We are born in special, unique conditions: in the egoistic will to receive which is our nature. It permeates our mind and heart, meaning our thoughts and desires, and sprouts from the Reshimot (informational genes) that we received at birth. They manifest in the corporeal attributes we inherit from our parents and are instilled in us as the rudiments of spiritual properties.
This process contains various details which we will comprehend only when we have sufficiently evolved and realized what a soul is, how it circulates, and what transformations it undergoes from one degree to the next.
Thus, at birth, we receive a “package” of inner and outer attributes. There is no point in arguing with it. Likewise, we don’t choose the environment that we are born and will grow up in until reaching adulthood either. Thereby, we supplement our inherited properties with what we receive from the outside.
It corresponds with the development of the soul, which we study in The Study of the Ten Sefirot. At the stage of conception, a soul undergoes a period of “nine months” but doesn’t reach adulthood yet. It receives everything else from the outside only later when it is born from the upper Partzuf and resides next to it.
Having been born from the lower third part of Tifferet that is regarded as the “womb,” a soul rises to the upper third part of Tifferet regarded as the “chest” (Hazeh). And further on, all the Lights that it didn’t receive in the mother’s womb during the “nine month” period, the soul receives over the course of “two years” of nurturing.
We can say that being nurtured is the same as being conceived, but now it continues in the external conditions. And then, there comes a new stage of the outside development, the years of upbringing, the small state (Katnut), until maturity is reached, which is completed at the “age of 20.”
During all these stages, a soul discerns the Lights and Kelim (vessels) while evolving against its will, by virtue of the environment that obligates it to grow without its exercising freedom of choice. And choice, in its direct meaning, begins with the transformation of the soul as it reaches “20 years of age” and up.
This is how Kabbalists describe our spiritual evolution, the counterpart of which we observe even in our corporeal world.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 2/24/2011, Writings of Rabash