Question: During the Second Temple period Kabbalists would sit for two hours preparing to read the prayer, “Hear, O Israel.” Why is it that we, who are so small compared to them, are presented with a much more complex reality where we come to the lesson totally disoriented and confused, and struggle for a few minutes to get some kind of focus before reading The Book of Zohar?
Answer: In those times Kabbalists had to enter the spiritual states that The Zohar talks about. They had to ascend up the levels from a total lack of spiritual sensation because every level begins from zero. It takes time for people to unite in one intention, to reach unity at the appropriate level, and to enter this state through the common sensation.
This can be compared to how parachute jumpers prepare for a common jump: They wrap up their parachutes, get into a plane, fly up beyond the clouds, jump from there, and while in free fall, without opening up the parachute yet, they connect with each other, creating different forms in the air.
This is a huge preparation for new unification on high spiritual levels. That is why it takes so much time, in accordance with the height of the level. The level obligates them to this.
On the other hand, if you are playing around here below, by yourself, without feeling others, then it’s enough for you to grab on to some thought “by the tail,” and that’s all. Let us hope that we will come to need the same preparation as the Kabbalists of the past.
From the 2nd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 1/13/11, The Zohar