Daily Tanya Thursday, 24th Kisleiv: Chapter 1-The Tzadik, Rasha, and Beinoni


Chapter 1: The Questions, The animal soul, and The side of evil within man

(LY) 24th Kisleiv

  1. Should one view himself as a Tzadik or Rasha?
  • The Talmudic contradiction: On the one hand, it states in the Talmud that prior to the souls descent into this world, the soul is sworn to being a Tzadik and not a Rasha, and that he should always view himself as a Rasha even if the whole world says that he is a Tzadik. On the other hand, it states in the Mishneh in Pirkei Avos that one should never be a Rasha in his own eyes.
  • The disadvantage of each perspective: The disadvantage of the first perspective is that if a person views himself as a Rasha then he will be depressed and not be able to serve Hashem with joy. The disadvantage of the second perspective is that if a person always views himself as righteous, then he will not have any remorse about his sins, which can lead him to lightheadedness and transgression.

2.      The five levels of Jews:

  • In the Talmud we find five different levels of righteousness.
    • There is a righteous man who has good.
    • A righteous man who has bad.
    • A wicked man who has good.
    • A wicked man who has bad.
    • A Beinoni.
  • The Talmudic definition of a Tzadik Vera Lo versus a Tzadik Vetov Lo: The Talmud explains that a righteous man who has a good life is a complete Tzadik [and hence has a good life]. The righteous man who has a bad life is an incomplete Tzadik.
  • The Zoharic definition of a Tzadik Vera Lo versus a Tzadik Vetov Lo: The Zohar states that a righteous man with bad, means that he has evil within him that is subjugated to his good.
  • Who rules in the Tzadik and in the Rasha-The evil or good inclination? In another area of the Talmud it states that Tzadikim are judged by their good inclination while the wicked are judged by their bad inclination, while the Beinoni is judged by both.
  • Does Hashem create people as Reshaim or Tzadikim? Iyov stated regarding G-d that He creates the righteous and the wicked. This requires clarification, as the Talmud does not state that righteousness or wickedness is decreed upon a soul upon its descent.

3.      Understanding the level of the Beinoni:

  • We need to understand the level of the Beinoni by which we find many discrepancies.
  • Raba called himself a Beinoni: Raba stated that he is a Beinoni, to which Abayey responded that if so then he is leaving no life for any individual.
  • Must conclude that a Beinoni has no sins: Based on the above definition of Raba regarding himself, we must conclude that certainly a Beinoni is not someone who has half merits and half sins, as if so Raba would have never made this mistake about himself, as the Talmud states that he learned Torah continuously to the point that even the angel of death could not take his life, and hence how could he possibly imagine that he spent half of his life sinning.
  • When one sins, he is called a Rasha: A further proof for this definition of a Beinoni, and that he must be a person without any sins is that when a person sins, he is called a Rasha while when he repents he is considered a complete Tzadik.
    • Rabbinical transgressions: Even one who transgresses a light Rabbinical prohibition is referred to as a Rasha.
    • Not protesting a sin: Even one who does not protest a transgression is called a Rasha.
    • Bittul Torah: Certainly, one who transgresses a positive command which he can fulfill, such as Torah learning, is called a Rasha, as he has belittled the word of G-d and is liable for excision and certainly is considered more wicked than a person who transgresses a Rabbinical command.
  • Beinoni does not even have sin of Bittul Torah: Accordingly [that even one sin deems one a Rasha], we must conclude that a Beinoni is not even guilty of the sin of nullifying Torah study, and it is for this reason that Raba mistook himself for a Beinoni.
  • Gloss-The Zoharic definition of a Beinoni: Although the Zohar states that whoever has more merits than sins is called a Tzadik Vera Lo [which contradicts our entire premises above that even a Beinoni has no sins at all], in truth, this was the assertion of Rav Hamnuna to Elijah the prophet who responded to him as it states in the Raya Mehemna that in truth the interpretation of a Tzadik Vera Lo is a person who has his evil side subjugated to his good side. As for the assertion of Rav Hamnuna, since there are 70 faces for the Torah, various interpretations are initially pondered.

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