Answer: But this is the whole idea of the correction. This is actually what the Torah demands of us: the correction of the heart. All the commandments were given only so we could purify our intentions by them.
Our actions are worthless without the right intentions. The whole general system of nature called the Creator, the whole huge mechanism of the creation, takes only our intentions into account and not our desires.
Question: How is the fasting on Yom Kippur related to this?
Answer: The fasting on Yom Kippur reminds us that we should stop receiving egoistically and start bestowing unto others above our self-benefit. A person’s desire is made of five layers: Keter, Hochma, Bina, Zeir Anpin, and Malchut and so there are five prohibitions on Yom Kippur as a sign of the restriction of these egoistic desires: the prohibition of eating and drinking, the prohibition of washing, the prohibition of anointing, the prohibition of wearing leather shoes, and the prohibition of sexual intercourse.
Thus, we cease to receive and then we have to change to bestowal. But in order to start bestowing unto others, we first have to totally restrict our egoistic desires and intentions of self-love and stop worrying about ourselves completely. This means that I should stop using all the black areas that appear on the X-rays of my heart during the ten days of repentance that precede Yom Kippur.
This is the essence of Yom Kippur. I cannot perform actions in order to bestow yet. On that day I only restrict my ego so as not to receive anything for myself. Even if I am allowed to receive, it is only in order to pass it through me and give it to others.
But this will happen later, while on Yom Kippur there is a total restriction, five prohibitions. This symbolizes the fact that a person doesn’t even use his most essential desires. Eventually we reach the same revelations as the prophet Jonah, by clarifying what is the most important thing in person’s life.
Although Jonah wasn’t an ordinary person but a prophet, we have to see the difficult missions that the Creator gives us. First Jonah wanted to escape his mission to bestow unto others, but eventually he was forced to carry it out, by passing on the wisdom of connection and unity, love, and bestowal to the whole world, which the people of Nineveh embody.
On Yom Kippur I must forget myself and totally focus on the benefit of others: first our people and then the rest of the world. This is the mission of the Israeli nation, as Kabbalists tell us. By accepting this work, we begin to correct our actions of bestowal when Yom Kippur is over, and the holidays that follow Yom Kippur symbolize that.
From KabTV’s “A New Life” 9/30/14