Baal HaSulam, “Shamati #59,” “About the Rod and the Serpent”: “And the Lord said unto him: ‘What is that in thy hand?’ And he said: ‘A rod.’ And He said: ‘Cast it on the ground…’ and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it” (Exodus 4).
We must understand that there are not more than two degrees, either Kedusha (Sanctity) or Sitra Achra (Other Side). There is no intermediary state, but the same rod itself becomes a serpent, if thrown to the ground…
A hand means attainment, from the words, “and if a hand attains.” A rod means that all one’s attainments are built on the discernment of inferior importance, which is faith above reason.
(This is because faith is regarded as having inferior importance, and as lowness. One appreciates the things that clothe within reason.)
Reason is attainment in the mind and the heart, which means that it is my current state in which I feel and see myself and the world and I want to advance towards the goal of love, bestowal, and connection. I do what the Kabbalists say in their books and follow the advice of the teacher and the friends, but everything turns out just the other way around.
This is what I discover within reason. It is important how I relate to it, it is an important point. No matter what I feel, what’s important is how I relate to what I feel!
What I feel is called reason and I have to relate to my feelings above reason. This means that I follow the faith of the sages, the greatness of the teacher, and the greatness of the friends by holding on to the upper force. When I have no more powers, I ask the Creator and the friends for powers. I keep on advancing although according to my heart and mind I see that I am at a dead end with regards to the work in the group, the dissemination, and the study.
According to my heart and mind there is no way I can attain anything but despair before a blocked Machsom (barrier). I see that I am standing in front of a wall and cannot do anything. But I relate to this obstacle in faith above reason, and carry on in bestowal as if I have powers, a mind, and heart, as if I am full of enthusiasm. I must operate this way, although me ego certainly doesn’t allow me to do so. Here I turn the serpent into a rod by taking it in my hand.
Whatever happens, the state itself doesn’t matter, because it is arranged by the Creator. What’s important is how I relate to this state. If I relate to it simply, directly, it is called within reason. Then I fall powerless and think that the goal is unattainable and leave this path. However I can advance by faith above reason, and here I need the help of the friends, mutual guarantee, and a daily support schedule.
From the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 4/20/14, Shamati #59