That word is used three times in the first line of the first section of the first chapter of Ten Luminous Emanations. The Ari once wrote that Kabbalists never waste words, and as such this should be an indication to us of the weight of its significance here.
The first lesson we can draw from this is perhaps the most obvious. In order to connect to the Light in the most profound way, we need to be simple. The Light of the Creator is not complicated. It is simple, sharing Light.
When we do actions of sharing, many times we are not simple. We have agenda. We calculate. We analyze and overanalyze. We are conditional to some degree or another, and it is only this which creates the distance between us and the Endless Light of the Creator. Like the sun shining unconditionally in our solar system without calculation, spreading warmth whether the clouds are stubborn or not, so too the simpler we are in our sharing and spiritual actions, the closer we are to the Light.
Think of the last time you were simple. Where you really looked at a situation with the simplest of lens, not jumping to any conclusions, just seeing the situation with the clearest layer of truth. Young children can do this very easily. If you ask a three-year-old whether they like broccoli, they’ll give you a yes or no answer, full stop. They won’t waste time explaining why, or justifying, or trying to convince you of their opinion. They’ll simply tell you and move on. The older we get, the more complicated we make life, and we lose touch of that simplicity we had as children.
There is a story told about the great Kabbalist the Baal Shem Tov to illustrate how simplicity can change even the unchangeable. One year on Yom Kippur the Baal Shem Tov sensed great negativity that wanted to bring tremendous destruction and chaos on the world. All the way through to the last connection, when all the gates of the Supernal Worlds are meant to be open, everyone meditated and prayed with all their strength to awaken mercy for the world. But the gates remained closed, even to the Baal Shem Tov.
Standing among the crowd was a little boy who didn’t know how to pray. The child wanted only for one thing: to help the Baal Shem Tov in his mission. At one point while everyone was making their connection, the boy was so overcome with desire that he pulled a small whistle from his pocket and blew into it with all his strength. The noise it made was so terrible, it interrupted everyone’s meditations. As they gathered around the boy to tell him off, the Baal Shem Tov suddenly announced that the negativity has successfully been removed. The little boy, with his simple desire to connect and help, broke through all the gates that until then had been firmly locked.
That the Ari chooses to make this point in the beginning of the study and not later is only indicative at how important this lesson is.
It’s something of a paradox really, the profound nature of simplicity. The Truth is simple. The Light is simple.
The more we approach life and our spiritual work in this each day, the closer we get to our soul’s perfection.