Answer: This is described in the weekly chapter of the Torah: “And the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage.” After a person comes to the realization that he has no power, all that he can do is beg.
Before, he thought himself big, smart, and understanding, thinking he could advance on his own, constantly gaining knowledge by adding effort and action. However, if up to this point he has performed a sufficient number of actions, he gets to see that nothing has been achieved therewith.
Why then does a person needs to perform all these actions? In order to realize that he won’t achieve anything. To reach the state of emptiness, a person has to exert a tremendous amount of effort.
I work and think that by doing so, I am building the beautiful “store-cities of Pithom and Ramses,” gaining knowledge, and that soon I will unveil, see, and feel everything. I exert more and more effort, immerse myself in the studies deeper, only to suddenly realize: “How much have I put into it, and what have I achieved? I have nothing. What do I do next? What will become of me?” I don’t know, but I am willing to fall into a deadly sleep. Just give me a sleeping pill so I may sleep and never get up.
This is how a person feels at that moment, exhausted and powerless. In fact, he begins to understand that he will achieve nothing like this. At first, he doesn’t even know it and only feels that he has no desire for anything. Then, he wakes up and still goes on. However, at some point, he begins to understand that, on his own, he will merit nothing, and he needs the Upper Force: “If the Creator doesn’t come and help me, I, myself, can do nothing.”
He starts thinking this way only after 15 to 20 times, or maybe even 30 to 40 times that he has tried to advance on his own only to face disappointment and fall into despair. This is called the years of Egyptian exile, until they have “sighed by reason of the bondage.” For my ego, I build the “store-cities, Pithom and Ramses,” but for the human in me who desires to attain spirituality, these cities are poor and miserable, empty, and can give me nothing.
I start dividing myself in two. So what if I have knowledge, intellect, can discuss the wisdom of Kabbalah beautifully, and even seem to understand everything? It serves nothing. In truth, I don’t have spirituality. I can talk about it all day and all night, but am I attaining it or just talking about it? I am just talking.
Then, a person understands that at this point, he needs only the help from Above, some upper revelation, the Upper Force, something different which is not up to him. He understands that with what he has, it is impossible to reach spirituality. Finally, he really cries out, as it is written: “And the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage.”
It is a challenging path. A person has to undergo such states many times. Only the environment can help him in this and nothing else. The environment can support and protect him as well as promote his development.
Otherwise, who knows when he will wake up again? If not with the help of the environment, it will be by way of a changing Reshimo (spiritual information record) that he will be granted mercy from Above and given a new state. However, nobody knows when that will happen.
Therefore, when a person remains in a good state, when he is illuminated by the Light and has power, he has to bond with the environment as much as possible in order to receive the strength put into it when he gets weak again. Then, he will experience a descent as if by inertia and will start ascending again since he had accelerated the speed before he fell.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 12/24/10, “Perfection in Life”