All we need is to develop the desire. I remember when I used to own a clinic, one of the workers used to bring Yemenite food with her. At first I couldn’t come near it since I simply did not understand what this was. That’s how different it tasted from anything I was used to. But with time, I started becoming familiar with this food and tasting it, and little by little, I developed an appetite for it.
It’s the same as how a baby is born into the world without having any tastes yet. Afterwards, depending on the customs and predilections of his society, he begins to get used to food and to acquire a taste for it. Without taste, without the desire to eat precisely some specific dish, we would not be able to enjoy it. Of course, it’s possible to eat so you don’t starve to death, but that’s not the same as pleasure. You can receive the pleasures of this world as a bare necessity, but anything beyond that is admissible only if you desire to enjoy—and that enjoyment has to come from bestowal.
Question: Baal HaSulam writes that this requires only a psychological shift. What is that?
Answer: We do not understand how it is possible to enjoy by loving and filling someone you love. “Someone you love” is not just my child, taking care of whom gives me pleasure naturally. Rather, we are talking about someone who’s a stranger, who is alien, distant, opposite, and even hateful to me. This is like food from a foreign country that nauseates me. So I deliberately start developing the taste for it, looking for an approach to it, for closeness and understanding. Gradually the corresponding desires are born inside of me and then I suddenly feel that I love this person.
A question arises: If I love him, then won’t my bestowal to him be egoistic? After all, I will be enjoying it.
That’s true, but my love does not revoke the hatred I felt before. That hatred remains with me constantly and even increases, just like it happened with the students of Rabbi Shimon who write in The Book of Zohar that at first they hate one another, but then they reach love. We continuously advance in two lines, elevating love above hatred, as it is written, “Love will cover all sins.”
Precisely the hatred and love together create the taste, the “juice,” the might of the pleasure. They are like two reigns. If you nullify hatred, then only a tiny material relish will remain with you from the entire height of pleasure, but if you rise above the hatred, covering it with the screen of love time after time, then you end up with a huge vessel that has a huge pleasure inside.
From the 2nd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 5/23/11, “Preface to the Wisdom of Kabbalah”