The greatest question facing us is how to obtain a desire for spiritual development, a desire to become similar to the Creator? How can we desire to become “givers”? Kabbalists answer that the best way to develop spiritually is through a means called “the group.”
Natural relationships with people in our environment (including feelings of envy, hatred, love, rejection, and the aspiration for power) can help us to acquire a greater desire for spiritual development. We can simply absorb the desire for spirituality from our friends. In fact, we will desire this despite the fact that it contradicts our own desire, because envy and other “negative” feelings toward others will make us desire this even more.
We are all part of a spiritual system where we are connected as one whole. Therefore, even if the society that surrounds me desires something unnatural and even harmful to me, I will also desire this involuntarily, in spite of my own nature. This happens because we were once connected, and this connection between us still remains. Therefore, I am influenced by others because at some time in the past I received my spiritual life from others, or through them.
This net of connection between us still exists now. I am connected to all other people, but I just don’t feel this connection and therefore there is no flow of life and Light in this net. However, if all of the other people begin to extol spirituality, then even though it is repulsive to me, even though I hate the thought of it and could think of nothing worse than to give to others and love them, I will still be influenced by them against my will. As a result, I will desire this state, which seems unnatural and contrary to my own nature, because there is an inner connection between us that has existed since the beginning of creation.
This desire that I receive from the right environment will, in fact, be the aspiration which I need in order to activate the system which controls and develops me. Therefore, if our friends feel that they do not feel The Book of Zohar, that they are unable to connect to this means of spiritual development, this is a sign that they lack the desire for it. Even though it seems to them that they have a desire for spirituality, it is just another type of egoistic desire.
And the reason they lack a desire to develop spiritually is that they cannot unite. This is what prevents them from receiving the strength and the desire for spiritual development from the group. Thus, the whole group and every person in particular have to work on this.
Initially, no one has a desire for spiritual development, for the quality of bestowal and love. Only the right environment can impose this on us. Our only freedom of will is to receive this desire from the group; this is our only chance to become human. The group should work on providing all the friends in the whole world an awakening for spiritual development, for bestowal and love.
On the other hand, we have to understand that this depends on every person, on every person’s ability to annul himself in order to receive this common desire for spirituality. This desire is present only in the group and can be received only from it.
This brings us to the most important point: that we have The Book of Zohar before us, as well as a ready-made system comprised of the group, the books, the teacher, as well as translations to other languages, television, and the internet. All we have to do is put our inner effort into one point, which is called “freedom of will.” In other words, we have to make efforts to unite with the group in order to receive the force of development from it.
Rabbi Yose ben Kisma said that if a person doesn’t have this force of development, then none of the forces of The Book of Zohar will affect him.