We have thus far outlined the internal makeup of the Jew: the fundamental dichotomy between the two souls, the animal soul and the G-dly soul, each with its own objectives and modus operandi. We made the distinction between the “powers” of the soul and “garments.” The innate nature of each soul can only express itself when one allows it the “garments” of thought, speech and action. Our second lesson drew further distinctions between three types of people, the righteous, the wicked and those classified as intermediary.
At this stage of the game, it is key to remember that Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi stresses that the rank of righteous is beyond the reach of most of us. Tanya’s “program” is for human beings, not saints, and another name for the book is “The Book of the Intermediary,” as it is this category that we must strive to reach. Additionally, the Tanya affirms that this is the category that we are all capable of reaching. Yet the behavior of the intermediary still reaches the level of perfection, as the only the G-dly soul is given the garments of expression.
The basic tool for becoming a beinoni is simple impulse control: training ourselves to make the right decisions and avoid indulging in vice. Yet this tactic alone is far from enough, or we would have all kicked our bad habits long ago. After a while, we often simply get tired of the effort required to maintain control. How can we make self-discipline a more satisfying pursuit so that we will be motivated to stay with the program? This is the question we will be addressing in our next lesson.
I look forward to seeing you in class next week.