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The Tree of Knowledge: The Genesis of Self-Consciousness

The Moment Addiction Was Born

1 hr 59 min

Class Summary:

This class was presented on Tuesday & Wednesday Parshas Terumah, 30 Shevat & 1 Adar, 5780, February 25 & 26, 2020, at the Ohr Chaim Shul, Monsey, NY 

Please leave your comment below!

  • R

    Rachel -4 years ago

    The maimar on awareness explained to me an aspect in my life that I never understood with such depth. Often when I have certain challenging situations in my life, situations that need solutions,I find myself melted intimately with those moments that I lose my sense of self, my awareness and my self consciousness. Usually after overcoming successfully the challenge I often feel
    a sense of void and a sense of having lost myself and where I belong. Till now I always thought that the void was an anticlimax from the experience of having been so busy and worked so hard on solving the issue. But now after learning this maimar, I understand it in a different way. When I’m lost and fused so deeply in the moment that I no longer feel the self, perhaps I’m experiencing a moment of pre eitz hadas. The anticlimax of the next day might be the post eitz hadas experience. After an outer body experience of losing oneself the contrast of now being back into the reality of self consciousness and self awareness becomes very difficult and painful. (Perhaps that’s what happen to Noach, after the Mabul. The anticlimax of coming back into earth, meaning self awareness after having been in the Teivah on different realm of realities was intolerable for Noach that caused him to get intoxicated).

    What did I gain through this awareness? Now when I feel the painful frustration of the post eitz hadas experience, instead of reaching out for distractions to numb myself from experiencing the loss with oneness, I can pause. Pause with immense compassion for my human condition and become an observer of this process. Become a chooser. I’m never doomed, I can always chose to elevate any moment back to oneness. I can choose to distance myself and raise above the voices of  imprisonment that ask for quick fixes. When in spite of my finiteness I choose a path towards infinity and oneness, it’s in that freedom that I can transcend my awareness and consciousness.

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  • M

    Moshe -4 years ago

    Only 4 died cuz of the snake? What's wrong with self awareness?

    Meaning they were the only pure ones and no one else? What about the Avos and Imahos? Moshe and Aaron?

    We strive for self awareness. So what's the problem with that? The problem that it is all about the "self". Like the fellow who learns and davens and does mitzvos to get reward in this world or gge next for HIMSELF!. It's about himself not about Hashem, what Hashem wants, the relationship with Hashem, etc. As said before it's about a paycheck albeit a ruchnious paycheck.

    Same for self awareness. We must the self and do the right thing, not for reward, but the other needs it. And the other can be another person or Hashem. Like JFK said. We must go from selfISH to selfLESS. No coincidence that ISH is the man, the person, himself; whereas LESS means less of the self, less of oneself.

    Most neshomas come down to fix up something imperfect from a previous gilgul. Various opinions about what that might be, but they all overlap. Ultimately that is a selfish reason to come back down, self actualization and perfection. But a few neshomas come down, not for selfISH reasons but for selfLESS reasons. E.g. a handicapped child is said to be perfected already but comes down to teach others patience, tolerance and acceptance.

    There's a related discussion about the difference of between Torah's emphasis of OBLIGATIONS and secular law's emphasis of RIGHTS. One is selfless and the other is selfish.

    There's a reason it is called "Rasha"!

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  • M

    Moshe -4 years ago

    Avraham bo b'yomim. Avraham came with his days

    With his days full. Full of only good. Hasghocha we say this today on Rosh chodesh, three times for a chazaka. Each moment, each day was packed with only good. They could have been very different days but they were all full and filled with good.

    Obviously this is worth emulating .

    Compare that to the idea of "killing time"!

    If someone steals money or property from you, its possible to get it back later. But, time that is stolen can never be recovered.

    Just see how any tzaddik uses time.

    Hashem gives the quantity of days, and we fill those days with quality (or not!).

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  • AF

    avrohom Friedman -4 years ago

    No words to thank you for such a wonderful shiur.

    Question...If Noach getting Naked did not work to get back to before eitz hadaas then how can our drinking on purim achieve it?

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    • Anonymous -4 years ago

      Great question. So today we began a new maamar in Torah Or by the Baal Hatanya, Chayav Einish Lebesumi... We will bl"n address this question.

      Here is the new maamar: https://www.theyeshiva.net/jewish/7391

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  • Anonymous -4 years ago

    Would Rebbe be able to post/send the notes on todays shiur? The topic needs great thought and review and has tremendous yesodos that would be beneficial to see as a text.

    The pasuk in ruth (1:18) says וַתֵּ֕רֶא כִּֽי־מִתְאַמֶּ֥צֶת הִ֖יא לָלֶ֣כֶת אִתָּ֑הּ וַתֶּחְדַּ֖ל לְדַבֵּ֥ר אֵלֶֽיהָ׃ - The Vilna Gaon explains that if one wants to know when he comes to do a mitzvah if it is coming from the yetzer hara or yetzer tov he should see if he is approaching it with zerizus and his body feels loose and he is moving freely he could assume it is from the yetzer hara becuase how could his body that comes from dust and his nature is to go after his desires act this way, but if he feels heavy and lazy  then he is align with his nature and the yezter hara is 'dressed up' in his body to weigh him down. 

    Like the Alter Rebbe said when you feel yourself then you know that is working with the nature after the eitz haddas and that is the regular yetzer harah, but the Gaon is warning us when a mitzvah approaches and you stop feeling yourself and it seems your in touch with your real self you have to be careful that the ratzon might also be coming from a place of zuhama like the Alter Rebbe said even the feeling for the good may be coming form such a place.

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    • Anonymous -4 years ago

      I did. Check out the PDF under the video and you will see the notes of the class.

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      • Anonymous -4 years ago

        Thank you

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  • AF

    aharon faiman -4 years ago

    Short Shir Summary fr Beg to End

    Torah Ohr   Mishpatim        p. 156

    Sun Feb 16 ‘20

    Mishpatim Baal HaTanya 1797 on Shabbos  “fahrPetersburg” ie before Rebbi’s incarceration

              After Petersburg – more ohr came into more keilim – deeper, longer Torahs given by Alter Rebbe

    Mashal of a cat – train to waiter – let mouse go & cat loses it and chases

    Love and fear – let it grow, work it

    Mon F 18     157 col 1

    Empty kli – akara – laiv nishbar

              “eshkon es dacha” – “I’m found in the shatter place”

    Taanis 20:  R Elazar and R Shimon on donkey, met a man “How ugly and empty you are.  Are they all so ugly from your city?” – Maharsha – man says “don’t make a habit of it”

    Lub Reb:  some can see on face who a man is – R Elazar saw this man needed shock tx, broke thru the shell

              Man – go tell Creator who made me – 1st time man had dignity of “Hashem made me”

    To get to kli raikam – hisbonneus and life circumstances/experiences

    Tues  F 18  p 157 15 lines fr bottom

    Kos – needs emptying and rinsing inside and out


    To disengage oneself from a taiva, to allow an emptiness to be able to receive truth

    When something captures my heart - even if it is mutar - it fills my emotions

    Tzimtzum – withdraw/ disengage – trust the organic self, avoid the quick fix

    Hishpashtus – involved with something

    21:45     kos shel brocho halachos and hilchos nidah – located in 2 totally diff places in halachos

    Two questions:

    Do I have a klay kibbul (a vessel empty to receive)?  Is ego in the way?  Ego –“easing G-d out” -    from compensation.

    Is it rinsed out inside?  I’m opened up, empty kli yet is it filled with distractions. 


    R Rashab 5th,  R Shalom Dov Ber – d 1920 in Rostov on Dan river, son of Maharash R Shmuel (passed away young, 40’s) son of Tzemach Tzedek grandson of Alter Rebbe

      older bro Zalman Aaron – man came for help to R Rashab -  “I can’t help you.” – Man crying outside in hallway - older bro Zalman Aaron went in & asked his younger brother who was not Rebbe yet:  “Why no aitza for this man?”    “Bring him back in.”  Put on hat and gartel and told him good aitza and the person was helped. 

    At first he saw the man was not able to receive anything/advice.  Not ready to hear it.  Didn’t have empty cup to receive.  Not in a position to get help at that time.  But went outside and was laiv nishbar – Rebbe saw that the man opened up and now was ready to hear.  Became a klay kibul.

    At shiva house – “H’ should give you koach to deal with this”.   A beautiful thing to say rather than chochmas, etc.


    1966 During a fabrengen – Lub. Rebbe – “all who put out hand give to them” on Purim – Rebbe gave out wine – bochur came.  Rebbe: “you already got inside the shul earlier” – “my cup had a hole in it” – “then what diff does it make it if you fill it up again?” – “I got a new cup!”

    R Twersky – people in recovery are most sensitive/spiritual people

              Less sensitive people can live with lies and coverups of life, these people need to numb their pain, have a hard time dealing w/the falsities of life

    Seven layer cake is much more comforting than infinity!

    Nidah – cleansing out toxins, difficult time for woman, allowing a space for new life to begin,

    W & Th no shir

    Friday  Feb 21, ‘20  

    Three main points:

              Mashakala – inspiration to have a child yet without reality/it doesn’t come into existence -  a dimyon

              akara – not able to produce a child at all

                 Chochmah binah and daas – parents        ahava & yirah - children

    1       ahava & yirah/spiritual growth is a gift from H’ – comes from eretz elyona – a person doesn’t come from one’s own ‘eretz’

    2        sometimes one doesn’t have a bais valad – no keili – maybe plugged or stuffed, obsessed w/own yaishis/ego

          “I want this”  “I want that”    

    Person needs to carve out a space for themselves

    3       kos shel brocho needs to be cleaned out in and out

         get out the nummers and addictions even if they are mutar things, a dirty cup one can’t put wine in it even if it’s empty

        nidah – pregnancy can only happen after cleaning out

    Hannah davened to H’ – lashon “al” Hashem – ‘on top of Hashem’

    emanated/ beyond briah – azilus                   creation – briah 

    formed – yatzira                                                  made – asiyah


    A “matziah” – it exists/a reality     (Signs, signs everywhere the signs)

                   Rambam 1st halacha in Yad hazaka – see loshon of matziah

          Relative to where one is in the world – depends on your


    child - toy fire truck or $50K        

              Adult values $5k more than fire truck  

    (toys of power or toys of cooperation or learning)

    “If only a hammer in the toolbox, then everything looks like a nail”

    Great person – persuaded by reasoning rather than force

      Ideas – show it to me – savora is the greatest matziah to a high person

    Physics – the more physical it is the less matzias it is – it was filtered

    and tzimtzumed very much so a person can grasp/see/experience

    it with their limited tools – what is the deeper reality of it?

    33:20   All about food –


    Spiritual glasses – can look at the same reality & see it completely diff’ly

    Need to have the keilim to grasp higher matzias/realities

    Reality is always changing/evolving

    The higher my perception/definitions of a matziah/reality expand, the

        more the earlier ones diminish – almost like they don’t exist.

              Ex.  Designer/architect looking at a house looks completely diff’ly

    than a regular person looking at it

              Ex. as a person becomes more food sensitive, bad unhealthy

    foods become less of a matzia – bad food doesn’t even look      

    like a matzia to them

    Once asked a turtle who lived for so long what happened with the big bang and the creation of the universe and all the billions of years.  He said, “I don’t remember, it all happened so fast.”

    Rogachover and Ohr Sameach – who’s bigger?  Discussion – child says its pashut, the Ohr Sameach is much bigger – the boy was looking at the physical body.

    Hanna davened “al H’” – to a place even above atzilus – so she went from an akara to a mother of a child

    Mon  Feb 24

    Medrash:  fence of roses – a spot of blood – a huge fence/metzia

    Petersburg became Leningrad when communists took over from


    12 Tammuz – Friediker Rebbe in prison – guard held gun up to him

              “You believe in one world & many g-ds, I believe in One G-d &

            many worlds”

    Meor Anayim – Parshas Bo –

    Galus – no awareness, no bechira (free choice)

         Choice is from daas – another way of looking at something

    Don’t be scare of gehinnom there, be scare of gehinnom here!

    Gehinom and Gan Eden – defining the reality of the person

    Hi’est level of matzios is nothing

    1. “The neshama sees, the head imagines, and the heart experiences”

    L’hispallail – to daven – reflexive verb - to connect with oneself, experience in oneself and with oneself – tefilla is a link/connection 

    Hannah – connected w/herself, to a place deeper than matzios, “on top

    of H’”, not looking for matzios, to connect w/H’ in a very emesdik,

    complete way, to touch real divinity of her soul

    Metziras nefesh – to go out of any geder of matzios

    Hannah’s situation allowed her to connect to a place above Havaya

         She represents that person who is not capable of emotion – no child,

    detached in ruchniyus – an akara

    She cried – real healing comes – emotions can only be blocked thru a

    place of matzios, not from a place above matzios

              She wanted rachmanis - empathy

    Seems logically that from a place of matzias will come rachmanis, not fr.

       a place above everything where H’ dwells alone.

        “kulo kamay k’loh chashiv” – “All before Him is considered as if it is

               nothing” - how can rachmanis come from there?

       Alter Rebbe:   it’s the opposite – as go thru to lower worlds,

                    rachmanis/empathy gets to be less and less –

    Rachmanis – depends on contrast, to see potential and feel empathy

              Ain Sof – where the greatest rachmanis dwells

    Tues Feb 25 ‘20

    Maschala – emotions are not sustained, inspiration dies

    Akara – not able to even give birth to an emotion, numb, barren

    Rogachover Gaon & frei Yid speaking

    “Avraham came with his days” – lived each day fully

    Aitz hadaas – good and bad was revealed to Adam & Chava – the “downfall of existence”

    Teach children –

    “The woman saw it was a good thing to eat and appealing to the eyes and desirable”  - Chava said a lot of positive things about the aitz hadaas.

     End of text.

    47:30   Self-awareness – tachlis (real purpose) is to come to a place that’s above self-awareness

    H’ gave us bechira – “I feel…”

    Functional addict – cover it up – baal habatish

    Where do I fit into life? – always positioning, too self-conscious

    Pamper falls off the 2 year old “so cute”

    Pamper falls off the 18 yr old – “nebech, what a terrible thing”

    Haman – “from the land came the aitz hadaas”    min ha’aretz -  Haman

    51:00   addiction

    There’s no one after aitz hadaas who is not an addict

    104     “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.“

    Real humility = a real channel for the divine

    Not to go out of oneself rather to transcend oneself.

    Wed Feb 26 ‘20

    Review of end of maamar.

    “kasas ruach” – a coarse spirit, a shell covering something good, blocking me

    Consciousness “mudahoot” – see self – source of all toxicity – disconnection from source, from being and from essence of being

    Nature – a seamless communication bet/all parts to its purpose, never wavers fr its course.   “animal bliss” – they’re not thinking existential q’s

      Three purposes of nature – to survive, to propagate, to enhance the environment

    Chidushei HaRim:  after shachris perhaps w/o such good concentration one should eat pas shachris (morning bread)

              At least be like an animal that knows its master!


    Bochur came to the Lub Rebbe.  “How do you feel?”  “how do you feel yourself?”

    Healthiest – don’t feel anything, seamless flow bet/body and soul

    Subluxation – the foundation of chiropractic is to fix it

         “The purpose of the chiropractic adjustment is to unite the physical in man with the spiritual in man.”

              H’ puts the life energy into the brain (see Tanya, etc and also before putting on tefillen we say “haneshama sheb’mochi” – “the soul that is in the brain”).  The life energy travels down the spinal cord and out the many nerves to all parts of the body enervating the entire body with life energy.  A subluxation, a slight misalignment of the spine puts pressure on the nervous system making an interruption in the flow of life energy.  Thus, correcting the subluxation restores life energy flow thus allowing better unification of the physical in man with the spiritual in man.

    When a pain or other symptom in the body - a call out that something needs attention.

    Artist/musician/athlete/speaker etc – best when loses self

    Depth of spiritual search – aitz hadaas

    A living manifestation of the divine

    Sexual awareness – intimacy – in all creation – a give and a receive



    “the more aware of self, the less I’m … “

    If I can feel life, something is wrong.

     Descartes:  “I think therefore I am”    

     A Yid:  “H’ thinks therefore I am!”

    Emotionally mature/developed/evolved person = takes the cause seriously

    Emotionally immature/undeveloped/not evolved person = takes self seriously

    Self-aware identification causes shame, guilt, secrecy esp re; sexual

    Trama – our condition expanded and dramatized

    Addicts – feel aitz hadaas more

    Purpose is not to get out of self rather to get over oneself.

    Vulnerable and real = high transcendence – w/o compulsions/don’t retreat into your head/don’t get stuck in your head

    Adam = adama/earth = humility/humble

    Have compassion

    Purpose of much of Alter Rebbe’s writings: to connect self-consciousness to divine consciousness.

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  • M

    Moshe -4 years ago

    Every piece must fit into the plan

    Everything in the house must fit into the plan for the home. 

    Every moment of  life must fit into  the plan and  goal of  life.

    Every part of ourselves must fit into the reason for  our existence and  cannot do  so if the focus, lesser or greater, is on one's self. To be "in the moment" means to forget about  the self and just do what we are to do without thinking about  it or ourselves.

    Two types of  "you are nothing". 1. You are worthless and a loser. A degraded "nothing".  2. You are so connected with  your purpose and with the  Divine consciousness that your ego is  nullified and subsumed  into it.  A lofty and elevated  "nothing". 

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  • M

    Moshe -4 years ago

    The Goal of it all: connect self consciousness with Divine consciousness

    And the ubiquitous "selfies" are mamesh the opposite!

    But wait, who made more than one entity out of absolute unity and this made the separation possible sich that we have to  connect self consciousness with Divine consciousness in the first place? Before this separation occured there was only Divine consciousness and no need to connect anything cuz there was nothing and  nobody to do any any connecting. We weren't even naked, we just weren't! No connecting necessary if you don't even exist! 

    He made all creation including us. He made the Tree of Knowledge. He made the  snake. He gave the  Orders. He made it possible to  transgress   Being beyond time, just another creation after all, He even knew what would (time dimension only for us really), He even knew what would occur.  The sin, the consequences and the rollout of  history. 

    "We shouldn't be bored". But, wasnt He "bored", or at least lonely in  need of  a  relationship or a nation  promoting creation? Don't we mirror Him and if He was bored can't we be bored as well? Was He numbing Himself when he  filled His void and created a  distraction, namely creation? Are we and the rest of  creation His void filler and addiction?

    So consciousness and self consciousness is the beginning of pirud from unity cuz now there's an ""I" and and another entity, even the most sublime. And so our job is to re-unify and reconnect the fragments.  He made the puzzle, made the pieces, deconstructed it, and we have to put the puzzle back together..

    The fetus in the womb is already there. Then all our lives we try to go back to  what we once had..

    Male and  female are the opposite poles that exist throughout creation. Electricity   Magnetism. Chemistry.  Atomic energy. Etc. Etc. At every level the masculine and  feminine seek to reunite (another type of  puzzle) and can do so only with harmony. 

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Chassidus: Torah Ohr Lo Teheye Meshakala #6

Rabbi YY Jacobson

  • February 26, 2020
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  • 1 Adar 5780
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Dedicated by Baruch Yosef Markoff, in the loving memory of his grandmother, Rose bas Roiba, for the yartzheit on the 1st of Adar

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