Baal HaSulam, “Introduction to the Study of The Ten Sefirot,” Item 97: For that reason, our sages warned us in many places concerning the necessary condition in the practice of Torah, that it will be specifically Lishma, in a way that one will be awarded life through it, for it is a Torah of life, and this is why it was given to us, as it is written, “therefore choose life.”
This is a very important condition and I would say a very scary one. There is a very serious warning in it that it is forbidden to use the Torah, meaning the method of Kabbalah, in the wrong way. After all, there is Light in all the Kabbalah books, and if a person uses them the wrong way, instead of the potion of life he receives the potion of death. It is a very strong weapon that is like radiation which can be used beneficially in different techniques and in medicine, but which can also kill. Fire too can be destructive on the one hand while on the other it can help us and warm us.
The power of the Light is the greatest power in nature. We have to know how to use it. Therefore the sages first forbade the teaching of the wisdom of Kabbalah to everyone, except for those who had the altruistic intention of Lishma (bestowal).
But how can one switch to this intention? There are several preliminary conditions here.
On the general human level, people have no need to study the method of Kabbalah. But sometimes the question comes up: “What is the meaning of life?” and then I turn to Kabbalah. Then another question comes up: “What am I studying for; is it in order for me to feel good or so that I can come to Lishma?
At first a person wants to know what the meaning of life is. He doesn’t know much about intentions yet. Baal HaSulam says that only the intention of Lishma, which is in order to bestow, is the condition that enables one to teach a person the method of Kabbalah. In such a case, there’s no doubt that he will study correctly. Although no one starts from this level, he should reach it!
Therefore a person should join a group where he finds a teacher and books. If all these factors come together correctly, then although a person isn’t worthy yet, he may be allowed to connect with the method of Kabbalah, which then can bring him to the intention of Lishma.
As far as the rest of humanity is concerned, they don’t feel the need for that. Abraham in his time gave the sons of the concubines “presents,” which were the Eastern practices that suited their level of development. He then sent them to the East to do those things that we now call “New Age.”
From here we should understand how things developed. As a result of the shattering, the Torah was disseminated among all the peoples and remained with the people of Israel. But what kind of Torah is it? How can the method of Kabbalah be studied during the exile, in the egoistic intention?
Finally, since we went into exile, we haven’t had the true Torah, but its “mock-up.” We continue to call Kabbalistic books “holy books,” but there is no Light in this Torah. Rabbi Chaim Vital wrote about this and so did Baal HaSulam.
But if a person needs the Torah in order to switch to the intention of Lishma, he is drawn to the wisdom of Kabbalah in which there really is the Reforming Light. It was forbidden to use this wisdom during the time of exile so as not to bring the Light to a person with the possibility of it becoming the potion of death for him.
It is only now when we’ve reached the general shattering and the last layer of the egoistic desire that we can discover the wisdom of Kabbalah and study it. Baal HaSulam writes about it in the articles “Time to Act,” “Messiah’s Shofar,” and others. It is about that part of the Torah that transmits the Reforming Light. Our generation is already in the “days of the Messiah” when we have to use this method.
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 2/15/12, “Introduction to the Study of the Ten Sefirot”