Answer: We are like infants: each of us carries around a baby’s pacifier, a doll, or a toy. Those who haven’t grown up yet need something that they can hold onto. They require something that they are used to, that is intertwined with their parents’ house, something familiar and comforting.
Nobody knows how to behave, what to say, and what to expect when they get to a new and unknown place. One feels discomfort, can’t relax, and gets nervous. It’s quite different at home where everything is familiar, clear, and easy. We speak one language with our friends and family.
We are built similarly to the spiritual realm, which is the origin of such order of things. How can we abide with the situation that is opposite to us in phase? In order to familiarize oneself with the surroundings, a person needs some kind of foundation that is usually made of simple symbols. The farther people are from spirituality, the weaker they are and the more they depend on external objects. The general public is in more need of relying on them, whereas individuals depend on them less.
All external traditions of Judaism started at the time of the destruction of the temple. Prior to that period of time, material symbols were not necessary since people lived in spirituality.
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 1/15/12, “Introduction to the Study of the Ten Sefirot”