How do I prepare myself to receive the unique message God’s Torah has for me?
How do I get ready to convene with God?
According to Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi – the 18th century mystic and Talmudist – the pre-condition for this meeting is what he calls “self-nullification.”
As developed in the Tanya, his quietly revolutionary work, self-nullification requires one to separate from his ego, his smugness, and his importance.
This is not to denigrate the ego.
We need our egos in order to grow, in order to fulfill the Biblical charge to master the world, in order to effect tikkun olam.
But, just as we suspend our physical creativity (i.e., the tangible expression of our ego) on Shabbat and Yom Tov, we must also subordinate our egos (on the deepest level) during those activities in which we seek to join our will to God’s.
–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz