However, during the evening lessons, I don’t know what to do with myself. I feel completely detached from the material, overwhelmed by thoughts of daily problems, and unable to concentrate on the lesson. What can I do to start focusing on the material? Is there some instant, automatic action that can be done in such a state?
My Answer: The automatic action to fight the disturbances is to thank the Creator that sends them. After all, “There is none else beside Him.” He creates these disturbances for you; He controls your heart and your mind. It stands to reason that He best knows what to send you at any given moment. He sends you all these things precisely to confuse you, to make you feel clueless, unable to focus, to distract you by compelling you to think about your day’s activities, problems, and concerns.
Why? If, in the midst of all this confusion, multitude of problems, and distractions, you are able to gather all your strength to grasp and connect with even a tiny fraction of the text for just a few moments, therein lay your profit. On the other hand, if you’re sitting at the lesson with a clear mind, feeling as if you are practically soaring in the spiritual worlds, you may not be in the right place at all. Indeed, your effort lies in trying to connect to the spiritual world, even a little, in spite of all your little “snakes” (egoistic desires). This is precisely what you need.
Later, all of a sudden, the great revelations will come. Precisely from the hardships and departures, the revelations are attained. As it is written, “The Torah shall come out of Zion (Light’s departure).”
Therefore, if your mind isn’t functioning or your mood is foul, don’t think that it’s useless to come to the lesson and listen to The Zohar. That calculation is absolutely incorrect; your clarity of mind or emotional state is not important. If you’re truly struggling with feeling detached, weary, and confused, but you still try to connect to the material as much as you can, even if you only make a small momentary connection, you gain much more than during the states of great inspiration. This is because inspiration is granted from Above and it just inflates you like air fills a balloon. However, the true benefit is produced by hard work and effort in spite of disturbances.