Question: When reading The Zohar, is “to receive the force of bestowal” the correct intention?
Answer: We do not need anything but the force of bestowal. There are only two forces in the entire reality: reception and bestowal. We do not lack the force of receiving. When we correctly prepare ourselves by working in the group and studying Kabbalah, the force of reception, our evil inclination, becomes revealed to us.
However, if I have not yet begun to arrange myself with the group or the study, I do not reveal the egoism against the Creator in me as something that hurts me, as evil. At first I need to reveal my evil. If I do not see the evil in me, I have nothing to begin correction with.
But when I reveal the evil in me, I reveal it in the group, and for this reason I already have the Light to correct it. After all, it is where I reveal my rejection of friends that I find the strength to overcome this rejection.
Question: If I do not feel the need to read The Zohar, do I still need to do it?
Answer: A person beginning to study Kabbalah needs to know that it is specifically the reading of The Zohar that helps him go through the stages of the revelation of his evil and its correction. The evil will keep being revealed, while he will keep rising above it until he reveals the entire altitude of evil, the entire 125 degrees between our world and the World of Infinity.
He will rise high, above the evil being revealed, to the top of the mountain as if he were on a funicular. This is why he needs both: the mountain, the evil that is being revealed, and the funicular, the force of the Light that lifts him to the top.
This is the reason we need to study Kabbalah, which reveals the evil to us. This is called “I created the evil inclination,” and then we need the force of correction, which is called “and I gave the Torah for its correction because the Light in it Reforms,” that brings me to the top of the mountain.
This is why in the beginning the Creator told Abraham: “Your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own,” meaning that they will be under the influence of the egoism, but they will leave with great wealth (egoism), and they will need its correction: the reception of the Torah, the method of correction with the force of the Creator, the Light. Having stopped using egoism (Egypt) and having turned it into a “desert,” they will then use it for the sake of bestowal and turn it into the “Land of Israel.”
There is only one desire, but the gradual changes of the intention over this desire turns the desire into “Egypt” (in Hebrew “Mits-Raim,” “the concentration of evil”), then into the Sinai desert (in Hebrew “Sinai,” hatred), until it turns it into good, the “Land of Israel” (in Hebrew “Eretz Yisrael,” desire towards the Creator). That is, one goes through the stages of the evil inclination – “Egypt,” then “bestowal for the sake of bestowal” – “the Sinai desert,” and then “reception for the sake of bestowal” – “the land of Israel.”
The desire to receive pleasure remains the same, you only determine your attitude toward it, which becomes increasingly corrected every time.
From the 2nd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 10/7/10, The Zohar