We are all influenced by society. One who lives in a place with a low moral standard will eventually start believing that this is what morality is all about. When all the people on the block act one way, a newcomer is likely to follow suit.

This is true with regards to cultural quirks, such as the fact that the average Moroccan citizen doesn’t appreciate baseball, or the fact that you’ll be hard-pressed to find an American who does a 25-hour workweek, or who closes his shop for three hours in the afternoon for a siesta.

Everyone else says so; they must be right How much more so in the world of right and wrong, where all too often objectivity is lost in the wind. That is how millions of Germans came to believe that exterminating Jews was their calling. Everyone else says so; they must be right.

Korach—the filthy rich, rabble-rousing, charismatic opposition leader—is the protagonist of the Torah reading in Numbers named after him. But instead of focusing on his motives, let us zero in on his co-conspirators. Were they simply a bunch of unemployed town criers?

No. Our sages teach that they were great leaders of the tribe of Reuben.

How, then, did they fall into the pit (pun intended)?

They lived next to Korach. Korach was a Levite from the family of Kohath, who lived on the south side of the Tabernacle, and the tribe of Reuben lived just to their south. That’s why they, too, fell.

Rashi puts it this way: “Woe to the evil man; woe to his neighbor.” Great men can fall because of a bad neighbor.

That is why, when searching for a place to live, a place to work, and a school for our children, we must ask ourselves: How do I want my children to grow up? What do I want their (and my) values to be?

Then we look for a community that lives those values today, so that our family can live them tomorrow.

We must ask ourselves: How do I want my children to grow up?If, however, due to circumstances beyond our control, we must live in a place where the popular definition of right and wrong is not compatible with Jewish morals, we should take these words from the Rebbe to heart: “You will either affect your environment, or the environment will affect you. There is no middle ground.” We must try to raise our community to a higher plane; to teach, inspire, be a role model, be proud of who we are and what we stand for.

Rashi puts it this way: “It is good for the tzaddik (righteous one) and good for his neighbor.” Great people are formed by great neighbors.

In summary: If I live next to a Korach, I must either move away, or turn him into a Moses. There is no third option.