Michael Laitman, On Quora: “What does maror symbolize?“
When we set off on the spiritual path, it initially appears very enticing, attractive and interesting. We become fueled with a new sense of purpose in life, and understand that great attainments and revelations await us.
After some time on the spiritual path, we reach the understanding of what spirituality means—to give, bestow to and love others—and enter a tough period where the initial spiritual attraction wanes and we feel confused and rejected by the notion of spirituality.
This latter period is known as Maror (bitter herb).
How is it possible to endure the period of Maror? The dark sensations of this period come to us in order for us to remain locked on the spiritual path and goal, sharpen our senses, and eventually enter into a new dimension and attain a new sense for perceiving and sensing reality.
In order to stay locked on the spiritual path and goal, we need to be part of a spiritually-supportive environment, which encourages, helps and raises the importance of the spiritual goal of love, bestowal and connection above all the transient corporeal goals in our lives that can seem all the more attractive as they supply instantaneous pleasure, despite such pleasure being short-lived.
This Maror period of the spiritual path is when several people leave it, and the sole advice to reach the other side of the darkness and distastefulness of such a state is to participate in a spiritually-supportive environment that increases the spiritual goal’s importance above all else. This is why it is written that heroes (heroes [in Hebrew, Giborim] as those who overcome [in Hebrew, Mitgabrim] the ego) emerge from that period, by having no other choice, and also by feeling a sense of mutual responsibility toward everyone in the spiritually-supportive environment—that they each depend on one another in order to raise the importance of spirituality (love, bestowal and connection) over corporeality (the desire to self-benefit).
Therefore, those who establish themselves on the spiritual path—to move toward love, bestowal and positive connection with others, detached from egoistic self-interest—reach what is called “the path of exiting the exile (i.e., the darkness of living for the sake of corporeal self-aimed goals) to the Land of Israel (i.e., to connection with the spiritual force of love, bestowal and connection).”
Maror is self-aimed fulfillment. To the human ego, Maror is sweet, tasty and enjoyable. However, when we want spirituality, we discover such sweetness as bitterness. That is, we find how we want to achieve love, bestowal and positive connection among people, but that it is impossible because our egoistic nature constantly desiring self-aimed pleasures stands in the way.
Therefore, the principle spiritual work in Egypt (i.e., while immersed in our egoistic desires) is in chewing Maror. It is the feeling of being unable to exit Egypt (the ego), and the constant effort to hold a desire and prayer to achieve the spiritual goal. If we stay locked on the spiritual path and goal while we endure such a state, then our spiritual desire turns into a true yearning for help from the upper force in order to give us its spiritual nature: love, bestowal and connection.
Written/edited by students of Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman.