Answer: Does a person act in the group based on the point in the heart rather than his or her egoism? Does he direct himself toward a group instead of the outside world? He does if he puts the desires, goals, means, and efforts of his friends above his own.
What if the friends are wrong? They are always right. Actually, even if they are wrong, what difference does it make to me? What’s most important is that I am part of them. That’s the only choice I’ve got.
Suppose all of them are against my opinion. I’m one hundred percent right, but they are united as one. It means I have to annul myself and go along with them. However, they are wrong, aren’t they? It does not matter. In the spiritual world, the collective, the connection, always prevails.
Approximately two and a half thousand years ago there lived a great sage, Rabbi Yossi ben Kisma. He had, let’s say, a dozen students. Once, he was asked to move to another place, but he replied, “I can’t leave them because then I will lose everything there is within me.” This was despite the fact that he was a great sage of that generation. Who were they compared to him? “They are nobodies,” he said, “but when they are together, I connect to them and receive everything through them. On my own, directly, I cannot receive anything.”
After all, the receiving vessel, the detector, the locator, is the group. Let the group consist of nobodies, beginners; it doesn’t matter whom. If they unite with one another, that’s it; it’s enough. A sage who connects to them adds sensitivity to them and, thus, perceives everything.
On their own, they don’t understand or sense a thing. They’ve just huddled together like calves. However, having united with them, he receives the Light that he wouldn’t have received without them. By gradually conducting their unity through him, they, too, begin to grow. That is what is happening in the world. Therefore, only unity brings the right result.
There are a lot of “smart” people in the group, really clever, serious, very intelligent individualists, and their achievements are worth nothing! When I consider the result that we have to achieve as a group, I know for certain: Even if a person is smart, generates great ideas, performs any assignment brilliantly, and achieves amazing results, all that eventually leads nowhere. If he lacks spiritual direction, he won’t grow as a result of his or her efforts, although on the outside, everything may seem perfect.
All things spiritual are achieved only through unity. If beginners gather together, even though they may be small, by uniting, they achieve greater results than individuals who are great, wise, and perhaps Kabbalists already. Rabbi Yossi wouldn’t have achieved anything without his group. That’s why he didn’t leave it.
From Lesson 2 in Moscow 1/16/2011, “A Prayer of Many”