Baal HaSulam, “The Essence of Religion and Its Purpose”: The sweeter the fruit is at its end, the more bitter and unsightly it is in the earlier phases of its development.
No one is as wise as an experienced person. In the initial phase, he already sees the final perfection. But how can we be wise if we don’t see the end?
We have to learn on the examples that Kabbalists give us and find evidence for them with every step we make. We have to reduce all of the states we go through to one as we attain them on our small spiritual experience.
Everything happens gradually, by way of ascents and descents: a little bit of bitterness, and a little bit of sweetness. We have to overcome problems time after time in order to grow more and more. Our entire growth lies in overcoming the bitter states of the fruit until we begin to discern what is sweetness.
To develop does not mean to strengthen our initial state because then it will become increasingly more bitter. Rather, we must turn bitter to sweet, create the opposite, acquiring the quality of bestowal above the quality of reception so it would begin to grow. Then we sweeten the initial state, the phases of the maturation of the fruit, the spiritual vessel.
At every state we have to focus not on the quantitative growth, but on qualitative improvement. We turn everything that’s bitter into sweet by virtue of understanding that the bitterness was given to us in order to overcome it. We work above it and then greater sweetness emerges in us out of that growing bitterness, until the fruit (vessel) ripens.
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 3/24/11 on Global Education