Basi L'Gani 5717
December 28, 2016
The Rebbe in #1050, Basi L'Gani, D'var Malchus

The dynamic between rav and talmid illustrates the function of bittul. It is specifically through the bittul of the talmid that he becomes a vessel to receive the teachings of the rav. • Beis Moshiach presents Part 1 of the maamer the Rebbe MH”M delivered on Yud Shvat 5717, in accordance with the custom established by the Rebbe to review each year a section of the Rebbe Rayatz’s maamer Basi L’Gani of 5710. • This year we focus on the seventh section of the profound and foundational Chassidic discourse.

Translated by Boruch Merkur


1. “I have returned to My garden, My sister, My bride.” On these words, the Midrash Rabba, in its place, comments: “‘To My garden (lgani)’ – to My bridal chamber (lignuni) [to the place where My essence was revealed in the first days of Creation],” for the Ikar Shchina (the essence of the Divine Presence) was manifest then in the lower realms, in the physical world itself.

But with the sin of the Tree of Knowledge, as well as subsequent sins, a fundamental change took place: the Sh’china departed from the earth to the heavens, going as far as the seventh heaven (as related in the Midrash). Afterwards, righteous people arose in the world, tzaddikim, who drew the Sh’china down from the heavens to the earth through their service of G-d. This process reached its pinnacle with Moshe Rabbeinu, leader of the seventh generation [from Avrohom Avinu], and as our Sages teach, “all sevenths are beloved.” Moshe Rabbeinu’s epic accomplishment is that he completed the entire process of drawing the Ikar Sh’china back down to the psychical plane, bringing it from the first firmament of the heavens to the earth. Indeed, the ultimate purpose of Creation is that G-d should have a home in the physical world, which is described as “My bridal chamber (gnuni),” the primary manifestation of His presence manifest in the Mishkan and the Mikdash, G-d’s sanctuary in this world. Thus, it is written, “‘Make for Me a Sanctuary and I shall dwell among them’ – within each and every Jew.” The construction of this Sanctuary is brought about through the avoda of the righteous.

This concept is explained at length by the Rebbe Rayatz, whose passing we mark on the 10th of Shvat, in the maamer he gave out to be studied on that day, in advance of his passing. The Rebbe elaborates the saying in the Zohar, “when evil is shunned (iskafia, and when it is transformed, sublimated, ishapcha), the glory of the Alm-ghty is manifest (istalek, a revelation of Divine light) in all the worlds”: This G-dly revelation is one that is manifest in all worlds equally, utterly above and beyond the worlds, even higher than Ohr HaSovev Kol Almin (as the latter relative to the worlds can at least be said to “transcend” them). Here we speak of the G-dly manifestation of the ikar Shchina, which even surpasses the G-dliness present at the beginning of Creation.

It is the service of offering sacrifices, which took place in the Mishkan and the Mikdash, that brought about this essential G-dly manifestation. The avoda of offering sacrifices is the service of G-d that entails rising upward [transcending one’s worldly, mortal condition], eliciting a G-dly manifestation described as “a pleasant fragrance, a nachas ruach, to G-d,” from above downward.

The Rebbe Rayatz continues in the maamer: Regarding the Mishkan (“Make for Me a Mikdash, a Sanctuary”) it is said, “You shall make the planks of the Mishkan of atzei shittim, standing planks of acacia wood.” The word “shittim” here is derived from “shita,” which means “to stray,” as it is written, “the nation went astray,” straying from the king’s path, the way of the King of the world. Diverging from the correct path is a result of being possessed, as it were, by a ruach shtus, a spirit of folly, as in the saying, “A person would not commit a sin were it not for being infected with a spirit of folly.” The spiritual mission man is charged with is to transform the unholy spirit of folly by mean of shtus (shittim) dkdusha, embracing a holy expression of shtus. It is this avoda that draws the ikar Shchina into the physical world.

The Torah calls the standing wooden planks “krashim.” The word “kereshplank” is composed of the letters Kuf-Reish-Shin. It says in Zohar that the letter Shin is a “letter of truth,” whereas Kuf and Reish signify aspects of unholiness. The maamer explains that corresponding to the letter Reish is the letter Daled, which is of the realm of holiness. Although at first glance, the significance and meaning of [the names of the letters] Daled and Reish is dalus and reishus, poor and impoverished, both denoting poverty, they are actually polar opposites. In fact, “when one exchanges the Daled for a Reish [in Shma, where we say “G-d is oneHashem echad (spelled Alef-Ches-Daled)” and instead utter the word “otheracher (spelled Alef-Ches-Reish)”], it destroys worlds” (VaYikra Rabba 19:2).

The dynamic of rav and talmid

The maamer points out the difference in shape between the letters Daled and Reish: The letter Reish differs from the Daled of the holy realm in that the Reish lacks a Yud at its rear. The shape of a Yud is essentially a dot, representing how this letter “made itself small” (Zohar I 20a), acknowledging its own insignificance, an expression of bittul.

Humility makes one into a vessel, a receptacle; it is the means by which one can properly absorb. The dynamic between rav (master, teacher) and talmid (disciple, student) illustrates the function of bittul. It is specifically through the bittul of the talmid that he becomes a vessel to receive the teachings of the rav.

The same is true in general regarding holiness. Bittul, the point of the Yud, serves as a vessel to contain all supernal aspects, as explained at length in the maamer on the day of the Rebbe Rayatz’s hilula and in its continuation in the subsequent chapters (in the maamer HaYoshevet B’Ganim 5710).

(To be continued be”H)


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