I watched a video of R' Mendel Kessin (20:58-37:52) in which he talks about 4 levels of arrogance, and the concept of "yesh od milvado" presented by the Yetzer HaRah inside us. What he explains is that there is this concept of "I" and the feeling that "I AM" which makes us feel or do things independent of G-d.

First of all I would like to know what his sources are and where I could read more about it in English. Secondly I would like to know if there are similar teachings about us being tempted to believe oneself, to believe the "I"; as we people often decide what to do based on what we feel, think and reason what is right, good and true to do, instead of really making His Will ours.

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    There is a "contact us" link on his website. Ask him. – Avrohom Yitzchok Oct 22 '17 at 11:01
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    ein od milvado, Internalizing that Hashem is Everything there is nothing else besides Hashem, we are protected from harmful forces, even our own ego and pride. Accepting our position when Hashem is ABsolute Sovereignty, we place ourself fully under Hashems protection. – gamliela Oct 22 '17 at 11:43
  • Excellent question and, although an entire facet of the entire Torah seems to be about this essential point of wisdom, these two things jump out in my memory: Yechezkel 29:3-10 (" 'the river is mine and I made it'... 'Therefore, behold, I am against you and your rivers') /Bereishis 32:11 ("I have been made small from all of the kindness and all of the truth which You have done for [me]") – SAH Jun 19 '18 at 22:21

I'm not sure if this is what you're looking for, but I found another teaching online about the "yesh" part of "yesh od milvado".


Looking further on this topic I found this; Shiur by Rabbi Hershel Reichman

The Torah begins, “In the beginning, Hashem created heaven and earth.” The Kedushat Levi notes that this verse establishes a fundamental principle. Everything in the world is an extension of Hashem’s will. Not only did Hashem create the world but he continues to renew it every day.

In Shachrit we say, “Yotzer ohr u’borei choshech.” He creates light and darkness. Creation is an ongoing process. The world continuously exists by the active will of Hashem. This should elicit two reactions from us. The first: incredible gratitude that at every moment Hashem, out of his infinite chesed, is giving us life. The second: we have no independent existence. We cannot accomplish anything without Hashem giving us the ability to do it. In a sense, we are nothing but the expression of Hashem’s will. If a person would internalize this, there would be no place for the yetzer hara and its evil urges. Doing mitzvot and avoiding sin would become instinctual. This is the concept of ayin, nothingness. Modern society propounds the exact opposite. The yesh, the I, is everything and man has the power to be whatever he chooses to be.

Rav Levi Yitzchak explains that the blessing recited under the chupah, “Asher yatzer et hadam” referes to Hashem as the creator of man in the past tense. Hashem left us to finish the task of self-creation. On the one hand we are ayin and on the other hand we are a yesh. We all have unique qualities and abilities which are meant to be expressed and utilized to affect and change the world. Hashem put Adam into Gan Eden l’avda, to develop it and l’shamra, and to protect it. When a person uses his wisdom guided by the Torah to think creatively, to plan and to dream, then he is a yesh. But if he just follows his physical instincts and lets his desires control him then he is an ayin, he is nothing.

We can manipulate things within nature but we are limited by its laws. However, if a person makes himself into an ayin, submitting His will to Hashem, he can align himself with the Creator, who is above limitation. Then he can rise above physicality and perform miracles.

These two concepts of yesh and ayin are hidden in the letters of Hashem’s name. Yud keh is the secret level of Hashem. He is concealed, distant and above nature. Vav heh parallels Hashem in this world. The vav is the connection from the outside world to this world and the heh represents this world. Performing a mitzvah affects not only this world but the hidden world too. May we merit to become partners with Hashem and to transform this world to the next world with the power of Torah.

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