Tanya Chapter 15: Effort and battle with evil is necessary to be considered one who serves G-d

Chapter 15: Effort and battle with evil is necessary to be considered one who serves G-d

23rd Teves/(LY)29th Teves

1. Difference between an Oveid Elokim, Tzadik, and one who is not:
  • There is a verse in Scripture which states that “you will see the difference between a tzaddik and a Rasha between one who serves G-d and one who does not.” Based on the clarifications brought in the previous chapters this matter can now be understood.
  • An Oveid Elokim-A Beinoni: A person who is defined as an Oveid Elokim is a person who is still in the midst of toiling to serve G-d. This means that he is still in the midst of his battle with his evil inclination and is attempting to overcome it and banish it from the body so that it not be invested in any of the limbs of the body. This in truth is a very great battle and toil to be in a constant fight with evil inclination and successfully overpower it. This indeed is the service of a Beinoni.
  • Tzadik is called Eved Elokim as he has already completed the battle: The above is in contrast with a tzaddik who is called by Scripture a “servant of G-d.” The tzaddik receives the title of a servant, similar to a wise man receiving the title of a sage or the head of a monarchy receiving his title as a king, as the tzaddik has already earned this title and is no longer in the midst of reaching for it. The tzaddik has already completed all of his battles with the evil to the point that he has banished it completely from his body, and it has been vanquished from his heart.

(LY)1st Shevat

  • A Beinoni who does not fight his Yetzer Hara and does not “serve” Hashem:
  • The two levels found in a Beinoni: Although it was stated earlier that the natural state of a Beinoni is one who is still in the midst of his battle with the evil and is thus called an Oveid Elokim, nonetheless, in truth even by a Beinoni there exist two different levels, one who is called an Oveid Elokim as stated above, and one who is not, and rather is considered as one who does not serve G-d.
  • Does not transgress any sin: Even this type of Beinoni who does not serve G-d is not considered a Rasha as he has never in his life transgressed even a minor sin. Likewise, he fulfills all of the mitzvahs that are within his potential to fulfill. This especially applies regarding Torah study that his lips do not cease from studying Torah.
  • Has no battle with his evil inclination: Why then is this sinless individual referred to as a person who does not serve G-d? This is because he does not have any battle at all with his evil inclination. He doesn’t requires the divine light and revelation that shines on his G-dly soul that is found in his brain in order to control the desires and passions of his heart. This is because his evil inclination does not attempt at all to battle him, to stop him from his Torah learning and service of G-d, [as it is apathetic and complacent with his religious service due to it resulting from his natural personality traits, as will be explained]. Thus, this type of Beinoni does not need to battle his evil inclination at all [and hence is not called one who serves G-d].
  • Mara Shechora-Is an introvert who is naturally inclined to assiduous study of wisdom: The above lack of battle from the evil inclination can result from the fact that the person has a personality trait known as Mara Shechora, in which he was born with a temperament which is inclined towards assiduous study of the wisdom’s [and hence even his evil inclination and animal soul pushes him to dedicate himself to Torah study].
  • Has no lust for women: Likewise, it is possible that this individual has no inner battle with lusting after woman being that he is cold by nature [and hence he does not lust after woman and have erotic thoughts enter his mind from his heart].
  • Has no feelings or emotions for any pleasures: The same applies with all other pleasures of the physical world, that it is possible that his nature lacks the emotion necessary to feel pleasure [and hence he simply does not lust after things that people of the world view as pleasurable].
  • Does not need to arouse a conscious love for G-d in order to serve Him: Due to the above lack of natural lusts for pleasures, this individual does not need to arouse a conscious level of love and fear of G-d to motivate him to perform Torah mitzvahs.
  • A normal individual who battles the lusts of his evil inclination must invest much effort in his contemplation of G-d’s greatness for the sake of arousing his attribute of Daas which connects his heart to his mind, in order to arouse fear of G-d in his mind and love of G-d within his heart which arouses a passion and desire to attach to G-d through fulfilling the mitzvah’s and studying Torah which corresponds to all the mitzvah’s. [Without the deep contemplation and subsequent aroused passion for G-d, the individual who contains lusts for physical pleasures will be unable to properly motivate himself to fulfill mitzvah’s and study Torah.]
  • However, the individual who contains no lusts for the physical pleasures can suffice with a slight contemplation of G-d’s greatness which reminds him of his hidden love for G-d which is naturally contained within every Jews heart, and this hidden subconscious love will suffice to motivate him in his Torah study and mitzvah performance. Thus, this individual is not called a person who serves G-d at all, as the natural hidden love that he uses to motivate him to serve G-d is not something which resulted from his own effort and toil [which he should receive credit for] and is rather an inheritance from the forefathers to all the Jewish people.
  • A person who accustoms himself to study Torah assiduously: The above can hold true even for a person who was not naturally inclined towards assiduous Torah study, if he accustomed himself to learn Torah with greater assiduousness, and as a result he had this habit turn into his second nature. This person as well does not need to contemplate G-d’s greatness to the point that he arouses a conscious love for G-d in order to push himself to study G-d’s Torah, and rather simply remembering his hidden love for G-d suffices to motivate him. Nonetheless, even this person would be required to arouse a conscious love in his heart if he desires to learn more Torah than he is accustomed to learning.

24th Teves/(LY)2nd Shevat

  • An Oveid Elokim is one who reviews his study 101 times:
  • Based on the above, we can now understand a Talmudic statement which says that a person who serves G-d is one who reviews his studies 101 times while one who does not serve G-d is one reviews his studies only 100 times.
  • The standard of review was 100 times: The explanation is as follows: In Talmudic times, it was customary for the students to review their studies 100 times. This is allegorized by the Talmud to the custom in the donkey market of those times to rent out a donkey for a ten Parsa distance of travel for one Zuz coin, and for an 11 Parsa distance of travel for two Zuz coins, which is double the amount for only one more Parsa distance. This expensive surcharge was given being that the demand for more than 10 Parsa distance of travel went above the standard and norm of travel for these donkeys.
  • Breaking one’s nature even slightly is worth more than all that one accomplishes naturally: Accordingly, since this was the standard, the students became naturally inclined in doing so, and hence it was not considered a battle for them to keep to this standard of 100 times of review. However, to review their study more than 100 times was not part of their nature, and hence the moment they reviewed their study even one more time, for a total 101 times, since they broke their nature, this one time of extra review far surpasses all the previous 100 review sessions and entitled them to being considered one who serves G-d.
  • In order to break one’s nature, one must arouse love of G-d: The reason that this one session of review surpasses all the other 100 sessions of review, is because in order for one to study more than he is accustomed to by nature, he must arouse love for G-d through contemplating G-d’s greatness in his mind. He must arouse this love in order take control of his nature that is found in the left part of his heart which is filled with blood and contains the animal soul which comes from Kelipa from which his nature derives.
  • The above is the true and complete service of a Beinoni, as he must battle the evil in his heart in order to serve G-d.
  • Arousing the hidden love in the heart in order to overcome one’s nature: It is not necessary to arouse a new conscious love for G-d in the heart through deep contemplation in order to take control of the nature of one’s animal soul that is found in the heart, and rather it suffices to simply arouse the hidden love that is in the heart that every Jew has for G-d, in order to overcome the nature found in the left part of the heart. This too takes toil and effort to arouse the hidden love in order to battle with one’s nature, and therefore the person who does so earns the title of one who is serving G-d [although not to the same level as one who arouses a new intellectually derived love for G-d, and hence he has yet to reach the complete and true service of a Beinoni].
  • The above is all in contrast to one who does not have to battle his nature at all in order to serve G-d, in which case the hidden love which motivates him to do so is not considered a result of his own toil and effort [and he is hence considered one who does not serve G-d of all].

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