CheshvanReconstructing Rachel

Reconstructing Rachel: Return to Jewish Nature – Part 5

Secrets of the Jewish Year
Holiday Messages and Meditations on the Jewish Year

 Cheshvan According to Sefer Yetzirah
When Will my Deeds Reach the Level of Those of My Forefathers
Jewish Mothers Day: The 11th of Cheshvan, yorhtzeit of our matriarch Rachel.Reconstructing Rachel: Return to Jewish Nature
Part 1: Return to National Jewish Nature
 Part 2: 
Applying the Meanings of Hod on a National Level
 Part 3: Reconstructing Rachel in our Service of God
 Part 4: A Deeper Understanding: Relating the Types to the Sefirot
 Part 5: 
Understanding the Middle Axis: The Axis of Self-Consciousness
 Part 6: Malchut: Rectified Jewish Nature

Understanding the Middle Axis:
The Axis of Self-Consciousness

The middle axis, whose root is in the sefirah of da'at ("knowledge"), is the axis of self-consciousness.  In contrast to chochmah and binah, whose focus is on objective scrutiny of the matter being considered, da'atrelates to matters subjectively — through the prism of its own experience.  The initial and unrectified nature of the middle axis is excessive self-consciousness.

In keeping with this principle, our sages teach that Adam and Eve attained self-consciousness specifically after eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. The beginning of the middle axis is in the sefirah of da'at —the essence of self-consciousness. The da'at then extends along the middle axis to tiferet, in which a person, if unrectified, prides himself on his good deeds. The end of the middle axis is in the sefirah of yesod, in which the unrectified person prides himself on his evil deeds.

The Lower Middle Axis: Yesod

In the lower middle axis, corresponding to the sefirah of yesod is the person who is proud of his negative deeds and even glorifies them as positive. The rectified attribute of yesod is actualization of one's positive potential through faithfulness to the truth. In its unrectified state, yesod becomes the "blemished covenant." Instead of faithfulness and connection to absolute values and principles, the person with a blemished power of yesod will be entirely focused on his own good and pleasure as an absolute value. Totally self-centered, his ability to make sound and objective decisions becomes distorted even to the point of insanity.

The Upper Middle Axis: Tiferet

In the upper middle axis, corresponding to the sefirah of tiferet, is the person who pompously extols his good deeds. This person does not distort or falsify the facts — he really has done many good deeds. His excessive consciousness of his positive actions, though, severely blemishes his character and will eventually prevent him from any further positive action. He becomes so obsessed with the good deeds that he has done, repeatedly recounting them to himself or to others, that he loses the ability to focus on any additional positive action.

To summarize:

Left Axis

Middle Axis

Right Axis

Axis Description

Unnatural Effort

Self Consciousness

The Natural Flow

Higher Expression


Positive actions gained through continual effort and prayer


Positive  actions with undue pride


Positive actions
by rote. Despair of further ascent

Lower Expression


Negative actions with desire to improve


Negative actions that person proudly views as positive


Negative actions in despair of ever improving


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