Moses began to review the Torah when he was an “...eleven day journey from Horeb to Kadesh Barnea by way of the Seir highlands.”
In this phrase, Moses hints at the initial breaking of the vessels. When the original souls, out of their desire to give and to emulate their Creator, burst, this good intention created Evil. There are eleven kinds of this Evil: seven are hinted to at the beginning of the Torah by the account of seven kings who died, and four more correspond to the other side of the Supernal Father and the Supernal Mother. The word “Horeb” has a connotation of desolation, thus “eleven days journey from Horeb.”
The “way of Seir” is a hint to Esav, who represents the chief evil. The word “way” always means a female, and together this is a hint concerning the angel of Esav (Samael), his female companion, and their cohorts. Here Arizal directs the reader to meditate on these concepts, to gain more understanding. This agrees with the way of the Kabbalah, which is taught only to “those who have initial knowledge of it, and even to them – only as hints.”
The Destruction (Horeb, Hurba) was needed so that “the day would give its light after the night,” that is, so that Good would exist on the background of Evil. This is the meaning of the teaching that God was occupied with creating worlds and destroying them, before He created this one.
The word “Kadesh” hints at the secret of the final redemption. As is known, Messiah will come when “all souls in the body (of Evil) are reincarnated and sanctified” - “until Kadesh” means “until they are sanctified.”
“Barnea” is a hint to multiple exiles: “Bar na v'nad” means constant uprooting and replanting – until the end of the exile, which should also be a subject of one's meditation.
Art: George Inness - Sunset at Etretat