Chapter 10: Why talk about a tzaddik?

Tanya Take-Away by: Mayer Prager

In chapter ten of Tanya it explains the level of a Tzaddik:

“…When a person causes his divine soul to prevail over the animal soul, and when he wages war against the animal soul to the extent that he banishes and eradicates its evil from its abode within him…”

Learning this I was left with the following questions:

1.       Is Tanya demanding that I achieve a level where I would have no bad side, no issues that I need to resolve, that I should be PERFECT like a Tzaddik?

2.       The Tanya is a self help book, what “help” is there in knowing that there are Tzaddikim that don’t have any issues at all?

It is my belief that every one of us has three sides. A perfect/beautiful side – Tzaddik, a struggling side – Beinoni and a wicked/bad side – Rasha. So, throughout the Tanya whenever it is explaining any of these three levels, it is talking about a part of me.

 With this premise in mind we can better understand the technique that the Tanya would like for us to employ in bettering our “other” side, the side that is struggling and needs help:

“…This love will rise from the depths of the heart… indeed, filled to overflowing …andwould thus inundate the left part [of the heart] as well, to crush the sitra achra;specifically the animal soul…meaning the lust emanating from kelipat…”

The way to “fix” a bad trait is NOT by degradation, self-abasement or any other NEGATIVE system – It is by BUILDING on your existing GOOD (Tzaddik) side, i.e. One loves to have guests and loves to be gracious to others, but when it comes to learning – Is “not interested”,  “doesn’t have patience” to learn…

Build on your “GOOD” side, invite others to an “Eat & Learn” night. The more you see your guests enjoying the food and enlightened by the learning, not only will you appreciate the host part but the learning part as well – whereby chipping away at the “learning block”

Stop focusing on your negative side, the only thing that comes out of negative is negative.

Find your good side and build with it, If you want a positive change STAY POSITIVE.


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