One must be very particular about where his home is located. For our Sages said, “A person should always live in the place of his [Torah] Master.” If the person can live near a Torah scholar it will bring him much benefit. At the very least one should choose to live near an upright and righteous neighbor, for this is like a person who sits next to a persimmon tree and thereby becomes infused with a pleasant scent. But one should not dwell near a bad person, for that would be like a person sitting near petroleum who become malodorous as a result. Our Sages have also taught: “Distance yourself from a bad neighbor,” and: “Woe to the wicked and woe to his neighbor; good for the righteous and good for his neighbor.”
Similarly, one should choose the city in which to live. In particular, one should choose living in Eretz Yisrael (the Land of Israel), for the Sages taught, “Whoever lives in Eretz Yisrael is akin to a person who had a God.” It is well known that Jerusalem is the most holy part of Eretz Yisrael, so a person who desires and toils to live in our Land, should choose the best and set his home in Jerusalem, the holy City, may it be built and settled speedily, in our days. But if the person reckons that in different city he will have more peace of mind to serve Hashem, may He be blessed, then in that case, dwelling even outside the Land is preferable to dwelling in Eretz Yisrael. For this is the purpose of man: to serve his Creator with complete and perfect service. Let he himself be the dwelling place for holiness, as it is written, Make a Sanctuary for Me, and I shall dwell in them, and the Rabbis expound, “the verse does not say ‘and I shall dwell in it,’ but ‘in them’ — that is, inside the Children of Israel themselves. We see, then, that the main thing is that the person’s service be complete and proper.