Baal HaSulam, “A Speech for the Completion of The Zohar”: Now you can understand what our sages said (Berachot 7): “Serving in the Torah is greater than studying it, as it is said, ‘Elisha the son of Shaphat is here, who poured water on the hands of Elijah.’ It did not say studied, but poured.” This is perplexing; how can simple acts be greater than studying the wisdom and the knowledge?
But according to the above, we thoroughly understand that serving one’s Rav with one’s body and soul in order to bring contentment to one’s Rav bring one to Dvekut with one’s Rav, that is, to equivalence of form. Thus, one receives the thoughts and knowledge of the Rav by way of “mouth-to-mouth,” which is Dvekut of spirit with spirit. By that, one is rewarded with obtaining His greatness sufficiently to turn bestowal into reception, to become sufficient fuel for devotion, until one is rewarded with Dvekut with the Creator.
If there is a corrected intention, then certainly the study will be more important than everything. However, since the intention is not corrected, then necessarily the study will be for oneself. Therefore, the student must do everything possible to give contentment to the Elyon (upper) to the degree that he cannot make him happy by studying with the intention of giving contentment to the Creator. So, the maximum that remains for him is material actions.
Even though the action is also with an intention to receive, but the doing itself remains and therefore attracts the Light to it. In spite of this, in some way, the lower transmits to the higher what is in his power to transmit. As it is written, “Whatever your hand attains to do [as long as you are] with your strength, do” (Ecclesiastes 9:10). So, a connection is created between them in which each gives to the other. Therefore, Elisha did the right thing by pouring water on the hands of Elijah.
Serving the teacher in body and soul means acting according to the teacher’s desire. In particular, this relates to dissemination because this is the main thing that the Kabbalists recommended for us since they are our spiritual ancestors. Therefore, by involvement with dissemination, it is as if we are giving to them, are serving them, and to this degree, we attract the Light that Reforms to us through them. There is no greater bestowal to the higher than the continuation of his activities, his Torah, and his teaching, and bringing a greater and greater amount of souls to him in order to unite them and bring them to the Creator who will fill them; it is specifically with this that we give Him contentment.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 2/27/14, Topic of Lesson: “Teacher”