the use of "I"
Finally, the self-denying
attitude of Hasidism is seen in the following analysis of the self by Rabbi
Levi Yitzhak of Berdichev. This beautiful piece of self-reflection does not
need any commentary.
No man, or any Seraphim, Heavenly Creatures and the Wheels, can refer to himself
as "I," because the word " I" indicates something which
has substance and selfdom. Therefore, a person must observe himself [carefully]
when he says, "I." It is obvious of what he says, "I." He
senses something which is the Being innate to him, and of which he says, "I."
Namely, the most real thing that you observe [within yourself] is "I."
The life [hiyyuth] which is in him is [actually of] the Creator, blessed
be He. The word "I" does not belong to hiyyuth because the
word "I" indicates something innate within him. And the hiyyuth is a part of God above. Since man's hiyyuth [which is the very
essence of man] is derived from the Creator, blessed be He, it is no longer
appropriate [for the man] to say, "I." When the hiyyuth has
gone, he becomes like nothing. There is nothing in him. So, of what does he
say, "I?" Of a thing which is not anything!
Only God is able to refer to Himself as "I." This is the intention
of the verse, "See that I, even I, am He" (Deuteronomy 32:39) I am
the Creator, to me belongs the word "I." Besides Him, none of the
upper beings could refer to themselves by the word "I."
[If so,] of what can a person say, "I"[ani]? It is actually
the dimension of Nothingness [ha-ayin].
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