“Let us take as an illustration the case of a man studying Torah.
He becomes elated at having found something new and interesting, a ‘chidush’ (innovation).
And indeed the Torah may very well have revealed something marvelous to him and his joy may be a genuine intellectual elation unrelated to his ego.
Or it may be a feeling of exultation at having gotten the better of someone else, of showing himself to be more clever, more successful than others.
That is to say, it can be a joy of spiritual experience or it can be a joy of the shell.
This person can continue to study Torah and keep enjoying the occupation with Holy Scripture while all the time be involved in idolatrous worship of himself.
He can even be immersed in Torah in order to maintain a barrier between himself and people, because he dislikes people.
Perhaps the more he shrinks from the people around him, the more intensely he will bury himself in study.
Hatred of others can hardly be considered a basis for love of God and His Torah.”
From In the Beginning by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, “Overcoming the Obstacles to Lower Unity” p. 218