Baal HaSulam, “A Speech for the Completion of The Zohar”: Our sages said, “Make for yourself a rav and buy yourself a friend.” This means that one can make a new environment for oneself. This environment will help him obtain the greatness of his rav through love of friends who appreciate the rav. Through the friends’ discussing the greatness of the rav, each of them receives the sensation of his greatness. Thus, bestowal upon one’s rav will become reception and sufficient motivation to an extent that will bring one to engage in Torah and Mitzvot Lishma.
They said that, “The Torah is acquired by forty-eight virtues, by serving friends and by meticulousness of sages.” This is so because besides serving the rav, one needs the meticulousness of friends, as well as the friends’ influence, meaning that they will affect him by elevating the greatness of his rav. This is so because obtaining the greatness depends entirely on the environment, and a single person cannot do a thing about it whatsoever.
Without the pressure of the group, without feeling that the environment highly values the spiritual mentor, a person cannot esteem him. Egoism does not allow him to do so. It’s clear that here we need the help of society; only it can oblige us to have the correct attitude towards the teacher, through which we will get help from Above.
A teacher is a higher degree, and the group must instill the importance of this higher degree in a person. The difference between the material and spiritual world is that it is enough for the student to follow the teacher’s instructions, performing some material work together with him, and this will already connect him to the teacher even though he has not attained the same spiritual properties. Simple help is sufficient to make a connection with the higher degree and to begin to receive the Light that Reforms.
However, all of this is possible only under the condition that the person venerates the teacher. And this is at odds with human nature, and that is why this can be achieved only due to the influence of the environment. The more the environment venerates the teacher, the easier it is for the person to bow his head before him and thus get help from above according to the order of spiritual degrees.
The ten Sefirot of the person’s spiritual vessel are his friends, and the upper source from which they get the Light, is the Teacher. Thus, the person ascends the rungs of the ladder.
Being in this imaginary world gives us a unique opportunity, through the use of our egoistic desire, to come into contact with the upper spiritual degree and also to build our spiritual union by means of the material connection with friends. Otherwise, there would be no chance to connect to the desire of bestowal from the depth of our egoism.
It’s this material, imaginary form that allows us to use our egoistic desire to rise to spiritual degrees with the help of physical actions. So it happens up to the very top of the spiritual ladder: the same attitude towards the group and the teacher remains. The higher a person ascends, the higher or lower he feels himself, depending on his state. He appreciates the group more and loves the friends or vice versa, hates them more. Also, the teacher seems to him more insignificant, or more exalted.
This connection is never lost. It’s not important in what worlds the friends and teacher exist, in this world or if part of them have already entered the other world, that is, have lost their material form. In general, their connection with each other is forever preserved in the structure of the soul as if they belong to the same spiritual organ.
From the Preparation to the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 6/5/13