Know that the main reason for your being born into This World is to effect a rectification of the Shechina [to perfection and its proper place in the spheres], for your souls have been carved from it and it is in your hands to effect its rectification. Therefore, be very careful and eager in this matter, as is written, "When you come into the land…" (Num. 34:2), which means that the main reason for your coming into This World is in order to effect a rectification of the Shechina which is also called "the land of Canaan". Be strong and courageous and use all of your efforts to restore the Shechina…
Further, "[coming] into the land" hints to the place where you will go when you leave This World: to the place of the Shechina - for that is where your souls were carved from. If you do not effect a rectification of the Shechina while you are still alive, then when you leave This World your souls will be rejected and chased outside and will not be permitted to enjoy divine splendor.
Therefore, be strong and courageous and use all of your efforts to restore the Shechina. Know and learn well in order to understand how to effect its rectification, and the knowledge that you need is that the Shechina is in exile because of our sins. Its exile is in being evicted from its true place in the sphere of Atzilut and through sin being sent out and lowered through the worlds of Beriya, Yetzira and Asiya. There is no suffering like that of being exiled from a place of distinction to a baser one…
There is no suffering like that of being exiled from a place of distinction to a baser one. The Shechina suffers by its descent to the spheres of Beriya and Yetzira, suffering most bitterly and harshly when it descends to the sphere of Asiya, for that is the realm of the kelipot (the forces of impurity) and being exiled there is a severe affliction.
It is possible that King David was referring to this exile when he said: "Woe is me for I dwelt in Meshech, I lived in the tents of Kedar" (Psalms 120:5). As long as the Jewish Nation is in exile, the Shechina is also in exile and descends [nightly] all the way to Asiya, which is a great torment for it. This is the meaning of "Woe is me for I dwelt in Meshech", that is, I am in bitter exile and when I am in bitter exile, surely My Shechina is in bitter exile also. But the Shechina is also in the tents of Kedar which is an appellation for the kelipot, thus referring to the sphere of Asiya, their realm. The word for "I dwelt" - in Hebrew "shachanti" - should be read "My Shechina" -"Shechinati", as is expounded in the holy Zohar regarding the verse (Proverbs 8:12) "I am wisdom, I live in cleverness": Do not read "I live", but rather "My Shechina".
All this is found in the Torah in order to arouse the hearts of the Jewish People, hopefully, to listen, repent, awaken from their apathy and arouse themselves to effect a rectification for the Shechina and extract the rose from between the thorns.
With these verses, the Torah comes to hint that the Shechina, in its exile, descends through all of the barriers of Beriya, Yetzira and Asiya and that the Jewish People must strive daily to raise it. For with each ascent, the Shechina succeeds in purifying a greater number of "holy sparks", but the multiplication of these purifications or their lessening depends on the Jewish People. If the Jewish Nation behaves as tzadikim and are properly worthy, then with each prayer service the number of purifications that the Shechina performs increases. If their merit is lessened, however, then the number of purifications is also reduced.
[Petuchei Chotem, parashat Masai, as anthologized in Peninei Avir Ya'akov, p. 213;
Translated by M. Steinberger and E. Linas