The spiritual path is not simple, and it consists of many ascents and descents. It is not a smooth, paved road; it has one pothole after another. Until you move forward, you will be jumping in place for a long time as you deal with various problems and obstacles. At every step along the way some complications and mishaps occur: first a flat tire, next a dead engine, then you’re out of gas, next you fall asleep behind the wheel, and so on. But what can we do? Such is our path.
Suddenly your donkey (the Hebrew word “donkey,” "Hamor," is from the word "Homer," matter, egoistic material) stands in the middle of the road and blocks the path. You will need to move it out of the way. But how do you move a donkey? You smack it, but it doesn’t move. You lure it with a carrot, but it still doesn’t follow; it needs stronger bait. Until you hoist your donkey onto your back and carry it out of the way, or punch it in its teeth as Kabbalists advise, you will not move ahead.
In this manner, new problems constantly arise until the tree of life falls across your path. Then you will need to pull over and go around it, at which point, a cloud will descend onto the road, creating a thick fog, making you unable to see where you’re going or whether or not there is even a path in front of you.
This type of work is special. It is very difficult and chosen only for the person who wants to attain the level of a human being, for one who truly wants to be human. It is the path selected for chosen people.
From the Evening Zohar Lesson 6/14/10