The “seven years of satiation” is the state when a person still hopes to get everything he wants for his egoism. Although he is willing to work hard for the sake of this and put forth a lot of effort, this fulfills him for the time being and satisfies his egoism. He thinks that there is fulfillment in Egypt and it will all belong to him: all the pleasures of this world and the pleasures of the spiritual world. He thinks that he will be able to reach this on his own for himself and does not set the goal to delight the Creator. He considers only his gain.
This can be assessed by how a person perceives problems. As soon as difficulties and troubles arise, he immediately starts thinking about himself. That is, the “seven years of satiation” are not over for him. He feels that he lacks something; there is some danger to his ego and he suddenly begins to feel uncertainty, to worry about himself.
This is what the “seven years of satiation” is because a person examines everything in his egoistic desires: whether he will suffer, experience some kind of harm. He is still attached to the egoistic result: How good or bad will it be for him? He begins to doubt and considers whether it might be worthwhile to run away from this path. What if he hurts himself? This is the way to check whether he is in the period of the seven years of satiation.
The “seven years of famine” begin from the point when he becomes indifferent to what he will get in his desire to enjoy; he rises above this feeling. To the extent that he is willing and able to rise above his feeling of hunger, to that extent he advances to bestowal. It’s at this point that the actual serious work begins.
I believe that we are entering these seven lean years now. Let’s hope that we will feel these sufferings of hunger and strengthen each other. The entire work inside Egypt is only in unity. The more critics, enemies, and haters we have, the more we will strengthen at their expense. It’s like wolves surrounding a herd of sheep and forcing them to huddle closely.
We can unite only because of it. Our ego does not allow us to get closer to each other. Only evil wolves running toward us, circling us, trying to bite us, and compel us like sheep to come closer together and unite inside. Israel is like a herd of sheep and strengthened only by wolves. Let’s hope that we are strong enough to ensure that the Creator sends us many enemies who help us become stronger, connect, and through our unity, reveal the need to get out of the bondage of our desire to enjoy to the desire to bestow.
These are necessary states which must be passed on the path. The world demands this from us, and we have no choice, we must do it. We are in a very special state before the exit from Egypt. It’s about this that the entire Torah speaks.
The “49 impure gates” of our egoism are revealed in us and urges us to escape and hide somewhere in a quiet corner, shut ourselves in and become invisible. But we don’t agree with it! We will still come and stand up against Pharaoh to tell him, “Let our people go!” and we will become the workers of the Creator.
From the Talk during the Meal 10/18/13