It is not enough for us to know that we are distanced from each other, that we are pushing each other away not desiring connection between us, and that what is called the evil inclination is what does not let us unite with each other.
Only this is called evil; it is what prevents us from reaching the Goal of creation where we are connected together into one whole. Our evil inclination, pushing us away from each other and separating us, which we come across with when we want to unite, is called evil. We are the ones who define it as evil.
If I do not feel that it is preventing me from reaching the Goal, and uniting with others, then I do not consider it as evil. So it turns out that evil has gradations: The more I want to unite with others, the more evil I feel.
That is why in the beginning when a person begins to study the science of Kabbalah, he does not think that he has to get closer to others at all; he is similar to the brothers of Joseph. Later, he begins to understand that it is necessary to unite together, and then he begins to ponder how much good it will do him if he unites with others. He begins to unite with friends, this stage is called “the seven years of plenty”, when everyone is moving forward nicely together.
Then we begin to feel how much we are appalled by this unity, how much it is undesirable and worthless in our eyes. This is how we arrive at the stage called “the seven years of famine,” when we do not understand how we will be able to work with each other and how we will unite together since the Pharaoh is standing between us and separating us.
And instead of constantly exerting the correct effort towards unity, the Pharaoh throws various kinds of actions our way by which we are seemingly acting for unity, but it turns out that each one performs the action for his own sake. This is called that the Pharaoh bites the “back of the neck,” sucking all of our efforts for himself. This keeps repeating again and again.
However, there is a special force, opposed to all of our exerted efforts, called the Light that returns to the Source. If we are attracting it, then it is not important what states we are in. This force acts on us and moves us forward. It is impossible to move forward without this force.
So it turns out that in the field of our work we must become aware of the evil as much as possible. Evil is realized due to trying to do kind deeds, meaning that our work should be happening in unity, in happiness, in love, in studies, in all of the very best. Not for a moment do we mention the evil; we do not want to feel it in any kind of manifestations.
As a result of us trying to be connected to each other, to be kind, filled with Light, and similar to the Creator, that force of evil reveals to us, separating us. If we exert enough effort, we reveal it from concealment. To the extent that I exert effort in order to unite with others, to this extent, I become worthy of revealing evil. Meaning, the revelation of evil is a reward, a result of my efforts.
I gave “20 kilograms” of effort in order to unite with friends, and I got “20 kilograms” of revelation of the evil inclination: I realize that I do not want to unite with them. I did not know and see it earlier, but now I know. In spite of this, I continue to work, I apply “40 kilograms” more effort, and I get “40 kilograms” more of the evil inclination revealed to me. The Pharaoh keeps growing until he turns into such a monster with whom it is impossible to do anything.
Even if I come to him and I agree to all of the misfortunes and suffering, which will befall upon me like the 10 Egyptian plagues, he remains standing and separating us. Due to his stubbornness, I see that I have no choice: only to stop working with my ego. This is called to “run away from it.”
Then, under the condition that I am ready to part with my ego, to rise above it in faith above reason, an opportunity to achieve it is revealed to me, to use a special force, which will keep me above my desire to receive for myself, as if “in air”: My ego is located below and I am above it.
What does “I” mean? I can think, feel, make a calculation, and make actions without drowning in my desire to enjoy, but by being above it. This means that I am standing before receiving the Light that returns to the Source—the reception of the Torah.
Now we are located opposite to the Torah, we are sitting at the lesson, we want to unite together, to build a common desire (Kli), and reading The Book of Zohar in order for the Light, which comes from it, to act on its promise, to return us to the Source, if we have prepared the evil, which separates us, in order for the Light to correct it.
That is why it is said about Rabbi Shimon’s students that they sit before the lesson and are revealing the evil, the raging fire of hate. They do not arrive at such a state simply, but after numerous efforts desiring to unite, they reveal the evil, a new one every day. And then every day you have the need to receive the Torah, the Light that returns to the Source, if you are trying to unite and you realize that you are not able to do it, that you have once again revealed the Pharaoh even more than before.
Therefore, still try to reveal evil—but only due to our desire to come to goodness. And then if we really do want the good, the evil will be revealed. If the evil will be revealed, we will indeed ask for The Book of Zohar to act on it and turn it into good.
From the 2nd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 12/14/11, The Zohar