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    Table of Contents

    Revealing the Tree of Life

    There are two appearances of the emotions/attributes-of-the-heart in a person. The first appearance is in the intellect, and the second is in the heart itself. When the attributes appear in the intellect, they remain concealed, and when they appear in the heart they become revealed. Regarding development of consciousness, the difference is that when the attributes are concealed in the intellect, the person is not aware of himself and he possesses no self-consciousness. He does not feel that it is he who loves, he who fears etc. the subject remains unspecified. In other words, there is no conscious dynamic of I-You, there is only the act of knowing itself.

    We have explained that by eating from the Tree of Knowledge man opened the door to experience an “other.” After eating from the Tree, his emotional attributes no longer remained hidden within his intellect alone, rather they descended to their natural abode, the heart. Man opened the conduit of “experience” before rectifying these attributes in his mind. This allowed for the possibility of objectively contemplating his actions while acting. This feeling that there is a subject to every action, a subject to every contemplation, prepares the way for the feeling of self-consciousness. External consciousness, which allows for the feeling of an “other” (an object defined by one's own subject) and the enhancement of the emotional experience (the opening of the attributes of the heart) always looks for an object to “settle” on, to cling to. When external consciousness does not find such a object in external reality, it turns inward and perceives its sender as an “other” and so generates a feeling of “objectivity” pertaining to the self. This feeling is the feeling of self-consciousness. Outside the context of constructive self-criticism, self-consciousness is in general a negative phenomenon, resulting from the primordial sin of Adam and Eve. One avoids the negativity of self-consciousness through nullification, as discussed previously. By reaching the state of nullification, the attributes are concealed once more in their source, hiding the emotions and integrating them into the nullification. The concealment of these aspects at this level, yesod abba, “foundation of father,” is due to the revelation of Divinity that comes from self-nullification, from nullifying the current level of awareness in order to allow the Divine light, which cannot be contained in the limited vessel of the current level, to enter. When one “opens up” and connects to chochmah ila'ah, “higher wisdom,” which is also called “seeing the essence” of the Divine, a person reveals the level of nullification, which contains love and awe and all the other emotive attributes, but in such a way that these emotions do not cause self-consciousness. This is a state of a new “tree” in the psyche – the Tree of Life.

    A New Awareness

    Bitul reveals a light so great that it “blinds the eyes of the external energies,” separating and driving away the “shell” of “feeling oneself to be a separate and independent entity.” This leaves the person pure and “dedicated solely to God.” At this level, the revelation of the natural attributes is no longer a danger, liable to cause the person to fall. Quite the contrary, it is the apex of the revelation of Divine insight, which can now illuminate and enter the consciousness allowing it to experience that which would normally seem to be egotistical.

    The attributes of the Tree of Knowledge can then be allowed to penetrate the psyche. These are the attributes of self-awareness that are embedded in a person and give him the experience of being a separate and distinct “I” that is able to interact with “another” which was the primary reason for Creation, as mentioned.

    Thus we see that the Tree of Knowledge is rectified by way of the light of chochmah, “wisdom,” through its inner attribute of “nullification” that manifests itself as a Tree of Life. The rectification begins by repelling the “external energies” and converting the “Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil” into a “Tree of Knowledge of Good—and Evil you shall not eat from it.”


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