Baal HaSulam, Letter 10: “If a student goes into exile, his teacher is exiled with him.” But how can egoistic claims overwhelm the student in his studies and work so much that he would stray off the spiritual path, despite his connection with the authentic Kabbalist teacher?
It is all due to the fact that during the descent the student thinks that his Teacher is also in descent. And it is truly so since he can receive help from the Teacher only in the extent that he values his teacher’s greatness.
Therefore, his teacher is presently low and weak, according to how the student views him, and this means that the Teacher falls together with the student. The beginning of the Egyptian exile starts with that “a new king rises over Egypt, who didn’t know Joseph”—a new power in the mind of everyone who fell from his previous degree (and so did the teacher with them).
Hence, they “don’t know Joseph (the righteous man)” and imagine him being similar to themselves. And this is the beginning of bondage since otherwise, the righteous man would protect them from slavery and exile.
This passage doesn’t discuss historical events, but rather a person who is living his “spiritual history” right now. From the moment he starts seeking the purpose of life, he is led to a place where he can grow spiritually and realize his life’s purpose, unveil its secret, meaning that he finds a Kabbalistic group and the teacher.
And then, everything depends upon how much he values what he received: the group, Kabbalistic texts, and the teacher. And his “Egyptian bondage,” the exile, unfolding of his ego, starts with his ignoring the teacher.
After all, the teacher shows him the way. Otherwise, a person of this world would never attain the truth that is hidden from us; there is no chance to find it on one’s own. All souls are arranged according to the chain: AHP of the upper one descend into GE of the lower one, and only by cleaving to the former can we advance.
Hence, the Egyptian exile begins when the student ignores the teacher, which is a natural development that he must undergo. First, he doesn’t feel what happened at all and that he is veering off the path. He thinks that he is totally all right: He is advancing, understands and feels more, and can make his own decisions and judge, knowing what steps he is making.
In other words, he has an opinion about everything based upon “common sense” and “logic,” while he forgets that it’s all well and good only in regard to his personal egoism and not in relation to the “teacher, the books, and the group,” where one should always progress by way of “faith above reason.”
It is said that they no longer felt Joseph (the righteous one within), meaning that a person no longer registers his point in the heart which previously linked him to advancement, the spiritual path, and bestowal to a certain degree. And he severs the ties with spiritual progress completely since he has nothing to lean on if the teacher who was leading his way is gone.
A person thinks that he continues to evolve, while this development only pushes him deeper into the bondage that he is yet to discover. There is nothing we can do; these are the necessary stages one has to pass through.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 4/20/2011, Baal HaSulam’s Letter 10