Baal HaSulam, “Introduction to The Study of the Ten Sefirot,” Item 33: If one’s faith is incomplete, and he does not engage in the Torah or in the work only because the Creator commanded him to study, then we have seen above that in such Torah and work the Light does not appear. This is because one’s eyes are flawed, and like a bat, turn the Light into darkness.
Such a study is no longer considered a maid of Kedusha, since he will not acquire Lishma through it. Hence, it comes to the domain of the maid of Klipa (shell), which inherits these Torah and work, and robs them for herself.
Hence, “the earth doth quake,” meaning the Holy Divinity, called “earth.” This is so because those Torah and work that should have become to her, as possessions of the Holy Divinity, that evil handmaid robs and lowers them to be a possession of the Klipot (shells). Thus, the handmaid is heir to her mistress.
At some point in life a person living in this world asks himself: “What is the meaning of my life?” This question gives him a certain connection with the Torah, the wisdom of Kabbalah, and he starts studying it, feeling that this can give him an answer to the question about the meaning of life, its secret.
If he studies the Torah specifically for the sake of this, it is a correct attitude. But if he does so only because “the Creator commanded it,” it is called Klipa, an impure intention. It would seem why is that, if he fulfills the Creator’s order? But the fact is that we are egoists by nature, motivated by the desire to receive pleasure, to fill ourselves, and to win. If a person says that he studies the Torah only because it is the Creator’s commandment, it means that he doesn’t have a real desire for it and his approach is erroneous. The true desire that could lead him to the purpose of creation hasn’t awakened in him yet.
However, if he studies because he wishes to find out why and for what purpose he exists, what the meaning of his existence is, what the purpose of life is, then it is a useful, natural, inner desire, need, to reveal the secret of his life. And hence even by studying with the egoistic intention, being confused, and mixing in various other goals, he nevertheless can come to a result. Most important is that he has an inner, true desire.
Even if the correct intentions and pure desires, the aspiration for bestowal and love of the other, of the Creator are non-existent, it’s not terrible: He is already on the right path. The Book of Zohar calls this state a handmaid who tends to her mistress.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 11/26/2012, “Introduction to TES“