Baal HaSulam, “Introduction to The Book of Zohar,” p. 29: For if we didn’t have this damaged will to receive within us, we could not correct it at all, for nobody can correct something that isn’t in him. And therefore that amount of will to receive that is embedded in the body from its birth into the air of the world is not enough. Rather, it is further compelled to be a vehicle for unclean Klipot for no less than 13 years.
It follows that even if I possess a great will to receive, this is still not enough. From the start the Creator says to us, “Come to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart.” He will inundate you with blows, so you will want to flee from him. It’s impossible to take me out of the evil inclination until it has reached a level where I can no longer endure it. But first it’s necessary to become completely aware of this evil.
In our world, we educate children to be careful, “Don’t go there, don’t do this…” But in the spiritual world, there is nothing like this. There it’s the opposite; they send me to “criminals” and “thieves,” “alcoholics” and “drug addicts,” into the arms of Haman, Balaam, Balak, Esau, and so forth. Otherwise, how can I correct these characteristics? In fact, these are uncorrected parts of my soul. Therefore, I must own them, feel them as mine, recognize the evil hidden within them, and be released from them, to rise above them.
Question: Does it follow that I must be evil in order to advance spiritually?
Answer: How should I answer you? Yes. It’s possible to correct only what is within you. And in spite of it all, this doesn’t say that I must just become evil. It’s one thing if, like a terrorist, I want to kill someone. It’s another thing if I want to love, and at the same time I discover within me a readiness to kill. These are two absolutely different approaches. And the difference here is that I discover the evil in opposition to it, I see that in myself I am evil, but I don’t kill someone who seems evil to me.
“13 years” among the unclean Klipot is not time according to the calendar, rather this is a level, and the stage is very high. I aspire to love, to bestow, so I discover my evil inclination. This is the condition; otherwise, I wouldn’t advance at all on my spiritual way towards correction, towards the Creator.
I want to be close to Him, to embrace Him, to kiss Him, to give Him pleasure according to the principle: “Don’t do to your friend what is hateful to you,” and love the other as thyself. And likewise, for 13 years, I discover the opposite of bestowal within me. In other words, I discover within myself characteristics, desires, and inclinations, which I didn’t even know existed because they are spiritual and come from the four impure worlds of ABYA. They dwell above the “beastly” comprehension of our world, and therefore, this is already an ascent.
Here the principle: “One against the other” acts. Aspiring to the good, I discover the evil, again and again. And so it goes for some time!
If I don’t maintain the position and stop, everything disappears. And if I don’t want to stop, then I turn to a group, to studies, to the Creator, resorting to all the means that will help me to hold on to the way, to tilt it favorably.
And only then are the “malicious” and “erroneous” things discovered in me, defects that seemed not to exist before then. I never felt what the 613 broken desires were and now they are apparent. If I hadn’t advanced, I would have remained on a level that in a spiritual sense is neither good nor bad. Conversely, if a person advances properly, he becomes worse.
But he works on himself; he understands what is happening with him; he is found in an inner struggle; he helps others, and they help him. It’s as if he “crushes” his ego with millstones, chews and grinds it, so that it will be possible to “swallow,” to “digest” it. During these difficult times we must help and support each other.
Imagine a car show, where the new car sparkles and glimmers, all shiny, clean, and beautiful—a real pleasure. And now look at a car repair shop: the stench, the garbage, the mess….It all depends on where and what they sell to you.
So at this stage, we do most of the “dirty work.” To correct the Human in me: What can be worse? And on the other hand, what can be higher?
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 3/20/13, “Introduction to The Book of Zohar”