Baal HaSulam, Letter 38: ..hurry up and spend the majority of your time preparing your body to muster strength and courage “as an ox to the burden and as a donkey to the load.” Do not lose a minute, “for the way is long and supplies are scarce. (…) But the most important is the labor, meaning to crave how to labor in His work, since the ordinary work does not count at all, only the bits that are more than the ordinary, which is called “labor.” It is like a person who needs to eat a pound of bread a day to be full. All his eating does not merit the title, “satisfying meal,” but only the last bit from the pound. That bit, for all its smallness, is what defines the meal as satisfying. Similarly, out of every service, the Creator draws out only the bits beyond the ordinary, and they will be the letters and the Kelim (vessels) in which to receive the Light of His face.
The problem is where to get the strength to constantly multiply efforts. How can we imagine the importance of the spiritual goal, that is, bestowal, every time so that it outweighs all the burdening of the heart? The heart becomes hardened; the egoistic desire of all kinds is growing, so that we can hardly see that it comes as “help against.” But every time we think that these are real obstacles, and even not obstacles—but this is our life and we need to deal with these difficulties, focusing all our attention and effort on them.
Common sense suggests that you need to behave; it’s not some philosophical debate like in Kabbalah; it’s not the hidden spiritual world, but the real earthly life. We are not able to accept these problems as obstacles on the spiritual path and to rise above all of them without exception and attach them to spiritual advancement.
We are overcome by the burdening of the heart, confused by all sorts of life problems. It seems that our life is in them, and first of all we need to deal with them and only after that engage in spiritual advancement. And even having entered the spiritual world, we find it increasingly difficult to concentrate on the goal, to aim ourselves at the true goal, that is, bestowal and love for the other and through it to love for the Creator. It is getting harder to turn to the environment and ask for support.
Obstacles come from two sides—besides this world, as well as from the Creator, the group, the teacher—from all the material and spiritual factors. In earthly life, we are overwhelmed by common concerns about: food, family, money, power, knowledge. And the teacher, the group, the Creator act in the spiritual life. But we do not want to see in all them the means for advancement, sent to us from above. We forget that we are only against the upper Light and begin to make various material calculations, slowing ourselves on the path.
Only the total effort of the group is able to create the general force that at least will keep us in the right understanding from which we can begin to start correcting our individual states. Only then will we be able to make an effort that is above human power, with the help of the environment and the Light that Reforms.
From the Preparation to the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 7/2/13