The wisdom of Kabbalah only speaks of inner work, correction of the soul, revealing the Creator to the created, and all the images in its stories constitute different types of desire through which we view the world. The desire to bestow is called Israel, (Yashar-El, straight to the Creator). “Israel in exile” is the desire to bestow with an intention of self-benefit. “Nations of the world” are the egoistic desire to receive.
If the desire “Israel” is in exile, its intent becomes egoistic, meaning it becomes bestowal with the intent of “in order to receive.” Hence, Israel in exile can gain much greater benefit than the “Egyptians,” than the regular desires to receive. That is why it has been said that after the sons of Israel descended to Egypt, they multiplied, became rich, fattened, became important, and had plenty of onions, garlic, meat, and fish.
In other words, all desires received the filling they wanted. After all, they were working in bestowal in order to receive: They used the force of bestowal to benefit egoistically. And of course, they succeed more than “the nations of the world.” As it written, the nation of Israel mingled with the other nations, learned their ways, and achieved greater success because they know how to use bestowal even in order to receive.
That is why it is very difficult to exit the ego; it requires special work. A unique force is required to extract the egoistic desire to bestow from Egypt, the desire which is so advantageous to Pharaoh who can’t receive the same from his own people: the simple, egoistic will to receive.
Israel on the other hand, work for their own benefit, using the spiritual force to fill their corporeal desires. Surely, the ego doesn’t want to lose them; they become the primary means for receiving its fulfillment, which can’t be received from anything else. Nothing can provide such great fulfillment.
And so, how can Israel’s desires become disconnected from the ego? They have to undergo two corrections because they work in bestowal with the intention of in order to receive, not just the Egyptians (the desire to receive), rather the will to bestow, which learned from them, hence, it fell even lower than Egypt. Egypt doesn’t have the option of using the force of bestowal for egoistic fulfillment.
Everything begins from the moment the Egyptian king dies and those desires that worked in bestowal for self-benefit suddenly stopped feeling fulfillment in that way. There’s nothing to work for any more; our king died, disappeared! That means, I stop feeling why I’m studying and working. I don’t see the reward any longer. And then, “And Israel cried out from the work.”
At first, we knew the purpose of our work; we worked hard and gained egoistically. We were faithful slaves of the ego and wanted nothing beyond that. And now, all of a sudden, hard work begins without the clarity of knowing why. We don’t feel the purpose in egoistic bestowal: That is help arriving to us from Above. The development reaches a state in which we’re incapable of enjoying that, we cry out in desperation and then begin to search.
Indeed, if there’s nothing to enjoy, “This life is worse than death.” There’s no life, no sense of fulfillment. And if there’s no pleasure, a person is prepared to commit suicide, rather than feel the emptiness. Then the work of exiting Egypt begins, which lasts “many days.”
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 2/5/12, Shamati #159