The first entry of evil into humanity was through this act of unholy eating. Until that fateful moment evil existed outside themselves embodied as the serpent. When Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil they brought an intermingling of good and evil into themselves, into the very substance of their being.
Whenever we eat without proper kavanna we repeat this original sin. The primary fixing of human civilization is to learn to eat in holiness. Adam and Eve contained the souls of all humanity, of all the people who would ever live.
We were all present as a part of their consciousness and participated in their decision to eat. Consequently we also suffered the damaging effects of their sin.
All neuroses, personality imbalances, and existential disatisfactions, teaches Torah, have their root in this sin of unholy eating. Its impurity lives inside each of us as a fact of the human condition. Every person has an eating disorder, for “eating” is a much broader activity than simply taking food into one’s mouth.
Eating, as an archetype, is the experience of lack and the taking inside oneself of something from outside to fill that lack. Something that was not you, becomes a piece of you. Literal eating, material acquisition, sexuality, honor-seeking, addiction to power, praise, drugs, or even attention are all forms of eating. They start with an experience of lack, and in an effort to assuage that lack one pulls something from the outside in.
The act of eating itself is neutral. It has no intrinsic holiness, but neither is it shameful or destructive. Creation does move forward simply by traveling up its food chain, but the truth of G-d as one and good and omnipresent is not automatically revealed. The holy expression of “eating” has two criteria:
1. The “food” must be kosher. Literal food must not mix meat and milk, nor be of an animal type forbidden by Torah; sexuality must not be adulterous, money must not be acquired by theft, etc. In a more general sense, kosher also means healthy. The Torah forbids us from doing anything that damages our bodies. This includes eating amounts of types of food that are literally kosher but nevertheless unhealthy.
2. One’s intentions must be pure and selfless. One must consciously undertake to serve G-d and bring pleasure to his or her Creator with one’s newly acquired resource, be it food or possessions, etc.
Every person struggles with some form of eating disorder. Our taking from the world is never perfectly conscious and selfless. This was the first sin and it remains the root of all impurities in the personality. Our literal eating is always a microcosm of the way we take from the world. Every imbalance of psyche has some corresponding (and casual) expression in the way we ingest food. Neuroses and psychoses are only symptoms of our unholy eating which is always the first cause.
(Eating as Tikun, Susan Schneider)