I have found here in the אגרא דכלה


that if there is no intention behind a foreign thought you are not to push it away but rather elevate it.

I have some problems where whenever I want to do a כוונה I get bombarded with completely uncontrollable thoughts which are provocative statements which try to divert my attention from the כוונה.

In the source I brought the מהרצ"א seems to imply that some of these foreign thoughts are non harmful. I am looking however for a source that will say it more explicitly so that I dont have to worry that Im causing spiritual damage from these uncontrollable thoughts. My concern is that by mixing the קדושה with tumah I may be causing damage.

Thank you

  • פָּג֬וֹשׁ דֹּ֣ב שַׁכּ֣וּל בְּאִ֑ישׁ וְאַל־כְּ֝סִ֗יל בְּאִוַּלְתּֽוֹ׃ Sooner meet a bereaved she-bear Than a fool with his nonsense. sefaria.org/Proverbs.17.12
    – Shababnik
    Commented Dec 21, 2023 at 1:00

1 Answer 1


This is referring to a tzaddik who has already elevated himself beyond such thoughts:

כל זה דוקא לאדם שבטלו תאוותיו ואינו מתאווה בעצם לאותן הדברים הגופניים, ואם כן מהיכן באה לו המחשבה זרה הזאת, על כרחך שבאת אליו להתחנן לו להיות בעוזרה להעלותה מהקליפה

Tanya says it would be foolish for an ordinary person to attempt this; rather, the thought must be firmly ignored:

ואפילו אם נופלים לו הרהורי תאוות ושאר מחשבות זרות בשעת העבודה, בתורה או בתפילה בכוונה, אל ישית לב אליהן, אלא יסיח דעתו מהן כרגע. וגם אל יהי שוטה לעסוק בהעלאת המדות של המחשבה זרה כנודע, כי לא נאמרו דברים ההם אלא לצדיקים, שאין נופלים להם מחשבות זרות שלהם, כי אם משל אחרים. אבל מי שנופל לו משלו, מבחינת הרע שבלבו בחלל השמאלי, איך יעלהו למעלה והוא עצמו מקושר למטה

Even if lustful imaginings or other extraneous thoughts occur to him during his service of G‑d—in Torah or in prayer with kavanah—he should pay them no attention but avert his mind from them immediately. Nor should he be so foolish as to engage in “sublimation of the middot” of the extraneous thought, as is known—that one can overcome extraneous thoughts by elevating their source. For such things were intended only for tzaddikim, in whom there do not occur any evil thoughts of their own evil middot, but only from the middot of others. But as for one, i.e., a beinoni, to whom there occurs [an evil thought] of his own, from the evil that is lodged in the left part of his heart, i.e., the evil middot of his animal soul, how can he raise it up to the spiritual realm when he himself is bound below by his desire for the material?

  • However I feel that these thoughts are not mine - its not like Im being bothered by things I want to do. They are just random provocations (noise). Thats why I thought they are others'.
    – zunior
    Commented Dec 21, 2023 at 2:01
  • It's not (necessarily) that you actively desire them. It's the animal soul within battling for attention because it senses its hold weakening. The solution is not to engage but to persist in your efforts. I'd suggest reading the rest of that chapter in Tanya.
    – shmosel
    Commented Dec 21, 2023 at 2:17
  • How do you tell the difference between the "letters of thought" and the animal soul? I read that page of Tanya just now
    – zunior
    Commented Dec 21, 2023 at 2:53
  • Unless you're a tzaddik, you should assume they're coming from the animal soul.
    – shmosel
    Commented Dec 21, 2023 at 3:07

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .