It is dangerous to study The Book of Zohar with a desire that is not ripe yet, meaning a desire that still hasn’t exhausted itself in this world. This kind of desire still doesn’t understand that there is nothing to be done in this world other than to ascend from it to the world of correction.
A person can only reveal Kabbalah if he looks for the meaning of life and has to find what to live for. However, if he still does not have this question, then he begins to interpret Kabbalah egoistically and to adapt it to his own benefit, deceiving himself by thinking that he is correcting himself. He starts selling it and using it as a weapon for his ego. Instead of using it against egoism, he uses it to conquer things for the ego, and that’s how he turns it from the elixir of life into a deadly poison for himself and for others.
That is why Kabbalists feared revealing the science of Kabbalah and invented many prohibitions, such as first reaching the age of 40, the need to first learn the whole Torah, as well as total observance of the commandments. They even scared people off by saying that you can go crazy. All of this was done because egoism was still undergoing the process of its development.
The Book of Zohar itself states that it is destined to be revealed only at the end of days. Then this wisdom would be revealed for the correction of the world, which is now ready for correction. That is when Kabbalists come out, telling us that the time has come!
That is why Rabbi Shimon cried about how to write The Book of Zohar in such a way that even if it were to become revealed at the wrong time, it wouldn’t cause harm. This is why he wrote it with the help of Rabbi Abba in a special, secret code. We read The Book of Zohar without understanding where Rabbi Shimon is concealed behind Rabbi Abba, who wept so much about the revelation of the great secret.
Rabbi Shimon used Rabbi Abba as a "shield," an external shell, an opportunity to write in a concealed manner. A person can reveal the secret that was hidden by Rabbi Shimon only on the condition that he penetrates inside Rabbi Abba’s protective shell. Then he can accept Rabbi Shimon’s secret message, but he is unable to read it before that time.
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 12/14/10, “A Handmaid that is Heir to Her Mistress”