Rabash, “Concerning the Importance of Society”: And man, whom The Zohar compares to the tree of the field, suffers, like the tree of the field, from bad neighbors. In other words, we must always cut down the bad weeds around us that affect us, and we must also keep away from bad environments and from people who do not favor the path of truth.
Therefore, in matters of work on the path of truth, one should isolate oneself from other people… that is, from people who do not follow this path. We need a careful watch so as to not be drawn to follow them.
This is called “isolation,” when one has thoughts of the “single authority,” called “bestowal,” and not “public authority,” which is self-love. This is called “two authorities”—the Creator’s authority and one’s own authority.
Question: People who start to seriously study Kabbalah suddenly get various new desires for wealth, knowledge, and external things. Why does it work this way? After all, before that, they did not crave these things at all.
Answer: It happens in order to give them the opportunity to understand themselves and to sort out spiritual desires from material ones.
They have great desires for wealth, fame, power, and even for knowledge. This is natural because in contrast to spiritual development, the material component will always grow. So, it is said: “He who is greater than his friend, his egoism is greater.”
From KabTV’s “The Last Generation” 4/24/18