Baal HaSulam, “Matan Torah (The Giving of the Torah)”: Thus, that creature develops and marches upward in degrees of the above spoken exaltedness, until he loses all remnants of self-love and all the commandments in his body rise, and he performs all his actions only to bestow, so even the necessity that he receives flows in the direction of bestowal, so he can bestow. This is why our sages said, “The commandments were given only to refine people with.”
Through the principle of “love thy friend as yourself,” we come to the end of the path: to adhesion. Whether we like it or not, we must achieve it. Our free choice is to move quickly, which we can do if we take advantage of the environment. Otherwise, nature will push us until it forces us into it—and we will want to move faster than nature anyway.
How do we advance? We advance due to internal development. How does it happen? It takes place because of “the Torah and commandments,” meaning the method of correction by which we have to refine ourselves. Of course, we are not talking about the external actions of this world. Baal HaSulam mentions an excerpt from the Gemara to make this clear to us: We are required to perform namely the internal correction of our qualities. This means that our interrelationships should be aimed exclusively at bestowal of the same height as that of the Creator.
How can it be achieved? It is done in stages. First, a person knows nothing, like a child who just started to grow. Then, he is gradually given explanations, and he understands more and more. Ultimately, everything depends on the environment, on explanations, on the efforts that are applied during his education, and on his own efforts when he practices the assigned tasks.
In essence, a person is taught to be in the environment and to use it correctly, according to the principle: “I created the evil inclination, and I created the Torah as a spice.” The evil inclination is revealed namely in the environment; there is no other possibility.
Besides that, it requires the Torah as “a spice,” meaning the Light that Reforms. A person feels evil relative to the Light. The Light exposes my vessels, and I demand for it to correct them. Then, the Light fills them.
Thus, step by step, a person comes to correction.
From the 5th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 6/27/2011, “Matan Torah (The Giving of the Torah)”