The Zohar, Chapter “Ki Tissa (When You Take),” Item 24: “As the pregnant woman approaches the time to give birth, she writhes and cries out in her birth pangs,” since it is the nature of a pregnant woman to wait nine whole months.
This is talking about the fact that it takes time for us to feel all of the evil contained within us. At first we simply start to feel it slightly, but this doesn’t mean anything yet. Every state has to go through all four stages until we attain it fully along with its root and decide that it isn’t something accidental or temporary, but it is evil from the beginning, at the very root, and come to the realization that we have to get rid of it. Only then do we have the power to eradicate the evil.
But there are quite a few in the world who go through only one or two days of the ninth month, while all the pains and pangs of the pregnant woman are on the ninth. Hence, even if she only went through one day of the ninth month, it is considered as though the whole of the ninth month had passed for her.
Here The Zohar speaks about the revelation of evil, exile, and redemption. It says that we don’t have to wait for the end of 6000 years if we already feel that we have started the ninth month of “pregnancy” and the birth pangs of the exile. This means that we are already capable of completing the entire correction process.
So are Israel: Since they tasted the taste of exile, if they repent, it is considered as though they had experienced all the troubles that are written in the Torah, especially that they had experienced several pangs since the beginning of the exile.
This is saying that the duration of the exile does not depend on time. That is to say, it depends on time only until the “nine months” mark. We have to go through “eight months” of being burdened – this is certain. But when we start feeling even the first day of the ninth month, from then on everything depends on this sensation and our full realization of our evil in relation to the root. Then we will be able to come out of exile because “it is considered as though we had already gone through all of the misfortunes.”
The period called “the initial eight months” is the preparation period, the period of exile that we have to go through. There is no way to avoid or reduce it. This was the period before the Ari. Starting with the Ari onward, a different time began, which can be reduced the more we advance. This will increase the “pangs of birth” of our development and enable us to complete our development long before the end of 6000 years.