Baal HaSulam, Shamati No. 159, “And It Came to Pass in the Course of those Many Days”: The thing is that, indeed, they were very fond of the work in Egypt. This is the meaning of “But mingled themselves with the nations, and learned their works.”
We, ourselves, do not want to exit Egypt. The war is with our inner Pharaoh.
It means that if Israel are under the dominion of a certain nation, that nation controls them and they cannot retire from their dominion. Thus, they tasted sufficient flavor in that work and could not be redeemed.
Egoism reigns over the heart and mind of a person. All the borders could be opened for him—he himself won’t want to exit this slavery. He is devoted to Pharoah more than all Egyptians. After all, the bestowing desires, falling under the rule of egoism, become even more devoted to the ego than the receiving desires.
They don’t want to leave Egypt; they work for Pharaoh with devotion. Egoism has a strong grip over them, specifically them become Pharaoh’s very strong and faithful workers. Indeed, the force given to them for future spiritual work and devotion to the force of bestowal is now faithfully working for the egoistic force.
Nobody holds us up in Egypt—we ourselves do not want to abandon it. We enjoy our life with its spiritual problems even more than a regular person delights in his earthly existence.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 4/18/2014, Shamati #159