Question: I see that Pharaoh steals all the fruit of my labor and I ask myself: When will I finally reach the point of desperation regarding my own strength? I feel as if I am driving a car but somebody else is behind the steering wheel.
Answer: That’s right; you are not the one steering your car. You are only in charge of your desire to advance. As to how many times you will have to repeat one action, that can’t be known in advance. But the pace depends on you: how frequently your states will change and how quickly you will be able to pass through them. Suppose according to the root of your soul you have to pass through 8000 states until you reach the first spiritual degree where your will to receive will turn to bestowal because of the Light the Reforms.
You have to pass through these 8000 actions, but can do so in two years or you can stretch it to 20. That’s your choice since you have freewill in to what extent you will hasten your advancement. But you will certainly pass through all the necessary discernments, whether it is in this or another lifetime. It all depends on you.
You complain that the Pharaoh is stealing all the fruit of your labor, but that is why it is written that all the beautiful cities built by the sons of Israel in Egypt were inherited by the Pharaoh. It is as if Pharaoh stands behind you, stuck to your neck, and collects all the fruit of your work. This is what leads a person to the point of desperation in the work and to prayer. But you cannot give up!
Besides, every time when you move forward and exert more effort, you still gain wisdom and attain the method and new meanings. You get absorbed by darkness, disappointment, helplessness, and indifference. You get sick and tired of everything and lose faith that there will be a breakthrough any time soon—these are the worst states that can be. Each more advanced state brings even greater descent, desperation, apathy, and realization that it’s impossible to reach the desired.
It goes on like this, until reaching the very last “impossible,” which is regarded as crossing the Red Sea, when you have completely lost faith that man is capable of it and that the Creator is. You decide that it just can’t happen; you are shown that such is your nature and nothing can be done about it and all you have left is to return to the trivial life.
And then one makes up one’s mind to still leap over this impossibility, and a person is shown the condition of how to connect: what it means to become one man with one heart in reality. And if he agrees with it, he receives his first spiritual degree.
The first degree he receives only as a single point regarded as Moshe, and it pulls (mosheh) him from egoism, from exile, while in the rest of the will to receive the “golden calf” becomes revealed against it.
Afterward, a person enters the desert, where problems await him each step of the way and it’s infested with snakes. It is no longer one great serpent, one big ego, but rather, a multitude of little wasps that keep biting a person from every side, his various egoistic attributes. Yet, they help him to keep moving forth on the spiritual ladder, acquiring the property of bestowal.
Along this entire path, I see only two vital qualities guaranteeing success: nullification of oneself before the teacher and the group, and endurance, patience, and tenacity in any circumstances, no matter what may come up. These are the two attributes with which you, like a stubborn ram, keep breaking through, leaping in one direction, regardless of what is going on, despite any internal and external obstacles. And this speeds you up and makes you succeed.
Otherwise, don’t waste your time; it’s better to go enjoy life. But the majority hang in the middle between one and the other state, and sadly, they come to the finish line empty-handed.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 1/16/13, “The Prayer”