The third category of people, are those who actually do toil in Hitbonenut and analyze G-dliness deeply. However, they do this only in order to reach a level of excitement by arousing their emotions. Because of this, their entire approach is fundamentally flawed. Here too, any excitement which will be aroused is not true G-dly excitement, and he will be aware of self. Furthermore, throughout the toil of Hitbonenut he will wonder to himself, “When will I attain Divine inspiration and excitement?” and he will be pained if this does not occur. If he is aroused, but not as much as he wished, this will perturb him. In truth, this person too, is merely a pleasure seeker. He is not truly interested in understanding the reality of G-d altogether. Instead, he pursues the effects of contemplation and analysis. Because this is the true underlying motivation of his contemplation, he never actually arrives at Truth and all his toil in vain. This can be understood from the following explanation on the way the intellect works.
When one approaches a subject which he desires to learn, there must first be a complete focus and delving of his mind into the subject matter. This is called Ha’amakat HaDa’at – the delving of the Da’at. As explained before, the faculty of Da’at is the faculty of concentrating one’s mind on a subject matter, to the exclusion of all else. If he does not involve the entire power of his intellect, connecting his mind to the subject with much toil, he will never reach a true understanding of it. When one delves with all his intellectual faculties into a concept he is trying to understand, his intellect becomes sublimated to the concept. Only after the complete sublimation of his intellect to the concept, can he conceptualize it in a revealed and tangible way, and even bring out new insights from it. (This process of delving with all the intellectual faculties and sublimating them to the concept is called Ha’ala’at Mayim Nukvin – the rising of the feminine waters. This causes what is called Hamshachat Mayim D’churin – the drawing down of the masculine waters of insight.)
Furthermore, when one is studying a subject, he will never reach the truth of it unless his intent is only to grasp its true meaning. For example, many people go to school and learn many different concepts and subjects. However, who is it who grasps their true depth and has insights into them, only those whose entire intent and focus is on the subject itself, who study it repeatedly, analyzing its every facet, to understand it in depth.
If a person goes to medical school to please his parents, but really wants to be a lawyer, though he will learn the material, he will never understand it to its depths and he will certainly not have any new insights into medicine. This is because he has no deep interest in it. In contrast, the “nerd” whose sole interest and pleasure lies in understanding every facet and detail of medicine and grasping its true essence, will grasp its depth. He will have new insights and innovations into medicine, specifically because he has grasped its depth.
The above is especially true when one approaches Divine contemplation. His desire must solely be to grasp the truth of what is, i.e. G-dliness. Any other desire is a gross error, and will impede any progress. As long as he holds on to “Alien” desires he will never truly understand G-dliness at all. This principle includes not only those who desire the excitement and arousal of their emotions, but all those who have any ulterior motives, whatsoever, such as to be honored because he is a “wise man” who knows the hidden matters. Because of this the sages said, “Who is wise, he who learns from all men.” In other words, he does not seek honor, but rather, to understand Truth. Therefore, it is not below his dignity to learn from someone else. It makes no difference to him whether he arrives at truth on his own or by learning it from others. He rejoices in Truth wherever he may find it and whosoever speaks it.
In contrast, one who seeks honor will not acknowledge Truth if it is spoken by someone who he considers to be his inferior or his competitor. Moreover, since he is not focused on the acquisition of Truth, but on some side issue, he will not be sublimated to it. He will, therefore, never gain true insight and understanding. Whatever understanding he imagines himself to have is external in nature and not into the true essence of G-dliness at all.
One who studies Kabbalah to reach lofty levels of holiness and Divine inspiration, prophecy or mystical revelations, such as the revelation of Eliyahu etc, falls into this same category. The only level he will reach is the lowly level of false delusions and imaginations. Ultimately, however “lofty” and “holy” he thinks these goals are, in truth, they are totally self centered, and are no different than the desire for pleasure and arousal mentioned above, except that in addition, he is also guilty of arrogance and is suffering from delusions of grandeur. In truth, he has no sublimation to G-d, whatsoever, and is thus not a fit vessel for any revelations of any kind. He too, is serving himself rather than G-d.
It must be pointed out that though they are not considered to be Divine service, all the above mentioned levels have some concealed good in them. This is the fact that, to arouse their pleasure, all these people are drawn specifically to matters of G-dliness, such as Torah study, mitzvot and prayer. However, the reason they are drawn to this has nothing to do with the toil of Hitbonenut. Rather, this is the effect of a tiny glimmer of encompassing light from their G-dly soul.
By its very nature the G-dly soul is drawn to G-dliness. Its lowest general level, which is the Nefesh, is the source of the desire and pull to fulfill the positive commandments of G-d, and to desist from doing any evil. Actually, the above categories of people, do not even have a revelation of this lowest general level of the G-dly soul, but rather, just a glimmer of a glimmer of it, in a very concealed way.
The disadvantage of this, however, is that since they have deluded themselves to think they already serve G-d, they feel that their “belly is full”, so to speak, and have a sense of self satisfaction. They, therefore, have a great resistance to the true service of Hitbonenut, as opposed to one who feels he is very far from G-d and recognizes that he is impoverished of G-dliness. He will, therefore, be more open to the true service of Hitbonenut.