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Becoming Alive

Becoming Alive

The significance of birthdays and the 18th of Elul


The class will air Thursday, September 11 at 8pm EST.

This class is presented in partnership with the Jewish Learning Network

Click here for follow-along source sheet.

Rabbi Tzvi Freeman, a senior editor at, also heads our Ask The Rabbi team. He is the author of Bringing Heaven Down to Earth. To subscribe to regular updates of Rabbi Freeman's writing, visit Freeman Files subscription. FaceBook @RabbiTzviFreeman Periscope @Tzvi_Freeman .
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Tzvi Freeman September 16, 2014

For Anonymous (seven lessons) All seven are printed in Keter Shem Tov, Hosafot, s'if 3. In the new edition, that's page 278. I haven't seen it in English, but maybe one of the readers has. Reply

Deborah Canada September 16, 2014

I also am not Jewish but am so grateful to have heard these wonderful, wonderful things - so profound and enriching! Thank you and bless you for your work! Reply

Anonymous September 16, 2014

Rabbi Freeman,

In the section, "A Heavenly Teaching," the text says,

"On Friday night, Chai Elul 5652 (1892), the Rebbe Rashab’s soul visited the heavens. There he met the Baal Shem Tov, who taught him seven lessons."

What were the specific lessons?

Thanks in advance for the answer(s). Reply

Anonymous Bournemouth, UK September 15, 2014

Yasher Koach R Tzvi This format of giving a shiur is great! it is like cable TV shows that people phone in, pionered in New York in the 60s especially by a man named Steve Gruberg.
You mastered it, great balence. Yasher Koach! Reply

Tzvi Freeman September 14, 2014

For Linda Just read the first part of the download pdf, or listen to the first part of the class. Halachically, the fetus is a potential child that is currently living as a limb of its mother. This means that if the fetus is endangering the mother, the mother's life takes priority. Reply

Anonymous September 12, 2014

what makes you a Jew.....I am not Jewish but I love Torah...I love everything you teach....and yet there is a little twiing in my soul every time you say "evey Jew" I want so much to share all I gain and embrace from these teaching but none of my friends are Jews help me out here. Reply

Linda Fentner September 12, 2014

It is interesting you call the child in the womb a fetus; I always referred to the organism inside the womb a child. Is there a reason you call it a fetus? Reply

Miriam Hollywood September 12, 2014

Thank you for an inspiring class especially at this time of Elul. It's what I call "charging batteries" in order to keep going. :0) Reply

Leah September 12, 2014

thank you so much I really enjoyed that lecture. Taking ownership. Affecting my surroundings. I really want to try to BE more of what I know to be true now - I am inspired.
Negative thinking - move outta the way ! Thank you. By the way, I believe it is called a "filtrum" - the indentation above the lips - I remember that from art school (life drawing). L'Shana Tova Tikaseivu. Reply

Rut Alonim Negev. Israel September 12, 2014

Transendence What a wonderful class! Thank you for the renewed instruction. Reply

Meira Houston September 12, 2014

Psycholinguistic may help Rabbi Tzvi Freeman,
Thank you very much for your class.
Concerning the question had been asked: You almost answer it when you mention connection between memory and time the baby starts talking.
According to psycholinguistic we don’t have a memory of yearly childhood because memory of all that we experience supposed to be coded by words and the baby doesn’t have this code formed; that’s why he or she do not remember time of World of sensations because sensations he/she have had were not named by conventional words and were not stored in his or her memory.
It seems to me that Torah which angel teaches a baby in the mother’s womb also is not in words, it has different type of language not that of the conventional ones. By placing his finger above the baby’s lips angel maybe seals it in different type of memory sauce, it’s like computer that coded in mackintosh but reserving space for windows that never been activated. Just a little bit more complex.
Baby’s memory cannot utilize it as it is, but it doesn’t mean that it was lost. Reply

Anonymous September 12, 2014

Thank you so much for doing this!! This is great!! Reply

Marc Rosen Georgia September 11, 2014

Reconciliation Who were the Baal Shem Tov and the Alter Rebbe's detractors at the time of their existence and how did they become reconciled within Chasidic thought? Reply

Tzvi Freeman September 11, 2014

For Miriam I hope I answered the previous questions in the course of the lesson, but Miriam's came after.

The sages are apparently not speaking of a physical lamp. That could be quite hazardous inside a mother's womb. And if the lessons are taking place in a spiritual realm, then the lamp must be a spiritual lamp.

The question is: What is a spiritual lamp? And why must it be "over his head"?

My understanding is that what is meant is that the unborn soul receives the entire G-dly wisdom of Torah in its most luminous, clear state. And not just the Torah as it fits into the human mind, but as it shines from beyond our minds—over our heads.

That experience is forgotten. But certainly something of it remains, so that when we study Torah now the way it is meant to be study, something inside use resonates, and we feel, "Oh yes! This must be true! I know this from somewhere!" Reply

Miriam Hollywood September 11, 2014

I tried posting this question during tonight's class How can the angels hold a candle to the fetus and teach the fetus all of the Torah when there is no physicality in Shamayim? Reply

Derech Redlands, CA September 11, 2014

Wisdom, Knowledge and Understanding I happen to believe that Knowledge and Understanding are manifested in the conscious mind and that there is a lens between the conscious mind and the Devine soul. Wisdom and pure intellectual truth is only manifested in the Devine soul. So when we create through Yom tov and mitzvah and Torah study we are imbuing the creation with wisdom and truth. Our knowledge and Understanding is grown through desiring Wisdom and Truth. Question?
Is Wisdom and pure intellectual truth housed in the conscious mind? And if so why did the 7th Rebbe say to merge body and Soul? Reply

Alan California September 11, 2014

It seems to me that in order to serve G-D without separation, one must take a leap of absolute faith by letting go of the ownership, or the self will, in order to serve in whatever way one is called. Therefore, how is one to know, which is a function of mind, what is the true direction? Reply

SImple September 11, 2014

Why? Why is it important to know the law of a baby's life being equal to his mothers once he's crowned? Reply

Anonymous September 11, 2014

I was told that as we grow in the womb, we have all the knowledge of the Torah and then when we are born it is wiped clean from our minds. Reply

Derech Redlands, CA September 11, 2014

Creation and Sin When is our memories manifested? (in the mother or after birth)
If there is potential for a memory manifestation within the mother why metaphysically we have memories at 4 years old? Reply

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