The Tzemach Tzedek, a grandson of the Alter Rebbe, related the following story: “When my grandfather was in Petersburg, he was escorted into an art gallery and tested on his ability to recognize the quality of certain artistic skills. He gazed at a specific piece and exclaimed, “This one is good!” He explained, “One physical entity (i.e., a person) cannot bring about another entity (in this case, a work of art) unless there is an interval of nothingness — self-nullification — in between. The artist who drew this from an original object forgot about himself — an act of utter selflessness and nothingness — while creating this magnificent piece of art, which is what makes it stand out.”

Reshimos #179