Attainment of the Torah Begins with “Sod” (Secret) and Ends with “Peshat” (Literal)
Great merit is required in order to understand the Peshat of the texts [that speak about bestowal and love], since first we must attain [in our correction] the three internal parts of the Torah, which the Peshat [the last, simple, and completely disclosed understanding of the Torah] robes, and the Peshat will not be parsed. If one has not been rewarded with it [complete understanding], one needs great mercy [of the Creator], so it [his studies of the Torah] will not become a potion of death for him [if he studies it for his own sake].
It is the opposite of the argument of the negligent in attaining the interior [of the Torah or Kabbalah, and, therefore, called the “negligent”], who say to themselves: “We settle for attaining the Peshat [simple understanding of the Torah]. If we attain that, we will be content.” Their words [that stem out of their misunderstanding and thus] can be compared to one who wishes to step on the fourth step without first stepping on the first three steps.
– Baal HaSulam, “Introduction to the Book, Panim Meirot uMasbirot,” Item 1
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