“Sacrifice” stands for a corrected desire. Time after time, a person has to take a part of his desire of the still, vegetative, or animate level and elevate it to the speaking level. But while in exile, a person has no strength to correct any of his desires. This is because he is totally deprived of spiritual powers until the Surrounding Light reaches him and leads him out of his state.
Getting out of exile and obtaining the power to withstand a desire, to rise above it and work for the sake of bestowal, means that a person has reached the “desert” (a state in which desires are still small like in a desert) or that he has arrived at the “land of Israel” (a state of higher desires and work on a higher level). Where a person arrives after he gets out of exile is solely dependent upon the size of the desire that he is able to overcome and rise above in order to work with for the sake of bestowal.
After 40 years of its correction and redirection towards bestowal, the desire that previously was a “desert,” turns into a desire that is called the “land of Israel.” It means that the desire becomes suitable to work with for the sake of bestowal.
So far we don’t have the power to correct, and therefore, we stay “away from the land of Israel” (land – “Eretz” is derived from the world “Ratzon” – desire). We don’t have the power to work with our desires for the sake of bestowal; we only imagine what “correct spiritual work” is. It signifies that instead of sacrificing we pray. We replace the real work with our desires by our request to be granted a power to perform real correction.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 4/25/10, The Zohar