The intense competitiveness and emphasis on the individual in the Western world, particularly in this country, has created a pervading sense of loneliness, isolation and frustration in our time. The sociologist David Riesman, already noted this over fifty years ago. The psychologist, Abraham Maslow, sees belongingness and acceptance in a community close to the top of primary human needs. But most people, whether they know it and admit it or not, hunger for more than the camraderie of a poker game, a bowling group, a bridge club or an exercise class. They really want meaning in their life. They are groping for a rope or chain that will connect them to a higher dimension, to God. They are searching for a feeling of community with transcendence. The prophet Amos is speaking to our generation. “A time is coming-declares my Lord God-when I will send a famine upon the land: not a hunger for bread or a thirst for water, but for hearing the words of the Lord. People shall wander from sea to sea and from north to east to seek the word of the Lord but they shall not find it” (Amos 8:11-12)
The great paradox of our time is that the religious institutions, charged with circulating the word of God, have themselves been corroded by the influences we just discussed. Some of them are much too large and anonymous, intensifying the feelings of loneliness and isolation. Many are pervaded by an insider/outsider bias based on economic and social standing, education, gender and age.
(From The Kabbalistic Journey and In Search of Higher Wisdom)