Category Archives: Bitul

And Yes, You Must Make Yourself Small

“In meditative prayer, a word on a page or in our mind’s eye can be used as a visual
meditation. A word in our throats and mouths can be used as a vibrational meditation. On a
subtler level, the breath we use to sound a word can become a gate into the inner reality of
God’s presence. Never despair of entering this gate. All that is required is to slow down.

And yes, you must make yourself small. You must give up the little me that clings to the
familiar and is afraid of going beyond me. You must give up thinking that you know. Allow the
awareness of eternity to penetrate into your consciousness. Stand in its mystery. Stand in the
mystery of God’s eternal reality that is only hidden but never absent. Admit and stand in the
mystery of your own existence. Do not let mundane thoughts distract you. Declare your desire
to serve Hashem, to cling to Him, to remain in His presence forever. Fear not that you will be
unable to return to the little me again. It will happen soon enough. In the meantime, while you
are in this sacred space, ask for wisdom and understanding, ask for forgiveness and blessing,
ask for love and mercy. Ask for redemption—for yourself, your people, mankind, and all
creation. Ask to take the light of this moment-in-eternity into your life.

You will then not only yearn for such moments, but discover the secret of inducing them. This
is what awakening from below is all about. By immersing yourself in holy words of prayer, you
become a vessel for Godliness, a conduit of Hashem’s light. Such that even when you are not
in prayer, by simply contemplating the reality of Hashem’s infinite oneness, you draw its
precious light into yourself.

In truth there is no end in the service of Hashem. It is an infinite dance in which we enter more
deeply into the holy of holies of our being each time in order to bring back greater and greater
awareness of His presence in all spheres of our life. Even when we attain a higher or more
expanded level of consciousness, we must never become heady about it, for it is merely a
stepping stone on an endless journey to Ein Sof. It may be a higher level relative to anything experienced so far, but it is extremely rudimentary relative to what is presently beyond our
reach. Let us therefore humbly acknowledge our smallness and ask for Hashem’s help. This is
the meaning of “Min hametzar karati Yah; anani bamerchav Yah—from my constricted straits I
called out to God; God answered me [by bringing me forth] into expansiveness” (Psalm 118:5).
In other words, after experiencing the joy of coming close to the Blessed One in our prayers
and in our service, if we realize that even our highest attainments are inadequate and
immature relative to that which is presently beyond us, then Hashem will surely bring us
closer. On the other hand, if we think we know it all and become insensitive to His helping
hand, it is only our loss.”

-Realizing The Unity, Avraham Sutton


Bitul– is another ‘state’ of being described in various places throughout the Jewish teachings and its meaning is, ‘self nullification’.  The teachings of Rabbi Ginsburg describes it thus:

Bitul is the spiritual state… whereby one’s consciousness opens up to a continuous flow of Divine wisdom and new insight through one’s nullifying his sense of autonomous and self-sustained being. Bitul is the experience of ayin, of being nothing within the omnipresent radiance of God’s infinite light.” This can be compared with the frequently discussed topic in eastern traditions known as ‘ego-nullification, ‘ego-death’. There are 2 types of bitul according to Rabbi Ginsburg: Bitul b’metziut (“existential nullification“) and Bitul hayesh (“nullification of [one’s] somethingness“) they are clearly described as follows:

Bitul b’metziut (“existential nullification”) constitutes the absolute form of bitul whereby one loses all sense of independent existence. This is the state of bitul in the world of Atzilut, whose consciousness, permeated by the supernal level of chochmah (Abba mekanen b’Atzilut), is solely that of God’s omnipresence.

Bitul hayesh (“nullification of [one’s] somethingness”) constitutes a lower form of bitul whereby one is consciously involved in the process of nullifying the outer layer of self (ego). This is accomplished by the concentrated effort to experience the continual recreation of all reality, including oneself, as “something from nothing.” This impresses upon one’s consciousness that there is no independent reality attached to one’s sense of “somethingness.” This is the state of bitul present within the three lower worlds of BeriahYetzirah and Asiyah, while its conscious experience is dependent upon one’s Divine service.”  -Quoted from