The Zohar, Introduction, Article “The Vision of Rabbi Hiya,” Item 52: “Happy is he who comes here without shame.” He also saw Rabbi Elazar and the rest of the pillars of the world that they were without shame. But Rabbi Hiya himself was ashamed….
Question: What is shame in spiritual work? And what is its function?
In our world I am ashamed when I fear that others will find out about my egoism. I am afraid that I will be harmed, belittled, or rejected. On the other hand, spiritual shame is fear of whether I have done everything possible in order to give pleasure to the Creator. I fear that I have not fully realized all of the chances that were given to me. The Creator gives me pleasures and the forces to overcome them, and He arranges all the conditions for me. Did I create 100% Reflected Light in response? Did I miss anything? Was I weak in any way?
In our world shame can be a horrible sensation if a person is sufficiently developed. But in spirituality it is simply the truth, which is impossible to escape, which you cannot hide or conceal. Normally we justify ourselves, hiding behind excuses, “Everyone steals and so I do too.” Sometimes we can somehow smooth out a situation on the spot, and with time we forget the initial extremity of the event. In this sense our world is very “easy” compared to the spiritual world, where shame is the judgment of truth.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 12/23/10, The Zohar