The entire Torah is divided into so-called: Pshat (simple interpretation), Remez (hint), Drush (allegory), and Sod (secret). They are not just the four parts of the Torah, but rather the four ways of explaining the methodology of correction in this world.
These four languages are used by the Kabbalists to present to us the one and only method at four different levels. It’s up to us to choose the level that satisfies us: secret, allegory, hint, or simple explanation.
In this world, these steps are turned upside down: a “simple interpretation” is believed to be just reading the texts, treating it literally. When one reads the text and doesn’t understand it at all, it is called “a mystery.” However, the thing is that we don’t understand what’s written in the Torah at all. Indeed, under Pshat-Remez-Drush-Sod is meant just the opposite. Pshat (simple interpretation) is the wisdom of Kabbalah, Sod (secret) is when this method of correction is hidden from us behind many layers.
Secret—this is exactly what people are used to as a simple interpretation, that is literal understanding of the text, whereas, the Torah only speaks of the ways of correction, spiritual levels, and stages of the elevation of a human being. It is said: “I created the evil inclination and the Torah as a spice to it, the Light that Reforms.”
The Light of the Torah impacts us in accordance with these four steps. The maximum Light is enclosed in “the simple explanation” (the wisdom of Kabbalah) where everything is open to man and can be easily explained in a plain form.
It describes a desire that is selfish by nature and thus has to be corrected. For that, we need the Light that Reforms. Bringing a selfish desire to the right (bestowing) intention is called “correction”; to achieve it, we have to participate in a group, unite with friends, and continue our studies in order to attract the Light.
Most effectively, we attract the Light by working in the group, trying to suppress our egoism, connecting with each other above our selfishness and becoming as one man with one heart, and also by thinking about the Light that influences us and learning from the books how it acts and impacts our desires.
The topic that we are studying, our actions that aim at self-correction, the prayers at the lessons—everything connects together and comprises the easiest method of attracting the Light that corrects coarse egoists (us) who are at the end of generations and at the peak of the egoistic development.
If we don’t strive to attract the Light that Reforms to correct ourselves and if all we do is acquire theoretical knowledge instead of the Torah, then we are not aspiring to the wisdom of Kabbalah. It is said: “One should believe that the nations of the world possess the wisdom, but one should never believe that they have the Torah.” The nations of the world are those who strive to acquire knowledge rather than self-correct.
At first, everybody goes through a state called the nations of the world until they recognize that their task is to self-correct, even if it happens in another lifetime, during the next reincarnation.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 11/20/12, “Introduction to the Study of the Ten Sefirot”