Baal HaSulam, “Introduction to the Study of The Ten Sefirot“: One concealment means that he believes in the Providence of reward and punishment. Yet, because of the accumulation of the suffering, he sometimes comes to thoughts of transgression.
The egoistic desire pressures a person and the slight revelation of the Creator’s posterior isn’t enough for him. But he still restrains himself as much as he can.
This is because even though he believes that the suffering came to him as a punishment, he is still like one who sees his friend from behind, and might doubt and mistake him for another. And these sins are only mistakes, since, as a whole, he does believe in Providence of reward and punishment.
So what are these states? Suppose a person’s egoistic desire weighs 100 kg and the Light gives him only 50 kg of power of resistance. If we subtract the 100 kg of evil from the 50 kg of the power of the Light, the result will be minus 50 kg. These 50 kg of the ego operate inside a person and lower him to the level of mistakes. If all the 100kg of the ego were set loose in us, a person could find himself on the level of sins.
If I am totally under the control of my egoistic desire, it is the level of sins. Here all my vessels, the ones that receive and ones that bestow, operate with the intention of in order to receive. But if some of my vessels can restrain themselves fearlessly, then I am on the level of mistakes. It all depends on the revelation of the Creator, on the way He appears to me.
This mechanism doesn’t work in our world. Here only the threat of a blow to the ego restrains us: whether it is the feeling of shame, or whether our pride may be hurt, or even physical harm. On the other hand, in the spiritual world the punishment is the inability to bestow. The threat of the inability to bestow restrains a person.
On the whole, it all depends on how much the Light influences me, in how many of my vessels I want It to bestow. Accordingly I am on the level of a “righteous” or an “evil person.”
Do I have free will here? It depends on whether I can demand that the Light will influence me as much as possible.
For example, I have a “cruel” egoistic desire that weighs 100 kg and I am ready to correct it only by 10 kg because I simply cannot ask for a greater correction; I can’t resist all the pleasures and put them under the intention of bestowal. Even when I am incorporated in the group, I am not ready to get rid of all my egoism. At the most, I am ready to “cut the edges,” to get rid of the “excess fat,” and not more than that; that’s all I can ask for. So what’s next? Will my request be accepted in such an egoistic manner?
Everyone should try and answer this question by himself.
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 1/25/12, “Introduction to the Study of the Ten Sefirot”