Does a person become spiritual only after first developing a yearning for the spiritual? Or can even a materialistic kind of person also have a yearning for the spiritual?
Firstly, when one has ahavas Yisrael (love for other Jews) in his heart, his mind can easily change its
Every person, even if he is materialistic, has a ‘crack’ by which he can penetrate through to his soul and discover his yearning for the spiritual. The bigger this ‘crack’ is, the greater of a yearning he can access.
Ultimately, though, we still have a physical body, which is not able to love, and which is not able to desire unity with the world. Therefore, being that every person has a body, which cannot relate to loving others, every person will suffer to some degree, when he notices faults in others and he recoils from what he sees. Therefore, one needs to accept this suffering with love. This suffering itself purifies one’s body and heart. This is how a person can join with the pain of the Shechinah, for being in exile affects us not only regarding the place we are in, but mainly regarding our souls: the fact that the Jewish people, the “children” of Hashem, have fallen from their lofty spiritual level.