The Book of Zohar, VaYikra, Item 79: It is like a king who was angry with the queen and expelled her from her palace for a certain period of time. When that time was through, the queen would immediately come and return before the king. This was so once, twice, and thrice. But on the last time, she became remote from the king’s palace and the king expelled her from his palace for a long time. The king said, “This time is not as like the other times, when she came before me. Instead, I and all my household will go and seek her.”
The king is the Creator, the general force of nature. The queen symbolizes the creation, i.e., the souls created by the Creator. They must go through certain states of exile and nearing, which create clearer perceptions of the Creator in the souls.
Distancing from Him, they feel certain negative properties in themselves: darkness, confusion, suffering. And then, when they approach Him, they come to the state of fulfillment, understanding, etc. But each time this distancing and nearing is qualitatively different.
If when the first time I simply moved away and came closer I felt that it was bad to be far away and good to be close, the second time, moving away and approaching perhaps at the same distance, I already feel different about it: “Why did I move away? Why am I approaching? What is the difference?”
The third time I already ask: “Why does the Creator do this?” I ask not why it is happening to me, but why does the Creator need it. I realize that it comes from the Creator.
The fourth time, when all this research and understanding accumulates in me, my mind grows, and my sensation expands, then I am already in a deep state of exile from the Creator, in a state of separation and darkness. Although this darkness may be the same as before, the realization that I can no longer return to Him on my own is very bitter and profound. I feel my opposition to the Creator and my powerlessness so deeply that I cannot do anything with myself.
In this case, for the first time I find myself lacking strength and need Him to bring me back. When this urgent demand arises in me because I can no longer remain in exile, then He himself comes to me with all his courtiers.
From KabTV’s “The Power of The Book of Zohar” #14