In Egypt we had plenty of material benefits, everything except one thing: bestowal without any calculation for oneself, which is called the spiritual work in the desert. Man doesn’t strive for this, and it is impossible to strive for this above the constantly growing ego. One has to constantly fight the ego as he connects more and more with others, until they all become a single whole.
“The thing is that, indeed, they were very fond of the work in Egypt.” It was a wonderful consumer society: You worked, earned, and succeeded. Everything was up to you; everything was clear, according to the order, the laws of democracy.
As it says: “…’But they mingled themselves with the nations, and learned their works.'” That is, everything was managed only by the desire to receive at every level, in every appeal. “It means that if Israel are under the dominion of a certain nation…” that is, if the point in the heart, the direction towards bestowal, the spiritual spark, is under the dominion of a person’s ego, then the desire for spirituality only helps the ego develop in different directions. And there is no way to break free from this slavery because a person sees that he can even profit from his aspiration to spirituality.
Thus different altruistic organizations and mystical practices, anything that is a bit above the simple ego and can fill a person, come into being. Such people feel that they are fulfilled, perfect, and elevated, and it seems to them that they don’t lack anything. This is a sign that the point in the heart is under the rule of Pharaoh, and this is why it all looks so good: altruism, mysticism, or New Age. These people don’t suffer and only want to make others like them.
While Israel (those who yearn for the Creator) suffers, works hard, and fights with problems. After all, a person works against the ego that is getting stronger all the time. So on one hand, he has all material benefits, a “pot full of meat” as it was in Egypt, and in spirituality there is nothing: a desert, the dry land, only faith. And so a person is constantly torn between the two points, trying to decide what he should do.
It seems that by leaving Egypt we are separating from it totally. But in spirituality it isn’t so because when you fall, it is as if you fall back. Of course, it isn’t the same state because it is a new degree, and so the troubles begin already in the desert: snakes, scorpions, quarrels, all sorts of problems, and diseases. The ascents and descents come one after the other and are combined in one person.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 4/8/2012, Shamati #159