The connection between the mystery of red cow and the secret of serving hashem with forbidden pleasure. How we can reveal the essence of our animal soul and transform it into holiness.
By Rabbi Boruch Merkur
The world was created in 7 days yet there are 10 sefiros. This is because 7 represents the natural order and the 10 sefiros represents something above nature as it includes the additional three sefiros of the mind (chabad). Moshiach will usher in a supernatural era when we will receive the additional 3 sefiros of and finally attain the full 10 sefiros.
We live in a world that is incomplete and needs to be rectified. We will receive the last three sefiros when the world is fully rectified which will happen through our repentance. This will be led by moshiach who will do such a great repentance that it will even bring the tzadikim to do teshuva.
We are supposed to serve hashem with both our good and evil inclination. The zohar says that this is a very deep secret. However, isn't it obvious that we must serve hashem with everything we have, so what is the great mystery here?
To serve hashem with both our inclinations means that even forbidden pleasures are intended to be experienced in a holy way. This is a great mystery for how could a prohibited pleasure possibly be used to serve hashem?
This deep secret is connected to the mystery of the ritual of the red cow. How so?
The red cow corresponds to the ox that sits on the left side of the divine chariot which represents the neutral forces of the world. The neutral forces (klipas nogeh) are the bridge between the forces of good and the forces of evil as either side can harness them. The neutral forces include all the permitted pleasure of this world. When permitted pleasures are used solely for the sake of meaningless enjoyment their energy is drawn to the dark side.
To rectify this we perform the mitzvah of the red cow which shows how everything can be transformed. This is done in the outer part of the beis hamikash as the beis hamikdash is analogous to the world of atzilus and in that world the left side of the neutral forces are considered holy as they are included within the right, therefore there is no possibility for the dark forces to get nourishment from them.
In order to overcome and rectify the desires of the evil inclination in a practical sense we must sacrifice the permitted pleasure of the neutral forces. This is exemplified in the mitzvah of sacrificing the red cow through burning away the earth and water until the only thing that remains is the dust which represents its indestructible core. This is symbolic of how we defeat the evil inclination. We must strip away the garments of the soul until all that remains is its essence. The garments of the soul are the three modes of expression, thought, speech and action, which are stripped away by removing our negative habits. Then the animal soul reverts into its initial state which is a divine spark of chaotic potential before any evil was mixed into it. This is similar to how a small child is a pure force of potential, as opposed to when they grow into adulthood there now exists the possibility for them to do evil.
How do we change our bad habits? Simply by saying no to temptations you not only overcome the temptation in that instance but you create a lasting change that reduces the temptation in its entirety. Through repeatedly saying no to the temptation every time it arises, you continuously reduce the desire to the extent that it will cease to enter the mind at all until the desire becomes completely extracted from your character. This is how we can serve hashem even with our sinful desires as through extracting the sin by not engaging with it you are left only with the core desire which was until now used for sin but in reality is a neutral force of potential. This very same desire can now be harnessed by the good inclination and be redirected completely to motivate us to do good and thereby the sinful desire is transformed into holiness literally.