Deep Dive Into The Dangerous Interplay Between Dinim (Judgments) And The Sitra Achra

There’s a fundamental misconception that the Sitra Achra (“the other side”, i.e. evil) has independent existence

By “independent existence”, I don’t mean that the Sitra Achra can go against Hashem’s will because by definition nothing can go against His Hashgacha (divine providence). In Kabbalistic language, this could be translated as saying that, since the Sephira of Keter, which is the ultimate Will encompasses all of Atzilut, then all the choices we make are within His realm of possibility. It’s just that, consciously, we have no way of reaching so far high in the Tree of Decisions.

Rather, I mean that people think the 7th of October attack by Hamas “simply happen out of nowhere”. How could this happen?

This is wrong on many levels but first let’s understand some vital Kabbalistic principles.

What is the Sitra Achra?

The Sitra Achra (סִטְרָא אַחְרָא), often translated as “the Other Side” in Kabbalistic thought, represents the realm of evil or impurity. This concept is deeply rooted in the Zohar and the Kitvei Ari and serves as a counterbalance to the realm of holiness or purity, known as Sitra d’Kedushah (Side of Holiness). In Kabbalah, the world is perceived as a battleground between these two forces: good and evil, light and darkness.

There isn’t much room for doubt: Every force (thought, speech or action) that is against Hashem’s Torah and the Oral Tradition is rooted in the Sitra Achra. This negative force is doing everything it can to hold back the Geulah (the final redemption) and the sad part is that many Rabbis in our generation a happily a part of it. Especially those that pushed the vaccines and haven’t yet retracted (and apologized for) their position.

Now, we shouldn’t be sad because the Sitra Achra is not just a metaphorical concept but a vital component in understanding the dynamics of spiritual warfare and personal growth in the Jewish mystical tradition. As I said before, Hashem is ultimately behind everything and no one can ever “surprise Him” We just have to understand how the game works in order to win against the forces of evil.

s Achra making the world on fire

The Nature of Sitra Achra

The Sitra Achra is divided into 2 parts:

  1. The 3 types that cannot be purified as described in Sefer Yechezkel:
    • אנן גדול: The Great Cloud
    • רוח סערה: The Tempest Wind
    • אש מתלקחת: The Self-Revolving Fire
  2. The Klipat Nogah (lit husk) which can be purified through our Torah, Mitzvot and Tefilot

When Adam HaRishon sinned, he was stripped from his garment of light and put a garment of Klipat Nogah. Before, there was no physical reality, and holiness and impurity were separated. But after this they go intermixed, and reality assumed a physical vestment. Of course, Hashem, in His great compassion, wouldn’t allow Creation to end, even though this is what the Middat HaDin (the trait of Judgment) said so (this is brought in Shaarei Kedusha by Rav Chaim Vital).

Once this happened, the Partzufim were damaged, fell even lower and now everything in the physical world is surrounded by a Klipat Nogah which stands as a barrier between the 3 Klipot that cannot be purified and the side of Kedusha (holiness).

Take, for example, an apple.

According to Halacha, we can eat the apple if we make the proper bracha (blessing). According to Kabbalah, doing so would make the Klipat Nogah be drawn to the side of Kedusha and be eaten together with it, while the 3 impure Klipot would be thrown away. If one doesn’t make a bracha, he ends up eating both the Klipat Nogah as well as the 3 impure klipot, and become even more impure.

So too, the body of a person may be drawn to Kedusha or it may sink lower and lower into the realm of evil until there’s no way of salvaging it. When we leave this world, we will have exactly how much we worked for. After the many judgments (it’s not just 1) a soul passes through, it will receive a soul garment that will enable him/her to enjoy or suffer over the fruits of their labor.

As mentioned before, the Sitra Achra is not an independent entity, but rather a necessary aspect of the system of free will. It exists because it has a role to play in the divine plan. The existence of evil and temptation allows for free will, giving human beings the choice between good and evil.

Good means doing Teshuva according to how to the Torah teaches and evil is the exact opposite. Between every single choice we make, we can either come closer to Hashem, or further away from Him. This is why we have some many Halachot (over 13.000 in the Shulchan Aruch): Hashem wanted to sanctify each and every part of our times, souls and places (see Sefer Yetzira) so we can form the necessary garments for Olam HaBah and enjoy bliss and pleasure beyond our wildest dreams.

The Role of Dinim (Judgments)

From Etz Chaim we learn that reality is a composite of many Holy Names of God. The interplay between them is very complex and is beyond the scope of our post here, but there are 2 essential names that we have to know:

  1. יהוה – This is the YHVH ineffable Tetragrammaton which is Hashem’s ultimate name, full of expanding goodness. Whenever this name appears in Creation, everything is in perfect alignment and well. This name is generally associated with the Mokhin D’Gadlut (evolved consciousness) and also with Rachamim (compassion).
  2. אלהים –This is the name Elo-him which is associated with Judgment. This name sets boundaries and limit the divine light, which open up the possibility that the Sitra Achra might be strengthened from it. This name is generally associated with the Mokhin D’Katnut (restricted consciousness) and and also with Din (Judgment).

As everyone probably knows, every action, thought, and word of a person has spiritual consequences. These are governed by the concept of “Dinim” or judgments. Dinim are the harsh aspects of divine judgment that come into play when a person sins or deviates from the path of righteousness. These judgments are not seen as punishments in a punitive sense but rather as corrective measures to realign the individual with their spiritual purpose.

Of course, certain times of the year (like Tisha B’Av or the 3 weeks of Bein HaMetzarim) bring more judgment to the table, and we need to take proper precautions as Halacha also dictates.

There’s a limited amount of Judgment that comes down to the world to be rectified, which is exactly as much as Adam HaRishon released with his initial sin.

Sitra Achra in smokes

The Strengthening of Sitra Achra through Sin

When a person commits a sin or engages in impure actions, they feed energy (dinim, judgments) to the Sitra Achra. Each transgression adds strength to this realm of impurity, allowing it to have a greater influence in the world, chas v’shalom. This process can create a vicious cycle where the increased power of the Sitra Achra leads to more temptation and sin, which in turn feeds its strength further.

Then, once a critical mass is reached, tragedy happens, either to an individual or the collective.

Now, it’s important to realize: dinim are not bad.

Dinim are a form of energy, generated by the name אלהים, and it is a necessary component of Creation. If the dinim are not sweetened, they feed off the Sitra Achra and it, in turn, brings tragedy.

When we do Teshuva we are naturally sweetening the Dinim and taking them away from the Sitra Achra. Then, in turn, our enemies are rendered POWERLESS, because their spiritual source is depleted. When the opposite happens… then the opposite happens.

Dinim can also be sweetened through Yichudim and Kavanot, Torah study, acts of kindness, bringing more merits to others and so on.

Tikkun and the Transformation of Evil

An essential concept in Kabbalah is Tikkun, or rectification. While a person may do Teshuva, he still needs to rectify the damage he did in the spiritual worlds, like we do in the weeks of Shovavim.

Through spiritual practices, prayer, and good deeds, one can not only weaken the Sitra Achra but also transform its energy into something positive. When a person does a certain Tikkun (like the Tikkun HaYesod from the Ben Ish Chai), this is the redemption of the fallen sparks of holiness that are trapped within the realm of impurity.

This is also related to Teshuva: once we do it, then we extract the sparks of the Sephirot that it swallowed up and the corresponding part of the Sitra Achra dies.

The Era of Mashiach and the Purge of Sitra Achra

We are probably not going to finish the whole job of ending the Sitra Achra, that will be the Mashiach’s job in the wars of Gog uMagog and the building of the 3rd Beit HaMikdash (Holy Temple). Yet, we need to reach a critical mass of Teshuva not only so the process goes faster, but also so it’s less painful. Not to mention whatever Teshuva we do, we only stand to gain.

In Kabbalistic and traditional Jewish belief, the coming of Mashiach heralds a full, overwhelming transformation of the world unlike anything we can conceive. This will be a quantum jump on our soul’s capacity to experience Hashem and, as a result, the Sitra Achra will be destroyed. This era, often referred to as the Messianic Age, is characterized by a universal recognition and acceptance of Hashem’s sovereignty and peace.

DALL·E 2024 01 09 12.28.39 An image depicting an ancient Kohen Jewish priest in the Holy Temple performing the ritual of scooping ashes from a pile on the ramp of the large s

Final remarks

The redemption (Geulah) signifies a return to a state of spiritual purity and a reconnection with the divine that was last experienced during the times of the First and Second Temples. In fact, it will be an even greater revelation than what a “maidservant” experienced in the Parting of the Red Sea. The Temple is seen not just as a physical structure but as a focal point for spiritual wisdom (Chokhmah) and the revelation of Hashem.

The Vilna Gaon once said “I can imagine more or less what an Amora (a sage of the times of the Gemara, after the destruction of the Temple), but I have no idea of the level of a shoemaker at the time of the [second] Beit HaMikdash.”

Imagine that.

This revelation will not be limited to the Jewish people but will encompass all of humanity. Those that kept Hashem’s Torah will experience the greatest bliss. The knowledge of God will fill the earth, as prophesied in texts like Yeshayahu: “For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea” (Yeshayahu 11:9).

This transformative vision offers a future where Hashem’s presence is fully revealed, evil is vanquished, and a harmonious, enlightened existence is realized for all creation. May we merit to participate in this coming era!

Get "The "Illustrated Book of Kabbalah" for FREE!

Chaim Apsan

Chaim is a teacher and Kabbalah enthusiast. He loves helping Jews connect with true Torah teaching and enhancing their spiritual growth. With a focus on meditation, he guides individuals on transformative journeys of prayer, contemplation, and connection with Hashem. He lives in Jerusalem with his wife and kids, and is committed to sharing the wisdom and power of Kabbalah in a genuine way.

You may also like:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Translate »

Get Real Torah in your mailbox

Subscribe to the Newsletter!

Receive powerful authentic Kabbalistic ideas in your mailbox!

We won’t spam your e-mail or sell your information with any party.