Yeshut - selfhood or self-assertion, is the very antithesis of the principle of yichud. It is a denial of ultimate reality vested exclusively in G‑d who "fills the heaven and the earth" (Jeremiah 23 :24); there is no place devoid of His presence; there is none beside Him.

That is why pride and anger, arrogance and losing one's temper, as well as not caring about others, and so forth, are tantamount to idolatry.

For in all these cases man is concerned with himself, he assumes a reality for his ego.

In all these cases man has become self-centered as opposed to G‑d-centered, worshipping his ego instead of G‑d alone. He may recognize the existence of G‑d, even the supremacy of G‑d, but also grants recognition to himself. He demands recognition for his honour, his desires, his absolute proprietorship over his possessions. At the very least this is dualism, which is no less crass idolatry than crude polytheism. This is the idolatry of which Scripture (Psalms 81:1 0) warns, "Let no strange god be within you."

Of this self-centered person G‑d says, "I and he cannot dwell together." That person is so full of himself that in him there remains no place for G‑d. Of this the Baal Shem Tov taught:Self- aggrandizement is worse than sin. For of all defilements and sins it is written, "Who dwells with them in the very midst of their impurity" (Leviticus 16:16); of the arrogant, however, it is said, "I and he cannot both dwell in this world," as it is written, "I cannot tolerate him who has haughtiness and a proud heart." (Psalms 101:5)

Bitul Hayesh thus means total self-negation. The ego, all and any forms of selfhood, must be nullified. It has no place in the consciousness of Divine omnipresence.

To be sure, there are times and places when there is a need to demonstrate pride. Honour is due to positions of leadership, and those holding such offices must safeguard that honour.

No less essential is pride in one's identity as a creature of G- d, pride in one's heritage and pride in being the recipient of G- d's Torah. But that is exclusively in context of the service of G‑d, as it is written, "His heart was proud in the ways of G‑d." (II Chronicles 17:6) It is never personalized. It is never in terms of self-aggrandizement.

Bitul hayesh means conscious awareness of the ultimate nature of adam - man. The numerical equivalent of the term adam is 45, which in Hebrew consists of the two letters mem-hey, spelling mah.

The word mah means the interrogative `what?,' signifying self- negation - as in "What are we?" (Exodus 16:7-8), i.e., of what importance are we?"

The Maggid of Mezhirech notes that the word adam is a compound of the letter aleph and the word dam (blood). The physical reality of man is essentially dam (blood; the vital principle of the body). The special, metaphysical reality of man is the Divine spark that gives him life, intelligence, humanity. This Divine spark, the neshamah (Divine soul) is the aleph - from Alupho shel Olam -, the Master of the Universe. To recognize the "Aleph - Alupho shel Olam" as our very essence is to establish our reality as adam in a consciousness that per se we are but mah. To forget about the Aleph, thus self-assertion to the point of separating the Aleph from ourselves, reduces us to mere dam, mere plasma. (See Zohar III:48a that adam is the most sublime term by which man is referred to in Scripture.)