The Messiah is not going to walk through the door or coming riding into town upon a donkey simply because we know our Bible well. Or because we put on Tefillin each morning or wear a certain type of religious garment, or we pray each day.

As the great Kabbalist Rav Ashlag said, if we focus on the external actions and deeds of the Torah, without focusing on losing the ego and experiencing the pain that comes with it, then the Torah and all of its precepts will become the drug of death. Those are his words, not mine.

So we might be right about how to perform a particular precept, and we might be knowledgable about the hidden secrets inside the prayers and practices, but we are bringing death and darkness into the world if our reactive ego is in the mix and not the focus of our work.

We might find fault in others, but we are creating darkness through our deeds and judgment.

The Torah becomes the drug of death when our ego is hidden in our actions. The more righteous we think we are, the greater the ego.

This is what Rav Ashlag teaches us. The Torah is not the goal. The prayers are not the goal.

The Torah is merely a means to an end. And that end is the end of the ego's reactive influence.

If that goal is not firmly planted in our consciousness in every action, the Torah becomes death.

This is a difficult and harsh truth to embrace. Perhaps this is one reason why so many in the religious establishment scorned Kabbalistic wisdom for the last 2000 years.