As Baal HaSulam writes in “Introduction to The Book of Zohar,” we must “die and rot” so that almost nothing will remain of us, and after that we are “born again” with new characteristics.
Of course, we shouldn’t imagine this process as it is depicted in Hollywood movies. Indeed, in the books of the Kabbalists, there is not a single word written about our world; they books are only about spiritual phenomena and concepts.
This is speaking only about the desire to receive which is the only object that exists at all, and the wisdom of Kabbalah involves this. This desire is permanent. Indeed, it is from nothing, but it exists.
There exist two possibilities to capture, realize, and arrange it: for the purpose of reception or for the purpose of bestowal.
From the start, a desire to receive for the purpose of reception was given to us, as it is written, “I created the evil inclination.” Thus, the egoistic desire to receive locks itself on the level of the beast and doesn’t allow us to rise to the level of Adam. This is locked within us, and we can rise to it only on condition that we rise above the desire to receive that is discovered here. That is how we enter into the upper world, to the higher dimension.
So, after the desire to bestow changes us, we are developed along two lines: the “right line” and the “left line.” The left line is the egoistic desire that is awakened in us more and more, and, in the right line, we correct it, time after time, through the Light that Reforms and transform it into the desire to bestow. That is how the process takes place in parallel, this in contrast to that, until the entire desire to receive “will rot” in the end, to the state called “death.”
However, this is not enough because we still have not transformed that into a real desire to bestow. We only work above it in all kinds of forms. I make something of it, but some parts aren’t suitable and all the while seemingly slip below my ability. Then, the time arrives for a unique activity: the “revival of the dead.”
We see a few stages of development here in that the person uses his desire in different ways. In the first stage, he exits this world to the spiritual world and prefers to rise above everything that he has here and to live in bestowal instead of reception. After that, he passes through the Machsom and develops his altruistic intentions above the constantly growing desire and uses it to bestow for the purpose of bestowal. After that, he passes to an intention to receive for the purpose of bestowal, to “and you shall love your friend.”
As a result of using these means, a person is left with a desire that he still cannot use in bestowal. This is a very great desire called the “stony heart.”
It is necessary to indicate that when we enter into spirituality we can realize only a “thin line” in it. Even through the work that we do, we only slightly expand this line that descends to us from above to below. After all, the stony heart is the essence of the creation and the essential density that is left to us for the final correction. In fact, the stony heart is not the desire that the Creator created. This is a desire to receive that we discover and format ourselves. However, we don’t create it like the Creator did with His activity, but, nevertheless, we create something new.
The source of destruction is revealed in the “Tree of Knowledge.” After we have continued with this “thread,” we discover the gap between us and the Creator, the stony heart that is discovered on every level. It arrives from above as a data point, and with our work for the purpose of bestowal, we discover how much we are truly different, distant, and completely the opposite of Him.
The stony heart is revealed to us from below to above until it reaches gigantic dimensions, but only to the degree that we can erase it, burn it, and annihilate it. And in the end, we finally kill it and after it rots, it reaches its correction. In other words, after this desire passes through all the stages, it really goes back to the dust. It was on the level of the speaking, and after that, the animate, and after that, the vegetative, until it is completely rotted and reaches the level of dust, as it is written, “For dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” That is how we finish the correction.
Then, an action is performed that we are certainly unprepared to do, but we want it very much: the “revival of the dead.” The stony heart, which was the opposite to the Creator, separates us from Him, and it is discovered thanks to the efforts that we made as if they were all designed for this. When I wanted to advance toward the Creator with all my power and might, with all efforts, according to this, I discovered my oppositeness to the Creator. It is as if I discovered it in the depths of the creation that were hidden from me, and therefore, with its correction, the general correction is completed.
Returning to “decomposition” and the “revival of the dead”: certainly all of this happens in the ascent of the spiritual ladder and there is no connection to this with our “beastly” bodies that live and die in this world, like all the other bodies. All of the wisdom of Kabbalah speaks only about the inner idea that is called the Adam in us, and it is not about our biology and zoology that belong to the physical reality only.
In the article, “The Freedom,” Baal HaSulam writes that, “the wisdom of Kabbalah mentions nothing of our corporeal world,” and in The Book of Zohar, Parshat “VaYetze,” 139, it is written, “The Zohar doesn’t speak about physical events at all, but about higher worlds.”
Also, in Talmud Eser Sefirot, Baal HaSulam writes in Volume 1, “We must remember that all of the wisdom of Kabbalah is founded upon spiritual concepts that don’t occupy space or time. All the difficulty for beginners is that they comprehend these things with physical expressions with the limitations of time and space, replacement and permutation, which the authors use merely as symbols of their higher roots only.”
Also, Rav Kook writes in “Letters, 1,”: “I was appalled to see that a corporeal form was depicted for the concept of Adam Kadmon of the Kabbalah, which is only a metaphysical concept, a Godly concept. God forbid that we should allow ourselves to materialize these sacred concepts, even as a way of studying.”
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 1/15/14, Writings of Baal HaSulam