Rabash, Shlavei Hasulam (Steps of the Ladder), Article 38, “What is a Glass of Blessing Should be Full, in the Work”: Since it is hard work to constantly overcome one’s self and annul before the upper one, so that the upper will make what the upper wants of it. This is called Ibur, which is the state of smallness that is most restricted.
On one hand, it’s a state of smallness (Katnut), a state of an “embryo,” the lowest possible level, and on the other hand, it’s a state of greatness (Gadlut). The point here is at what level I remain as an embryo. It’s because the phase of Ibur (conception) includes all the states and all the levels. Only later do I move on to the levels of Yenika (suckling) and Mochin (mind), when I already work with my desire in order to bestow, by continuing the same direction of self-annulment that is on the embryo level. Then, however, I already annul myself not only by restricting myself, by limiting my desire, but also in using it in order to bestow, in the same direction that I started using it initially.
Thus, the level of embryo, which is the basis for everything, is great and unique. On this basis the future human being continues his embryonic phase, but he already uses it differently. One way or the other, we constantly annul ourselves before the Creator, before the upper Light, so that it will show us our nature and will give us more strength.
To annul myself before the upper one means to rise above my current self and to take on its form. An “embryo” (Ubar – עֻבָּר) is a static state of someone who passes (Over – עוֹבֵר) from one state to another. What’s more, he moves feeling rage, and against his natural desires since he constantly clarifies and overcomes himself under pressure.
At first this path looks very difficult and unattainable. Is it possible to live this way? Of course it’s impossible if we had to act alone. But the Creator has created the shattering of the vessels for us, and we can work in a state of an embryo with the help of the environment, and not by ourselves. We are surrounded by friends and work with them. Thus our work is divided into many parts according to our efforts, and each part joins the others. So eventually we collect the right efforts for the state of Ibur, and we finally accept it.
We should thus understand that the difficult part is not self-annulment, but the unity and connection in the group. If I join the friends, I will have the power to become an embryo.
From the Men’s Convention “The Next Step” 4/26/13, Lesson 2