Weekly Tanya lecture/video: The epistle on repentance, chap. 6

Published date12 January 2022
Publication titleIsrael National News (Israel)


The choice is man's—whether to derive his nurture from the chambers of the sitra achara or from the chambers of holiness14 from which flow all good and holy thoughts, and so on.

וְהָאָדָם הוּא בַּעַל בְּחִירָה, אִם לְקַבֵּל הַשְׁפָּעָתוֹ מֵהֵיכְלוֹת הַסִּטְרָא אָחֳרָא, אוֹ מֵהֵיכְלוֹת הַקְּדוּשָּׁה שֶׁמֵּהֶם נִשְׁפָּעוֹת כָּל מַחֲשָׁבוֹת טוֹבוֹת וּקְדוֹשׁוֹת וְכוּ'.

When one's thoughts, words, and deeds are wholesome and holy, he receives his nurture from holiness; when his thoughts, words, and deeds are evil, he derives his nurture from the chambers of the sitra achara.

For "one opposite the other did G‑d make…."15

כִּי "זֶה לְעוּמַּת זֶה עָשָׂה הָאֱלֹקִים" וְכוּ'.

Every manifestation of holiness has a counterpart in the kelipah and sitra achara.

The chambers of the sitra achara derive their vitality from the issue of the ten sefirot of nogah that is embodied within them and that descends into them by stages,

וְהֵיכְלוֹת הַסִּטְרָא אָחֳרָא מְקַבְּלִים וְיוֹנְקִים חַיּוּתָם מֵהִתְלַבְּשׁוּת וְהִשְׁתַּלְשְׁלוּת הַשֶּׁפַע דְּי' סְפִירוֹת דְּנוֹגַהּ,

and [this kelipah of nogah] is comprised of good and evil, as in "the Tree of Knowledge [of good and evil]," as is known to the students of the Kabbalah.

הַכְּלוּלָה מִבְּחִינַת טוֹב וָרָע, הִיא בְּחִינַת "עֵץ הַדַּעַת" וְכוּ', כַּנּוֹדָע לְיוֹדְעֵי חֵן.

Since the kelipah of nogah is composed of both good and evil, it serves as a source, after a multitude of descents, for the evil of the chambers of the sitra achara—the reservoir from which a man is refuelled when he sins in thought, speech, or action.

The Alter Rebbe now resumes his explanation of why a sinful person not only receives his vitality from the "other side" like other living creatures but in fact does so to an even greater degree. Since through his freely chosen thoughts, words, and deeds, it was the sinner himself who replenished the reservoirs of the kelipot with life-force of Divine origin, it is he who will now have to swallow the lion's share of those reservoirs.

Scripture states:16 "Jacob is the rope of [G‑d's] heritage."17

וְהִנֵּה, "יַעֲקֹב חֶבֶל נַחֲלָתוֹ" כְּתִיב:

The analogy [compares the soul of a Jew] to a rope, with one end above and the other end below.

עַל דֶּרֶךְ מָשָׁל, כְּמוֹ הַחֶבֶל שֶׁרֹאשׁוֹ אֶחָד לְמַעְלָה וְרֹאשׁוֹ הַשֵּׁנִי לְמַטָּה,

When one pulls the lower end, he will move and pull after it the higher end as well, as far as it can be pulled.

אִם יִמְשׁוֹךְ אָדָם בְּרֹאשׁוֹ הַשֵּׁנִי –...

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