Rabash, “Concerning Above Reason”: It turns out that a person has qualities that his parents bequeathed to their children, and he has qualities that he acquired from the society, which are a new possession. And this comes to him only through bonding with the society and the envy that he feels toward the friends when he sees that they have better qualities than his own. It motivates him to acquire their good qualities, which he doesn’t have and of which he is jealous.
Thus, through the society, he gains new qualities that he adopts by seeing that they are at a higher degree than his, and he is envious of them. This is the reason why now he can be greater than when he didn’t have a society, since he acquires new powers through the society.”
A person is born a small animal, and what he grows up to be depends on the upbringing. If we are talking about an ordinary, earthly upbringing, then a person develops due to society. He envies others and longs for pleasure, money, power, fame, and knowledge, and that is why he learns from society how he can achieve these goals, that is, success in this world. If he has prerequisites for spiritual development, he finds himself in the environment that can instill in him new properties —spiritual.
In the material society, a person develops naturally, by instinctively adopting the values of society and seeking to learn from it how to reach worldly success. But spiritual upbringing is different because it requires a person to cancel himself, that is, it gives him the freedom of choice: to adopt its spiritual values from the environment or not.
Only to the extent of his self-nullification will a person be able to see the society as higher than himself. He will have to apply much effort to look at society from the bottom up, and then he will be able to receive from the society its values, the importance and greatness of the goal, and thus advance spiritually.
Spiritual success depends not only on the environment, but also on how a person uses it, that is, how much he annuls himself and appreciates society, whether he agrees to suffer, seeing others higher than himself. Envy forces a person to feel humiliated, but he needs to understand that it is for his own benefit to see the others as great. If he is capable of such an attitude, then he will advance. In the end, a person has to enjoy that he can stand against his egoism and trample over it in order to attain spiritual values and get closer to the spiritual goal.
That is why advancement in the material society is completely opposite to spiritual advancement. And success in the material world does not guarantee that a person will be able to succeed in spirituality because it is determined by the free choice of the person himself.
From the Preparation to the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 6/2/13