Answer: “Matter” is the will to enjoy. “Covering” is the degree of bestowal that it can be in.
The entire “history” of matter starts with the breaking of the worlds followed by the birth of the collective soul (Adam), which also breaks and which we must reform since we are its parts. To do so, it is necessary to select desires (Kelim), after clarifying which of them can and cannot be reformed, and which don’t need to be corrected. Therefore, they are divided into three categories or three bodies.
The external body is the worst desires that you cannot reform at all. The internal body doesn’t need to be corrected because it is reformed from Above. In fact, if it hadn’t been corrected from Above, we wouldn’t be able to correct anything at all.
We are not expected to correct all the damage from the breaking since we are unable to accomplish it. We need to become part of the system that will help us to make corrections. Therefore, desires that are in bestowal are corrected from Above. And the authentic Kelim (vessels) of reception, the “stony heart ” (Lev ha Even), cannot be reformed by us.
Actually, we don’t correct anything whatsoever; we only discern the difference between the Creator and the created being! I don’t need to correct my desire to feel pleasure since it is given to me for the purpose of clarification so that through analyzing and synthesizing, I come up with a “derivative,” a synthesized new meaning.
It is not matter that is interesting (whether it is “corrupted” or “corrected”); rather, it is more interesting to use it to discern a more exalted concept: “Who is the Creator?” meaning to get to know Him through “His acts.” And therefore, I don’t need to work with desires that either cannot be reformed or do not need to be. What I need to do is examine the place where they are all mixed.
In the “stony heart,” there is nothing to study and examine. With the most exalted desires, GE (Galgalta ve Eynaim), there is nothing to do either since they are the properties of the soul that don’t belong to me. I can only be in the middle, between one and the other. My entire correction amounts to discernment, sorting out the good from evil.
By doing so, I don’t correct anything since it isn’t my job. But thanks to my discernments and effort, turmoil and pain, I acquire something special, which is above the desires that don’t go beyond the animate level.
It is the entire matter of creation, the will to enjoy: the still, vegetative, and animate degrees. But I need to uncover the human level, the degree of the Creator in me! Presently, it doesn’t exist within me, but by figuring out the difference between receiving and bestowal, I start to comprehend the Creator. And this is the “benefit” of spiritual work.
From the 3rd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 12/23/10, Beit Shaar HaKavanot