Answer: Imagine that a group of mountain-climbers are making their way up to a summit. I, too, want to reach this summit, and that is why I join them. In this ascent I cannot do anything at my sole discretion. I cannot go back alone, nor do I choose when to have a rest break, who to spot, or who my spotter would be. We ascend together, bound by the same cable that’s holding up all of us.
The same applies to the group. We are too weak to move individually and only advance if we realize and feel that we are bound together with unbreakable bonds.
Initially I decide whether or not to go with the friends. I verify whether they are suited to me, whether they aspire for the same summit I do. Are they the people with whom I can make this ascent? Perhaps there are other groups out there? I am within my right to verify these things.
But after I have verified everything and joined them, there’s no going back for we have already set out. The cable already binds us, as we are ascending to the summit. Now I cannot get rid of them or take a breather somewhere to the side, while they’re climbing upward. I must keep pace with them, step in step, along the same path. We walk together on our chosen path, and I cannot get away from this daily work.
The conditions today differ from those in the past generations. In the past one was tested rigorously before being accepted, but in today’s times of general correction we accept everybody.
And yet the might of the common soul that’s moving toward correction is made up of those souls who realize that there is no other choice. Having undertaken this task, they ascend upward, bound together by cables and following their guide, on the path where nothing can be changed anymore. A person is given time to realize what he’s facing and come to a decision. But this decision is crucial.
The spiritual world is concealed from us, and so we don’t feel the nature of the task we’ve taken on. In reality this covenant with the friends is critical. We choose the group at the foot of the mountain, and once we set out on the path, there’s no going back.
I don’t see how great, exalted, and even perilous this path is. Indeed, in the covenant I make with the friends dwells the Creator. This means I’m dealing with Him; it is He who testifies for us and affirms our covenant.
From the 3rd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 10/24/10, Beit Shaar HaKavanot