Baal HaSulam, “Introduction to The Book of Zohar,” Item 46: Malchut is the coarsest cover, hiding the Light of Ein Sof. The Light it passes from Him to the receivers is only a small portion, related to the purification of the still body of man.
The Light is filtered, and it weakens on its way to the desire, and the level, the intensity, and the strength of the connection that it carries, depends on it. When it goes through Malchut, it can purify the desire only on the level of the still nature.
A person who receives the Light from Malchut totally annuls himself. He cannot perform independent actions and totally annuls himself, thus enabling the Light to operate on him. If the Light comes through Zeir Anpin, it purifies it on the level of the vegetative, and, in addition to annulling himself, it enables him to move for the first time.
Later, the Light that comes through Bina raises the desire to the animate level. Now, it can operate by itself, give birth to new levels, and resemble the Creator. Finally, when a person receives the Light of Hochma, there is no limit to what he can do with his desire and with his nature, with his inner potential.
So, it all depends on the level from which the Light that Reforms comes. We must be under that level and to resemble it somehow.
Question: In what way is the vegetative level different from the animate level?
Answer: First, measure the growth from the beginning or in other words, compare it to the level of the still nature. Inanimate nature cannot move on its own. It is totally annulled by the Light and is in absolute rest.
On the other hand, on the vegetative level, the desire that has grown can take on more advanced forms and to change, but this still has to be attained, and so the level of inanimate nature develops as it resists changes.
The desire to receive changes, but a person keeps himself, his structure, and attributes. Thus, he acquires a basis that is created of all the four phases on which he stands by not annulling his desire, but rather by leaving it under the Masach (screen) and the restriction.
Then, from his level of the still nature, a person can build the next three levels: the vegetative, the animate, and the speaking. Everything stems from the level of the still nature. Therefore, on the level of the still nature, a person goes through all the phases only in the form of the still nature. Then, on every level, there are the particular levels of the still nature, and they are all be the result of the Keter of the still nature that is stabilized from the start.
As for the level of the vegetative, it can generate independent movements under the influence of the Light. In other words, if at first I could only admire different delicacies, covering my mouth with my hand, which means covering the desire with a Masach, now I already can taste a bit in order to bestow.
Then, there is the level of the animate that already can give birth to new forms. It can move and extract waste materials and organize in groups, but only according to its nature. It doesn’t take an example from the Creator yet and acts like a baby in which the level of the animate is expressed for the time being.
This is the difference: The level of the vegetative cannot move independently, it doesn’t give birth to anything new, and only responds to the influence of the upper Light. At this point, a person gradually begins to work with his desire to receive, which means that he doesn’t just restrict it, but uses it to bestow in order to bestow. On the other hand, the animate level is ready to receive in order to bestow.
The level of the speaking already takes an example from the Creator, and this is different from all the rest. The whole point is to resemble the Creator.
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 7/25/12, “Introduction to The Book of Zohar”