The Aim During the Study Shortens the Time of Correction
If a person recognizes a deficit in himself, but he still cannot begin to hate that attribute, it means that he is not completely aware of the evil in him, and therefore that sensation is not yet called the recognition of evil. But this is already a beginning: he focuses on overcoming that deficit and sees that an upper force helps him in that.
For example: a person receives a hint from above that one person is looking down on another person. By that, the upper force is trying to show him the evil attribute in him. To the same extent that a person feels the evil, he can stay away from it. If a person makes spiritual efforts, identifies the negative attributes in himself, he shortens the time of correction and diminishes the pain. If, however, he insists, he receives yet more beatings, until he breaks down and cries: “Enough!”
If the thief is caught during stealing, he begins to curse his life. But the next minute he calms down, when he sees that it was a false alarm. The minute the fear is gone, he is ready and willing to steal again.
How is it possible to be freed from that attribute? If the pleasure is greater than the pain, I am willing to accept the fact that the pleasure is incomplete, improper. What should one do, if one wants to correct one’s bad characteristic, but cannot find sufficient spiritual strength in oneself in order to face it alone?
A prayer – plea for correction – is answered by the Creator only if it stems from the bottom of the heart, because He responds only to honest prayers, complete and eternal. A plea to correct the bad attributes, when man finally admits that he cannot do it by himself.
Our teachers tell us that there is only one means for correction – an aim for correction (expressed in the prayer) during the study of the genuine texts of Kabbalah. During the study, a person must not forget the purpose of his study and continuously ask for spiritual forces in order to handle it, think about it. That will do.
Because great Kabbalists have given us the books that they wrote when they were at a high spiritual degree and were able to see the upper light, when we study the wisdom of Kabbalah with those books, we extend that light on us, provided we want correction.
In other words, if I think of the problem I am trying to rid myself of during the study, it is as though I extend the upper light on myself, a correcting and healing light, which brings me back to the Creator.
You should constantly think about what you need to correct in yourself, during class, or when you study by yourself, or listen to tapes. You can also think about health and other such problems, but you must first and foremost concentrate on praying for spiritual correction, because it gives man so much more than any other prayer or request.
You cannot ask: “correct this or that attribute”, but you can think of it, while studying or listening to a tape. It is not necessary to feel. If you study Torah, you already feel good. It is enough to simply remember and think of that problem while studying.
If, for example, I listen to a tape, it doesn’t matter just how much I understand of the content being discussed. It is enough that I think of how to correct my attributes. If I listen to the tape and lose concentration, but all the while I think of the light of the Creator, of my desire to be corrected, to draw near to the Creator, it is the most effective use of the sources of Kabbalah. It is, in fact, the only force that can help a person change.
I suggest doing everything simultaneously: listen to the tape, feel the wisdom, the sensation of the Creator, how He relates to you (on the one hand), while on the other hand you continue to think about wanting to be corrected. Then the light that descends on you during the study comes to the problem you want to mend. It is precisely during the study and during work in dissemination of the wisdom of Kabbalah, that you should pray and ask for correction. That applies also for prayers about other people.
A person who simply listens to the tape and tries to process the material, extends the light, but doesn’t do anything with it. The light comes from above downward, but makes no contact with the egoism. Instead, it goes through us and leaves. The light should come into the egoism that you place in its way, otherwise you do not correct your attributes, but only receive knowledge. Even if my prayer is artificial, I am still corrected. By that I rush the process of the recognition of evil, and the next to come correction.