Baal HaSulam, “Introduction to the Study of the Ten Sefirot,” Item 102: This is why it is written that all who learn Torah Lo Lishma, their Torah becomes a potion of death for them. Not only do they not emerge from concealment of the face to disclosure of the face, since they did not set their minds to labor and attain it, the Torah that they accumulate greatly increases their concealment of the face. Finally, they fall into concealment within concealment, which is considered death, being completely detached from one’s root.
This is what happens if a person doesn’t make an effort through the environment, through the study and all the means he has, in order to reach the revelation of the Creator, which means to discover the attribute of bestowal and love of others inside him, in order to arrive through the love of the created beings to the love of the Creator. He has to focus on that so that the result of his study will be the revelation of the attribute of bestowal upon others, no matter how artificial and meaningless it may seem to him at first and contrary to his own nature.
At first he refuses to hear about it and to agree to it. But if he returns to it time after time, despite all the obstacles, and performs all the requirements as required and determined by nature, by the Creator, as a result of the crisis, and all the other conditions that are revealed to him, he gradually agrees that the goal of the study is to reach self-negation.
It is a very special action, not the kind we imagine at the beginning of the way. But to the extent that the changes occur in us along the way, we discover new definitions each time, what—restriction, the other, connection, mutual guarantee, Creator, the attribute of bestowal and love, etc.—mean. We already begin to understand what “the potion of death” and the “potion of life” mean and why the Torah brings such opposite phenomena. Thus we gradually begin to clarify the right way and direction.
A person often falls into situations in which he does not see how wrong he is. But “what one’s mind doesn’t do, time does.” The only way out is to advance as “an ox to the burden and a donkey to the load,” to go on studying day after day as it says: “Do anything but leave!” He doesn’t understand what is happening: The ego is given to him from above and so are all the conditions he is in; everything is done by the upper force.
He exerts himself, does something, but so far he doesn’t understand what is going on. The main thing is not to leave, but to at least perform the simplest actions mechanically. If he can somehow carry on this way, then he should be happy that he manages to do at least this.
So we should respect anyone who makes efforts to go through each day and to participate as much as he can, as much as he is allowed from above. It is an essential condition to come to this place, to this state. Afterward there is already the work of clarification: Why, what for, what will I get from it, why am I participating in this, what is the desired outcome that I expect?
I have to learn from the example of Rabbi Shimon and his students since we want to connect and to be like them, to sit among them. They felt hatred or love toward one another. We have to reach these contrasting discernments.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 12/24/12, “The Introduction to the Study of the Ten Sefirot”