Answer: The Book of Zohar is the source of Light that comes to us if we want to use it correctly. Thus, while studying Kabbalistic books, I always summon some illumination upon me, but it comes according to the intensity of my efforts and my readiness. If I study in order to gain something corporeal or to gain the next world as a personal privilege, then the Light, by its influence, creates in me even greater darkness. I grow further away from the understanding of what this system was given to me for, what I have to do with myself, and how I should treat others. Even when I read wonderful words about love and connection, I don’t feel a sense of belonging anymore, I don’t see the connection and I don’t know how to perceive the text: Whether to let it enter my heart or not, this means that I study like a bat that is nourished by the night and doesn’t expect the dawn.
But if I try to connect with others and this is the reason I learn the method, by keeping and observing the condition for accepting it at Mt. Sinai, yearning together with everyone else to be “as one man in one heart,” to enter mutual guarantee, to attain brotherly love and through it the love of the Creator, then the Light begins to advance me. This isn’t the ordinary path that is overcome in stages anymore, but I gradually begin to discover the bad shattered state in it.
The egoistic study conceals my ego from me, and I see myself as righteous. On the other hand, by the right study, I discover that I am immersed in evil. The first thing that the Light reveals to me is my evil attributes, and I have to work accordingly. By discovering the evil, I feel even worse feelings than before. So what can I do? After all, according to my nature I want to escape when I feel bad.
Perhaps I should stop studying and withdraw from the group? Perhaps I should feel despair? Or perhaps I should be happy that I was allowed to discover the recognition of evil? It should be a law for me, an invitation: If I can rise above this unpleasant feeling, I will yearn for bestowal above receiving.
I prefer to receive a blow, since the sufferings that are revealed in my ego show me that I don’t work for it. Although I experience unpleasant feelings, I overcome them and aim at unity. I don’t escape in order to sweeten the bitterness; I don’t close myself, I don’t descend, and I don’t stop studying. On the contrary, I accept all the troubles that come from every direction on the way to unite with the friends, as being sent by the Creator and that there is nothing besides Him.
I accept every state as beneficial for my advancement. I don’t want to annul them and I continue to study in order to neutralize the bad feeling. I actually want it; I want it to stay since it focuses me exactly on how to rise above it, to be above reason. I gladly accept all the problems and interruptions, the pressure of the circumstances, the external mockery, the different sufferings, since they all help me focus on the goal correctly, creating such limitations, such frameworks, that by working within them I undoubtedly advance forward.
Thus build inside me the vessels of bestowal above the vessels of receiving. They continue to grow and to suffer, while I, being one level above them, want to hold on to the connection with the Creator until I attain full faith, the attribute of Bina, and begin using my vessels of receiving in order to bestow.
But then too I don’t intend to calm myself, since I have risen to such a degree that there should be no thought of complacency. On the contrary, I yearn more and more upwards and am even ready to receive pleasure, but not in order to fill myself, but in order to fulfill the Creator’s desire.
This is all our work. Along this path I need a real source, an egoistic desire that provides me with the force of bestowal thanks to my overcoming the problems and the sufferings that are revealed in it, and it’s clear to me that it all comes from the Creator.
From the 2nd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 8/16/12, The Book of Zohar