Leading Humbly

Leading Humbly

How does being small make me big? How can being a receiver make me a giver? What makes a leader?

This edition of The Long Short Way covers part of the seventh chapter of the Frierdiker Rebbe’s ma’amer, Basi LeGani from 5710 (1950). Basi LeGani is a series of four ma’amorim, the second, HaYosheves BeGanim, includes this year’s chapter. This ma’amer was distributed on 13 Shvat, the yohrtzeit of the Frierdiker Rebbe’s mother.

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In the previous chapter, the Frierdiker Rebbe quotes a passage from the Zohar. The letter shin comes before G-d proposes the world be created with it being that G-d’s name Sh-ddai starts with a shin. G-d agrees to shin’s reasoning, but counters by saying that if the letters kuf and reish were to follow shin, they would form the word sheker, lie. Not wanting to part of the Other Side (un-holiness), kuf and reish decide to insert shin between them forming the word kesher, bond.

In chapter six and here in chapter seven, the Frierdiker Rebbe is underscoring the duality of malchus. On the one hand, malchus is a recipient of all the sefiros above it. For example, malchus like speech is meaningless babble until ideas or feelings are invested into it by the mind. On the other hand, malchus is a giver since it transmits all that it received from the higher rungs.

In chapter six the Frierdiker Rebbe explains how although the meaning of the letters daled and reish are similar—they both mean poor—their emphasis is different. The difference between the letter reish and daled is the tip on the back of the daled. This tip is a yud—a dot. Someone who “makes himself small” has the humility to realize that he receives everything from G-d. The example he gave was of a student who has the humility to learn new ideas from his teacher.


Daled is defined by a yud » yud » humility » malchus » receiver » student.
Daled is defined by a yud » yud » humility » malchus » malchus becomes a provider because it can transmit what it received » teacher » humility is greatness.
Here, in chapter seven, the Frierdiker Rebbe explains the latter point: how the letter yud expresses itself as the giver with the help of yesod.

The part of the letter daled that makes it look different from a reish is a yud on its rear side. The bump on the upper right-hand side.   ז) וְהִנֵה הָאוֹת יוּ”ד שֶׁבְּאוֹת דַלֵי”ת מַה שֶׁבְּזֶה מִתְחַלֵק תְּמוּנַת הַדַלֵי”ת מִתְּמוּנַת הַרֵי”שׁ הוּא מֵאַחוֹרָיו דַוְקָא,
A Solid Foundation    
How does yud mean yesod?
Although the letter yud is the smallest, it is the beginning of every other letter. All other letters start with a point of ink called a yud. The letter yud, being the beginning of every other letter is indicative of what our Rabbis taught, “The World to Come was created with the letter yud.” The verse in Chronicles relates that “[To G-d is greatness, judgment, beauty, victory and splendor;] everything in the heavens and the earth [is His].” which the Targum translates as “[He is] the unity in heaven and on earth.” Yud is yesod (foundation), and malchus (kingdom) receives from it.   וְהַיוּ”ד אִם שֶׁהוּא אוֹת זְעֵירָא מִכָּל הָאוֹתְיוֹת הִנֵה הוּא רֹאשׁ לְכָל הָאוֹתְיוֹת, דְכָל אוֹת הַרֵי תְּחִלָתוֹ אוֹת יוּ”ד,וְהוּא מַה שֶׁ״בְּיוּ״ד נִבְרָא הָעוֹלָם הַבָּא״, דְעַל זֶה אוֹמֵר ״כִּי כֹל בַּשָּׁמַיִם וּבָאָרֶץ״ וְתִּרְגֵם ״דְּאָחִיד בִּשְׁמַיָּא וּבְאַרְעָא,״ שֶׁהִיא סְפִירַת יְסוֹד שֶׁבְּחִינַת הַמַלְכוּת מְקַבֵּל מִמֶּנָּה,
 What does it mean that yesod is “the unity of heaven and earth”?
In this verse from Chronicles, the Torah enumerates each of the emotions from greatness (chessed) until splendor (hod). Instead of finishing with yesod, the verse states, “everything in the heavens and the earth.” The implication is that the definition of yesod is “everything in the heavens and the earth,” which the Targum renders as “the unity of heavens and earth.” Malchus is the lowest rung and refers to creation. Yud is the bridge between the higher sefiros and malchus. The world being created from yud takes on new meaning—yud makes malchus into the transmitter between the sefiros and creation.   וּמַה ״דְּאָחִיד בִּשְׁמַיָּא וּבְאַרְעָא,״ הִנֵה שָּׁמַיִם וָאָרֶץ, שָּׁמַיִם אֵשׁ וּמַיִם, בְּחִינַת חֶסֶד וּגְבוּרָה, וְאֶרֶץ בְּחִינַת מַלְכוּת, וְהוּא שֶׁעַל יְדֵי סְפִירַת הַיְסוֹד הוּא יִחוּד חֶסֶד וּגְבוּרָה וְמַלְכוּת,
The word shomayim (heavens), Rashi explains in Bereishis, is made up of the words eish (fire) and mayim (water). The union of two opposites, fire, and water, is comparable to chessed (kindness) combined with gevurah (judgment). The earth, being the lowest rung in existence is an expression of malchus (sovereignty). Yesod (foundation) connects the heavens—the blend chessed and gevurah—with the earth which is malchus.

A) “The heavens” = chessed and gevurah.

B) “the earth” = malchus.

C) “everything” = “the unity of” = yesod.

Therefore, “the unity of heaven and earth is yesod.”

The verse, “The poor person (rosh) lacks everything,” implies that the letter reish—of the same root as the word rosh—lacking a yud on its back is disconnected from “everything”—“everything in the heavens and the earth.” Since the letter reish lacks yesod, it does not have a relationship with the higher sefiros.   ״וְלָרָשׁ אֵין כֹּל,״6 דְבְּאוֹת רֵי”שׁ אֵין ״כֹל בַּשָׁמַיִם וּבָאָרֶץ,״ שֶׁאֵין לָהֶם סְפִירַת הַיְסוֹד הַמְחַבֵּר,
The reish sounds like a reish and not a daled. The verse, “I made myself dumb in silence; I was silent from good,” implies that reish is disconnected from goodness. The light which enlivens unholy existence is only a glimmer of a glimmer of the surface of the surface of G-dly light—it’s completely concealed.   וְגַם הַדִיבּוּר הוּא בָּא בְּתַּכְלִית הַהֶעְלֶם וְהַהֶסְתֶּר, וּכְּמָּה שֶׁכָּתוּב7 ״נֶאֱלַמְתִּי דוּמִיָּ׳ה הֶחֱשֵׁיתִי כוּלְהוּ״, דְגַם הַדִּיבּוּר בָּא בְּתַּכְלִית הַהֶעְלֶם, לִהְיוֹת דְהָאוֹר וְחַיוּת הַמְחַיֶ’ה אֶת הַסִטְרָא אַחֳרָא הוּא הֶאָרָה דְהֶאָרָה חִיצוֹנִיוּת דְחִיצוֹנִיוּת, וּבָא בְּתַּכְלִית הַהֶעְלֶם.
The dot on the end of a daled tells us to say the “d” sound and not the “r” sound. So reish is silent from the yud it doesn’t have—the goodness it lacks.
When we realize the gifts we’ve been given and who the giver is, we become small. Then, everything in our lives reflects G-d. The greatness of being small is we become pipelines between G-d and the world. For example, when we learn, we should try to be open to what the teacher is saying and remember rather than try to expand the information as we receive it. Then, once we have the unadulterated version of the concepts we were taught, we can expand on them and pass them on to others. To be continued…
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