The sixteenth-century mystic Isaac Luria’s conception of obstacles that get in the way of worshipping God were called kelipot (in Hebrew). They were seen as the forces of evil that constantly tempt and distract us, keeping us from directly experiencing God.
A modern writer by the name of Arthur Green explains this concept by saying:
“Luria claimed that creative energy, in the form of divine light, was sent into this newly emanated world from the mysterious core of divinity. The light was contained in certain ‘vessels.’ The emanated world was not sufficiently holy to contain God’s light, however, so the vessels smashed and the sparks of light were scattered. The broken shards of the vessels, which are now called kelipot, cover those sparks or keep the divine light hidden. As such, they become active enemies of those who seek light however, in the sixteenth century.”
From “These are the Words: A Vocabulary of Jewish Spiritual Life”
What an interesting idea that the very things that get in the way of experiencing God are in themselves divine sparks of light!
This goes along with the idea that there is only one force in this world – and that is God. If we truly believe that God is the only divine force, then we cannot believe in God and the Devil – for that is to say that there are two forces at work. Even if you think of the Devil as lesser than God, you are still seeing the Devil as another power, rather than a spark of God.
We are told that there are only two things in this world – that which we know to be good, and that which we don’t know yet to be good. It is all good – we just can’t see it yet.