Question: How can we protect ourselves from a fall into material desires when reading The Book of Zohar?
Answer: The study of Torah means that I am expecting the Light that Reforms, as it is written: “I created the evil inclination, I created the Torah as a spice.” To the degree that I feel that I have an evil inclination that I want to get rid of and I know that I have no chance of doing this in any way except through learning together with friends, then I reach a state in which I study and expect the Light that Reforms. This is called studying the Torah.
That is, studying the Torah needs preparation, a great desire to correct something in me that only the Torah and nothing else can do. No remedy from a doctor will help here, no exercise, or excellence in something. This is simply beyond human abilities. I am not ready for this.
I need to approach The Book of Zohar in such a state. Then certainly I will expect that this study will make me healthy, will correct in me what I determine is the evil inclination. It could be that this is still not the true evil inclination, but at the moment I think so.
What is this evil inclination? They are all kinds of desires that hinder me from reaching correction. The Torah says that it is instruction for developing spirituality: If you won’t correct these desires, then you will not reach the goal of creation.
And because these desires hinder me from reaching the goal of creation, I call them “evil.” I don’t delete them; rather, I expect that the Torah will correct them. How? I don’t know. For indeed it is written: “For the light that is in it will turn him to the good.” This means that these desires remain, but they take on a different character.
Question: What do I need to do to reach despair about my own abilities?
Answer: Try to do as much as possible. “Whatever your hand attains to do [as long as you are] with your strength, do…” (Ecclesiastes 9:10). You need to examine what is disturbing you from reaching spirituality, the goal of life. What is the purpose of life? You reach this state at the end of your life or before it and you can carry on.
You don’t see your life as unique and unrepeatable. You see this life as a short fragment of your existence, and in this fragment you want to reach a state with which you enter into the next stage. This is called attaining the goal of life, reaching the goal of creation. For this purpose we exist here for the duration of these decades.
It’s possible for everyone to reach this. What is stopping you? This is what you need to clarify and see for you can reach a state beyond this life solely and only on condition that you are equipped with a desire to bestow.
You must acquire this desire through studying Torah under certain conditions, by advancing with connection, working in a group, disseminating, doing everything in order to reach bestowal. After all, our entire world is immersed in the desire to receive and our entire temporal existence is in this, and the stages that are beyond this world exist in the desire to bestow.
From the 2nd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 3/25/14, The Zohar