For every spiritual phenomenon there is a special imprint in our world like a branch that corresponds to the root. Since the corporeal branch is revealed at a certain time, in a certain place, and in specific corporeal conditions, it exists in a very compressed form, clearly limited in time and space. Therefore, there are all kinds of corporeal customs that reflect spiritual commandments.
A commandment is an action of correcting the desire through attracting the reforming light called the Torah. The light makes changes in us called commandments, which correct our desire. It is useful to observe how the spiritual root comes down and manifests itself in the corporeal branch. This is why in Kabbalah we can use the language of branches and perform actions in our world as spiritual symbols.
For example during Yom Kippur (The Day of Atonement), it is customary to repent and pray for returning to the Creator. However, one must ask about such a return to the Creator every day, at every moment. Repentance should be constant. In the corporeal branch, however, we specifically dedicate one day a year to it: Yom Kippur.
The month of Elul is called “I am for my beloved, and my beloved is for me,” symbolizing the yearning of a person for the Creator. Do we only need to yearn for the Creator for one month only? However, this is how it is imprinted in the corporeal branches. Therefore, as we approach the day of atonement, we should especially think of how we can return to the Creator.1
If we want our actions to be directed toward spirituality, toward achieving the quality of bestowal and rising above our egoistic desire, we must think only about bringing contentment to the Creator. That is, our actions, calculations, and thoughts must be above corporeal existence. Therefore, all of the actions we perform seem detached from reality and meaningless in our world.
It is very difficult for us to continue day after day because each time we need again to add to our efforts, drop by drop, until we receive the new quality of bestowal.
Therefore, we should simply follow the advice of the Kabbalists, understanding in advance that in our world there is no rational basis and pragmatic benefit in these actions that would oblige us. These actions are as detached from reality as is the entire spiritual world. We do not feel the need for them.
The Creator made them contradict our egoism, our will to receive, and this is a great help for us. After all, without such a contradiction, without an opportunity to feel and evaluate our resistance, we will not know at all that we perform spiritual actions and advance. The less desire I have to perform an action, the more certain I can be that it is close to spirituality.
The Creator purposely created the evil inclination in us so that we can evaluate our actions and thoughts with respect to our egoism and understand to what extent they do not correspond to the spiritual direction. Otherwise, we would never be able to enter the spiritual world, we would not know at all what it is.
Egoism works as help against itself. Every time it pushes us away from spirituality and takes our strength, but if we understand that all this is given to us as help, then we can advance exactly in this way.2
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 10/7/19, “What Is the Measure of Repentance?”
1 Minute 0:20
2 Minuute 15:45