Chapter 10: Definition of Tzadik Vetov Lo and Vera Lo
11th Teves/(LY)15th Teves
1. Definition of a Tzadik Vera Lo-Incomplete Tzadik:
- As stated in the previous chapter, the G-dly soul desires to complete control over the body and banish and transform the animal soul and its evil inclination into good. Based on the level of success that the G-dly soul has in his above mission is dependent the different levels of a complete and incomplete tzaddik.
- Banishes evil from his body: When a person successfully has his G-dly soul battle and overcomes his animal soul to the point that he banishes the evil that is found in his left part of the heart, then he is defined as a tzaddik.
- Does not transform evil to good: Nonetheless, if the above said individual does not transform his evil into actual good, then he is considered an incomplete tzaddik and a tzaddik who still contains some evil [i.e. Tzadik Vera Lo] stopped.
- Still contains a little bit of evil in his heart: The reason that he is considered a tzaddik who still contains some evil is because he in truth has not fully banished all of the evil from the left side of his heart, and a remnant of evil still remains there. The proof for this is the fact that not all of his evil was transformed into good, and if indeed he was successful in banishing all of the evil from his heart, then it would turn into actual good.
- The evil is nullified and not expressed: Due to the small size of this remaining evil, it exists in a state of subservience and nullification towards the good that is in the heart [and hence does not find any expression within the person]. It is also for this reason that the person may feel that he has completely banished the evil from his body, being that it has no expression and is not felt by the person in any which way.
2. Definition of a Tzadik Vetov Lo-Complete Tzadik:
- Banishes all the evil from his body and transforms all of it to good: When a person successfully has his G-dly soul battle and overcome his animal soul to the point that he banishes all the evil that is found in his left part of the heart, and transforms all of his evil to good then he is defined as a complete tzaddik, and a tzaddik who has only good [i.e. Tzadik Vetov Lo].
- Abhors evil to the fullest and despises physical pleasure: The only way to accomplish the above to banish all the evil from the body and transform all of it to good is to remove all of the filthy garments of the evil. This means that one develops an utter disgust for the pleasures of the physical world. Particularly, this means that one utterly despises using the pleasures of the physical world for the sole sake of fulfilling his physical lusts, cravings and bodily urges, without any purpose of serving G-d. The reason that he despises this so much is because the physical pleasures derive and are drawn from the side of evil, and anything that comes from the side of evil the complete tzaddik hates with an absolute hatred.
- Is a result of his love for G-d: The reason that the complete tzaddik hates evil so much is due to his great and immense love that he has for G-d and for His holiness in which he experiences a great love of pleasure [i.e. Ahava Raba and Ahava Betaanugim] as explained in the previous chapter.
- One’s hatred and disgust of evil is dependent on the intensity of his love for G-d: Holiness and evil are two exact opposites. Accordingly, the intensity of one’s hatred and disgust for evil is dependent on the intensity of one’s love for G-d and the more he loves G-d the more he hates and abhors evil. The reason for this is because the emotion of hate and disgust is the exact opposite of the emotion of love.
3. The spiritual deficiencies of the incomplete tzaddik:
- Based on the above definition of a complete tzaddik, we can now understand a little deeper the spiritual deficiencies found in the incomplete tzaddik.
- Does not completely hate or despise evil: The incomplete tzaddik does not hate the side of evil to the utmost extreme and it is for this reason that he also does not utterly abhor evil.
- Retains some desire for physical pleasure: The fact that the incomplete tzaddik does not completely hate and despise evil, serves as a sign that he still retains some love and pleasure for matters of the physical world, and he has not fully removed the filthy garments that the evil within him uses, to the fullest without leaving any remnant.
- Does not transform all of his evil to good: It is likewise for this reason that not all of the evil that is in the heart of the incomplete tzaddik is transformed to actual good, being that he still has a grasp on the filthy garments of evil.
- The evil is not felt by the Tzadik-Vera Lo: Nonetheless, as stated earlier, this evil that remains finds no expression being that it is completely nullified due to its minority state and is as if it does not exist. It is for this reason that he is called a tzaddik “Vera Lo/that the evil is his”, as the evil within them is in truth subservient and nullified to him.
- Does not love G-d to the fullest-Eino Gamur: Being that the incomplete tzaddik still retains some evil within him, it is understood that his love for G-d is also not complete and is yet to reach its fullest potential. It is for this reason that this tzaddik is referred to by the term “an incomplete tzaddik”, being that his love for G-d is not complete.
4. The many levels of incomplete Tzadikim:
- Being that an incomplete tzaddik retains some evil, there in truth exists myriads of levels of such Tzadikim, which is based on the amount of evil that remains within them.
- The type of evil that remains: Aside for their being a difference in the amount of evil remaining within two different incomplete Tzadikim, there may also be a difference in the type of evil that remains, as to from which of the four elements of evil the evil still remains in.
- The amount of evil that remains: Furthermore, there may be a difference between two different incomplete Tzadikim as to the amount of evil that remains within them. In one tzaddik, his evil may be of such a high amount that it is only nullified to his good in a ratio of 1:60, while by another tzaddik his evil may be of such a small amount that it is nullified to his good in a ratio of 1:1000 or 10,000, and so on and so forth.
- The many incomplete Tzadikim found in each generation: It is these various types of incomplete Tzadikim that are found in great quantity within every generation, as the Talmud states that there are 18,000 Tzadikim that stand before G-d.
- The few complete Tzadikim found in his generation: The above is in contrast to the complete tzaddik of which very few of them are found in each generation, as Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai states that he has seen very few “Bnei Aliyah” which refers to the complete tzaddik.
5. The Avoda of the Tzadik Gamur and Bnei Aliyah-Elevating evil to holiness:
- Why they are called Bnei Aliyah: The complete tzaddik is referred to as Bnei Aliyah being that they transform evil through elevating it to holiness.
- No entrance for the incomplete tzaddik: A proof of the above relationship between the complete tzaddik and Bnei Aliyah can be found in the Zohar which states that when Rabbi Chiya [who was seemingly an incomplete tzaddik] desired to enter the spiritual chamber within the garden of Eden of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai [who was a complete tzaddik], a heavenly voice declared that only those who have turned darkness to light and bitterness to sweetness are allowed entry.
- They work to please G-d and not just to attach to him: Another reason for why the complete Tzaddik is referred to as Bnei Aliyah is because their entire intent in serving G-d through fulfilling Torah and mitzvot is all for the benefit of G-d and the spiritual realms, and not simply for their own selfish motives. [Although the complete Tzadik contains within him the most complete and intense love and passion for G-d, nonetheless] their Divine service is not motivated solely by the desire to cleave and attach to G-d, and quench the passion of their soul for G-d, and rather is motivated by the desire to give G-d satisfaction and satisfy the desire of G-d to see His divine presence be unified with the lower realms.
- Like a son who desires to satisfy his father: As per the Zohar, the complete tzaddik is similar to a son who loves his father and mother more than his own soul, and therefore is dedicated to serving them, and is ready to give up his life for the sake of redeeming them from captivity. [The same applies with the complete tzaddik, that his service of G-d does not revolve any personal benefit or pleasure and is being done for the sole purpose to satisfy and please G-d and redeem the divine presence from its state of exile.]