The Zohar, Chapter “VaYishlach (And Jacob Sent),” Item 16: “He who deems himself a worthless slave is better than the vain who thus deprives himself of bread.” This speaks of the evil inclination, for it constantly accuses people, swelling pride in man’s heart and desire. And man follows it with his head raised high, until the evil inclination soars over him, carrying him to hell.
This is describing a state that we have to experience. Kabbalists know it because they have already gone through it.
It is impossible for a person to reveal anything other than through his own experience. Does that mean that every person must experience hell? Yes, it does! But what is hell?
Hell is when I reveal the evil inside myself, which governs me and tears me away from the Creator. It is a terrible feeling, like being enveloped by flames of shame. I see how much I am losing out, yet I cannot help myself.
This state must be experienced by every person, as it is written: “Man shall not perform a commandment without breaking it first,” and, “There is not a righteous person in the world that has not first sinned.”
The verse, “I have created the evil inclination and the Torah for its correction” means that I must always reveal my evil inclination first. I must go inside it, immerse myself in it, in order to discover that it is evil.
Initially we don’t see that it is evil, for if we did, how could we immerse ourselves in it? Initially it draws us in with a shiny and sparkling appearance. It appears good and wonderful, and that is how evil tricks us.
A person that advances on the spiritual path “digs” within his soul, trying to reveal the form of bestowal to the Creator there. He has to go through a state of confusion, and through this confusion to descend into the state of “hell.” This state exists at every degree, and only by experiencing it can a person scrutinize the evil contained within him.
Everything the Kabbalists write comes from their own inner attainment, according to the rule, “A judge has only what his eyes can see.” The authors of The Zohar have personally experienced everything written above.
Let us hope that we too will reach such states, and go through the entire spiritual path, which encompasses everything.