A carob tree grew right outside of the cave and a river ran through it. For years Rabbi Shimon and his son sat and learned Torah, the highest mystical parts of it, there in the cave. Eventually a messenger came and told them the decree against them was taken away; the Romans had lifted the death warrant. At that welcome news, Rabbi Shimon and his son left the cave and reentered the world population.
As they were walking around outside for the first time, they saw a man busy with plowing his field. The many years Rabbi Shimon and his son had been wrapped up in only spirituality made it hard for them to understand how people could waste their time on physical needs. They, therefore, looked askance at the world, their gaze accusing. From that look, they set fire to the field. A voice came out from Heavens saying, “Did you come out of the cave to destroy My world – turn around and go back to the cave.”
Pronto – the two great mystics returned to the cave and learned for another few years. After a few more years immersed in Torah study non-stop, they decided to emerge again from the cave. This time it was Erev Shabbos when they re-entered civilization. The first thing they saw was a man with two sprigs of sweet smelling flowers. They asked him what it was for – and he said he was taking those sprigs home L’Kavod Shabbos. Ah, that was the key, physicality was there to serve spirituality. Now they could look at the world, with all its inherent physicality and still find favor in it, for all that physicality is just latent spirituality.