Chapter 1 – Two Souls (Part 3)

Every single Jew, whether they are “good” or “wicked”, possesses two souls.

One of these souls originates in the Kelipah and Sitra Achra. Let’s define this.

KELIPAH

The word “Kelipah” in Hebrew means a shell or a peel. In Kabbalah, this term is used to describe “evil” generally. In essence, G-d created certain forces which hide or conceal the G-dly life force which is found in all creation, similar to a peel covering a fruit. We will learn more about KELIPOT later.

SITRA ACHRA

This phrase literally means “the other side”. This term generally refers to the “side” that is the opposite of Holiness or G-dliness.

Kelipah and Sitra Achra are generally synonomous. (Yes I know that is way more uses of the word generally than I like to put in print).

 

So, one soul is clothed as it were in the blood of a human being, which gives rise to life in the body. From this soul (nefesh, in Hebrew) stem all the evil characteristics that we know. Namely:

  • Anger
  • Pride
  • Appetite for pleasures
  • Frivolity
  • Scoffing
  • Idle talk
  • Boasting
  • Sloth
  • Melancholy

Interestingly, the Alter Rebbe teaches us that from this soul also stems the good characteristics inherent in every Jew, namely compassion and benevolence.

In the Jew, this soul, with these good characteristics, are derived from the Kelipah called “Nogah”, which contains good. The Alter Rebbe teaches us that this Kelipah comes from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.

The Alter Rebbe continues on: the souls of the nations come from the other unclean kelipot, which contain no “good” whatsoever.

A LESSON

An important lesson for us to learn here is that our motivation for acting compassionately must be motivated by no other purpose than that of concern for the welfare of our fellow. If a person needs not our help, then we should take greater happiness in them not needing help that we would if we performed an act of kindness ourselves.

The “nations of the world” do the opposite. They are upset that a person doesn’t need their help, because it deprives them of the reward they anticipate from doing a good deed.

We must perform acts of kindness out of unselfish motives, and delight in the good welfare of our fellow.