Baal HaSulam, “The Essence of Religion and Its Purpose”: A more developed person recognizes in himself a greater amount of evil, and hence repels and separates the evil from within to a greater extent. The undeveloped senses in himself only a small amount of evil, and will therefore repel only a small amount of evil. As a result, he leaves all his filth within, for he does not recognize it as filth.
Suppose that I am faced with evil in my life. However, Kabbalists say that this “evil,” as everything else, comes from the Creator. It turns out that I experience bad feelings and they come from Him. Accordingly, they seem like punishment to me and bring about fear. In fact, most of our efforts we devote to ward off such “punishment.” It happens that we do not even dream of good, but at least try to avoid evil, to escape from “punishment.”
A more developed person understands that he must do good, not so much because of possible punishments, but simply because it is good. It’s worthwhile to bring good to others and oneself. This level of being no longer allows him to simply to do wrong and hurt others.
An even more developed person begins to tie his relationship to the world with the concepts of reward and punishment. In other words, he sees the system’s attributes: some deeds lead to an award, another to a punishment. As if there is a judge, Nature, the upper force, no matter what its name, and He shows His attitude.
And some go even higher and realize that there is no punishment at all. On the contrary, if bad states seem to me as punishments that come from the Creator, this is actually a punishment and a mistake. After all, only good comes from the Creator, and my bad feelings are caused by the fact that I am opposite to Him. I need to change my oppositeness, to become similar (Domeh) to the Creator, to become a human being (Adam). Then, being similar to Him, I will feel myself in goodness.
But then the question arises: Why do I need this? Just for the sake of good feelings? In this case, I am a “savage,” not a human. It’s even possible that I could become worse than I was before, turning into filth, wanting to take advantage of the Creator. Or I have no choice: I have to have good feelings because otherwise my desire will not let me do anything.
Maybe, I will ask the Creator to still help me do good things but not because of a reward or punishment. I want to disconnect from them, disconnect from them so much that even in my vessels (desires) I am experiencing “punishment,” darkness; nonetheless, I will rise above this feeling and remain in bestowal upon the Creator. There is darkness in the desires, and above them I will give Him the Light, my good attitude to Him.
But how? Do I have to kiss the stick that beats me? No. I want to really change my nature, I don’t want to pretend to love, not fake love, but to truly rise above myself, over the “material” of my desire.
Question: And am I shrouded in darkness until then?
Answer: Until then, I go through the stages of analysis until I decide that the darkness in me is the Light coming from the Creator. It’s no coincidence that the Aramaic word “Orta” means “night,” the opposite side of Light (“Ohr” is light in Hebrew). Each stage begins from the “evening,” as it is said, “And there was evening and there was morning, one day.” I always start with the darkness, with the breaking, and this leads me to a new analysis, a new dawn.
So, what is the darkness that I feel? Is this darkness or not darkness? This is the Light that appears as darkness in my corrupted vessels, desires.
But wait, is it only in mine? Didn’t King David “get up at midnight,” when the “north wind” was playing on the strings of the “harp” that hung over his bed (see the treatise “Brachot”)? Doesn’t he write in Psalms about his misadventures? Hence, he felt darkness, didn’t he?
That is correct, Kabbalists also experience these states. May God grant us experiencing them, to come to the Light through them. Anyway, these are not the “blows of fate,” but rather the calls that draw us forward. There are no troubles; there are only appeals, calling us to come to the Creator as soon as possible.
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 11/7/13, Writings of Baal HaSulam