the fiftieth gate
what is the distinction between the 49th & 50th gate of impurity?
by Reb Gedaliah Aharon Kenig
The side of holiness and the side of impurity mirror each other. On the side of holiness, there are forty-nine gates of teshuva. It is within these gates that we, from our side, yearn to purify ourselves and return to God. The fiftieth gate, however, is where God yearns from above to shine upon us the light of His holiness.
The fifty gates on the side of impurity are structured in a similar fashion. Damage caused through physical desires based on the four elements of the earth, causes one to descend to the forty-ninth gate of impurity. Just below this is the fiftieth gate, which is where one falls when the damage they cause by thinking their rebellion against Torah is something ordained from heaven. Their path seems straight in their eyes; they believe everything is fine, and have no fear of heaven whatsoever. Such is the quality of the fiftieth gate of impurity.
Nonetheless, the Torah can save a person even from this, since the Torah possesses two forces. To those who are worthy, the Torah is an elixir of life. To those who are unworthy, it is an elixir of death. Whoever falls to the “Other Side” (Sitra Achra) from the influence of the elixir of death, the Torah will ultimately enlighten them, since truth stands forever. There is much more to be said on the subject, but let this suffice for now.
Excerpted from Shaarei Tzaddik, Letter #22