Baal HaSulam, The Study of the Ten Sefirot, Part 1, “Table of Questions for Topics”: Question 93: What is the root of every corruption? The Shinui Tzura (the difference of form) of the will to receive from the Maatzil (the Emanator).
We always check ourselves against the Creator since we have no other standard. After all, in the beginning, the creature created “from absence” has no frame of reference in this void. The creature born “from absence” can test itself only against “existence from existence,” relative to the Light.
We have no other way to determine what is good and what is bad. And all the qualities we find in ourselves are deceiving; for the time being, they exist by themselves and are defined only by our own imagination.
Real evaluation is possible only by comparing two opposites which have inverse nature. And so, until the creature reveals the Creator, stands opposite to, and measures itself against Him, it will have no way of knowing what and where it is, and in what state.
All measuring is done relative to the image of the Creator, the image of the Giver that we are able to create within ourselves. But we can build this image within ourselves only on the condition that we perform a restriction and remain in bestowal and concealment relative to the others.
This is why we are given the group as a reference system, where we can do it all. And then we will at least be able to know what state we are passing through moment to moment. The way I wish to appraise the group (whether I think that I am greater or lesser than they are, what kind of relationship I desire to have with them, and whether I am seeking the Creator between or outside of us) determines my own state of existence.
It is my attitude to the friends that I should assess my current state by!
From the 3rd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 7/21/2011, Talmud Eser Sefirot