Since man is always among people who have no connection to the work on the path of truth, but to the contrary, always resist those who walk on the path of truth, and since people’s thoughts mingle, the views of those who oppose the path of truth permeate those with some desire to walk on the path of truth.
Hence, there is no other counsel but to establish a separate society for themselves, to be their framework, meaning a separate community that does not mingle with other people whose views differ from that society. And they should constantly evoke in themselves the issue of the purpose of society, so they will not follow the majority, because following the majority is our nature.
For if the society isolates itself from the rest of the people, if they have no connection with other people in regard to spiritual matters, rather their contact with them is only on corporeal matters, they do not mingle with their views, since they have no connection in matters of religion.
Whereas when one is among religious people and begins to speak and argue with them, he instantly intermingles with their opinions, and their opinions begin to permeate his thoughts until he cannot discern between his own thoughts to those he received from others.
Therefore, in matters of work on the path of truth, one should isolate oneself from other people. This is because the path of truth requires constant strengthening, since it is against the view of the world. The view of the world is knowing and receiving, whereas the view of Torah is faith and bestowal. If one strays from that, he immediately forgets all the work of the path of truth and falls into a world of self-love. Only from a society in the form of “They helped every man his friend” does each person in the society receives the strength to fight against the view of the world.
As it is written (Zohar, Pinchas, 91), when a person dwells in a city inhabited by people of other thoughts regarding his path, he will not be able to succeed in his spiritual path, so he relocates to a place inhabited by people similar to him, and succeeds. Just like weeds surrounding a tree which must always be cut, as the tree is affected by them, so we must also keep away from bad surroundings, from people who do not favor the path of truth. We need a careful watch so as to not be drawn to follow them.
This action 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,” meaning the “Creator’s authority” and “one’s own authority.”
The entire matter of work of the Creator takes place in order to bestow. If a person works in order to receive, that is called idol worshipping. Thus, for the heart, the discernment of the heart desires only to receive for self-gratification. And this was the sin of the Tree of Knowledge.
So, the importance of the society is [found] in its ability to lead to bestowal.
- Dr. Michael Laitman’s summary of
Rav Baruch Ashlag’s article “Concerning the Importance of Society, – Essay 12” (1984) @ www.kabbalah.info