The very fact that we are inferior to our predecessors accounts for the change in the promulgation of Pnimiyut haTorah. Pnimiyut haTorah is the very core or essence of the Torah, its most sublime dimension. Thus one must indeed be most careful with it. There are very serious dangers in coping with its delicate and sensitive subjects. If one is unable to cope with these, he will come to harm. Hence all the words of caution, admonitions and restrictive measures by the sages of all times.

At times, however, it becomes necessary to use precisely the most potent and normally dangerous methods. For example, radiation is very dangerous, and exposure to it may result in ill effects. Nonetheless, there are certain diseases where this self same exposure is their cure. And likewise with various other medications.

R. Shneur Zalman of Liadi thus explains the well-known paradox of the parah adumah (red heifer) which "defiles those that are pure, and purifies those that are defiled:" one and the same medication will cure the sick who need it, but harm the healthy who do not need it. R. Menachem Mendel of Lubavitch (Tzemach Tzedek) applies this principle to our context: the earlier generations were strong and healthy in their yirat Shamayim (fear of G‑d) and thus did not need the study of Pnimiyut haTorah, unlike our own generations when this study has become an obligatory necessity. To understand this more clearly, there is a parable told by R. Shneur Zalman:

Once upon a time there was a great and powerful king who had but one son. He sent his son to many places to be trained in all the arts and sciences. One day the king was informed that his son had fallen ill on some far-off island with a dangerous disease that perplexed his doctors. Immediately the king gathered the greatest medical experts to find a cure, but to no avail. Anxiety and frustration filled all in the kingdom, until one day a man appeared and said that he knew of an effective medicine.

The alleged elixir, however, consisted of a unique and most precious stone grounded into fine powder which had to be mixed with a liquid and then fed to the patient. After a thorough search, the king's servants could find but one stone of the type prescribed: the central and most precious jewel adorning the principal crown of the king.

The joy of finding this jewel was soon tempered by a great dilemma: the removal of the stone might cure the prince, but it would dim the very symbol of the royal majesty. To the king, however, nothing mattered as much as a cure for his only child. Thus he ordered that the jewel be removed and pounded into powder. In the meantime, however, the latest medical bulletins reported that the patient's condition had deteriorated to the point that he was unable to take in even liquids. His mouth could hardly be opened. The king's advisors thus thought it useless and senseless to destroy the stone and with it the crown's very glory. The king, however, insisted that they proceed, arguing that the slightest chance of getting a single drop of the elixir into the patient's mouth is worth the destruction of the crown- jewel.

The advisors protested: "For as long as your son was able to take in food and drink we agreed with you. Nothing is too precious to save his life. But now that his condition has worsened this much it is most doubtful, in fact unlikely, that he will be able to take in anything. Under these conditions it is surely not right to destroy the very diadem of the kingdom!"

The king replied: "If, Heaven forbid, my son should not live, what use do I have for the crown? Alternatively, if my son survives, surely that shall be my greatest glory: the life of an only son who exposed himself to dangers in order to obey his father's wish and excel in wisdom!"

Pnimiyut haTorah is the crown-jewel of the Torah, and the King's son, the people of Israel, in the lowly and diseased state of the present galut, is in dire need of that most precious life-giving elixir of Pnimiyut haTorah simplified and popularized to a level that all can understand it.

The truth of this analogy is seen and proven in the historical events and effects of the rise and spreading of Chassidut. Immediately prior to the Baal Shem Tov, European Jewry was very demoralized, verily in a state of physical, mental and spiritual stupor. There had been terrible pogroms and persecutions, intense sufferings on the physical level in addition to the demoralizing after-effects of the pseudo- Messianic adventures of those days. Then came R. Israel Baal Shem Tov and literally revived the people. (Note the comment of R. Pinchas of Koretz that R. Israel Baal Shem Tov reawakened and revived the souls of Israel in general, and of every Jew in particular.)

There has hardly ever been a time of so many charismatic saints as the Baal Shem Tov and his disciples, the Maggid and his disciples, and their successors, who inspired their people in so comprehensive and penetrating a way that uplifted them spiritually and morally by means of the teachings and practices of Chassidism. And this life-giving elixir of Pnimiyut haTorah continues to this very day to inspire every kind of Jews throughout the world as nothing else. For the "soul of the Torah" speaks directly to, and affects, the "soul of every Jew."

Thus it is precisely the status of spiritual degradation, the very darkness of the present galut, that requires the medicine of the most sublime aspects of the Torah to cure it. (Note the words of the Vilna Gaon that specifically the preoccupation with Pnimiyut haTorah offers protection against the yetzer hara; Even Shelemah VIII:27. See also his comment on Isaiah 6:10, in Kol Eliyahu, p. 60.)