Tanya Chapter 8 (source) writes that "the abode of the animal soul ... is in the heart, ... the left ventricle". In contrast, "the abode of the divine soul is in the brains ... [and] also in the heart, in the right ventricle". However, Tanya also maintains that the animal soul and divine soul each have three intellectual faculties and seven emotional faculties ("Just as the divine soul consists of ten holy sefirot ... the soul of sitra achara consists of ... ten 'crowns of impurity'" (Chapter 6)).

Does this mean the animal soul's intellectual faculties abide in the heart? If so, how do we understand the fact that the animal soul's emotions "[rise] also to the brain"?

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    Aug 13, 2022 at 21:30

2 Answers 2


The animal soul's intellectual faculties abide in the heart ONLY according to the Tanya.

The animal soul's intellectual faculties DO NOT abide in the mind according to the Tanya.

Abide and rise have 2 separate meanings in this context.

  • If so, then how do we understand the fact that the animal soul's emotions "[rise] also to the brain" (Chapter 8)? Aug 12, 2022 at 17:40
  • @JoshGrinberg The Animal soul doesnt abide in the brain but can give its worthless 2 cents about everything. It can rise to the brain; but doesnt necessarily have the final say. You got the final say. ( Animal soul's emotions rising to the brain can be looked at as it giving you bad advice)The animal soul is like a combo of a really bad investment advisor + lazy pleasure seeker. Your job is to put it in its place by making it do good things. The brain is basically you, who will make the right decision after listening to the G-dly soul and the animal soul. Aug 12, 2022 at 17:57
  • @JoshGrinberg The Tanya there is saying that all trash ideas come from the animal soul. The AS's job is to throw trash at you so that you may choose good and gain points. Incase you are wondering why the animal soul has the license to throw trash ideas into the brain, then we are going to the whole "Kelipoth also have a say" territory. Aug 12, 2022 at 18:04
  • Not sure if I entirely agree with this answer but you see something to this effect in the difference of the way the tanya lists the soul powers of the AS vs the G-dly soul. By the GS the intellect gets listed and then emotions. By the AS the emotions are, then the intellect. The idea being that it’s not true objective intellect. It’s only intellect as far as will benefit itself.
    – mroll
    Aug 12, 2022 at 22:49

It is important to understand the various terminology in Tanya and the proper way of grasping the concepts involved. For this, it is often recommended to appeal to a knowledgeable individual who can make the concepts clear to the student.

In this case, "abode/abides" does not mean so in even the slightest literal sense. It means that the essence of the intellectual power of an individual is what serves as the primary vessel for the GS's dwelling. On the other hand, the coarseness of the heart is the primary vessel for the AS.

Does this negate the fact that either soul can make use of the intellectual or emotional powers of the body? Of course not! It merely points to where their natures lie. Intellect is objective. A person can argue and say, "Well, I disagree! Since I felt it myself! But a person cannot say "Well, I understood it myself! It sounds silly! The Gdly soul thus dwells "better" in that objective space which allows for Gdliness to be comprehended, since it is not a place which holds of itself any bloated importance.

The coarseness of the person, exemplified by the part of the heart which distributes blood to the rest of the body etc. etc., on the other hand, is an image of ego - what I feel. This is thus where the AS finds its roots - in the "I" exist part of things. A person with this inclination, can of course use his brains - but it will be with a strong interest/subjectiveness towards what HE decides to understand...like those people who use very intellectually-sounding nonsense to excuse their own ideas (but when faced with opposing facts will often cower behind their "logical" ideas as though they were being intellectual).

You get the gist...

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