the Birchas Hanening (thanking G-d for food and other benefits), the intention behind the Mitzvahs (i.e. uniting G-d’s kingdom with this world during Shemah etc.), and one need not mention doing the Mitzvahs for the right reason (Lishma to attach oneself to G-d, not for societies sake etc.).

Similarly learning more Torah than one is accustomed to (as the Alteh Rebbe says later on – for doing what has become a habit, is not serving G-d, rather repeating a habit), to learn for the sake of uniting with G-d etc.

Controlling the Yetzer Hara is greater than additional learning

Controlling the Yetzer Hara’s passionate battle is even more difficult than learning even a bit more than one’s accustomed schedule (which is breaking a habit, which is quite difficult).

Another Meditation

An additional meditation to humble oneself

Both refraining from evil and doing good are both the will of the great and glorious G-d. (So by not doing active goodness and kindness and concentrating during prayer etc. I am lower than the “low”).

Similarly with other Mitzvahs and especially financial Mitzvos like giving Tzedakah and the like.

Similarly with refraining from listening or participating even in a small amount of another’s negativity, like the story of when Rabbi Shimon told his father (concerning a bill of divorce which was improperly written) “I did not write it, Yehuda Chait did” and his father told him “Stop slandering” (although what he said was a minor thing, as well as to vindicate himself).

Similarly with the Mitzvah of Iskafeyeh which is from the Torah as it says “Be holy in those things that are permitted to you”.

Also regarding (practicing) the advice of our Sages (which sometimes people are not so careful in doing – not holding them in the proper status which is) “the words of the Sages are more important than the words of the Torah” (or “more stringent.”)

All the above sins are those that a person “squashes with their heel” (meaning disregards them…) furthermore as a person habitually does them (like joking at someone else’s expense) they are considered in their estimation like permissible acts (as the Talmud relates that after doing the same sin three times the person feels no remorse or feelings of repentance for them, as they seem O.K by then.)

Whose Who

Why a person who knows right from wrong is more guilty then one who doesn’t

However someone who knows how to read a book (knows the laws of Judaism) and doesn’t fight his Yetzer Hara in comparison with it’s passion and desires (and succumbs to many of them, as mentioned above, the many different sins even “religious” Jews commit) is a far greater sinner then someone unaware of these Mitzvahs and lives in an environment that these deeds are commonplace.

Like it says about Elisha Ben Avauh (who was a great Rabbi and left Judaism) “his sin is greater for he knew of my glory and yet sinned”. Thus a religious Jew should never think that they are better than a non-religious Jew; in fact they are a lot worse, for they know about G-d who is constantly watching them and expecting them to do the right thing and yet they ignore G-d, while the others don’t.

This is why the sins of the irreligious (in ours days, or those ignorant of the Torah) are called unintentional sins; which are thus not sins at all, they are accidents.

Chapter 31

The following 6 ideas are introduced / explained in this chapter:

  1. Joy following the sadness
  2. Chop Em Down
  3. Sadness vs Bitter
  4. The Meditation
  5. Why they ran
  6. Remember Your Unity


Joy following the sadness

Why one shouldn’t worry about the sadness that will occur from the humbling meditations mentioned before

After a person thinks about these matters for an hour or two one may become quite saddened; although sadness is from the Kelipah (and sadness over sins in the proper times is from the good in Kelipah, but Kelipah nonetheless) while holiness is the side of joy, like it says “energy and strength in his (G-d’s) place” and G-d’s Shechinah (presence) only rests when one is happy, nevertheless the way to break the Kelipah is through “fighting fire with fire” (lit. through its own methods).


Chop Em Down

An example of breaking the Yetzer Hara through itself

As our Sages say, from the wood of a tree, comes the ax that chops it down.


How joy follows sadness

This is what it says, “in every sadness there will be a benefit”, referring to the joy that will follow it as we will shortly explain:


Sadness vs Bitter

The real terminology of sadness in Hebrew and its distinction to bitterness

However in the Holy-Tongue (Hebrew) sadness does not really refer to what we are referring to, for we are referring to merirus/bitterness where a person is sort of angry over their position (their sins) and desires repentance; sadness (in Hebrew) connotes a person whose feeling is dullness / heaviness, his heart is like stone (lacking emotional agitation).


The Meditation

The joy from bitterness

A person should think that “although what I am saying is true, that I am actually far from G-d and low, despicable etc. however this is my body but within my body is a part of G-d (the G-dly Soul) and it’s truly a great pity on this Soul stuck in such a person (filthy etc.) thus I will put all my effort in rescuing this Soul from its prison and returning it to its source, the living G-d, through Torah study, and especially in prayer, asking Hashem to release it from its prison (as when one cries to G-d, one unites his Soul with G-d) and especially in good deeds, referring to deeds that will unite my Soul with G-d (like giving charity etc.)”.

And thus can there be a greater joy then when a prince is released from a filthy dungeon where he is forced to mill wheat and returns to the palace in glory – similarly my Soul through the Torah and Mitzvahs that I am doing reconnects to G-d. Now although my body is still as it is (called a serpents skin) being filled with Kelipah which is still the source of the body, nevertheless the person needs to elevate the joy of the Soul’s freedom to the extant that this overpowers their sadness over the body’s despicableness.


Why they Ran

The comparison to the Exodus from Egypt

And this is similar to when the Jewish people ran away from Egypt. Why did they have to run away? If they had told Pharaoh they were leaving, at that stage he would have been compelled to let them go.

The reason is, they were trying to get their Souls out of the mire and guck of Egyptian immorality and Kelipos which had greatly affected their body and it did not leave them until the giving of the Torah.

However when Moshiach comes and G-d will remove the evil within the bodies, it says we will not exit rushingly (for we will not need to escape evil, for it will have disappeared).


Remember Your Unity

Always maintaining this high

One should maintain this constant joy with Davening, learning and helping others (the joy of the princes return home) and furthermore, a person needs not to feel bad for having elevated the Soul, they can feel the joy of the Soul.

How this is the purpose of the world

As we know the purpose of the world is that G-d desired a dwelling place down below – thus when I return to G-d, my Soul – and through its participation in the speech, the actions, and the thoughts, the Nefesh Habihamis (animal Soul and body) are forcibly returned to G-d as well – which is the reason G-d took a part of Himself and placed it in my body! Thus I am fulfilling the purpose of my life!

And this is what it says that the Torah of Hashem is Mshivas Nefesh (returns Souls!) For through the Torah and Mitzvahs one returns their Soul (and its mission, meaning the body) to G-d.

Chapter 32
Unconditional Love


The following 5 ideas are introduced / explained in this chapter:

  1. Unconditional Love
  2. Achieving True Love For Others
  3. Intrinsic Love
  4. Competing Loves
  5. The Essence of the Torah

Unconditional Love

How the previous system of seeing one’s body as bad and soul as good is the most direct method to achieving love for a fellow Jew.


In the past few chapters, the Alter Rebbe elaborated on the dual assessment of one’s lowliness due to their body – meaning past sins or perhaps even present ones, and yet to remain happy due to the joy of their soul – knowing that their soul is one and the same unit as G-d, goodness and kindness. 


The Alter Rebbe teaches that this is the easiest method to achieving a complete love for every Jew. He mentions “from the greatest to the lowest.”


Achieving True Love For Others

How this is achieved


One love’s something that one is attracted to.

One is attracted to something that one loves.

When one respects another, they are attracted to that person.

Now if this respect is due to that person’s soul – and likewise how that person looks doesn’t make a difference to them – it is only the greatness of the soul / goodness and kindness that matters; and even if the goodness and kindness is not revealed, yet the fact is that it is there in the individual’s G-dly soul; And thus if one bears in mind that every Jew has a G-dly soul, and conversely one is not too caught up by status, looks etc. then a person can love each and every Jew [as the statement – that they say in the Yeshivah in Heaven “one must love a completely wicked Jew as one would love a completely righteous Jew”.

This brings to mind the story of the Rebbe that an elderly lady was standing in line for dollars – when the Rebbe would give out a dollar to everyone and a blessing every Sunday, and when she came to the Rebbe after standing in line for a couple of hours… now the Rebbe would stand for up to five hours in a row, and He was already over ninety, so she said to the Rebbe “Rebbe, I am an elderly lady, how do you stand for so long?” and the Rebbe smiled lovingly to her and replied “When one counts diamonds, one does not get tired.”

Anyone who knows the Rebbe knows that He was not lying. What else would compel the Rebbe of the world to stand every Sunday as thousands of Jews would file past and He with His prophetic ability and great power, would bless and love each of them unconditionally?! ]


Intrinsic Love

Another reason to love every Jew for we are brothers and sisters


Before we mentioned that there is goodness and kindness, G-d, in every Jew’s soul, even if they act badly; however now we have another point.

How is it that we love ourselves if we do something wrong?

This is because the love we have for ourselves is stronger than the bad we did.

Our love for ourselves is so great that it conceals any negative, for we are all born with a self-love.

[Obviously this self love has the above mentioned fault, however as will be mentioned it can also be used for the following good:] The Tzemach Tzedek, the third Chabad Rebbe relates that one should envision all souls as coming from a quarry, and all souls are chips off one block! in the quarry – thus we are all brothers and sisters.

Why do brothers and sisters have a closer bond over and beyond how you would love a stranger?

The reason is that they share a common ancestry, so the more related I am to someone else, the more I love them! for I am loving the me in them.

When we realize that: as all souls come from G-d in heaven, thus you and I are literary alike, “We are chips off the old dad” and thus we are brothers and sisters and hence the self-love gets extended.

As I started taking the advice of Tanya more seriously in my life I would say to myself “every Jew is my brother or sister,” in this way I could actually feel how the love I have for my own brothers and sisters was extended to all my Jewish brothers and sisters.


Competing Loves

Why this only works when one holds the body in contempt and the soul in the highest regard.


If one loves their body [and the valueless values its holds dear] then they cannot achieve a true love between people, for it would be similar to the story of the wealthy man who lost his money and somehow lost his friends at the same time.

When he regained his wealth and somehow regained his friends at the same time, then when they would lovingly come over to say “hello” he pulled out his wallet and said, “Say hello to your only real friend.”

In other words people may think they are in love, however if the love is really for themselves – as one elderly wise doctor once told me, “when a young man says to a young woman ‘I love you’ what he is really saying is ‘I need you.’”

In other words: is this person selfless, is he willing to lay his life for the other person, the answer is no. Rather she possesses an attribute that fulfills a need in him, so he is really saying, “I need you.” However when a person holds the soul in the highest regard, a person can truly unite with anyone else.

(This is why the holiest, most strong love in marriage is the recognition that the spouse is the other half of your soul.)

 The best example of this is the love found between Chassidim to Jews around the world.

Lubavitcher Chassidim leave their safety and comfort zones and literally travel to Siberia and the entire world to share love, friendship and Judaism – what motivates them?

An intrinsic love for a fellow Jew which makes them want to unite with them and help them realize their identity and bring meaning to their lives.


Everyone marvels at this self-sacrifice; obviously they learnt it from the Rebbe, whose love for a fellow Jew had no bounds.

In fact there are many simple Jews whom contain this unconditional love for a fellow Jew.

This love cannot coexist if there is a corresponding selfishness that inhibits it.

Only someone who elevates their love beyond their selfishness [and selfishness is really self-love] can overcome the selfishness of the body and thus the Alter Rebbe now emphasizes the point that if someone’s selfishness is greater than their selflessness, it is impossible for there to be a true love between them and others.

Of-course the classic example of this is from Pirkei Avos whereby our sages describe two types of love, conditional and unconditional.

Conditional love was the love between Amnon and Tamar, that he “loved” her so much, he raped her and then threw her to the dogs – as soon as the condition was met, he ceased loving her. And the love between Yonasan and David, that Yonasan literally gave up the throne of Israel, to save his best friend from his own father’s wrath which was only so he, the crown prince, could have the throne.

Obviously his love was greater than his desire for the kingdom, and monarchy of the Jewish people.


The Essence of the Torah

How Ahavas Yisroel is all of Judaism


Now we can understand how Hillel replied to a gentile that the Mitzvah of loving a fellow Jew is to keep the entire Torah and the rest is the explanation of this principle [meaning, all the other Mitzvos explain this theme which is the logic behind them.]


Because the foundation and intent of the entire Torah is to elevate the soul back into their source – as when we do a Mitzvah we unite with G-d, as well as drawing down G-d to the source of all souls in heaven – Malchus of Atzilus, Knesses Yisroel – and G-d will not reside if there is friction, for this would be like a king residing in a broken down palace.


It is for this reason Chassidim – and the Rebbe encouraged us to – say, that “we hereby accept upon ourselves to love a fellow Jew”  -before prayers, for G-d will not listen to our prayers if there is friction between us.


In other words, the purpose of Torah and Mitzvos is to unite Jew and G-d, father and son – now a father does not want to come to a home where children are arguing and bickering.

This is similar to what it states – “bless us our father, for we are all one” – in order to receive G-d’s blessings, we need to unite, for G-d will not bless – meaning through His descent – if we are not unified.


When the Rebbe wrote to people that had arguments – and institutions that there was friction – He would often quote this from the Tanya: that in order to draw down G-d’s blessings – that may have already been given – meaning “the money is in the bank” – but to withdraw it, there must be unity.

As our sages state “the greatest conduit to blessing is harmony and peace.”

Chapter 33



The following 3 ideas are introduced / explained in this chapter:

  1. How to Be happy
  2. The Purpose of Creation
  3. Rejoice in G-d’s Joy


How to Be happy

Getting back to methods of being happy

Another soul happiness is when a person pictures the complete unity of G-d within the world.

That G-d is one with his universe. The Alter Rebbe brings two examples of this.

  1. As mentioned in chapter 20 and 21 how the very letters one uses to think a thought must have existed within the conceptual stage prior to the thought expressing itself in letters.
    For example my thought may be of the benefit of going to college or Yeshivah.
    Now when I actively engage in this thought – thinking about the benefits etc. it is only because within my mind there is a perception that there will be a benefit to going to Yeshivah or college – I will gain in understanding of life or I will be able to make money for having a life – however within the concept – “the benefit of going to college or Yeshivah” – the letters of thought do not exist, only the concept exists; and yet these letters emanate from this concept and as the Alter Rebbe explained at length in those chapters, we find that the letters are completely nullified out of existence – being so contracted within – that we can only say in the concept stage, that the concept itself exists.
  2. Additionally the author uses the example of how the radiance – the light – of the sunlight must certainly be present within the sphere of the sun itself – for if it can travel 98,000,000 miles to earth and light up the planet, it certainly can shed light within the sphere of the sun, however, there, as it is within the very body which gives light, one could not say sunlight exists – rather it is the sun! So although sunlight is there, it becomes nullified out of its separate identity – which it achieves only on earth where the sun isn’t – and is only part of its source the sun.

In a similar sense as G-d is one with the world, and we are merely like the letters of speech that emanate from a concept, and to G-d there is no differentiation between the concept and the speech – it is only relative to us that we have this idea of G-d’s speech, which indicates how to us we see a new entity, like we see sunlight, but in truth to G-d, there never was a real differentiation – for the whole reason why we need this differentiation is that we can exist as an independent entity; much as the letters of thought need their independence, and as sunlight needs to be independent to have an effect on the recipient – but for G-d for whom there is no need for this independence, everything is merely part of Him.

In this sense we realize that something that is part of G-d has no separate identity – thus everything is G-d.

Now when someone will really meditate and contemplate on this concept they will come to a very very great joy and happiness.


The Purpose of Creation

How this meditation fulfils the purpose of creation

This is in fact the very purpose of the world – the closeness one achieves and the unity formed through this meditation – realizing how everything, yourself included, is G-d! – For the entire purpose of creation is that G-d should dwell here on earth, within you, as will be explained at length later.

Now an average person would be very happy if the President of the United States offered to come live with them.

It would be a great honor to have the President take up residence [never mind the entourage… we are referring just to the President] within one’s home.

If this is the case, by realizing that the King of Kings, the Master of the World, is taking up residence within you – due to your above-mentioned meditation – one can truly achieve a very great joy and happiness from this.

This is what Chabakuk said, “The Torah is based on belief in G-d”, this means that if a person imagines that this is the very purpose of creation – which it is – the belief that there is nothing outside of the realm of G-d, for there is only but G-d – as mentioned before why – and this brings them to a great happiness, this then is the motivation and the ability to keep all of the Mitzvos – for as mentioned happiness is a pre-requisite to be able to fight the Yetzer Hara and be alert and energetic in fulfillment of all the Mitzvos of the Torah.

The verse Chabakuk quoted to prove his assertion is literally “A Tzaddik lives by this faith,” the idea of “lives” here, is like the revival of the dead, meaning one gives ones soul great great joy through this faith! And in addition the soul revives itself through realizing how close and unified one is with G-d.

Rejoice in G-d’s Joy

How this meditation causes G-d to be happy

Additionally one should be most delighted over the joy that they are giving G-d through this meditation, for when they have this meditation the Kelipos and sitra achara that raise themselves up against G-d are humbled and the darkness gets converted into light – now as mentioned, science had proven how positive thoughts have positive effects – and thus this gives G-d great great joy.

[The Kelipos will be extinguished in the messianic era completely and all flesh – eyes – will see the light that they brought into the world due to this meditation.]

This applies especially to Jews living in the Diaspora – the exile – in the land of the gentiles where the air is impure and there is no greater joy to G-d than the greater amount of light appreciated through the prior darkness.

And this is what is stated that “Jews should be happy with G-d” this means that they should rejoice in G-d’s rejoicing – meaning that G-d gets from this meditation, as through it G-d resides in the physical universe which is actually why He created the world – it should be noted that the Rebbe quoted this line as one of the twelve verses that every Jew should know by-heart indicating its great significance.

And this is why the verse states “the Jews should rejoice in G-d” using a plural reference  – for this word oisav, actually refers to how G-d unifies the plural of the disparate physical reality.

In other words, G-d is one, reality as we know it constitutes many many separate entities, from a point of view of time and space, and in terms of different drives, goals etc.

Realizing that G-d is everything, unifies them into one – as the American motto E-Pluribus-Unum – from-many-one.


Chapter 34

Hosting G-d


The following 3 ideas are introduced / explained in this chapter:

  1. Hosting G-d
  2. Extra Time / Extra Charity
  3. Holding Joy and Shame At the Same Time


Hosting G-d

The Alter Rebbe here explains that the above meditation – that everything is G-d – was what the sages contemplated on all the time.

He describes how it ties into the study of Torah.

The forefathers were called, the vehicle of G-d.

The reason for this is because they always had in mind this unity with G-d, constantly connecting their minds and souls to G-d.

The prophets had this as well.

The greatest of them all was Moses – whose exceptional understanding of Torah allowed him the highest levels of this unity.

However for the average person – whose soul is not as elevated to understand it completely – they should say to themselves:

“Although my soul is not refined (or knowledgeable) enough to understand this unity properly, nonetheless I will host the Shechinah (G-d on earth) through the study of Torah.
As after the destruction of the Temple G-d only has the space of Halachos (Torah study.)”

And thus everyone should study as much Torah as G-d permits them (meaning as the available time) and feel great joy, for at that time they are literally hosting G-d on earth.


Extra Time / Extra Charity

Now the Alter Rebbe describes not only how one is a host to G-d during Torah study, but how all the time at the office – involved in the mundane – can also host G-d on earth.


If someone benefits (say retires or through extra income has more free time) they should add in their Torah study.


Additionally as is known, the charity one gives – a fifth preferably – elevates all the time at the office into a residence for G-d on earth.

If G-d increases a person’s ability (say through retirement or extra time) they should add in their Torah study.

However when one gives a fifth of their charity to G-d then their fifth given, elevates the four/fifths used for their livelihood.

This is similar to sacrifices where the animal sacrificed, elevated the spirit of all the animals, and the wheat sacrificed elevated all the bread in the world.

So the one fifth elevates the four fifths, and all of it becomes a Divine space!

Holding Joy and Shame At the Same Time

Here the Alter Rebbe describes how the joy from hosting G-d does not contradict the shame of the body.

Now all the above mentioned joys of the soul, do not contradict how a person can at the very same time be deeply ashamed (mainly for the purpose of humility) for the shame comes from the animal soul and body, while the joy comes from one’s soul and the spark of G-d that enlivens ones soul (meaning, knowing that G-d is You, gives you great joy.)

And this is what the Zohar says joy in one side of the heart and sorrow in the other.

[In other words the Alter Rebbe has returned to his amazing advice of how to on one hand have the all-important faculty of humility (for the kindness and respect to others it brings) and at the same time the great joy of being a host and a part of G-d.]


The Following Seven Appropriate Constant Behaviors / Dispositions Of A Chossid [by the Rebbe Maharash] Help Clarify This Practical Ideal

  1. It’s appropriate for a Chossid to study Chassidus daily!
  2. It’s appropriate for a Chossid to always be happy but more importantly show happiness to others!
  3. It’s appropriate for a Chossid to really be into helping people!
  4. It’s appropriate for a Chossid to be very cognizant of his own weaknesses but the greatness of others!
  5. Its appropriate for a Chossid to hold even the lowest person in higher regard than himself!
  6. It’s appropriate for a Chossid to learn a good behavior from everyone!
  7. It appropriate for there to be love, friendship, harmony and unity among Chassidim.

Chapter 35

An additional explanation on the word [that it is very easy to] Do [the Mitzvos.]

Additionally to understand the purpose of the descent of the soul of the Benoinim.


The following 3 ideas are introduced / explained in this chapter:

  1. Why
  2. The Explanation
  3. The Absolute Union



What is the purpose of the Benoini’s struggle?

As the Benoini never manages to eliminate the evil within him for it constantly produces thoughts emanating from the heart – and although he can then choose to reject those thoughts – but the evil which is firmly lodged in his left ventricle is always emanating desires and is as strong as when he was born… So why did G-d create this endless struggle which can get quite depressing?!
And this will comfort them by realizing that G-d dwells within their Torah study and good deeds.

To understand this we will preface what is mentioned in the Zohar in the name of the child; [there was a child who did not receive the customary flick from the Malach / angel that makes one forget the comprehensive Torah study that the soul receives in the womb and thus was able to teach great secrets of the Torah; this teaching is written in the Zohar.]
So the child stated that one should not neglect oil from their head. He meant by this that what King Solomon says that, “The wisemans’ eyes are in his head…” which refers to the light of the Shechinah – G-d – that is in the head or above every Jew.
Now the body is called the wick, and then there is the flame, now when there is only a wick, a candle cannot shine – it will immediately burn out [meaning, the wick] – however as there are two separate entities, a body and G-d, thus we can have this unique idea of G-dliness and a wick, but it will still not shine, for it needs oil. Oil is good deeds.
So what the child was saying was that just as one does not walk four cubits [app. six feet] without having their Yarmulkah on, for the Shechinah is above them and it would be irreverent, similarly one must keep their eyes focused on G-d that is above them and allow G-d to shine through the good that they do.

The Explanation

The explanation of this example

The reason why one needs the good deeds of oil in order that their G-dly soul should shine and it is not enough that the G-dly soul exists within them, is because even the greatest Tzaddik who loves G-d etc. is still a separate entity, for it is he who is in love with G-d.

And thus for the body to be completely nullified and unified with G-d – for if it is a separate entity it is not G-d – at least in terms of G-d’s desire to become one with it, for G-d unites only with that which is nullified to him.

On the other hand, the Mitzvos and good deeds which constitute the essence of G-d’s will – so in contradistinction to the creatures in this world including people, and it would seem from what the Alter Rebbe is writing, souls as well – the essence of G-d’s will is in the good deeds.

So the difference say between the body, and the good deed that the body performs, is in the state of its unity; that the unity when the body is performing a Mitzvah is an absolute unity with G-d for G-d and His desire – the mitzvah – are one.

In other words this highlights the uniqueness of a Mitzvah over and above both the body and the soul.


The Absolute Union

How this unity is the highest form of unity

Now this unity if the highest form of unity – for true unity with G-d is that which becomes completely nullified and consumed within G-d’s light, and even a great Tzaddik as mentioned, is still so to say a separate entity, for it is He – the separate identity – that is loving G-d.

And this love is to whatever extent He understands G-d, and as no thought can truly understand G-d, therefore no matter how great his understanding of G-d is, he is not one with G-d, for he is not truly understanding G-d… and thus his love still remains a separate entity from G-d; however the good deeds one does, G-d comes within them and unites in a perfect bond and union with them.

Now even this great Tzaddik is a separate identity as it is he who is loving G-d, therefore there cannot be an absolute union with him, for He is still an independent entity; however when one studies Torah or does a mitzvah – but using Torah as an example now – then at the time of Torah study, G-d is literally one with his soul, both in its faculty of thought and the faculty of speech that are studying Torah – for as mentioned, G-d is one with that which is his desires.

And then when a person uses the third faculty – the faculty of action – this elevates his entire animal soul to G-d, for without the animal soul the person couldn’t use their body, and thus the G-dly soul is at that time employing the animal soul… and this unifies the body with G-d in a compete and absolute union.

Now the fact that G-d unites with a person’s body doesn’t G-d-forbid mean there is a duplicity in G-d [He is in many places – my body, your body, the heavens etc.] rather as that scoffer asked Rabban Gamliel “You say that whenever there are ten Jews, G-d resides there, how many G-d’s do you have?” And he answered him from a parable that sunlight can go into a million different homes, but does that mean there are a million suns.


Chapter 36

The following 3 ideas are introduced / explained in this chapter:

  1. The Question
  2. The Explanation
  3. The Purpose
  4. Individual yet Unified


The Question

Everyone knows the teaching of our sages that the ultimate purpose in creation was because G-d desired to have a dwelling place on earth.

Now this seems a bit strange, for G-d is everywhere, so what is the meaning “He wants to have a dwelling place on earth” for He is on earth anyway.

The Explanation

The explanation

Now obviously there is no change in G-d’s reality with the creation of the world, the idea that there is a space devoid of G-d is only in reference to us, that we do not see G-d, so what is meant by the creation of a lower world, is the perception of people on this world not seeing G-d, as say a soul in Atzilus experiences.


The Purpose

The intent of the creation of this world

The intent of creation was not for the higher worlds, say the world of Atzilus… for any light that is there is only a degradation from the original light that G-d emanates – thus no one does something for something less.  No one knocks down a beautiful house to build a mediocre one, rather the purpose is for the G-dliness – which is one with G-d Himself – that we unite in this world when we perform a Mitzvah; in this way G-d will emanate the greatest light possible when Moshiach will come here on earth.

Individual yet Unified

How a person can remain an entity and yet receive this light

The obvious question is that if all of this light will emanate in the times of Moshiach, and we are one with G-d, for the light will emanate from us, and our good deeds then, presumably there will only be G-d, as we will be nullified out of existence.

For this the Good-Lord gave us the Torah, which is a source of power.

This is what our sages teach that G-d will give the righteous, the Tzaddikim, the ability to receive their reward – He will manage through the power of the Torah to both maintain a separate entity – you for example – as well as a comprehensive unity – visible – with G-d at the same time.

Now it is known that the whole goal of this world is the creation of the era of Moshiach – when this visible unity with G-d will take place, and to a small extent we had this unity at the time of the giving of the Torah.

As it is written that during the giving of the Torah, the ten commandments – the speech of them – emanated from everywhere, as they are the will of G-d, and thus His will was infused in everything, and when Moshiach will come, the light will emanate from the Jewish people, and then the gentiles will receive G-dliness emanating from them.

Chapter 37


The following 4 ideas are introduced / explained in this chapter:

  1. The Light of Moshiach
  2. Tzedakah Power
  3. The Greatness of Torah Study
  4. A New Question and Answer


The Light of Moshiach

How the light in the times of Moshiach is dependent on our deeds now

As we are the ones who unite G-d within the world, say like the light that enters the atoms of the parchment of a Torah Scroll – that was previously under the dominion and energy of the forces of the Kelipos – as it comes from a Kosher animal and is thus Kelipos Nogah… Now this is why we say that “the reward for a Mitzvah is a mitzvah” for the mitzvah creates the unity of G-d within the material object which then is the reward, the light source, in the times of Moshiach.

The same applies to the words of prayer that we say – as well as to money that one gives to charity – all of these elevate the animal soul, who actually does these acts; for within prayer it is not enough to think, one must speak– and speech is considered an action – thus there is an absolute unity between G-d and man, which will shine forevermore during the times of Moshiach.

Furthermore when we eat and then use this energy for prayer this energy also gets elevated to G-d

Furthermore when all Jews fulfill all of the Mitzvos dependent on them, the 248 positive Mitzvos, and the 365 prohibitions, then one does not give any space for evil in this world.

For evil derives its energy in fact from the sins of a Jew, so when Jews do not sin the entire world will be elevated into holiness – for the vitality of the world comes from the Jews and when they are holy – everything – besides that which is completely evil which will be eradicated – will be elevated in the messianic era.

All of the above, that when the Jews do Torah and Mitzvos and eat for the sake of G-d and use the energy for prayer is connected to the purpose of the descent of the soul, for as mentioned, the ultimate goal is the times of Moshiach and in the times of Moshiach, the light that was brought into the world by the Torah and Mitzvos that the Jews in Galus did, will shine forevermore.

Thus the soul actually descends not for its sake, for no matter how much love for G-d a soul will have on earth, its love will be far loftier in heaven, where the awareness of G-d is even greater… rather the point is for the Torah and Mitzvos one does on earth which brings G-d within earth – for as mentioned the purpose of creation was because G-d desired a dwelling place on earth.


Tzedakah Power

Why Tzedakah is the primary mitzvah

This is why Tzedakah – charity is the primary Mitzvoh, for the point of all Mitzvos is to unite G-d within this world, and there is no mitzvah that unites G-d within the world more than Tzedakah – for a person puts his everything into his job, and thus when he takes this everything – put into the money that was given to him for it, and then gives that to charity, this creates an amazing amount of unity with G-d in the world [perhaps this is why G-d created that most Jews are business people, for through their generous hearts, they have literally elevated the entire world – this fits in with what the Rebbe teaches why everything that had to be achieved – i.e. the light that had to be unified prior to the coming of Moshiach, has happened – for Jewish business people around the world have been good and thus also for their countries – and after the holocaust – that is every country in the world – has received a completed transformation of light.]

And even if someone is not so into their job, nonetheless this money could have been used to buy food to live, so by giving it away all of his life is being represented and elevated to G-d.

And thus our sages state that “Tzedakah brings redemption closer” – and this was one of the reasons why the Rebbe gave out millions of dollars to charity to individuals to give more charity – for the act of charity is so great as this is money that the person could have bought food with, therefore elevates so much of the world to G-d, more than many other mitzvos combined.


The Greatness of Torah Study

Now why does it state that Torah study is equivalent to all Mitzvos which would include Tzedakah, if Tzedakah, is so great?

The answer is because of a unique attribute in Torah study, for when one studies Torah they elevate the animal soul’s Chabad – wisdom, understanding, and knowledge, to G-d; which are an inner power of the animal soul – so although a Benoini does not have control over the desires of the animal soul as mentioned previously [thus it can create lusts in the heart etc.] nonetheless the Benoini is able to transform the mind of the animal soul, as we see that sometimes a person’s emotions can be stronger than their decisions, for the animal of the animal soul is primarily its emotional heart.

Furthermore there is a greater benefit to Torah study, for just as within man, one cannot compare the amount of light that is within the head – the life-force – to what is within the limbs of the body, for the head is the very source and Director of the limbs, similarly the Mitzvos are limbs, so the light one unifies in this world by doing a Mitzvah is the unity with a physical part of the body, or a physical matter such as the parchment in the Torah scroll, however the unity created through Torah study is with a higher radiance of light and infinitely greater than the amount that is found within the mind, compared to the limbs of a human.

This is what Rav Sheshes would say when studying Mishnayus “Rejoice my soul – for you, I study” for as mentioned, the light of G-d unifies with the soul.

A New Question and Answer

Why Mitzvos are more important than Torah study

The question can now be asked, if Torah study is greater than Mitzvos, then why do our sages state that a Mitzvah is greater than Torah study? And if one has an option to do a Mitzvah or study Torah – if there is no one else to do the Mitzvah, one should do the Mitzvah?
If Torah study is greater, presumably one should abandon the Mitzvohs, and just study Torah – the answer is that the entire purpose of creation is for the G-dliness to descend into the world so while it is true a greater degree of G-dliness descends upon one who studies Torah, but what G-d truly desires is to be within this physical world – which is achieved through Mitzvos.

Additionally Torah has the great level of drawing G-d to our souls, in contradistinction to prayer which draws G-d into our life – for Torah changes who we are, while the focus of prayer is to change the circumstance in which we live.

Chapter 38


The following 3 ideas are introduced / explained in this chapter:

  1. Why prayer needs to be verbalized
  2. Why nonetheless concentration during prayer is important
  3. The two meditations


Why prayer needs to be verbalized

Why prayer needs to be verbalized

Now we can understand the importance of saying the words of prayer – as mentioned, one must enunciate the words of prayer and it is not enough to think them – no matter how great the concentration during prayer.

The reason is that the soul itself, as mentioned, does not need any help, it does not need to be fixed, rather it is the body that needs to be elevated and unified with G-d and thus, speaking elevates the attribute of speech, as physical Mitzvos elevate the physical matter – both of the body, and the matter of what one has done Mitzvos for G-d. [Meaning the physical coin, parchment of Torah etc.]


Concentration during prayer

Why nonetheless concentration during prayer is important

The Alter Rebbe begins by the obvious difference between the four levels of life-force within the four kingdoms on earth. That the life force within a human is obviously far greater than the life-fore that is within a stone and the life-force within vegetation is obviously slightly more than the life force within a stone that has no life so to say.

[Obviously it receives some kind of energy from G-d, for otherwise it couldn’t exist, yet the minute quantity of this energy is evident in its lifelessness.]

Now as mentioned, the four life levels are within the four kingdoms of animal, human, stone and vegetation; now obviously there is far greater life in the first two than the last, and yet the truth is that although there are these difference, nonetheless they are all emanating from Kelipos Nogah and thus relative to G-d – they are all basically darkness.

Now similarly the life and love of G-d to the meditation that one desires to unite with G-d through the performance of the Mitzvah is like the soul of the Mitzvah relative to the body – meaning like the difference in the life-force that comes into a human as differentiated from a stone.

Both the Mitzvah and the intention are both the will of G-d – meaning G-d desires that we do a Mitzvah, as well as intend that the purpose we do the Mitzvah is to unite with him.

Generally there are two broad categories of Mitzvos – there are those that we do with our mind and mouth, like the study of Torah and prayer and those that we use our bodies i.e. Tzedakah, Teffilin etc.


The two meditations

The two meditations

Now there are two types of meditations – relative to the long short way and short long way mentioned in the earlier chapters, of how to attain the motivation to do Mitzvos and not do Aveiros -from the desire to be unified with G-d and not to separate.

  1. The first is the person’s mind that is capable of meditating on the greatness of G-d to the point that his meditation creates such a great love that he desires to unify with G-d, which is through Torah and Mitzvos and of-course does not want G-d to be upset with him.
  2. The second is one who cannot elevate himself to such a point and thus uses his inner inherited love for G-d and awakens it – as discussed how previously – and through this causes the desire to unite with G-d, and not to be separated – by doing Torah and Mitzvos, and not doing Aveiros.

Now a person… means one who uses their intellect.

The fundamental difference between a human and animal is in intelligence.

When a person uses their intelligence, this is like the first level; the second person is similar to an animal in that his emotions are intrinsic – and although he inspired them [which is something an animal cannot do] yet it is similar in a way to an animal’s emotions, which is a love for what is beneficial for it, or fear from what is harmful to it.

Obviously the animal does not have the capacity as a human does through meditation to create a new love or fear or respect of something.


Chapter 39

The following 8 ideas are introduced / explained in this chapter:

  1. Freedom of choice
  2. Yetzirah
  3. Berieah
  4. The souls rewards
  5. The angels Torah Study
  6. The reward for the meditations
  7. “No mans land”
  8. When Torah and Mitzvos do not elevate


Freedom of choice

The greatness of freedom of choice

This is why Tzaddikim are greater than angels – and the main dwelling place of the angels is in the world of Yetzirah, while the dwelling place of the Tzaddikim is in the world of Beriah – for the Tzaddikim have freedom of choice, and thus create intellectual driven love for G-d and awe and reverence for G-d, while the angels similar to animals do not have freedom of choice – and the love and fear they feel is in fact instinctual, like an animal works on instincts.




And this is what it states in the Zohar that in the world of Yetzirah the six emotions are continually pumping, this is like a heart pumping emotions and thus there are the angels in the side of Gavriel, that feel the dread and respect of and for G-d, and the Malachim from the side of Michoel, that feel love for G-d [obviously they do not war as we say Oseh Hashalom / G-d creates peace between the groups of angels, and we know from our prayers that they delightfully give permission to one another to praise G-d’s name before they themselves do; because beyond G-d’s desire to be praised, is G-d’s desire for harmony between His creations.]




Now the reason why the Tzaddikim are in the world of Beriah is as stated in the Zohar that “In Beriah, Binah the understanding and comprehension of G-dliness is found there…” and thus this is the reward for those souls that served G-d though their comprehension.


The souls rewards

The soul’s rewards

However the souls that aroused their instinctive love for G-d, they go to the world of Yetzirah, and on Shabbos and Yom Tov elevate to the world of Beriah.

Now the question could be asked, on what basis do they elevate to the world of Beriah when the angels who also serve with a natural love do not go up to that world, and seemingly their service is the same?

The answer is that the souls that elevate to the world of Beriah receive this reward for they have freedom of choice, and they chose to ignore their instincts for bad – in order to draw down G-d’s light into this world, so they have the benefit of uniting G-d in this world, which is why they receive this reward.

The angels Torah Study

The angels’ Torah Study

Now the Torah study of the angels goes up to the world of Beriah – as it is intellectual – and in fact even unifies with G-d, through the world of Atzilus which unlike the Torah study of the Tzaddikim, for whom it remains a garment for them, within the world of Beriah.

The reward for the meditations

The bottom line is that there are two types of meditations that cause a practical performance of Mitzvos, the higher level is one whose meditation in G-d’s greatness causes his love to do Mitzvahs in order to unite with G-d and the second is the person who arouses his innate love for G-d; as proven that every Jew wants to give up their life for G-d and thus they arouse this innate love and thus do Mitzvos out of this love and do not do sins, out of fear of separation.

Now a Jew who serves G-d with the higher level of love goes to the higher level of Beriah.

The second meditation – the lower one – takes one after life to the world of Yetzirah.


“No mans land”

Now the world of Atzilus is where the greatest wisdom of G-d’s unity and singularity is found; if a human would elevate into this world then he would be nullified out of existence, and thus G-d in His kindness minimized to an exceptionally low level His wisdom so that the Beings in Beriah can understand, but a fraction.

However there are a few, very few Tzaddikim that their level of serving G-d is even higher than rational thought – for in Atzilus no rational thought can grasp the wisdom, as it is not so concealed, to allow for a rational mind to comprehend it, as it is in Bereiah – and these are the souls like Avraham, Yitzchok, and Yaakov who were Merkavahs – merely vehicles for Divine expression their entire life, and thus through their humility they can unite with G-d in Atzilus.

However someone who cannot attain this simple completely dedicated service to G-d, His soul will be in the world of Beriah – obviously having served G-d from great love due to an intellectual born mediation  – but once in a while at a pleasing time to G-d their soul will elevate within the world of Atzilus.


When Torah and Mitzvos do not elevate

However we cannot speak about the great work of the Tzaddikim that can serve G-d humbly all their life, as we are not on their level and thus we have the two levels of  meditations born from contemplation and the meditation born from the intrinsic love. However someone who does Mitzvahs not because of the meditation – perhaps out of habit – then his Torah study or Mitzvah remains in this world, and is not elevated.

The story is told of the Baal Shem Tov who came into a room where many scholars were studying Torah, but stated “I cannot enter this room, because it is full of Torah”, this was no compliment for their Torah had not elevated to the spiritual worlds, and thus he refused to enter.

Now if someone is studying Torah for a selfish reason, then the Torah actually gets enclothed in the kelipah – for example studying for the recognition one can get.

Unfortunately this is how some Yeshivas tell their students to study “in order to become the greatest, most well known Halachic authority” – then as mentioned, the Torah gets exiled within the kelipah.

Now if someone does not study Torah for any selfish reason, rather because this is how he was brought up – and even if there is natural fear of G-d, as he was so to say indoctrinated from young, nonetheless this is not called studying Torah Lishmah. Studying Torah “Lishmah” is a very important thing, for then it elevates.

Studying Lishmah is to unite with G-d and as mentioned it then gets elevated to various worlds and becomes a reward for him.

Now when someone does something for someone else, there can either be a love – for example that person had done him a favor – or fear that the person might hurt him.

But this is not a hidden subconscious love or fear, it is a conscious love and fear.

Now in order for this love and fear to be revealed, there must be one of the two above-mentioned meditations, otherwise it is not considered Lishmah.

However although someone may be studying Torah or praying out of habit sake, or for an ulterior motive – they should nonetheless do it! The reason is because when they will repent – if it was done for an ulterior motive – or when they relearn the same subject matter when it was done out of habit, the Torah then gets elevated and goes into holiness.

And we know that everyone will repent whether in this lifetime or another.


Chapter 40


The following 2 ideas are introduced / explained in this chapter:

  1. Lishmah – To Unify With G-d
  2. Ying Yang



Lishmah – To Unify With G-d

Now Torah study that is done for the sake of becoming recognized – meaning for ulterior motives, does not get elevated at all, and remains in this world – but Torah study that is done out of habit – or at least not for a negative reason gets elevated to the outside chambers of the world of Yetzirah, where Malachim are created from Torah study, that is done without the high motive of Lishmah – to unify with G-d through it.

Now when a person does Torah and Mitzvos and prays with Kavanah – with the intent of unifying with G-d, this acts as wings to elevate the Torah and Mitzvos where it is unified in the absolute will of G-d within the world of Yetzirah or Beriah, however if one does not have an intention – they are merely doing it by rote – then it is like a bird without wings – it cannot fly upwards.


Ying Yang

Ying Yang

Nonetheless the entire purpose of the wings – the love and fear – is actually for the Mitzvah itself, for this draws G-d within this world which is His desire.

This is what the prophet states, “Whoever is thirsty they should go drink water” which would seem obvious, but what it means is that sometimes a person desires to connect to G-d – all they need to do is open up a Torah book and study, and they will unify with G-d in an infinitely close and loving bond.


Chapter 41

The necessary fear / reverence


The following 9 ideas are introduced / explained in this chapter:

  1. The beginning of service of G-d
  2. You Are Being Recorded
  3. Meditating on this meditation
  4. Son and Servant
  5. Everyone needs to be a Servant
  6. A higher level of fear / reverence
  7. Lisheim Yichud
  8. When to Meditate
  9. Why to have this Meditation


The beginning of service of G-d

The beginning of service of G-d

Now the Alter Rebbe goes back to a fundamental point of serving G-d – for all the chapters up till now discussed the development of the two meditations how to see G-d’s greatness or feel an intrinsic dedication to G-d and the primary focus is obviously on the love for G-d – however it is not enough to have a love for G-d, there must also be at least the basic fear of G-d which the Alter Rebbe calls, the beginning of service of G-d.

You Are Being Recorded

G-d is testing you

And the method to do this is by realizing that G-d is everywhere, as mentioned – and the world was created for each and every person! And therefore G-d is hovering above them and testing their heart and intentions to see if they are serving Him [for when one realizes this, one certainly does not want to do something wrong, cognizant as they are that G-d is watching them.

It should be mentioned that this is also one of the twelve sayings that the Rebbe had every Jew or child learn by-heart – for this saying teaches a necessary awareness. This is just like someone who is being watched, who does not want to do something wrong in front of others; however when the same person is alone, s/he doesn’t mind… for its actually the fear of shame or punishment, that is stopping them.

Now it is only because we forget that G-d is watching us that we sin, if we were cognizant of the fact that G-d is always watching us, then no one would ever do something contrary to G-d’s desires.

The Baal Shem Tov teaches, that when one has a Rebbe it is easy to have this level of fear of G-d, in fact, sometimes the Rebbe and other Rebbes also told people who wanted advice on how to have fear of G-d to picture – or these days, carry a picture of a Previous Rebbe – obviously a picture of the Rebbe Himself would work too; and when one has a Rebbe then as the Baal Shem Tov mentioned – it is easy to come to this level of fear of G-d, which is necessary to be a good Jew.]

Meditating on this meditation

The necessary extent of this meditation

Now the Alter Rebbe says, one should think this meditation for a long time until he is prepared to see Himself like a servant to G-d – to do any service / desire G-d requires of Him.

And before a person does a Mitzvah they should meditate on this concept to the extent possible – for example, before putting on Teffilin or putting on a Tallis and accepting the kingdom of G-d.

By this the Alter Rebbe means: to accept that one is like a servant to G-d, and G-d is their king.

They should further realize how the mitzvah draws G-d within them

When they put on Teffilin they unify with G-d’s wisdom and they then dedicate their faculty of wisdom to G-d, throughout the day, when in prayer, in Shemah, one dedicates their emotions of love and reverence to G-d, and similarly unites it with G-d, and when one puts on a Tallis, then one draws G-d’s rulership over them.

It is not enough to love G-d, one must also have this fear of sinning before G-d.

And then as the Zohar states, this acts as a wing to elevate their Mitzvos to G-d.

Son and Servant

This is what is meant that a person must be both a son as well as a servant to G-d; a son is the attribute of love which we discussed at length before, and a servant is the current meditation to induce the fear of sin before G-d.


Everyone needs to be a Servant

Now even if one is not capable of arousing a fear of G-d due to the lowness of his soul coming from the ten sefiros of Assiyah – i.e. not higher – nonetheless, one should still have the above meditation to be a servant to G-d, for there are two separate Mitzvos of the Torah, one is to fear G-d, the other is to be a servant to G-d – which is certainly within any person’s choice of behavior.

Now the truth is there is some fear of G-d – which is a necessary Mitzvah as mentioned – even to one who has not managed to arouse a permanent state of awe and humility before G-d through the above mentioned meditation.

The reason for this is, as while he is doing the meditation, there is some kind of feeling of fear of G-d, at that time.

[In other words, the Alter Rebbe is reverting to what he states in chapter three, that a real meditation would create lasting results, however although this person cannot seem to create lasting results, at least he has induced this fear of G-d during the actual meditation.]

This is similar to what Rabbi Yochanan Ben Zakai told his disciples before he passed away “May it be the will of G-d that you should fear G-d as much as you fear man,” and they replied “Is that it?” he said “I will prove this to you, for when a man sins he thinks, ‘I hope no one is watching me.’”

In other words this a lower level of fear, the fear of being caught / seen.

A higher level of fear / reverence

Fear of Shame

The higher level of fear is a worry to not be ashamed by G-d’s disapproval – one would not sin in front of the Rebbe, not out of fear of punishment, for the Rebbe wasn’t going to punish anyone, but one certainly did not want to disappoint the Rebbe.

Now fear is a necessary perquisite for the mitzvahs to ascend to heaven, for without it, it is like a bird with only one wing – the wing of love, and a person cannot fly to the world of Yetzirah with only one wing; they need two wings and thus at the very least there must be the fear and love which are natural.

And this love is the motivation / meditation before learning or doing a mitzvah that one is doing it to unite with G-d;

Lisheim Yichud

Uniting G-d and all Jews

However a person should not be selfish and they should meditate that this union is to unite G-d not only with their soul but with the source of all Jewish souls – Malchus of Atzilus, which is also called Shechinah, for it’s the life force of everything, including the very breath that speaks words of Torah and does Mitzvos.

And this is the famous concept of uniting G-d with his Shechinah which is achieved through Mitzvos [many people actually say this “mantra” before doing any Mitzvah – but Chabad say this once a day before Baruch She-amer and this works for all the Mitzvos done throughout the day – perhaps there is a difference if one is Kabbalist or a normal person, when this obligation is not present and thus works automatically.]

And this is truly a great desire and pleasure for G-d, for then G-d the source of Torah and Mitzvos unites with the essence of the Jewish soul – Malchus of Atzilus.


When to Meditate

When to have this meditation

And this meditation that one wants to unite with G-d and be one with Him, is within the nature of every Jew, and one should have this meditation before they do a Mitzvah as mentioned; furthermore when they study Torah, the Benoini must have this mediation [for otherwise it will not go up to G-d;] Now this meditation should be done every hour on the hour when a Benoini is studying [if he is studying at length,] the reason is for every hour there is another radiation of G-d’s name which enlivens the world.

[If I understand correctly thus there is a new need to reinstate the reason why the person is doing the Torah study.]


Why to have this Meditation

Now the reason why one desires this unity for G-d should be altruistically, for G-d’s sake.

Could you imagine the great joy that a king would get to greet his son after being imprisoned by terrorists and held hostage somewhere – this is the great joy one gives G-d at returning their soul – through the study of Torah – to G-d.

Furthermore one should make time to think about the greatness of G-d as mentioned before, and then perhaps maybe etc.; [if I understand correctly… obviously one needs a very great love to do something altruistically, so in order that their love and the reason they study should be for G-d’s pleasure as mentioned – the return of the prince to the king…. – one needs to meditate on deeply loving meditations for G-d, and then perhaps they will be successful in this.]

Chapter 42


The following 6 ideas are introduced / explained in this chapter:

  1. Fear of G-d is easy
  2. How to gain trust
  3. The effort
  4. There is an eye that sees and ear that hears
  5. An hour a day keeps the Yezter Hara away
  6. Training the mind


Fear of G-d is easy

Based on what we wrote before about Yirah Tattah – the lower level of reverence for G-d – one is feeling a sense of fear of G-d – like the fear of getting caught [not the constant awareness that G-d is watching and “I don’t want him to be displeased with my actions” which is the higher level of fear….]

Regarding this level, Moses told the Jewish people “What does G-d want from you already, just to fear him.”

The Talmud asks, “What kind of question is that? Because fear of G-d is really not such a simple matter!?” [as is evidenced by peoples behavior.]

So the Talmud replies “It is a small thing for Moses.”

The Alter Rebbe queries this, for seemingly the statement of Moses was to all the Jewish people!

So what benefit is there in saying that it is a small matter for Moses, when Moses is speaking about what G-d wants from all the Jewish people, and he refers to it as a simple thing?

But the matter is as follows, for every soul of the Jewish people has some of the level of Moshe Rabeinu in him, for he is one of the seven shepherds, that draw down life and G-dliness to Jewish souls which is why they are called shepherds (for they shepherd this life-force and G-dliness into Jewish souls).

And Mosheh Rabeinu is the generality of all of the shepherds [meaning the source soul of all of them] and he was called “The faithful shepherd” which means that he brings about trust to the Jewish people – to trust in G-d – each person according to their capacity.

[This is reminiscent of a story that Leiblele, the scion of the famous Talmudist Akivah Eiger and his distinguished son Shlomoh Eiger went to a Chassidic Rebbe when he was young to study. When he came back after five years of study, his father asked him “What did you learn there?” “I learned that there is a G-d in the world,” he replied. “Did you have to go to a Chassidic Rebbe for five years to learn that?” replied his incredulous father, he called over the maid girl, and asked her if there is G-d in the world. “Of course” she replied. “She says there is a G-d, I know there is a G-d!” he replied.

In other words, Rebbes give us an absolute certainty that there is a G-d.

In fact in Shaar Hayichud Veha-emunah the Alter Rebbe quotes that G-d desired to create the world with judgment – meaning that He would be hidden – however He introduced mercy, meaning He revealed Himself, so people could know of Him and do good.

This revelation comes about through the miracles recorded in the Torah and the Tzaddikim of every generation.

The Rebbe took a completely secular world by storm and through his Divine intervention He proved that there is a G-d.

Chassidim of a Rebbe know there is a G-d, whereby unfortunately in many other Yeshivos they question the very truth that they learn – for they have no proof of it, for this proof is not shown to them; and thus the job of a Rebbe – a Mosheh Rabeinu – is to bring out the Jews inner knowledge, and trust in G-d, to the extent that it effects their day to day behavior.]

How to gain trust

Now every soul to the extent that it’s attached to Mosheh Rabeinu or the Mosheh Rabeinu of the generation – this is the extant that their trust in G-d is strong, for Mosheh Rabeinu’s soul is rooted in the knowledge of G-d in Heaven, in the ten sefiros of Atzilus – which is one with their Creator, G-d, and He and His wisdom are one – as we mentioned before. [So in effect to connect to a Rebbe is to connect to G-d Himself. This is why it nurtures the faith in G-d and as the Rebbe mentioned in the description of the role of a Rebbe, which is be a role model of a G-dly existence.]

Furthermore additionally in every generation sparks of Mosheh Rabeinu’s soul, come down and are enclothed in the scholars of the generation, to teach the knowledge of G-d to the people and to know of G-d’s greatness and to serve him heart and soul; for serving G-d with heart is based on one’s internal knowledge, as it is written “Know G-d your father and serve Him with a complete heart” [meaning to the extent that one knows G-d’s greatness is the extent that one’s heart is complete with him].

And to serve G-d with desire and in the times of Moshiach it speaks that man will not need to teach their friends about G-d “for all will know me” etc.

But the essence of knowledge is not only the information, to know the greatness of G-d from books and teachers, rather the main thing is to truly contemplate the greatness of G-d and to attach ones thoughts in G-d with vigor and alacrity – to the point that one’s thoughts are united with G-d, with a strong bond; as if it connects to a physical object that one sees, and one contemplates. [When one sees a physical object that they are not familiar with, say a new invention and they really begin to contemplate it so a. the idea is very real to them because they see it and b. because they contemplate it, it integrates within them].

As is known that the whole idea of knowledge – daas – is to unite ones thought, as it states, and Adam united with Chava etc.

And this ability to unite ones thoughts with G-d – every Jew possesses! As it draws energy from the soul of Moshe Rabeinu, who seeing, that soul has come into a body, it needs a great amount of effort to actualize this.


The effort

Firstly the effort to help the body; and spiritually crush it, that it shouldn’t conceal the light of the soul – as we mentioned before in the name of the Zohar, that a body that the light of the soul does not shine in it, one breaks it – which is through deep thoughts of remorse from the depths of the heart, as mentioned before [all of this humbles the person and allows the soul’s light to shine through].

Secondly the effort of the soul that it shouldn’t get tired out from contemplating about G-d for a continuous hour – to delve deeply into and to think about the greatness of G-d; for this length of an hour is different to different people – there are some souls that due to their lucky nature, merit when it contemplates about the greatness of G-d it feels a sense of awe and dread for G-d, as it is written in Shulchan Aruch Orech Chayaim, that when one contemplates that The Great King, The King of Kings, G-d, Whose Presence fills the entire world, is standing over Him and sees what He is doing, immediately He will receive fear of sinning – and then there is a lower soul by nature, coming from the lower level of the ten sefiros of Assiyah, and it cannot fear G-d without great great effort and difficulty, and especially if one sinned through youthful sins. [The Alter Rebbe is referring to seminal emission.] For sins create barriers which do not allow the soul access to its pristine clear knowledge of G-d.

Nonetheless if one really tries and really concentrates on the greatness of G-d for an hour or longer – certainly at least the lower level of fear will come to a person, as our sages state “If you try, you will succeed” and as it is written “if you will search for G-d as one searches for a buried treasure, you will then understand the fear of G-d”; meaning that just like when one is searching for a treasure in the depths of the ground… that he digs for it with great effort, similarly one needs to work very hard to reveal their inherent treasure of fear of G-d  which is buried and hidden in the knowledge of their heart; within every Jew, which is higher than time – and this is the natural fear mentioned earlier [that one does not want to separate from G-d.]

There is an eye that sees and ear that hears

Now although it is “within the heart” in order that it should leave the higher than time hidden status, and enter into an actual potential, whereby it affects a person’s behavior to not sin in thought, speech and action – thus a person needs to contemplate how G-d is always watching them and eventually this will lead to this recognition, within the time continuum – in their personal reality, and they will achieve this most important goal.

This is what the Mishnah states “Always be aware there is an eye that sees, and ear that hears, and everything you do is written in a book”.

And although G-d obviously doesn’t have a body, nonetheless everything is so much clearer to him than what the eye or the ear can see or hear with its limited ability – for just as someone knows internally and within their mind the heat and cold that is affecting their body – even if they couldn’t see a nail of theirs burning, they would certainly feel it… similarly G-d feels everything that everyone does for everything comes for Him.

Now this is only a parable to make a person understand how G-d knows everything without having a physical eye – however the truth is that the difference between the example and the lesson is that in the example, the soul is affected by what happens to the body – the persons nail burring will effect the thought processes of the soul – for the soul places itself in the soul of life, which is affected by the trials and pain of the body – but G-d is not affected in any way by what happens in the world – meaning He understands and knows it and can feel it, as mentioned before, but it cannot cause him physical pain – the suns heat doesn’t cause G-d to get hot…

An hour a day keeps the Yezter Hara away


Now every person should take an hour of the day and think about this in great depth [obviously if someone can arouse this fear in a moment as mentioned before, it wouldn’t be necessary – however most souls in our generation are on a very low level and thus would need a complete hour] and the idea is that G-d fills everything and feels everything, and thus “every thought I have and everything I say and do is being felt and makes a permanent impression in heaven.”

When a person truly integrates this information through an hours meditation then in the end of the day, they will be able to alert this fear at any time, through even just a slight thought about it.

So the beginning of the day when this meditation is done allows the person to bring it into their subconscious and then a person can reactivate it any time during the day through just a slight contemplation.

Now this is what was said by Rabbi Yochanan Ben Zakai earlier.

And this is the answer as well regarding the question that Moshe Rabeinu said, that fear is not difficult – for he was talking about a fear that would lead in a practical manner to not sinning and to doing good in thought, speech and action and as-mentioned through this process, each and every person can achieve this necessary fear of G-d;

This is the lower level of fear as mentioned – for it is the fear of not to be caught and relative to the level of knowledge of G-d – the Mosheh within every Jew – it truly is a very simple thing to achieve [for knowledge connects the secrets of the heart to be revealed in one’s thought as is known to Kabbalists.]

Additionally one should recall that when it comes say to the President of the United States, the fear [perhaps this actually works better in the example of a king] is from the essence of the individual, as we see that when he is sleeping, there is nothing to fear.

Now although one cannot see the essence of another, but it is apparent through the intellect – one sees the king and His clothing and knows that there is a life / soul / essence within them, thus similarly one should fear G-d, seeing the physical universe, the heaven and the earth and knowing there must be a life-force behind it, for G-d is behind it to create it [similarly one can understand G-d’s greatness, for the Shechinah is in the west and all the heavenly hosts – the sun and the stars, set in the west, as they are bowing to G-d’s glory; now even if one does not see the King Himself, but just saw how all the ministers and courtiers bowed to him, he too would bow in awe for the respect given to the king;]

Now although G-d is enclothed in the physical world through many concealments and clothing to hide his power and infinity, nonetheless it wouldn’t make a difference if a person sees a king naked, wearing a nightshirt or wearing many layers of clothing…. for it is the king himself / his soul and essence that one is afraid of – similarly all of the garments that conceal God does not take away from the fact that this is G-ds essence.

Training the mind

And a person should accustom themselves to this meditation, seeing everything, the sky, earth, and everything therein as only the garment, but within it is G-d Himself who creates, and then through practicing this – this is similar to the word Emunuh, faith, for Emunah also comes from the word to train, like a craftsman that trains his hands, so he can do something almost automatically – and thus the more one pictures G-d within nature, he will eventually see G-d all the time.

  1. I should mention an amazing thing that I read, the Rebbe Rashab said to the Friedikeh Rebbe “The true delight is when one gets their senses to see G-dliness” [meaning, it is one thing to think of G-d in the mind, there is obviously a pleasure in knowing that everything is G-d; but when one trains their very eyes to see G-d everywhere, this is where true pleasure arrives.]

Furthermore, one needs to keep in mind the statement of our sages: to place upon yourself the kingdom of G-d – accepting G-d as king and this is why we bow down in the Shemoina Esrie, meaning after we have theoretically accepted G-d in Shemah, as our king and savior, we then put it into practice bowing down [I think what the Alter Rebbe is saying, that once we have the theory, we then need to have the action.]

Chapter 43


The following 2 ideas are introduced / explained in this chapter:

  1. Awe through nature
  2. Beyond Nature


Awe through nature

The lower level

Now the method to serving G-d is to at least start with the lower level of fear which is born of the meditations of the greatens of G-d – the exactitude and multitude in nature, how many species there are, the distance of galaxies etc.

However this is called a lower level of fear, for this fear is limited, based on the fact that it is only of the garments of the king [meaning, nature but not the king himself.]


Beyond Nature

The Higher Level

However a higher level of fear is called Yiras Boshes, a recognition that everything is completely nullified out of existence within G-d as mentioned; but this level of fear can only come if it is preceded by the lower level of fear.

Now there are two levels of love: Ahava Rabba, and Ahavas Olam.

Ahava Rabba is a very high level, but Ahavas Olam which is a love based on G-d’s greatness in nature etc. can come to anyone, however it too must first be preceded by the lower level of fear.

In other words, before a person arrives at the great idea of loving G-d, there first must be at least a basic fear to not sin, similar to the saying first do no harm…


Chapter 44

The following 4 ideas are introduced / explained in this chapter:

  1. Don’t neglect Ahavas Olam
  2. An even higher love
  3. A New Love Meditation
  4. Don’t neglect Ahavas Olam

A New Love Meditation

A New Love Meditation

Now these two levels of Ahavah Rabbah and Ahavas Olam (the higher and lower level of love) gets subdivided into millions of different categories, as every person G-d attaches to according to what they feel in their heart [I think this means that just like love is a reciprocal feeling, and thus the more you love someone the more they love you back – and just as everyone is different, so too the love that everyone creates, will be a different level – and thus according to the Zohar, G-d reflects back a similar level of love to that person – or perhaps the meaning is that everyone creates a love similar to their meditation.)

This is also why love and fear are called the secret of the heart [for its only known to G-d;] while Torah and Mitzvos are called revealed [for everyone can see a fellow who studies Torah and does a Mitzvah.]

For there is but one Torah and Mitzvos when they are done in the physical world [meaning one way to put on Teffilin etc.] however with what’s going on in the heart, it is always dependent on the mind that creates the love.

However there is one love which is combined of both Ahava Rabbah and Ahavas Olam and this is fit for everyone to have, and is an inheritance to every Jew.

And this is what is written in the Zohar, that one feels that G-d and Himself are one.

And this is what is written “My soul longs for you etc.” Meaning “Seeing that you G-d are my life, and my true life, thus I long for you (this is as one’s soul comes from G-d…) meaning that I desire you just as one desires their own life! and just as when one is sick or in pain, they desire that their soul return to them i.e. their energy etc. – and similarly when one goes to sleep one desires that their soul return to them in the morning, similarly I desire the light of G-d, the life of life to bring it down within me through study of the Torah when I arise in the night [or when I happen to wake up in the middle of the night] for G-d and the Torah are one.

In other words, the reason this individual desires to study Torah is as the Torah is one with G-d, and as they desire their own life, thus they desire to internalize G-d – their own life within themselves.

As the Zohar writes there, that a Jew should ask G-d to have Him arise nightly to study Torah until the morning etc.

An even higher love

And a higher love then this – and it is also hidden within every Jew’s heart as an inheritance from our fathers – this is what is written in Rayeh Mehemna [part of Kabbalah] that it is like a son who supports his father and mother, that he loves them more than himself etc. for we all have one father. [I believe the Alter Rebbe means by this, that as all souls come from one father, thus a Jew cares for G-d like a son for his father].

And although who can dare approach even a thousandth of the love of the Rayeh Mehemna [for as mentioned earlier this is the great love of the highest Tzaddikim:]

However something of it does shine to all souls in every generation as it is written that the reincarnation of Moses is in every generation and this shines to the souls of Israel on high – but this radiance is very concealed by all Jews, and to come from the subconscious to the conscious, to be revealed in his heart and his mind, this is not a very difficult thing to achieve; rather it is very easy in one’s mouth and heart.

This means that a person should always say – thus arousing their hearts and the mind to contemplate with their thought process on the life of all life, G-d – that He is literally our Father, our True Father, and the source of our life, and to arouse for Him a love, as a son loves His Father.

And when one will constantly say this ( “G-d I love you like a son loves his father, for you are the source of my soul, and all life, and as you are the source of life, you are the true father of all mankind, myself included”…) habit becomes reality; in other words, once a person accustoms themselves to this love, then the love becomes a reality in their life.

And although a person might think that this is only a fantasy of love [the difference between real love and fantasy of love is that real love never dissipates, while fantasies dissipate] nonetheless one should not be bothered by this, for in fact it is the truth in its own right.

At least at the level of its hidden love, but the benefit of bringing it into the conscious mind is in order to arouse a love that will propel one to positive actions which is the study of Torah and keeping Mitzvos that one studies and learns through the motivation of this love, in order to create a delight (Naches) for G-d like a son for a father.

And regarding this kind of love, our sages state, a good thought G-d attaches it to action, to become wings to elevate it – as mentioned earlier.

And the delight (Naches) this causes G-d, is similar to the joy a king would receive upon receiving his son, who was released from captivity, as mentioned before – or another motivation this level of love can propel, is studying Torah and doing Mitzvos, in order to create for G-d a dwelling place below, as mentioned before.

Now also to this level that “My soul longs for you” mentioned above, it is very easy for someone to achieve – to arouse this love to leave the recesses of the heart into a full-blown actual love, through constantly repeating it in one’s speech and then his heart will agree.

However if one for whatever reason cannot get it into the revealed “light of the day” nonetheless one can still serve G-d, doing Torah and Mitzvos to connect to Him (lishmah) through picturing this love in his imagination, and a good thought G-d connects to action etc.

Now these two levels of love, although they are an inheritance from our fathers (meaning genetically passed on to us) as an instinct in our souls, and also the fear which is included in them, which is the fear of being separated from the source of our life, and our truth, our beloved Father G-d – nonetheless they are not referred to as natural love and fear [in contradistinction to the natural love and fear discussed at length before.] They are only referred to as an instinctive love when they are in one’s mind and thoughts and recesses of their heart – and then their place is in the ten Sefiros of Yetzirah and they elevate to Yetzirah – the Torah and Mitzvos that come as a result of them, and which were caused by them;

However when they are in the revealed part of one’s heart, it is called Re-usah D’libah in the Zohar, and their place is in the ten sefiros of Beriah, and they take to there the Torah and Mitzvos, that were caused by them.

For when they leave the recesses of the heart to the level of revelation, this is through the level of knowledge – and to truly concentrate and meditate from the depths of the heart all the time how G-d is actually our life and our true father.

And it is known what is written in Tikkunim, that in the world of Beriah, the supernal Binah pulsates there – which is the meditation of G-d as the Life of All Life, and as the statement of Eliyahu, “Binah is the heart and through it the heart knows.”

Don’t neglect Ahavas Olam

And furthermore these two levels of love mentioned above are comprised of the levels of Ahavah Rabbah and are higher than fear and love born of meditation, for love was called before Ahavas Olam (meaning love born of seeing G-d’s grandeur in nature, which is an intellectually motivated love) nonetheless one needs to work hard to achieve the prior mentioned Ahavas Olam as well [in order to not only have this higher level of love, which is that G-d is your life, but also the lower level – the level born of a meditation of G-d’s greatness]. For this adds fire to the bonfire of love within ones heart, to become an open revealed flame, leaping heavenward to the highest heavens, and thus no water will be able to extinguish it etc. and no river will be able put it out etc. for there is a benefit to a flaming loving fire which comes from the great understanding of G-d’s wisdom, knowledge and greatness etc. like the benefit of gold over silver etc. – as will be explained later.

And also (it is necessary to have this meditation creating a love born of G-d’s greatness from nature) for this is the entire purpose of man to get to know the glory of G-d and the preciousness of His greatness by each and every person to their capacity as is written in Rayeh Mehemna, that the world was created, so the creations could comprehend G-dliness or G-d’s glory (through recognizing the greatness of nature, as well as the millions of angels serving G-d etc.) as is known.

Chapter 45


The following 4 ideas are introduced / explained in this chapter:

  1. Torah Lishmah
  2. Unifying with G-d
  3. Kissing G-d
  4. Ahavah Rabbah


Torah Lishmah

A method to study Torah for its sake

Another direct method that one can employ to study Torah Lishmah is through the style of Yaakov which is the way of mercy / compassion to arouse first (before study) great mercy on one’s soul before G-d.

Meaning on the spark of G-d that gives life to His soul – which left its source, the life of all life G-d, who fills all worlds and encompasses all worlds, and all is like not even a speck of dust to Him, and descends into a serpent’s skin (i.e. the body – which is the greatest distance possible from the King of Kings – for this world is the height for arrogant kelipos.)

And especially when one thinks of all of their thoughts that were not for G-d, so it is like a king bound in the dungeon of their impure thoughts, chained there against his will.

For this is like the example of a rope that when one pulls it, the other side comes toward him, and as this spark of G-d is connected to G-d, it is like puling G-d into the filthy dungeon.

And this is the secret of the exile of the Shechinah [it says that when the Jews went into exile the Shechinah went into exile as well, meaning that when a Jew’s mind is into rubbish, this draws G-d so to say within rubbish as well.]

And this is what it states “He returned to G-d and He had mercy on him,” meaning that a person arouses great mercy on the name Havayeh [the four letter name of G-d] who dwells within us and to have mercy on it, is as it is written “Who dwells with them in their impurity;” that G-d dwells within the Jew even when they are impure.

And this is what the verse means when it says that Jacob kissed Rochel and raised his voice and wept.

For Rochel refers to the source of all Jewish souls.

And Yaakov in His original source, or His attribute, is the level of Rachamim / mercy in Atzilus, so He arose mercy for her.

And “He raises his voice,” this means, He goes higher than the source of mercy in Atzilus on her behalf.

Which means He goes to G-d and arouses mercy that she should be one with G-d, that their minds and their souls should be one with G-d through the study of Torah and their mouths and their actions one with Him, through their performance of Mitzvos.


Unifying with G-d

The unity with G-d through kindness / charity

This refers especially to the Mitzvoh of kindness and Tzedakah.

For Chesed is G-d’s right hand and is literally a hug as it is written, “His right hand will hug me.”

Kissing G-d

The unity with G-d through Torah study

And studying Torah with one’s mouth, and thinking deeply into it with one’s mind, this is literally like kissing G-d.

Ahavah Rabbah

Great Love

Now through this one can come to the level of Ahavah Rabba in a revealed sense, feeling it in one’s heart as it is written “Yaakov who redeemed Avraham” as it is explained elsewhere.

Chapter 46

The following 8 ideas are introduced / explained in this chapter:

  1. G-d’s Love For Us
  2. Emotions Mirror Each Other
  3. G-d did this for us
  4. G-d and I
  5. Asher Kideeshanu Bmitzvosov
  6. Vheyisem Kedoshim
  7. Spiritual Numbness
  8. The Holiness of Shabbos and Holidays


G-d’s Love For Us

Arousing a reciprocal love for G-d

And there is another method, especially easy for every Jew – to arouse the love for G-d to the point to have complete sacrifice for G-d – even to the extent of their body itself, and especially during the Shema, and it’s blessings – to arouse this level of love, as we will explain.


Emotions Mirror Each Other

Love induces love

This is when one will contemplate what the verse states that “just as a face is reflected in water, similarly peoples’ hearts reflect the other.”

Meaning just as when one looks into a mirror they will see the face that peers into the mirror, similarly hearts mirror each other – that when one person truly loves the other, this will be reflected back in the others heart – especially when he sees him doing things out of love for him.

Unexpected Love

Now this is the normal behavior between people, even if they are on the same level – how much more so if a great king [or say the President] shows great love to a humble lowly person lying in the gutters.

And the king goes to him leaving his palace and all his ministers and uplifts him and brings him to his private chamber, where no other servant or minister is allowed to enter, and unites with him there, with true feelings of friendship and with his entire heart and hugs him, and gives him a kiss – and their souls connect – thus how much more so would such love be reciprocated.

And this low person would feel an incredible infinite love for the king, for having elevated him out of the gutters, due to his love for this person.

And even if he has a heart of stone, it will surely melt and flow like water, with an outpouring of love for the king.


G-d did this for us

How the redemption from Egypt is like a King leaving his private chambers to uplift someone lying in the gutters

Now this scene is what took place but on an infinitely grander scale when we recognize that G-d whose presence fills the entire earth, and He is above it as well, and there are infinite! rooms in heaven, and each one has millions of angels as it is written in the Gemarah “Is there an end to his legions?” And it is written “a million serve, and tens of millions are before Him etc.” and the Gemarah explains, “a million etc. is only one troop” but there is an infinite number of troops!! and all of this is nothing to G-d, and it is all nullified like the thought which is in the content stage within the heart or mind, as mentioned at length before… and all these angels ask “Where is the place of G-d’s glory” [presence] and they reply “He fills the entire earth;” referring to G-d’s special nation the Jewish people.

For G-d abandons heaven and earth and did not choose any of them, except for Israel His people, and He redeemed them from Egypt the most despicable land [morally,] in the world; a low place and an immoral place and He did not do this through an angel etc. but He Himself went there as it is written “And I went down to redeem etc.” In order to unify them in a close bond and a true unity, a unity of their soul, at the level of a kiss, mouth to mouth so to speak, for the word of G-d which is the Halachohs is considered His mouth, and the attachment of spirit to spirit which is through the knowledge of the Torah, and knowing G-d’s will and His wisdom which is one with G-d Himself.

And He also hugged us, for this is when we fulfill the physical Mitzvos with our 248 limbs which are the 248 commandments corresponding to G-d’s 248 “limbs” as mentioned before.

And in general, this is divided into three: the level of right, left, and middle, which is kindness, judgment and mercy – two arms and a torso in-between etc. – this is a hug.

And this is what is said, “Who sanctified us with His commandments, just like a person sanctifies a woman to be united with Him with a complete unity, as it is written “And man shall cleave to His wife, and they should become one.”


G-d and I

The unity of the G-dly soul with G-d during Torah study and Mitzvah performance

Similarly and even more so is the unity of the G-dly soul that is engaging in Torah and Mitzvos and the soul of life and its garments as mentioned earlier unified within G-d during this time.

And this is why King Solomon described this unity allegorically in Shir-Hashirim like the unity of a Chasan and Kallah, bride and groom, with love and zest.

Asher Kideeshanu Bmitzvosov

“who has sanctified us with his Mitzvos”

And this is what is said “who has sanctified us with His Mitzvos,” for through them G-d elevates us to the highest realms of holiness within Himself, to the level of Sovev Kol Almin, which is so high that it cannot garb itself in the world.

And this is the word sanctified / “kodesh” for kodesh means something beyond.

For through the unity of the soul and its joining the light of the ein-sof (G-d) it literally achieves the holiness of the G-dly light (meaning G-d) as it is unified and joined completely with it then, and they become one.

Vheyisem Kedoshim

“you should be holy for I am G-d your G-d”

And this is what is written “And you should be holy, for I am G-d your G-d” etc., meaning that through keeping the Mitzvos, I become your G-d, just as I am the G-d of Abraham, the G-d of Isaac etc. and they were called this for they were a vehicle for G-d’s expression, and completely nullified and joined in His light.

And similarly within every Jew’s soul, when He studies Torah and does Mitzvos – even if he is a fool and ignorant – and thus our sages instructed us, to rise before anyone who is doing a Mitzvah for G-d is residing in his soul at that time.


Spiritual Numbness

Why we don’t feel it

The reason his soul doesn’t feel it is due to the coarseness of the body which has not become refined, and thus covers over the eyes of the soul from seeing G-d, as the forefathers did and others who saw their reward [the light that they brought into the world] in their lifetime. [Meaning they didn’t need to wait until Moshiach comes to see these lights].

And this is what it is written, that “although I am like an animal, I am with you.” Meaning, “although I cannot conceive of this meditation and see G-dliness, nonetheless when I do a mitzvah I am actually one with You” [Notwithstanding that like an animal, I don’t see or feel it – have higher perceptions.]


The Holiness of Shabbos and Holidays

The all-pervading unity during Shabbos and festivals

Now we can understand why it is so strict, for any Jew, even a simpleton and one who doesn’t understand anything, to keep Shabbos and not to eat Chometz on Pesach, which have punishments of Kores [a very severe soul excision;] because at these times the light of G-d is joining with their soul [and thus to desecrate Pesach or the Shabbos, they are defiling G-d who is within them at that time.]

Chapter 47

Leaving your personal Limitation / Egypt


The following idea is introduced / explained in this chapter:

  1. Leaving your limitation / Egypt


Leaving your limitation / Egpyt

A meditation and the obligation to leave Egypt daily [and the meaning of it]

The concept of leaving Egypt daily is [similar to what is mentioned in the last chapter] that the soul is bound in its own Egypt [mire] which is the body [which is full of negative desires empowered by the Kelipah, and this is a true dungeon for the soul].

Now when a person unites themselves with G-d during the recitation of Shemah [when they declare G-d’s absolute unity in this world, which is the idea of Echad – that G-d is one in the four corners [space] of the universe, and in the seven heavens and this physical universe,] then their soul immediately gets extracted out of their personal Egypt, and they unify with G-d as one.

Similarly when one studies Torah with this intention – soul and G-d unite in an infinite and vibrant unification.

The Alter Rebbe now implies an amazing concept, for he states that the only impediment to this absolute unity of man and G-d is man’s desire.

In other words because G-d is truly everywhere thus it is only man’s desire that can act as an impediment to his unity with G-d.

However the moment man desires this unity with G-d, then this becomes the reality, for it is the innate reality in any event.

Chapter 48

A reciprocal love meditation


The following idea is introduced / explained in this chapter:

  1. G-d’s Infinite Love For Us


G-d’s Infinite Love For Us

Now the Alter Rebbe expands on the themes of meditations that reveal G-d’s love for man which automatically in turn creates a reciprocal love from man to G-d.

When we contemplate how G-d’s light is infinite and due to its infinity there would be no way for there to be physical creations. [For we are limited – but infinity has no limits, for relative to infinity, even trillions is less than 1, compared to 1 and trillions, – for one compared to trillions have a relative quantity, no matter how minute but trillions compared to infinity has no relative quantity whatsoever!]

Now G-d retracted His infinite light primarily into three major contractions [meaning completely concealing the light and then just allowing a slight ray from one sphere to emanate into the next.] Generally speaking these are the worlds of Beriah, Yetzirah and Assiyah [for Atzilus is G-dliness and one with the infinite light].

Now although those worlds contain angels, and in the world of Beriah, they are angels that understand G-dliness, yet all of it is limited… for as they are finite, their comprehensions must be finite as well – yet the light there relative to the world of Yetzirah where the angels feel, but do not have such a great comprehension is far greater.

Now all of these creatures G-d leaves, and He unites with the Jew below.

For when a Jew studies Torah, particularly when we say the words out loud, we draw G-d down below in an infinite union [which is why we can’t see it, for then we would be nullified out of existence] and thus we see how much G-d loves us! for it is only us that he does this for.

This is what we say in the blessings before Shemah, that the angels above ask “where is the glory of G-d” [meaning, of G-d Himself, for it is not with them….] and they say “Blessed is the glory of G-d from its place.” Referring to the Jewish people down here below, both to their bodies and souls [for our bodies were also chosen to be unique, at Mount Sinai, and despite the fact that we look like gentiles, this is only in appearance but there is a great holiness vested in the Jewish body, as is evidenced that G-d’s name are represented in our bodies. Yud – the face, Hei the five fingers, Vov the torso / body, and Hei the five toes.]

Chapter 49 Ahavah Aza

The following idea is introduced / explained in this chapter:

  1. Ahava Aza


Ahava Aza

Another very powerful love meditation:

Although all the previous meditations to arouse love include the very high level of Ahava Rabbah [meaning a tremendous amount of love] nonetheless this meditation of Ahava Aza is far more powerful, like the benefit of gold over silver [meaning of an entirely higher category, for it comes from the level of Gevuros dekedushos.]

This is when one contemplates deeply – everyone to the extent they are capable of – in the fact that everything – both heavens and earth – is literally not even like a speck of dust to G-d.

[In other words His greatness and magnitude is such, that what seems so vast to us, is as if it doesn’t even exist.
For example, when a person looks down from a plane, then he could hardly see a person standing, if at all etc.]

From this comes a passionate desire to be included in this greatness [enormity] of G-d and to literally leave the body.

The author writes that it is a complicated subject and it is difficult to write about it and thus all whom understand – or to the extent of their understanding – can meditate on this love.

However when one does feel the urge to leave this world they need to remind themselves of what it states in Sefer Yetzirah, if your heart longs for G-d [to the point of leaving this world] then return back to it.

Namely one should say to themselves that “as G-d wants me to unite His name in this world, I will do so through Torah study and performance of Mitzvos.”

Chapter 50 Klois Hanefesh


The following 2 ideas are introduced / explained in this chapter:

  1. Klois Hanefesh
    2. The Shuv


Klois Hanefesh

A soul-longing to expire from the body

Now the love of the Cohanim was called Klois Hanefesh where the soul desired to leave the body out of the intense love.

This was similar to the songs that the Leviem would sing in the Beis Hamikdosh which is the idea of Ratzu – ying [as a song is like an emotional outpouring] and then the subsequent Shuv – yang.

This love is the understanding how nothing is anything, and everything is like nothing.

When one truly has this understanding – how everything is nothing, in reality – then their soul desires to expire from their body and they desire to leave their body and just become one in the unity of G-d beyond this world, for this word is like nothing.


The Shuv

The Shuv/Yang of this meditation

And thus this is the concept of Ratzu – and the service of G-d that this love engenders is the subsequent level of Shuv, to return back into the body.

Meaning that one recognizes that this is not the desire of G-d to leave the body as the Mishnah states, “Against your will do you live”, for the desire of G-d is that “I return and stay within my body to have the unity of G-d within me here on earth”.


Chapter 51

Introducing the theme for the next three chapters


The following 3 ideas are introduced / explained in this chapter:

  1. Questions 
  2. A Soul’s Indwelling
  3. The analogy


Questions on the child’s statement

Now for a greater explanation of what the child said quoted above [in chapter 35 that a person should do good deeds to draw G-dliness on themselves] we need to explain a bit, the idea of G-d’s Shechinah / presence in the Holy of Holies, and in general what does it mean that G-d’s presence / Shechinah resides in specific places? for in truth G-d is everywhere!? [So if He is everywhere, what is the distinctiveness in the places that His presence / Shechinah resides there?]


A Soul’s Indwelling

The Brain is the seat of the soul, and it divides into 613 locations within the body

But the idea is, as it written, “I will see G-d through extrapolating from my own body,” – that just as the soul of man fills the 248 limbs of the body, from head to toe, yet nonetheless, the main dwelling of the soul is in the brain, and from the brain it goes to all the limbs of the body, and each limb receives the specific life-force according to that limb, meaning the eye receives a power for sight, and the ear to hear, and the mouth to speak and the feet to walk.

As we see empirically, that the brain feels everything that is going on in the limbs [meaning, the input of sight gets registered in the brain and so too with all other limbs; so we see that although the soul goes into all the limbs, nonetheless its head / command center is in the brain.]

Now we can’t say, that the essence of the soul is comprised of 613 different parts [corresponding to the 613 parts where it goes into, meaning the 365 sinews and veins and the 248 limbs] for if this is the case, G-d [who is the ultimate gist of the lesson, for as mentioned, the lesson is how G-d comes into the world] would be a composite and G-d is singular. So what it means is that His singular entity goes into 613 manifestation [like sunlight in 613 different rooms, allowing different amounts of light in, based on the thickness of the curtains;] and in truth the brain itself is not higher than the unity of the soul, and thus the soul is equally found in its pristine state, in all levels / parts of the body – it is only when it comes through the natural soul – the animal soul / the soul of life that it corresponds to its 613 subdivisions.

Now what happens is that the soul comes first into the brain and from there goes firstly into the intellect of the brain, comprising Chochmah Binah and Daas, and from there the brain sends the signals to all the other parts, meaning the eye to see etc. [In other words, the soul is one, however it gets manifested through the brain into 613 parts.]

And the soul is mainly manifest in the brain [perhaps an example of this could be that if a person would scientifically somehow take out a person’s brain and place it into another’s body, the person would be the first soul – while the body would be receiving information from the brain, so the eyes would be looking where the soul / brain would like it to see etc.]

And all the powers of the body come from the brain [like the example of the sunlight that comes into many rooms, all coming from the single sun] and even the heart receives its information from the brain [and as is known scientifically, that the heart beats on electrical pulses, which is all regulated by the brain.] And this is why the brain naturally has control over the heart [meaning a person can have self-control.]


The analogy

The analogy of the parable above

Similarly G-d’s infinite light fills the entire universe to give life, and in every world [meaning spiritual and physical] there are infinite amounts of creatures, as it states, many tens of thousands of troops of angels serve, but there is no end to the categories of angels, and many souls are there etc. and many many worlds without any end to their number exist – one higher than the next.

Now to G-d or relative to G-d there is no distinction of higher and lower.

And as is written in the Tikkunim that, “He is the secret of all secrets”, meaning that even in the concealed worlds above, He is hidden within them [meaning even within them, He is not known at all] just as He is hidden in the lower worlds, for “No thought can understand him” at all!, even in the highest worlds!

Thus just as G-d is completely in the highest world similarly is He completely in the lowest world [meaning, G-d is completely everywhere, but unknown.]

And the difference between the higher and lower worlds is in the amount of life that is brought forth from G-d’s unity into revelation.

[And this is one of the reasons that the life from G-d is called by the name “light” for light has different levels of intensity – more light, less light etc., thus indicating how more life or less life, is being created.]

And in each level there is more or less life force / light that comes from G-d.

And so what happens is that G-d’s light / life comes through many concealments / garments into the lower world, so they do not receive much of a revelation of their identity.

So for example the physical universe which is constantly popping in and out of existence, Yesh Me-ayin as mentioned before, although on one hand it is receiving a direct light from G-d, for only G-d can make such a miracle, yet as it comes down via all the spiritual worlds to the point of being created via the lowest level – Malchus of Malchus of Asiyah – thus when we look at it, we see no actual life force whatsoever. [For example this would be like the toenail, which on one hand, the soul is there completely, yet as it receives its direct force from the brain and only in a very miniscule amount, thus it doesn’t even hurt when it is cut – there is very litter visible life force there. In fact with the idea of DNA this becomes clearer, for the entire human is actually in his toenail including his memories [as we know that every cell contains all of a person’s memories, in addition to his physical structure through DNA] and yet there is no comparison between the amount of revealed life-force that is in a toenail versus the brain or heart, or even the toe that carries the toenail.]


Chapter 52

The Shechinah


The following 4 ideas are introduced / explained in this chapter:

  1. Souls and Shechinah
  2. Malchus of Atzilus
  3. Malchus
  4. It’s all one


Souls and Shechinah

The Shechinah is one’s Soul’s life-force

Now every soul receives it’s life-force from the Shechinah of G-d; like the light of the sun coming into many rooms.


Malchus of Atzilus

The beginning of the Shechinah

The beginning of the Shechinah which means the source of the revelation of G-d’s light to give life to worlds and souls, comes from Malchus of Atzilus.

It is also called Knesses Yisroel or the mother of children – meaning, it gives birth to these new entities.

And thus it is similar to how the brain gives life to all the parts of the body, to their individual functions.



The concealment of the light

Now if this light would be revealed to us, then we would get nullified out of existence – for example, the light of G-d is like the sunlight as it is within the sun, so it could not be considered light there, only sun [as one doesn’t say there is sunlight in the sun rather sun itself;]

So if G-d would not conceal this light we would only be revealed G-dliness; and thus His will [to create us] creates this concealment, [for example, although a rock is really G-dliness, nonetheless we do not see this, and we see a lifeless rock, and as we progress through the different kingdoms, a little more life gets revealed, but never enough to realize that everything is only G-dliness; and thus we can exist as independent entities.]

Now from the level of Malchus of Atzilus / the Shechinah – this light descends into the Holy of Holies in the world of Beriah, which is the Chabad of Beriah, which then goes into Malchus of Beriah, and in Malchus of Beriah, the souls and angels of that world are revealed [or made] and thus the chain of descent [Seder-Hishtlashulus] also comes from the Shechinah of Malchus of Atzilus, for it goes into the lower world, and in their Malchus – the Creatures of that world are created.

Of-course every Creature receives just enough light to create it and yet not let it get nullified out of existence.


It’s all one

The lowest to the highest is subsumed within Malchus of Atzilus

Now although every worlds’ Malchus creates the souls and angels of that world, nonetheless the truth is that it is all subsumed within the Shechinah – Malchus of Atzilus, which is a ray of G-d Himself, and thus everything is one with G-d, while not realizing it.


Chapter 53



The following 5 ideas are introduced / explained in this chapter:

  1. The Shechinah During The First Temple
  2. The Shechinah during the Second Temple
  3. The Shechinah in the Torah
  4. Mitzvos and Shechinah
  5. The Flame Of Tzaddikim and Benoinim

The Shechinah During The First Temple

The Shechinah – G-d’s presence was more in the Holy of Holies, in the first Temple, then in higher worlds

Now when the Kodesh Hakodoshim – the Holy of Holies existed in the first Beis Hamikdosh and within it was the Aron / The Holy Ark and within it the Luchos / The Ten Commandments – then Malchus of Atzilus shined within this world in the Kodesh Hakodoshim even more than it did in higher worlds, because Malchus of Atzilus receives from Chochmah of Atzilus, and Chochmah of Atzilus is one with G-d Himself.

Now the Torah is G-d’s wisdom, so Chochmah / wisdom of Atzilus can also be defined as the Ten Commandments which is the source and summary of the Torah.

Thus the highest level of G-dliness was revealed in the first Beis Hamikdosh, as the Luchos / the Ten Commandments which were G-d’s personal handiwork containing the Ten Commandants were within the Aron / The ark, which received its lifeforce directly from Malchus of Atzilus, as it came through Malchus of Beriah, with no other concealments.
[Now King Solomon built secret tunnels for the burial of eight items from the first Beis Hamikdosh, like the Aron, the Menorah that Moses made etc., for before the Jews allowed the First Temple to be destroyed, these items were buried and will return in The Third Beis Hamikdosh.]

The Shechinah during the Second Temple

The Shechinah came through Malchus of Asiyah during the Second Temple

Now in the second Beis Hamikdosh when these articles were not there the Shechinah came through the level of Malchus of Asiyah as it received from Malchus of Yetzirah, which received from Malchus of Beriah, which received from Malchus of Atzilus.


The Shechinah in the Torah

The Shechinah after the destruction of the Second Temple

And thus from when G-d destroyed the Beis Hamikdosh, G-d’s presence is found in Torah learning; for the study of Torah is one with G-d Himself, as is know that there are 613 Mitzvos and 7 Mitzvos of the Rabbis, which is 620 in total- the numerical value of Kesser / Crown – referring to G-d’s will.

So when one studies G-d’s will as defined in the Torah, they are drawing G-dliness directly into them at the level that was in the Holy of Holies, in the Second Temple.


Mitzvos and Shechinah

The conversion of wick to flame

And this is what the child says that one should not forget to “have” oil for the Shechinah; for the Shechinah is drawn down through the 613 Mitzvos of the Torah which are one with G-d and just like a candle is alight through the conversion of the wick into flame [which is the source of the light – meaning, the atoms that get charged / “consumed” through the wicks burning, get converted into flame] similarly the Torah and Mitzvos one does is what draws the light of G-d, the Shechinah on them.


The Flame Of Tzaddikim and Benoinim

Two kinds of wicks

Now this occurs either through the service of the Tzaddikim who change the soul of life [the animal soul] into G-dliness or through the work of the Benoinie that convert the thoughts, speech, and actions of the animal soul into Torah and Mitzvos – and thus this is like the wick which bursts into a shining flame of G-dliness; and through this we can understand the verse that “G-d our Lord is a fiery flame” as mentioned elsewhere [meaning, that G-d is like the fire of the flame – which burns through the Torah and Mitzvos one does, and thus the Shechinah becomes united with the Jews, particularly during their study of Torah and performance of Mitzvos.]

Shaar Hayichud Veha-emunah

The Gateway To Understanding G-d’s Unity In This World and Belief In G-d

In the introduction to this second and very important part of Tanya the author mentions meditations that we have already discussed in the first book of Tanya.

The summary of Shaar Hayichud Veha-emuna is understanding how G-d is the only reality that exists.

I like using a modern example from science that helps us to really see this empirically.

E=mc2 teaches that everything physical we see is really energy.

Now imagine that energy is G-d, so everything is G-d.

Another way of understanding this is from an example used by the author that everything is so to say within G-d’s imagination.

In other words, if you were to picture a box, you would be figuratively [or at least your mind would be] encompassing the box. In other words, the box is within your mind. Similarly this entire universe is merely hiding its true reality, which is G-d it’s imaginer / Creator.

Furthermore this world is constantly being recreated by G-d, in Kabbalistic terminology this is called Yesh Me-ayin – the world comes from nothing – and hence it pops in and out of existence.

It emanates from nothingness into somethingness then reverts back to nothingness in a never ending creative cycle.

Scientists have discovered that the world is popping in and out of existence empirically, for everything is made of atoms and atoms literally appear and disappear but it happens so quickly that nothing visibly changes.

So everything is constantly appearing out of G-d’s essence and literally disappearing; [this process is also called in Kabbalah Rotzu-Vshuv the world emanates out of G-d in a split second but the energy returns back in Him, in a never ending cycle] and thus there is really no reality that exists independently at all.

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