Rabash, Shlavei HaSulam (The Steps of the Ladder), 1985, Article 15: And the more they afflicted them”: “And the shell of Egypt, is the general shell, where the sparks of Holiness fell, that the People of Israel who were in Egypt, had to correct them. Then there must first be such pain and suffering that they can’t leave their control, as it says “and the Children of Israel sighed from the work, and they cried out, and their cry rose to the Lord from the work, and the Lord heard their sigh.
There must be a feeling of exile, there must be such strong suffering and pain that “it is better to die than to live” if I can’t come out of Egypt, if I don’t achieve what I want. My desire has to be so big. Otherwise it isn’t a vessel; it isn’t a place for the revelation of what we are looking for.
At the same time, my crying out should be strong not only in quantity but also in quality. I have to know what I am yearning for in exile, what I want to discover, what is happening to me.
So the exile is the most serious preparation for redemption. In exile I clarify things, by clarifying what exactly I want and in what way. This is the reason why the exile cannot be less than 400 years, according to the four phases we go through when we build our vessel. Only at the end of this process can we come out of exile and really receive what we have prepared. The upper Light has no form and now too it fills everything, but we don’t feel it. We must acquire the four phases, a whole vessel, and then the Light will be revealed.
So it isn’t about 400 years, but actually about four whole phases of building our vessel. The forms we develop in it totally depend on each of us. Of course, we receive the initial spur from Above as it is written: “The Creator puts a person’s hand on the good fate and tells him, take it.” But later on a person’s fate is in his own hands.
From the 3rd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 4/6/12, Writings of Rabash