Baal HaSulam, Shamati #56: …brought in Masechet Ta’anit (p.20), that Rabbi Elazar, son of Rabbi Shimon, came from a fenced tower from the house of his Rabbi. He was riding his donkey and strolling along the riverbank, feeling great joy. And his mind was crude, as he had been studying much Torah.
A person who was very ugly came by his way. He told him: “Hello Rabbi,” but he did not reply. He told him: “Vain, how ugly is that man, perhaps all your town’s men are as ugly as you?” He replied, “I do not know, but go and tell the craftsman who made me, How ugly is this vessel that you have made?” Because he knew that he himself had sinned, he descended from the donkey…
Because he saw that he had come into a state from which he could not ascend. For this reason Elijah appeared and told him, “go to the craftsman who made me.” In other words, since the Creator created you so ugly, He must have known that it is with these Kelim (vessels) that the goal can be achieved. So do not worry, go forward and succeed.
At the end of the matter, everything is gathered for work in a group, in our connection. In this connection we need to learn the inner Torah (the wisdom of Kabbalah), in order to summon the Light that Reforms to the place of connection. For we want this to exist in such a form that within it we already begin to discover and feel the Creator. We must attain a deficiency for this and give it shape both through work between us and from external Kelim also, through involvement with dissemination.
This is to say that it’s clear to us that there are three circles here. The outer circle is the world, which must improve its condition but is found to be severed from spirituality. After that is us, the conduit, the accommodator. We always want to be connected with the Creator and yearn for spirituality; that is, we want to be the bestowal part of creation. And the third component is the higher force, the Creator, our higher level, which is clothed within us and manifests this entire process.
If we are found in the right group, with the right study and the right intention, then to the degree that we advance, the Upper Light influences us, and we definitely feel ourselves (our characteristics) as more and more “ugly.” Even so, it’s necessary to continue to learn about these states, about all the feelings of our ugliness, each one of us separately and all of us together; to undergo descents, to endure our nothingness, to comprehend ourselves and everyone as complete nothings. But in regard to all of these emotions, the Light appears again and brings us to connection and to fulfillment. This is how we advance.
Therefore, Rabbi Elazar overcame it and continued on his way. And we must also do the same thing: overcome and go on.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 11/14/13, Shamati #56 “Torah Is Called Indication”