Our Sages further said: “Whoever attaches himself to Sages is considered as though he attached himself to the Divine Presence” (Kesuvos 111b). Even more than that, they said, “Whoever partakes in a meal graced with the presence of a Torah scholar is considered as though he basked in the glow of the Divine Presence” (Berachos 64a). The “Torah scholar” mentioned in this context refers to a scholar whose fear of sin comes before his wisdom, and whose deeds are greater than his wisdom; he is the type of scholar that whenever anyone sits with him, he opens his mouth with wisdom and the Torah of loving-kindness is on his tongue. All his words are words of Torah, the path of Life and refining morals. He also speaks all his words for the sake of Heaven. The result of being constantly attached to such a person is that it is inevitable that one will learn from him and take to the way of Life and will guard the pathways of the righteous. About this our Sages urged, “Seat your children among Torah scholars” (ibid. 28b); and they said, “Your home should be a meeting house for sages; warm yourself by their light, put yourself at the dust of their feet, and thirstily drink their words” (Avos 1:4).
It is well known that it is the way of the Yetzer Ha-ra (the Evil Inclination) to sit at the side of the person at all times in order to snare him and distance him from anything of real good. It is also well known that just as rain eventually penetrates stones, so too when a person consistently attends the Beis Ha-midrash (study hall) and listens to words of Torah, they penetrate even a heart of stone, bringing a new spirit inside the person. The Yetzer Ha-ra therefore sees to it that when a person first attends the Beis Ha-midrash and sits there for an hour or two, he finds it boring. The person [at this stage] would rather be anywhere else or to sit all day on the street corners without becoming weary. On the contrary, he would find that restful and enjoyable. But a pure person who has already succeeded in tearing away the mask of blindness from his eyes knows very well that in order to be a good, God-serving Jew he must subdue his Inclination. Forcing himself to listen to Torah lesson on a regular basis, and even without enjoyment, he eventually comes to find it pleasing and enriching. He will continually climb on the rungs of Judaism and righteousness, for it is the unique quality of the Torah that it consumes the spirit of impurity. For this reason the Holy One, may He be blessed, said, “If only they would forsake Me but keep the Torah — for the light of Torah brings them back to the good” (Yerushalmi Chagiga 1:7). One who walks with the wise becomes wise and he will attain the pathways of life.