Daily Tanya Friday, 25th Kisleiv: Chapter 1-The two souls


(LY) 25th Kisleiv

  • The borrowed Talmudic definition of Beinoni and Tzadik: Although we find [in the Talmud and other sources] that a Beinoni is defined as one who has an equal amount of sins and merits, while a Tzadik is one who has more merits than sins [which once again contradicts the above asserted definition], this is a mere borrowed term with regards to reward and punishment, as in truth one is rewarded and punished in accordance to whether he has a majority of sins or a majority of merits.
  • However, regarding the true definition of the term and differences between a Tzadik and Beinoni [we must conclude as stated above regarding the Beinoni that he has no sins, and we must also conclude as we will now do regarding the definition of the Tzadik].


1.       The definition of a Tzadik-No evil inclination:

  • The Talmudic sages state that a Tzadik is judged by his good inclination. As King David stated regarding himself that he does not have an evil inclination, having killed it through fasting.
  • Whoever has not yet reached this level of killing his evil inclination is not even close to the level of a Tzadik, even though he has more merits than sins.
  • G-d planted Tzadikim in each generation: In light of the above understanding of the true definition of a Tzadik, it is understood that which the sages state, that G-d envisioned that there would be very few Tzadikim, and He hence planted them in every generation.
    • The necessity for having a Tzadik in every generation is because the verse states that a Tzadik is the foundation of the world.


2.       The two souls found in every Jew:

  • It states in the writings of Rabbi Chaim Vital that every single Jew has two souls.
  • Even a Rasha: This applies to every Jew whether he is a Tzadik or a Rasha.
  • The scriptural source: This is derived from the verse which states “and souls I have made” [in the plural tense].
  • Nefesh: These two souls that are found in every Jew are of the level called “Nefesh” [and not necessarily of the higher level called Ruach or Neshama].

3.       The animal soul and its bad traits:

  • From the side of evil: One of these two souls found in every Jew comes from the side of evil.
  • Where was it found? This soul which derives from the side of evil is invested within the blood of the body, as the verse states that the soul of man is in his blood.
  • Gives vitality and energy: This soul which derives from the side of evil is responsible for giving energy to the body, just like blood.
  • The source of all bad traits: All of the bad traits in a person come from the four evil elements found within this so
  • Yesod of fire-Anger and arrogance: The bad traits of anger and arrogance derive from the element of fire found within the soul.
  • Yesod of water-Lust for pleasure: The bad trait of lust and chasing after pleasures derive from the element of water found within the soul, as water helps the growth of the various pleasures [such as fruits of pleasure].
  • Yesod of wind-Frivolity and lightheadedness: The bad traits of frivolousness and lightheadedness and grandeur and purposeless conversation derive from the element of wind found within the soul.
  • Yesod of earth-Depression: The bad traits of laziness and depression derive from the element of earth found within the soul.

4.       The uniqueness of the animal soul of a Jew and its good traits:

  • Its good traits: The good traits that are naturally found within every Jew by birth also derive from this soul that comes from the side of evil.
    • An example of such traits that are naturally found in every Jew by birth is compassion and kindness.
  • The root of the Jewish soul: The reason that the animal soul of a Jew also contains good traits is because it derives from the level of evil known as Kelipas Nogah which also contains good. It comes from the mystical level of the tree of good and evil.

5.       The animal soul of a gentile and its lack of true good:

  • This is in contrast to the animal soul of the Gentile nations which come from the other impure Kelipos which do not have any good in them at all.
  • Even their good contains ulterior motives: In fact, it is for this reason that all of the good that the nations of the world do is for their own self benefit, as the Talmud states that the kindness of the nations is itself sinful as they only do so for purposes of bragging.

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