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As Divided for a Regular Year
Tanya for 4 Shevat
But this exile of the faculty of Chochmah affects only that aspect of it which is diffused throughout the Nefesh and animates it [with Divine vitality].
[Being in exile, it is unable to pervade the entire soul, and through it the entire body, with the feeling of self-nullification before G-d characteristic of Chochmah; thus, in this state of exile, it is unable to prevent one from sinning].
Yet, the root and core of the Chochmah in the divine soul is in the brain, and does not clothe itself in the sackcloth of the kelipah in the left part of the heart, in a true state of exile, [i.e., so that it be powerless to prevent one from sinning].
It is merely dormant in the case of the wicked, not exercising its influence within them [i.e., not creating within the Jew the spirit of self-nullification before G-d that it ought to create], as long as their knowledge and understanding are preoccupied with mundane pleasures.
[The soul-faculties of "knowledge" (Daat) and "understanding" (Binah) are lower than Chochmah; yet the level of Chochmah is prevented from acting upon them (and upon the other, still lower, faculties) as long as they are immersed in mundane pleasures.
Thus, the Chochmah of their divine soul is dormant, not dead. It has lost none of its potency, only its ability to exercise it; just as when one sleeps he retains full possession of his faculties though he cannot use them].
However, when they [the wicked] are confronted with a test of faith, which transcends knowledge, touching the very soul and the faculty of Chochmah within it - [the source of faith], then it "arises from its sleep" [i.e., Chochmah reveals itself] and it exerts its influence with the Divine force that is clothed in it [its influence being to create a spirit of self-sacrifice for G-d, as the Alter Rebbe states further].
As it is written:  "Then the L-rd awakened as one out of sleep."
[This verse refers also to the level of Chochmah and the light of the Ein Sof clothed therein, which was previously in a state of "sleep"-inactive - but "arises" and exerts its influence when faced with a test of faith].
[The revelation of Chochmah leads even the sinner] to withstand the test of faith in G-d, without any reasoning or knowledge that he can comprehend [which would motivate him to sacrifice his life], and to prevail over the kelipot and over his desires toward worldly matters, both permitted and forbidden, which he was accustomed to indulge, and even to despise them, and to choose G-d as his portion and his lot,
[I.e., in this state of readiness for martyrdom, the sinner not only overcomes his desires for worldly pleasures, but loses them entirely, and the objects of his past desires are now detestable to him, i.e., he dedicates to G-d both his internal faculties of intellect and emotion, referred to as one's "portion", and his higher transcendent faculties - his will and pleasure, which are called one's "lot," so that he is prepared] to offer his soul to G-d in martyrdom for the sanctification of His Name.
Although the kelipot prevailed over him [over this sinner who is now prepared to accept martyrdom] all his life, and he was impotent against them, as the Rabbis have said that  "The wicked are under the control of their heart," [i.e., the animal soul of the kelipah, situated in the left part of the heart], nevertheless, when he faces a test challenging his faith in the one G-d, [a faith] whose foundation is in [that level of the divine soul called] "the heights of holiness," namely, the faculty of Chochmah [which is called Kodesh - the source of holiness - as previously explained], in which is clothed the light of Ein Sof, blessed be He, then all the kelipot become nullified, and they vanish as though they had never been, in the presence of the L-rd.
So it is written:  "All the nations [including also the kelipot] are as nothing before Him"; and  "For all Your enemies, O L-rd, [referring also to the kelipot, which are the "enemies of G-d]," all Your enemies will perish, they will be scattered ...."; and again,  "As wax melts before fire, so shall the wicked perish"; and  "The hills [referring to the kelipot which are compared to hills by reason of their hauteur] melted like wax."
[All these verses illustrate how the kelipot vanish when the light of G-d found in the Chochmah of the divine soul reveals itself.
Therefore, despite the fact that kelipot always had the upper hand over a sinner, he is able to overcome them when his faith is challenged.
We thus see that every Jew has an inherent ability to overcome temptation by virtue of his soul's "hidden love" of G-d originating in its faculty of Chochmah. He need merely arouse it.
The Alter Rebbe now goes on to explain how this "hidden love" also comprises the fear of G-d necessary in observing the prohibitive commandments].
The force of the Divine light of the Ein Sof that is clothed in the soul's faculty of Chochmah is so intense as to banish and repel the sitra achra and the kelipot so that they are unable to touch even its "garments", namely the thought, speech, and action that express one's faith in the unity of G-d.
[That is, not only can the kelipot not weaken one's faith, but they cannot even prevent his faith from expressing itself in thought, speech and action].
This means [that the Divine light vested in Chochmah enables him] to withstand a test of self-sacrifice, to the extent of even refusing to do a mere [empty] act that is contrary to his belief in the one G-d, e.g., to bow down before an idol, even without acknowledging it in his heart at all, [in which case it is not his faith that is being challenged, but its expression in the act of prostrating oneself; and even for his expression of faith a Jew will give his life].
So too [he will sacrifice his life so as] not to speak falsely [G-d forbid] concerning the unity of G-d, even where his words do not reflect his true feelings, for his heart is perfect in its belief in G-d.
[This readiness for self-sacrifice is not an expression of one's love of G-d which reveals itself when confronted with a test of faith, for his love is not directly affected by such empty actions or words.
Rather, it expresses the fear contained in the "hidden love," the fear of being torn away from G-d].
This is called "the fear contained in love," meaning the natural love found in the divine soul of all Jews, whose intrinsic desire and will is to be attached to its origin and source - the light of the blessed Ein Sof.
For by virtue of this love and this desire it instinctively recoils in fear and dread from touching [G-d forbid] even the fringe of the impurity of idolatry, which denies the faith in G-d's unity, even [where such contact involves only] its outer garments, namely, [idolatrous] speech and action, without any faith whatever in the heart [in the validity of the idol worship.
Even this the soul dreads; and this dread represents the fear contained in the "hidden love."
When a Jew considers that he would willingly give up his life rather than be parted from G-d, he will surely realize that:
In this way one may utilize his "hidden love" and the fear of G-d contained in it as a motivation for observing all the commandments, as will be explained at length in the coming chapters].
- he should certainly refrain from sin for the very same reason, since every sin tears one away from G-d; and
- he ought to fulfill all the commandments, for through them one achieves the objective of his "hidden love" - unity with G-d.
- (Back to text) Tehillim 78:65.
- (Back to text) Bereishit Rabbah 34:11.
- (Back to text) Yeshayahu 40:17.
- (Back to text) Tehillim 92:10.
- (Back to text) Ibid. 68:3.
- (Back to text) Ibid. 97:5.