In the times of the First Temple lived very lofty souls. It was their thirst for spiritual ecstasy that led them to worship foreign gods.

Thousands of years later, the holy Ari taught, in the 500 years of forced conversions from the Crusades until the Spanish Expulsion, these souls returned so they could be repaired.

Many of the martyrs of that time were men of reason—and for a philosopher to give his life for the sanctity of G‑d’s name is a very great test. Many did, and so they were healed.

When the Ari came, however, he revealed the secret wisdom and repaired the world, so that all souls were healed and no repairs were left to be made. It follows that all the suffering of the Jewish people since the Ari are neither punishment nor repair. If so, what are they?

We do not know.

One thing we do know: That we do not know.

See Sefer Hasichot 5751a, page 248, footnote 116