Baal HaSulam, “This is for Judah:” The Creator made creation existence from absence. Hence, there is not a single creation that was not previously in absence. However, this absence has a distinct form in each element in creation, because when we divide reality into four types: still, vegetative, animate, and speaking, we find that the beginning of the still is necessarily complete absence.
However, the beginning of the vegetative is not complete absence, but merely its former degree, which, compared to itself, is considered absence. And in the matter of sowing and decay, which are necessary for any seed, it is received from the shape of the still. Also, it is the same with the absence of the animate and the speaking: the vegetative form is considered absence with respect to the animate, and the animate form is considered absence with respect to the speaking.
The main thing a person has to clarify on his current level in order to ascend to the next level is that he doesn’t have the upper level! As it says: “absence precedes presence.” I don’t exactly know what my next level has to be, but I feel that I lack it! If my deficiency regarding the next level is ripe enough, I move on to it. This means that “absence precedes presence.”
This is what happens in the transition from the level of the still to the level of the vegetative, and from the level of the vegetative to the level of the animate, and from the level of the animate to the level of the speaking. How can one ascend from the level of the speaking to the level of the Creator? Where can we begin to clarify what we lack?
Hence, the text teaches us that the absence that precedes man’s existence is the form of the beast. This is why it is written, “a wild ass’s colt is born a man,” as it is necessary for every person to begin in the state of a beast. And the writing says, “Man and beast Thou preserves, O Lord.” And as a beast is given all that it needs for its sustenance and the fulfillment of its purpose, He also provides man with all that is necessary for his sustenance and the fulfillment of his purpose.
Therefore, we should understand where is the advantage of man’s form over the beast, from the perspective of their own preparation. Indeed, it is discerned in their wishes, since man’s wishes are certainly different from those of a beast. And to that extent, God’s salvation of man differs from God’s salvation of a beast.
It turns out that we need to feel that we don’t want the Creator and the spiritual world, but that we want to remain beasts who carry on with our comfortable life in our pen and nothing but that. This means that I have to discover my real desire in the current state and my refusal to leave it by even one millimeter. This is a feeling of absence.
I don’t feel that I lack the next level and actually see that I don’t miss it in any way. According to my nature I am ready to remain on the corporeal level forever. Without this feeling I cannot reach the recognition of the negative form.
This teaches us that the form of the absence is but the negation of the presence. And we know the form of the presence, redemption, from the verse, “and they shall teach no more every man his neighbor… for they shall all know Me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them.” Hence, the form of the previous absence, meaning the form of exile, is only the absence of the knowledge of the Lord. This is the absence of the Aleph, which is missing in the Gula (exile), and present in the Geula (redemption) —the Dvekut (Adhesion) with the “Champion of the world.” This is precisely the redemption of our souls, no more and no less, as we have said that all the letters of Geula are present in Gula but the Aleph, which is the Champion of the world.
If all we lack is the revelation of the Creator, the force of bestowal, not for our own pleasure but because it’s a more sublime attribute, we are ready to advance to the state of redemption.
From the 3rd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 3/31/14, Writings of Baal HaSulam