Question: Why do you say that the importance of the teacher should not be taken for granted by his students?
Answer: Imagine that the president comes to us on a special visit to meet you. He asks us about you and says that he has been looking for a person like you for years until it became clear that you are here. He comes to you with his entourage, shakes your hand, and then you go into the conference room together for a talk after which you come out with illuminated faces, and he gets into his presidential car and departs to the president’s home.
After this visit you carry on as usual with your friends, but we already look at you differently. Whether we want to or not, but we have to be careful. Something new has been created among us and we don’t know how to relate to you, how to behave next to you. You say something and we listen to you skeptically, but we pay careful attention to every word you say. Our attention is focused on you, we already depend on you, our ego is “locked’ on you, and there is nothing we can do about that. This is the natural way of prostration, of reverence, that is a naturally innate part of us.
But this is not the real work. If I want to connect with the Creator and reach an equivalence of form with Him, I have to rise above my nature, to change it into something that is opposite and unknown in its oppositeness. Of course, it will be very difficult to fulfill this since it’s as if I am turning myself inside out, like a glove, going out of my skin, killing myself.
But it can be done easily. Kabbalists say that it isn’t a problem at all. If I have enough fuel, then the whole way can turn into a pleasant adventure, a stroll in the zoo. I will go from one cage to another, from one animal to the next, and correct my desires until I leave the “animal kingdom” as a human being, Adam.
It’s all about the fuel that comes to me in a chain: from the Creator, through the Kabbalists, the teacher, and the friends. So I have to be incorporated in the group in order to be impressed by the friends and to accept what is important to them. It’s the teacher who is important to them, a person whom I actually don’t like, by whom I am repulsed, and to whom I find myself antipathetic. I automatically despise him and don’t see anything in him that I value.
But I understand that all this is presented to me that way intentionally, and so I use these means to examine myself according to the simple criterion: Do I want to listen to what the teacher says and fulfill it? To fulfill what he says not out of an “animal” commitment, but in order to reach the Creator who is behind him.
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 2/20/13, “A Speech for the Completion of The Zohar