Question: When does evil become an obstacle on a person’s way?
Answer: It happens when a person identifies it as the “evil inclination.” At first, I don’t consider my egoism to be bad. On the contrary, I serve it as much as I can. It helps me and provides the sensations of life. Without it, I stop existing.
If a person loses his appetite because of some illness, we urge him to eat a little. If a person loses his sexual drive, he tries to cure himself by using various remedies. No one can survive without pleasures; one has to receive delight.
Food, sex, family, wealth, respect, and knowledge constitute all of my life, and I want to have a good bite of everything. If I lose the desire to receive pleasure, I become desperate and almost feel that I am dying. For this reason, when it’s time for a person to transcend this world, pleasure is taken away from him. He feels that he has nothing to live for. He simply cannot enjoy the desires that are at his disposal. Where can he find fulfillment?
At the same time, he is given a spark of a much higher spiritual desire, which by itself directs him to the wisdom of Kabbalah, a remedy that enables him to achieve a new kind of delight. A person is being lead to a group, and at first, he awaits much stronger egoistic pleasures. “Give me angels, reveal spiritual worlds, bring the Creator to me on a tray, and so on.”
As Baal HaSulam writes in the “Introduction to The Book of Zohar,” before a person reaches a state called “thirteen years old,” he is ready to “swallow” all the material world. After reaching the degree of “thirteen years old,” he switches to pleasures of the world to come.
This is natural since we cannot enter spirituality without a full-grown desire that is eager to consume everything there is and preside. I demand that the Creator serve me, and I claim, “Why did He create this world ‘as is?’ Why doesn’t he fulfill me properly?” Later, a person begins to realize how opposite he is to the Creator. It is an immense egoistic desire that brings him to this understanding.
The same happens in this world: A small crook doesn’t consider himself to be a criminal. We, too, think of ourselves as being “innocent.” However, similarly to Pharaoh, a real, mature recidivist admits before robbing someone, “Yes, the Creator is righteous, but we are sinners.”
Thus, before the desire manifests itself to its fullest extent, a person has no way to realize that he is “bad.” It is not easy to comprehend that it is the Creator who made the evil inclination.
How many people in the world can admit that they are “bad?” On the contrary, all of them think that they are “righteous,” even “saints.” It needs much work and effort and lots of Light from Above to make a revealed ego manifest its wickedness.
It is important that we divulge our evilness only relative to the Creator, rather than to other people. I am bad only compared to the Creator, to the property of bestowal. I figure out that the desire to receive pleasure, the urge to receive instead of give, hatred toward others, the desire to take advantage of them, is, in fact, what we call “the evil inclination.”
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 12/17/10, “The Creator Created the Evil Inclination, and He Created the Torah as A Spice”