The Zohar, Chapter “VaYetze (And Jacob Went Out) – Part 2,” Item 219: When the Creator wished to bring them closer to Him, He gave them the degree of bread of affliction. The bread of affliction is King David, of whom it is written, “For I am afflicted and needy.”
King David is the Nukva. When she receives the illumination of the left from Bina, she is at the same level as ZA, the fourth leg of the throne, Bina. At that time, the Nukva is attached to Bina and does not mate with ZA, her husband. Hence, she is poor and without light, and she is called “the bread of affliction,” since the Hochma does not shine without Hassadim. At that time, it is written, “For I am afflicted and needy.” And this degree of the Nukva is her first degree.
It would seem that abundance exists in the Light of Hochma. However, what good does it do you if you can’t use it? Without clothing it in the Light of Hassadim, it only brings you darkness. It is preferable not to have the Light of Hochma before you receive the Light of Hassadim. All of your abundance reveals itself within the Light of Hochma to the extent that the Light of Hassadim is present.
Hence, abundance is measured only by the degree of the Light of Hassadim in the spiritual vessel (Kli). Hochma can shine only to the extent of the presence of Hassadim. This explains why “the bread of affliction” implies that you already have the Light of Hochma, but still lack the possibility of its revelation since you are in need of the Light of Hassadim, that is, you experience the absence of bestowal and love.
From the 2nd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 6/30/10, The Zohar
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