Question: It is written that Rabbi Shimon cried while writing The Book of Zohar because he feared to reveal the secret. "Woe if I tell it and woe if I don’t. If I do, then the sinners will learn to work for their master. And if I don’t, then the friends will lose this great asset." What is the great secret concealed in The Book of Zohar that Rabbi Shimon cried about?
Answer: The secret of The Book of Zohar is that by relating to it the right way, it is possible to draw Upper Light from it that returns us to the Source. This Light can become the elixir of life for us as well as a deadly poison, depending on our attitude to The Zohar and to the Torah in general.
However, we see that there was no prohibition on studying the Pentateuch or Talmud even though they were also written by Kabbalists. Only The Zohar was concealed and prohibited for many years, and that is because there is a very powerful Light concealed inside this book which we are able to attract. Of course, the Torah also contains Light, but it is nearly inaccessible because of it’s exceeding height.
The Light of The Zohar is closer to us, but if a person is still inside his ego, he will want to use this Light egoistically. Then this Light will turn into a deadly poison for him.
If I want to attain bestowal, then this Light will be the elixir of life for me and will help me attain it. If, however, a person studies the Torah without intending to achieve bestowal, then he becomes more egoistic and starts to consider himself special, greater than others, and righteous. The Torah becomes a poison for him and increases his ego. Instead of lowering himself and feeling that he is smaller than others, he starts to feel the opposite, pride.
For the most part all of this happened recently, over the last century, when egoism reached a new level. That is why Kabbalists feared that people will start studying the science of Kabbalah egoistically as well, taking pride in it, and turning it into a business that sells "magical means" such as red strings, holy water, and blessings.
This will confuse people and push them away from correction, making them lose many life cycles until they finally reveal that this approach is a swindle and lie. But how much time and suffering will it take to get there!
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 12/14/10, “A Handmaid that is Heir to Her Mistress”