Question: If foreign thoughts come to me while we read The Zohar, does this mean that I am drilling a hole in the boat?
Answer: These foreign thoughts are not yours but “come” to you from somewhere. They don’t depend on you; the Creator sends them. So, relax. You are not drilling a hole in the common boat just with the thoughts that arise in you.
It’s important, however, what you will do with these “foreign” thoughts, meaning, whether you will remain with them and continue to think about them. If so, you will really be making a hole in the boat. Or perhaps you will resist these thoughts and throw them away from you at every given moment while wishing to stay together with your friends who are using all their might to bring this boat to the goal? This depends precisely on you.
This is always the case in Kabbalah: We work on what the Creator sends us, above the circumstances (Reshimot) that emerge. We don’t choose them, and we are not judged according to them. Only our reaction to them depends on us, and we should be judged based on it.
From the 2nd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 8/31/10, The Zohar