Entries in the 'New Publications' Category

My Thoughts On Twitter, 2/9/17

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Donald Trump vs. ‘Liberalism,’ round 1

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Unsettling “Liberal” Behavior Calls For A New Socio-Political Order

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Within our lifetime, we can rise to the next level of existence by connecting with others above ourselves. Our body will die anyway.

Opposites come together at a level that’s higher than their own. When everyone asks for the well-being of OTHERS – they all rise.

In nature, life is created precisely when + and – are unified above their differences. Humans have to do this by themselves.

Gradually, nature develops all its parts towards total interconnection. The time has come for us to participate in this consciously.

From Twitter, 2/9/17

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Haaretz: “Why Jewish Political Activism Leads to Anti-Semitism”

In my regular column in Haaretz, my new article: “Why Jewish Political Activism Leads to Anti-Semitism

For centuries, we have been told that our unity will save both us and humanity. We won’t listen and the world hates us for it.

In the aftermath of the US elections, the voices of many prominent Jews are heard aloud and almost always with the same refrain: “Trump is a bigot, a racist, and is unfit to be our President.” Comedian Sarah Silverman called for a military coup to overthrow President Trump. Israeli singer Noah, called the President Hitler. Other Jews have called on Americans “to mobilize in solidarity against Trump.” Likewise, Jewish Voice for Peace launched a campaign offering “Tools to Resist Trump’s Islamophobia.” As Tablet magazine put it, “From the Orthodox Union to the Reform Movement, and ‘Commentary’ to J Street, American Jews speak out in defense of refugees and Muslims,” and against President Trump.

At face value, it is perfectly legitimate and democratic to protest what you think is wrong. It is a right enshrined in the First Amendment. But things are different when it comes to Jews. We want to fit in; we want to belong, but no one treats us like ordinary people.

“If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die?” asks Shylock the Jew in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice. Today, we are all like Shylock—ever trying to prove our sameness, ever encountering disbelief. Even if we are met with favorable declarations, such as those recently made by British Premier Theresa May, when it comes to actions, such as at the UN Security Council, the UK votes against us.

As in the US, Jews in Europe have been voting for liberal democratic parties for decades. Yet, precisely these parties have become hotbeds for Europe’s most sinister anti-Semitism. European Jewry has woken up, but it is too late. They can either leave Europe or stay and expect matters to grow much worse and much more physically dangerous.

The US is traversing the exact same route. Academia, which is dominated by a leftist oppressive mindset, has used the slick tool of political correctness to perform ideological cleansing of any idea that is not ultra-liberal. The media, much like academia, has been performing character assassination against Trump since the day he announced his intention to run for President. Together, the media and academia present a false image of a President who does not have the support of the American people. This orchestrated smear campaign against a legally and honestly elected president has deepened the divide within American society to a level that looks too much like riots, and too little like legitimate protests.

It is one thing for Jews to choose sides. It is another thing altogether for Jews to vigorously condemn the other side by using vulgarity, profanity, and baseless delegitimization, as in the heated debate currently unfolding in the US. Just as it happened after Sarah Silverman’s tweet, when we Jews incite for separation, we invoke anti-Semitism.

What’s Wrong with Jewish Activism?

The answer to the question in the subtitle is that there is nothing wrong with Jewish activism, as long as it promotes unity rather than division. The Jewish peoplehood was forged through unity when millions of individuals of different descents committed themselves to one another by pledging to be “as one man with one heart.” Once they made that vow, they were tasked with passing unity on to the rest of the world, thereby becoming “a light unto nations.” It may not appear so on the surface, but as long as Jews maintain their unity, they are appreciated. When they disassociate and thereby abandon their commitment to humanity, they cease to be a light unto nations and in so doing invoke hatred toward them.

I have been frequently criticized for expressing this view. However, this is not my personal view but the view of our sages throughout the generations. In that sense, I am only the messenger.

The Midrash (Beresheet Rabah, 66) writes about the Jews: “This nation, world peace dwells within it.” The Talmud writes in Masechet Yevamot: “No calamity comes to the world but because of Israel.” Midrash Tanhuma (Devarim, Portion, Nitzavim) writes, “Israel will not be redeemed until they are one bundle.” The Mishnah (Okatzin 3:12) asserts, “The Lord did not find a receptacle that holds a blessing for Israel but peace, as it was said (Psalms 29), ‘The Lord will give strength to His people, the Lord will bless His people with peace.’”

The Book of Zohar writes in the portion, Aharei Mot: “‘Behold, how good and how pleasant it is when brothers sit together.’ These are the friends as they sit together and do not part from one another. At first, they seem like people at war, wishing to kill one another. Then, they return to being in brotherly love. And you, the friends who are here, as you were in fondness and love before, henceforth you will also not part. And by your merit there will be peace in the world.”

Not only our ancient sources spoke of the importance of unity for the people of Israel and for the entire world. Our sages continued to talk about it throughout the generations.

“When Israel have unity, there is no end to their attainment,” writes the book, Noam Elimelech (The Pleasantness of Elimelech). “The prime defense against calamity is love and unity. When there are love, unity, and friendship between each other in Israel, no calamity can come over them,” adds Rabbi Kalonymus Halevi Epstein in Maor VaShemesh (Light and Sun). “We are commanded at each generation to strengthen the unity among us so our enemies do not rule over us,” wrote Rabbi Eliyahu Ki Tov in The Book of Consciousness. The Ramchal also wrote in The Commentary of Ramchal on the Torah: “Moses wished to complete the correction of the world at that time. … However, he did not succeed because of the corruptions that occurred along the way.”

In the previous century, the two greatest spiritual leaders of the generation, Rav Kook and Rav Yehuda Ashlag, author of the complete Sulam (Ladder) commentary on The Book of Zohar, wrote extensively about the role of Israel toward the world and the vital part that Israel’s unity plays in carrying out its task. In Orot (Lights), Rav Kook wrote, “The construction of the world, which is currently crumpled by the dreadful storms of a blood-filled sword, requires the construction of the Israeli nation … in anticipation of a force full of unity that is found in Israel.” Similarly, Rav Ashlag asserted, “It is upon the Israeli nation to qualify itself and all the people of the world to develop until they take upon themselves that sublime work of the love of others, which is the ladder to the purpose of Creation” (“The Arvut” [Mutual Guarantee]).

Returning to The Book of Zohar, the famous Tikkun no. 30 stresses that when Israel are not united, they “bring about the existence of poverty, ruin, and robbery, looting, killing, and destructions in the world.”

Establishing Constructive Activism

If we Jews want to help heal American society, certainly a commendable aspiration, we must return to our roots. Only unity above our differences—without suppressing any view but rather by embracing diversity above disputes and mutual disdain—will serve as an example worth following. Hurling abuse at people for their political views will not award us esteem. It will also not make us more acceptable in American society. What the nations want from us is leadership by way of example, not by way of retribution.

Surprisingly, some of the worst enemies of the Jewish people were keenly aware of the power of Jewish society and our role toward humanity. The famous anti-Semitic industrialist, Henry Ford, wrote in his infamous book, The International Jew—the World’s Foremost Problem: “Modern reformers, who are constructing model social systems on paper, would do well to look into the social system under which the early Jews were organized.” Elsewhere in the book, Ford wrote, “Society has a large claim against the Jew … that he begin to fulfill … the ancient prophecy that through him all the nations of the earth should be blessed.”

Rav Yehuda Leib Arieh Altar (the ADMOR of Gur) wrote in Sefat Emet (Language of Truth): “Because they sinned, that force of unity was taken from the wicked and was given to the children of Israel… We should trust it for because our intention is good, we are certain to succeed, since the force of unity assists us.” Rav Yehuda Ashlag added similarly in his essay, “The Arvut” (Mutual Guarantee), when he explained the meaning of being “a light unto nations”: “You shall be My Segula [remedy/virtue] from among all peoples. This means that sparks of purification and cleansing [from unfounded hatred] shall pass through you onto all the peoples and the nations of the world.”

Eliezer Ben Yehuda, reviver of the Hebrew language, wrote in The Complete Writings of Eliezer Ben Yehuda (Vol. 1): “We have yet to open our eyes and see that only unity can save us. Only if we all unite … to work in favor of the entire nation, our labor will not be in vain.” Likewise, A.D. Gordon, the chief ideologist of Zionism, asserted in Light of Life on the Day of Smallness: “‘All of Israel are responsible for one another’ … Only where people are responsible for one another there is Israel. Moreover, all the people are responsible for one another, and only where people are responsible for one another there are people (and there is a nation, a humane nation). If there are none who are responsible for one another, what is there? We, who are coming to build [the State of Israel], will certainly not build on the basis of relations of the generation of separation [generation of Babylon, when people were separated].”

And finally, David Ben Gurion, the first Prime Minister of Israel, stated the following in Revolution of the Spirit: “Love your neighbor as yourself is the superior commandment in Judaism. With these three words, the eternal, human law of Judaism was formed… The state of Israel will be worthy of its name only if its social, economic, political, and judicial structure are based upon these three eternal words.”

With these few quotes out of many others found in numerous writings of our sages, I tried to convey their simple message that the role of the Jewish people is not to be political activists. Rather, it is to be a role model of unity. If we do this, we will bring peace upon ourselves and upon the world, since we will be “a light unto nations.”
[201643]

My Thoughts On Twitter, 2/5/17

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World Kabbalah Convention 2017 in Tel Aviv

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The surrounding world is a projection of our egoism. Don’t like the world? Then correct your own ego – not your shadow!

Instinctively, Trump opponents understand the need for change. They’re not ripe for it psychologically, and desperately cling to the old.

Reality check: when Trump calls a spade a spade, not being politically correct, could it be that we’re just not ready for it?

Liberalism led to Political Correctness. Since it’s feeding on our egoism, it is now overblown. It hinders us and needs to be replaced.

In the old world we used to lie to each other and not call a spade a spade. Trump reveals who we really are—that’s why we don’t like him.

Society’s development is driven by egoism, so contradictions will intensify. Kabbalah teaches how to connect in spite of contradictions.

Trump undermines the old world management system, which is dying, rather than being temporarily replaced. That’s why it keeps resisting.

Michael Laitman: Ultra “Liberal” Self-Righteousness, Or, How Jews Invoke Anti-Semitism

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Ultra “Liberal” Self-Righteousness, Or, How Jews Invoke Anti-Semitism Antisemitism:

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Michael Laitman: A Sober Look at Trump’s Immigration Ban and Its Protest MuslimBan

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A Sober Look At Trump’s Immigration Ban And Its Protest MuslimBan

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The world doesn’t realize: social development can’t be stopped. Trump might just be replaced by one who’s even more right & anti-liberal.
[201536]
From Twitter, 2/5/17

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Ynet: “The Day Robots Take Over The Labor Market”

From my column in Ynet: “The Day Robots Take Over The Labor Market”

Autonomous cars that are driven by themselves, three-dimensional printers, and computerized supermarkets without cashiers, what will taxi drivers, salespeople, and all the other people do who have professions that are going to disappear? How will we fill our day after we discover that our workplace has been shut down? Rav Laitman presents the expected scenario of changes in the future society that we should prepare for.

In 2025, the world will be totally different. Sophisticated machines and computers will take over the labor force. Robotic cars that drive by themselves will replace truck drivers, taxi drivers, and bus drivers. We will not need banks either, and professions such as cashiers and other service providers will likely perish from the world. We will still need personnel to operate computerized systems, but will require very few people. The conclusion is simple: most of today’s workers will find themselves without a livelihood.

If such scenarios sound like a science fiction movie trailer, here is some data. The research institute Gartner predicts that by the end of 2020, about 50 billion tools, objects, and people are expected to be connected to the Internet. The world will be connected by formats similar to smart cities; we will all live in smart houses, and machines that know how to transmit information between them and give orders to each other without any human contact will be part of our daily lives. This technological revolution is called the Internet of Things (IoT).

Along with the work place, which is like a second home for us today, wages in their familiar form will disappear, money, which gives us an incentive to get up in the morning, glues us together, and compels us to make a living through the connections between us. What will our future source of income be? What will happen to our wages?

It’s All About Relationships

The Americans have great hopes for a better future with the election of Trump. They expect him to create tens of thousands of new jobs and to make America great again. Other people are hoping that salvation will come from science and that scientists will offer a new socio-economic approach. In both cases, it is about covering up the problem, about providing patches that will not last long. Eventually, we must face the growing problem of global unemployment.

You might try to bury your head in the sand like many do or to ignore the enormous changes that are coming, but you should take one thing into account: man’s egoistic nature. It will continue to grow and develop, will become increasingly more ferocious, and might eventually lead puzzled humanity to choose between two familiar options: a Marxist-style socialist revolution or a nationalistic regime with Nazi/Hitler-style characteristics.

According to the wisdom of Kabbalah, the solution is in building the right relationships between people. It is the different social connections throughout history that have formatted different new regimes. Even back in the Middle Ages, different social eras like slavery and feudalism based on agriculture divided society into two major classes: the nobility and the vassals. The egoistic nature in humanity grew stronger at that time and led to the search of crooked ways to profit more, and people began to develop new means that led to great changes.

At the end of the 18th century, the gradual transition to the modern world began. The industrial revolution developed very rapidly and led to urbanization, a process in which the masses in Europe and the US left pastoral villages and moved to big cities that developed around the new factories that were being built. Society gradually changed, and two new classes emerged: the working class and the bourgeois class.

In the middle of the 19th century, the egoistic nature of relations in society became more extreme and took on a new socio-economic format called capitalism. The method was good at first, but the 2008 economic crisis illustrated briefly how far things can go, and generally speaking, few know how to play by the rules of capitalism, and they are the ones who determine the game, and the others, who are the silent majority, lose big time.

Economy or Corruption

Although the economy helps us live, it isn’t life itself. The increasing activity in the model of universal basic income (UBI), according to which the state pays every citizen a daily allowance regardless of his employment status, disconnecting work from pay, is no coincidence. It reflects the awkward attempts to prepare for an era in which there will be no work, but there will be plenty to live on thanks to advanced robotics. This is the reason that, in a digital era that threatens to change jobs as we know them today, we must engage in building a new social structure. As soon as society changes, the economy will change.

How will we bring about the change? Just as we are all products of the public education system that was founded with the acceleration of the industrial revolution in the 19th century in order to train skilled workers for the professional work on the assembly lines of the factories, we also must bring about an unprecedented educational revolution in the 21st century. This means that we must adapt the relationships between us through educating the masses to live in a new society.

What is the first step? It is to attend school once again, to study about the global world and about human nature, and to discuss how we can tighten the positive relationships between us at a roundtable. The positive force of connection we will create and establish between us will balance the negative force of our egoistic nature, restrain it from disintegrating relationships, and will provide every individual with an income in the emotionally and psychologically in the form of happiness, joy, peace, and tranquility.

Homemade

Such an educational initiative is based on the laws of global nature, which is taught by the wisdom of Kabbalah. Unity is the most basic, natural structure. Nature aspires for balance, equality, and wholeness, and since people are part of the circle of nature, we, too, are obliged to operate in equality and mutual consideration. The only difference is that in our case, we must do it consciously through an educational process. We will put an end to the problem of growing unemployment by promoting an ideology that calls for unity. New jobs will be created for many and their only goal will be generating the positive energy of connection. This will be our production, an income of nobel human value, a pay we will work for.

What will be our work? We will be busy developing a society that encourages closeness between people. We will focus on the improvement of skills such as patience, concession, and restraint in our relationships with others and will increase awareness of social relations hidden from view. We will not be required to change any of the natural attributes we were born with or those we have acquired during our lifetime, but we must learn how to establish nice mutual relationships between us that will guarantee a good and happy life.

What about the basic necessities such as food, clothing, housing, transportation, and other social services like healthcare and education? We will leave that to robots and smart machines. The enormous surplus in manpower will operate the advanced equipment, and wherever manpower is needed, we all will work together in rotation and with great will to serve all of society.

Robots gradually will replace our technical contribution to humanity, but not the human part, which we have not developed yet. When we connect a bit more, the social atmosphere will bring us together and create a new socio-economic structure that we have never known before. The state will become a big communal family, national and personal problems will be solved from a new perspective, and the force of connection will heal society and bring it to its full recovery. The new social economy will finally free us from the continuous worry about making a living and an exaggerated engagement in materialism, and will leave us spare time in order to develop individually, socially, and spiritually.
[200199]
From Ynet article 1/5/17

Haaretz: “Good Luck Donald, Because We All Need To Trump The Ego”

In my regular column in Haaretz, my new article: “Good Luck Donald, Because We All Need to Trump the Ego

We can make Donald Trump’s inauguration the start of a new future, now all it takes is our determination.

Today, Donald Trump becomes the 45th President of the United States. But I am still not sure if we should congratulate him or comfort him on his inauguration. Wherever you look, there are chaos, helplessness, and hopelessness. In the 20th century, humankind’s unalloyed egoism has brought nature to its knees. In the 21st century, it is bringing humankind to its knees.

Since September 11, 2001, when al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked four passenger jets, demolished the World Trade Center and part of the Pentagon, and killed 3,000 people, the US has been at war with Islamist terrorism. Since 2011, when the Arab Spring broke out, the Arab world has been devastated as regimes all over the Near and Middle East collapsed and entire nations lapsed into deadly chaos that has claimed the lives of millions of civilians. To date, with the exception of Israel and partially Jordan, no country in the Middle East enjoys stability and relative normalcy.

The wave of migrants following the collapse of governance all over the Muslim world has prompted a tsunami of migration into Europe. The Europeans, who were already struggling to recover from a financial crisis—a ripple effect of the US 2008 near meltdown of Wall Street—found themselves overwhelmed and literally raped by unabashed, predominantly male swells of vociferous Muslim migrants demanding to be treated as proprietors, not as refugees.

As the European mayhem unfolded, the US did not lag far behind. Violence has spread throughout the country, Muslim terrorism has struck hard several times, racial tensions have intensified significantly leading to frequent aggression, and anti-Semitism, which was already terrifying Europe’s Jews, has spread throughout US academic institutions and has begun to spill over to the streets.

And as if all this is not enough, nature has begun to avenge man’s abuse through massive earthquakes and tsunami in Japan, Haiti, and other places, record setting worldwide temperatures three years in a row, and a general sense of helplessness before the ire of nature. Who would have thought that in the 21st century, Parisians, once the dwellers of the capital of “good life,” would be told “not to fear wolves roaming Paris streets as they only eat four-legged animals.” Let’s face it; the world’s a mess.

Even at Davos, Forbes Magazine concluded that “It appears that a dramatically new world disorder … has begun to emerge, calling into question the viability of the post-war, liberal international order.” And so, before Chinese fake food factories manage to poison their entire nation out of sheer greed, before Europe plunges into total disarray as the EU crumbles, before the US army declares martial law within the United States to curb violent riots, and before the Jews are slaughtered the world over, let’s stop for a moment. Instead of panicking, let’s climb aboard an imaginary plane and look at our reality from a bird’s eye view.

We really, really need to make some sense of the new world disorder

That Sweet and Evil Nectar

Rav Yehuda Ashlag, known as Baal HaSulam (author of The Ladder) for his Sulam (Ladder) commentary on The Book of Zohar, was the greatest kabbalist of the 20th century. He was also the father of my teacher, Rav Baruch Ashlag (RABASH), who continued his father’s teachings and inherited his manuscripts. One night, as I was sifting through letters that Baal HaSulam had written to his students, I came across an allegory that had touched me very deeply. Baal HaSulam wrote there that egoism is like a sweet, yet poisonous nectar placed on the tip of a sword. The nectar is so sweet and so addictive that anyone who finds it is compelled to lift the sword up to his mouth, stretch out his tongue, and let the nectar drop onto it, drop by drop, by drop, until the poison overcomes him and he dies.

That sweet and evil nectar is our ego. The ego promised us that capitalism would make everyone rich. But once people became rich, the ego made them snatch everything for themselves and leave nothing for others. The ego also promised us that communism would make everyone equal and ensure that everyone were well-fed, well-clothed, and healthy. But once the champions of communism became rulers, the ego took over and equality and well-being for the people went out the window and into the Siberian permafrost. The ego also promised us that liberalism would guarantee our freedom of speech and freedom of thought, but once it took the reins, it alienated us from one another through political correctness. In the name of the First Amendment, the ego has driven us so far apart that people feel that it’s okay to ban family members just because they aren’t liberals, too.

All of these false promises of the ego are the poisonous nectar. They are all sweet when we first taste them, but they all turn out sour and leave us hungrier and sicker than before. We need the real cure!

When Life Serves You Lemons…

“When life serves you lemons,” goes the saying, “turn them into lemonade.” The ego is a huge lemon. No other species has been dealt this type of snag. All other parts of nature—animals, plants, and even minerals—run merrily along with nature’s perfect balance between the positive and negative forces that create ebb and flow, day and night, summer and winter, and life and death. We, on the other hand, have been given only the negative—an ever growing desire to take, and no desire to give (unless we can receive more in return).

Thousands of years ago, our ancient Hebrew sages noticed this and noted, “The inclination of a man’s heart is evil from his youth” (Gen 5:21). However, they did not settle for pointing out the problem; they devised a recipe for turning sour lemons into sweet lemonade.

The first to do this was Abraham the Patriarch, whose legacy of mercy set the foundation of what was later to become the law of Israel: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

But the ego did not rest; it kept on growing. Maimonides tells us (Mishneh Torah) that Abraham bequeathed his teaching to his sons and his disciples, who continued to develop it over the years. Finally, under Moses’ leadership, Abraham’s group was told that they could either unite “as one man with one heart,” and thereby become a nation, or the mountain of Sinai (from the Hebrew word, sinaah [hatred]), which had been turned over them like a vault, would be their tomb (Masechet Shabbat). They chose unity.

At that moment, the lemons had turned into lemonade. The people of Israel discovered that if they did not suppress the mountain of hatred that arose between them, but covered it with love, then this unleashed the positive, balancing force that exists everywhere in nature but in humanity. The book, Likutey Etzot (Assorted Counsels), describes this process in the following way: “The essence of peace is to connect two opposites. Hence, do not be alarmed if you see a person whose view is the complete opposite of yours and you think that you will never be able to make peace with him. Also, when you see two people who are completely opposite to each other, do not say that it is impossible to make peace between them. On the contrary, the essence of peace is to try to make peace between two opposites.”

Between Right and Left

Kabbalah likes to use a term called “three lines,” which it divides into “right,” “left,” and “middle” line. The left line is the ego. We have plenty of this. The right line is the desire to give, Abraham’s quality of mercy. The middle line doesn’t exist independently; it is the result of well-maintained balance between the ego and the quality of mercy, between the right and left lines.

When you look at nature, you do not see three lines; you see harmony. This harmony is the result of the perfect balance that exists between the two desires in nature. Because we humans are devoid of the right line, the quality of mercy, it is very easy to distinguish the ego, and it is very clear that we must supplement it with the quality of mercy. The bigger the ego, the more mercy it requires in order to balance it and create a sustainable middle line. It turns out that the intensification of the ego is happening precisely so we will add the quality of mercy and cover our egos with it.

Our sages knew this wisdom and therefore never tried to crush the ego or suppress it. They knew it was a necessary basis upon which to build the quality of mercy. And in the process of building it, they grasped the secret of nature’s harmony—the perfect balance between the right and left lines.

As the ego kept evolving, so did the methods of supplementing it. The Book of Zohar writes in the portion, Aharei Mot: “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to also sit together. These are the friends as they sit together, and are not separated from each other. At first, they seem like people at war, wishing to kill one another. Then they return to being in brotherly love. …And you, the friends who are here, as you were in fondness and love before, henceforth you will also not part … And by your merit there will be peace in the world.”

Making Lemonade in the 21st Century

What worked for the authors of The Zohar would not work for us. We are simply too selfish to be able to introduce the right line in the same way the authors of The Zohar did it.

To counterweigh the ego, we first need to balance the intolerable inequality in our society. Data revealed just recently shows that inequality in the United States has increased so much that today’s top one percent “earn 81 times more” than the bottom 50 percent. (Note, not the poorest, but the bottom fifty percent of the American population.) “This ratio of 1 to 81 is similar to the gap between the average income in the United States and the average income in the world’s poorest countries,” such as “the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, and Burundi.”

Among many opinion leaders and politicians, there is a growing realization that some form of basic income must be guaranteed to all. They realize that in a world of growing income-insecurity due to automation and globalization, the risk of social instability will grow the more permanent joblessness becomes ubiquitous. When people have no way of providing for their families and for themselves, they become desperate, and therefore dangerous. One way or another, governments will have to find a way to guarantee that entire populations do not go hungry.

However, giving away money without any strings attached will not taper the risk of civil unrest. If people have nothing to do all day and no commitment to anyone, they will become loose cannons that will undoubtedly explode. Considering that our self-absorption does not stop growing just because we aren’t employed, it is not hard to imagine what city streets will look like a few years from now.

In light of all this, what we can and must do is stipulate participation in “connection trainings” as a precondition for reception of the basic income. In these trainings, people will learn about nature’s balance, human nature’s imbalance, and the need to supplement the ego with mercy to create harmonious balance. In other words, they will learn about the three lines.

But they will not only learn; they will participate in introducing the quality of mercy to humanity, just as the ancient Hebrews did more than two millennia ago. Throughout the world, my students conduct what they have termed “connection circles.” In these circles, strangers, people of different backgrounds, and even people engaged in active conflicts, learn to care for one another in ways they never thought possible.

The circle is used to indicate that everyone is equal. When this is so, no one dominates or imposes his or her view, and everyone listens to everyone else. The goal of the circle is to strive to connect people by trying to rise above the ego. As people do this, they release the quality of mercy that exists everywhere in nature but in us, which then covers our selfishness with care for others. There is no delay; participants feel within a few minutes the impact of the right line—the positive force—and how it balances the left line, the ego. Allegorically, you could say that in the circle, we take the lemon from the left, the sugar from the right, and in the middle, we make the lemonade. The above link demonstrates how this is done, as does this clip, and this (the latter is Hebrew speaking; make sure the Subtitles option is switched on), even among Arabs and Jews. In these circles, people can rise above their hatred and release the quality of mercy (or the right line) into the circle.

Such circles can also be conducted over the internet. Already, some countries conduct online connection circles with dozens, sometimes hundreds of people simultaneously, grouped into circles of 8-10 people, though the participants may be in different places and even different countries. If such techniques were to be employed en masse, it would change the atmosphere throughout the world. People would become geared toward connection rather than confrontation. The streets would be safer, families calmer, and people would actually smile at each other on the street.

If we do this right, people will understand that the ego is a part of who we are, and that it is not meant to be used as a means for overcoming others, but for connecting with them on a higher level. When people grasp that this is how nature’s forces work, they will know how to direct their lives appropriately going forward.

As time goes by, people will need to develop new methods to connect themselves above their growing egos. But since they will have grasped life’s fundamental principle of right, left, and middle line, they will find new ways to connect, rather than turn back to violence. The three lines principle, if implemented, will guarantee peace, prosperity, and happiness on Earth.

I do hope that the inauguration of Donald J. Trump will also be the beginning of a new future for humanity, one where sour lemons immediately turn into sweet and healthy lemonade. We have the knowledge; we have the means; all it takes is our determination.
[200919]

The Jerusalem Post: “Fake News And The Truth About Human Nature”

In my column in The Jerusalem Post: “Fake News And The Truth About Human Nature”

Depression, violence, substance abuse, alienation and isolation are symptoms of the self-entitlement epidemic. Humanity’s final frontier is not to conquer space, but to conquer the space between us.

Earlier this month, an unsubstantiated BuzzFeed dossier claiming to contain compromising information about the President-elect, Donald Trump, was picked up and treated as real news by CNN. The news had turned out to be false, and in his first news conference in months, Trump grilled the CNN reporter, called his network “fake news,” and prevented him from asking questions. Since November 9, when the stunning results of the US elections came in, there has been a growing buzz around the question of whether or not fake news was used to promote candidates.

Fake news is nothing new. It is an oft-used means to mislead people for financial, political, or other purposes. Governments, political parties, and even public relations professionals often misreport in order to accentuate their side of a debate, or simply fabricate stories just to pull the public to their side. In fact, the news today is so plagued with bias that it can either be fake or misleading, but it is always bent.

The Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) Code of Ethics states that a journalist must “Never deliberately distort facts or context.” In today’s world of journalism, such a statement could easily count as fake news. When every news outlet clearly states its political position, we can only expect news outlets to deliberately distort facts and context in order to manipulate public discourse and public opinion. The interest of media is to serve their shareholders, not to inform the public.

Here is a classic case of a media outlet using news to manipulate the public’s view. In recent months, terrorists carried out three deadly attacks in a very similar fashion—driving trucks into a crowd of unsuspecting pedestrians. The first attack took place in Nice, France, the second happened in Berlin, Germany, and the third ramming occurred in Jerusalem, Israel. Despite the similarity of events, and despite the fact that in all three incidents there were casualties, and the driver was clearly a terrorist deliberately plowing with his truck through the crowd, BBC News reported the third incident, in Israel, very differently from the first two. Here are the headlines that BBC gave to each of the attacks: France: At least 84 killed by lorry at Bastille Day celebrations. Germany: Lorry kills 12 at Christmas market. Israel: Driver of lorry shot in Jerusalem after allegedly ramming pedestrians, injuring at least 15, Israeli media report.

Remember the SPJ Code of Ethics item that journalists must “never deliberately distort facts or context”? Indeed, how very far we are from the days when we considered the press the “watchdog of democracy.” The only thing they watch today is their shareholders’ interests. Yet, there is a reason for this sad state.

The Ego Is King

We may be eyeing journalists these days, but to be honest, bias is all over the place. Take polls, for instance. We used to put them on a pedestal and regard them as the bastion of objectivity. Following their two flops—to predict the outcomes of the Brexit vote and the US elections—polling companies have lost the public’s trust. Now, even the influential French newspaper, Le Parisien, has decided to abandon opinion polls in the run-up to the general elections, and to “shift focus from ‘horse race’ journalism to on-the-ground reporting.”

Another major issue of trust is with the US Judicial System. Since the president nominates the Supreme Court justices, and Senate must approve them, it means that by definition, the US justice system is politically bent from the top down. If the Supreme Court is subject to the influence of political interests, can we even expect objectivity anywhere in the judicial system?

Wherever you turn, personal, sectarian, financial, or political interests determine the way the country is run. This is true for the United States, as it is true for every single country in the world. Yet, as sad as this is, knowing the truth is the first step toward correction. In Kabbalah, realizing the negativity of human nature and its adverse impact on our world is called, “recognition of evil.”

Indeed, today the ego is king. Sociologists have written about our culture of narcissism since the late 1970s, but since the turn of the century they have begun to think that our selfishness has become an epidemic. Spiraling depression, skyrocketing divorce rates, escalating violence, ideological and religious radicalism, an explosion of substance abuse, growing alienation and isolation, escalating political disputes, all these are symptoms of the self-entitlement epidemic that is threatening our well-being and our very existence.

To Correct Human Society, Correct Human Nature

Describing the entire correction process for human society is a bit of a tall order for a newspaper column. I detailed this in several of my books, including Self-Interest vs. Altruism in the Global Era: How society can turn self-interests into mutual benefit, and Completing the Circle: An empirically proven method for finding peace and harmony in life, which also includes examples of practical implementation of the correction process. Yet, I would like to highlight the basic principles for constructing a healthy society.

The Engine of Development

You cannot suppress or crush the ego. Humanity has been trying to do so for centuries, and has failed miserably. Our egos are not stagnant; they are constantly growing, so every defense we erect against them crumbles as soon as more intense egoism appears. The pressure released when such outbursts occur causes violence and disorder throughout society. In fact, the world we see today—where the ego is destroying everything of value on the planet—is precisely the result of our failed attempts at crushing the ego.

Also, the ego is the engine of our development. Humanity’s greatest achievements emerged from man’s egoistic search for fame, fortune, and knowledge. If we crush the ego, we will crush progress.

Humanity’s Final Frontier

The New York Times columnist, Thomas Friedman, said recently in an interview with Tucker Carlson on the Tucker Carlson Tonight show: “Connecting people to people will be a huge job. …I think that the best jobs will be people-to-people jobs. We’re going to see a whole new set of jobs and industries around the heart, around connecting people to people.”

Indeed, humanity’s final frontier is not to conquer space; it is to conquer the space between us. In this perilous time, humanity’s single most important task is to rise above the ego and unite. This may sound utopian or unrealistic, but it is feasible if we employ the right approach and use the right means.

Almost 4,000 years ago, Abraham the Patriarch discovered that life exists on the balance between giving and receiving. As is today, Abraham’s society in Babylon was shattered by alienation and by aspirations for human achievement. The ancient Hebrews came from multiple tribes and nationalities. Escaping the alienation in their own tribes, they flocked to Abraham, who taught them how to love one another, the trait that eventually made us into a nation. Today, after two millennia of abandonment of this most valuable asset, we must not only return to our roots and restore our unity, but also share the method for achieving it with the rest of the tormented world.

Abraham and his descendants developed a connection method that enabled their disciples to transcend the egoism that stood between them and bridge it with love. The higher the threshold of egoism became, the higher the bridge they built above it. The book, Likutey Etzot (Assorted Counsels), writes, “The essence of peace is to connect two opposites. Hence, do not be alarmed if you see a person whose view is the complete opposite of yours and you think that you will never be able to make peace with him. Also, when you see two people who are completely opposite to each other, do not say that it is impossible to make peace between them. On the contrary, the essence of peace is to try to make peace between two opposites.” King Solomon aptly summarized this approach in his proverb (Prov 10:12): “Hate stirs strife, and love covers all crimes.”

Until now, we have enshrined receiving and we have totally abandoned the element of giving. We have warped society and made it selfish to the core. Now we must reintroduce the element of giving into our communities, so that the positive force of connection will offset the negative force of separation.

In previous columns, I wrote about Connection Circles and other techniques we can apply in order to install the positive force into society. But before we can employ any of them, we must decide that we no longer want to live in an egoistic world where the press is misreporting, the justice system is politicized, and the economy benefits only the ruling elite while the rest of us are slowly sliding into poverty. Just as physicians need a diagnosis in order to prescribe an effective cure, we need “recognition of evil” in order to start healing our society. This is where we are right now; it is the first step toward recovery.
[200760]

Ynet: “The Right In Europe—A Ticking Time Bomb”

From my weekly column in Ynet: “The Right In Europe—A Ticking Time Bomb”

The last referendum in Italy and the resignation of Prime Minister Renzi announce the strengthening of fascist movements and prove that it is time for Europeans to unite. Currently, the winds of nationalistic protests are targeted at the establishment, but they might soon be targeted against millions of immigrants, and later, as has happened in the past, against the Jews. Rav Laitman explains how to defuse the ticking nationalistic bomb that threatens the fate of the Jewish people.

In my latest articles, I have gone into great detail discussing the current global changes and have explained that it all stems from the laws of nature, which the wisdom of Kabbalah teaches. The world is changing, the economy is taking on a new form, regimes are changing before our very eyes, and the voice of the British people who chose to leave the EU and the voice of the Americans who lead Trump to the White House were echoed in the voice of the Italian people who said no to the referendum and strongly opposed reforms in the Italian constitution, a real rebellion in the faltering EU.

The winds of nationalistic protest in Italy are now targeted at the political establishment, but they may change direction and target the millions of foreign immigrants and later, as always, the Jews. This dangerous fascist, anti-Semitic trend could affect the fate of Europe, the fate of the Jewish people, and the fate of humanity as a whole.

The Collective Is Greater Than the Sum of Its Parts

Fascism is part of the Italian DNA. In 1919, about a year after WWI, fascism as a world view led to the emergence of a dictatorial regime in Italy, which replaced liberal democracy. Italian fascism attributed great significance to the idea of the eternal state and demanded the mortal individual to sacrifice himself, his aspirations, and his goals for the greater good: there are no social classes, there are no individuals, and the nation is a live and breathing body.

Through coherent nationalistic ideology emphasizing hatred of foreigners, the purported founder of fascism Benito Mussolini rallied his countrymen to extricate them from poverty, social problems, and unemployment—the same issues Italy faces today.

Mussolini himself came up with the term “fascism,” which stems from the Italian world “fascio,” meaning bundle or unity. It is an ancient Roman symbol of a bundle of wooden rods as a representation of strength through unity in contrast to the weakness of the individual. It is an egoistic and exploitative connection whose sole purpose is to gain power and control, and it eventually lead to the destruction of the “united nation.”

A hundred years after it faded away, the nationalistic parties are reawakening and indicate the real need for unity. It is perfectly clear that the unity that stems from narrow egoism is concerned only about its own nation. The question is whether there is another option. Is it possible to lead the growing need for unity onto a new track and, if so, how?

The Jewish Logo

Unlike the fascist logo, hundreds of years ago, the large Israeli force unity of the Jewish people was likened to a bundle of reeds: “If someone takes a bundle of reeds, can he break them all at once? If taking them one by one, even a baby can break them” (Tanchuma). The story of the unity of Israel goes back to ancient Babylon about 3,500 years ago. In those days, the primitive society was like one family where everyone understood each other “Now the entire earth was of one language and uniform words” (Genesis 11:1). Suddenly, man’s egoistic nature erupted. The same desire to receive pleasure which motivates us through pleasure or suffering demanded greater pleasures at the expense of others. The mutual exploitation led to a deep social crisis that split the Babylonians and led to a civil war.

The frustrated Babylonians looked for a way out of the thicket of the social crisis, and salvation appeared in the form of Abraham, the great Babylonian priest of the time who gathered them around him, taught them the wisdom of Kabbalah and how to be connected and love each other. A group of once-estranged Babylonians connected as one man in one heart and were called Israel because of their desire to resemble the Creator, “Yashar El,” to attribute everything to the one force of nature that is whole and eternal. From the moment the nation of Israel was established, it had one goal only: to serve as an example of unity for the other parts of divided humanity, to be a Light of the nations of the world.

The Jewish nation has undergone many changes. After the destruction of the Second Temple, egoism grew and unfounded hatred intensified. Brotherly love and the sublime value of unity ceased to illuminate the spiritual vision, and the nation dispersed all over the world for two thousand years of exile.

The Jews cannot wander all over the world and assimilate with the other nations forever because they have a great responsibility and an obligation to bring to the world the method of connection. Every time the Jews tried to deny their role, they soon were reminded of it in the form of anti-Semitism, which is the law of nature.

Anti-Semitism in Brief

At the beginning of the 20th century, Henry Ford, a great anti-Semite, published a series of booklets called “The International Jew” in which he wrote, “The Jew has gotten used to thinking that he is the only proprietor of society’s humanism for too long. Society has a great demand from the Jew, that he should cease to be aloof, that he should stop his abuse of the world, that he should stop relating to Jewish groups as the goal of all his profits, and that he should start fulfilling the ancient prophecy, since it is by that that all the nations on earth will be blessed.”

Ford is one of many examples. In 1364, Polish King Casimir III said that the Jews were always scheming, wanting to harm the Christians, to exploit them, and impoverish them financially. In 1885, German philosopher Paul de Lagarde offered the German people a detailed plan as to how to get rid of the loathsome Jewish race living among them. He said that one doesn’t negotiate with “pests and parasites” and one doesn’t educate them, but they should be destroyed “as speedily and thoroughly as possible.” Adolf Hitler, the odious, wrote “For the Jewish spirit is the product of the Jewish person. Unless we expel the Jewish people soon, they will have judaized our people within a very short time.” We all know how his words were made into actions.

But even after the Holocaust that hit European Jews hard, the winds of hatred are blowing again. The French writer and diplomat Jean Giraudoux wrote “that the French racial stock was being threatened by hordes of Eastern and Central European ghetto Jews descending upon France. These Jewish barbarians inclined toward lawlessness, and their corruption undermined the native artisanal traits of precision, perfection, and trust.”

Unity Heals the Wounds of Humanity

Hitler, Ford, and many anti-Semites throughout history have subconsciously felt that the Jewish nation has a meaningful role in the world, and that it doesn’t fulfill it. When unity among the people of Israel weakens, fascism and Nazism grow stronger, so it is no wonder that in this generation all the destroyers among the nations of the world are raising their heads and mainly wanting to destroy and kill the children of Israel. As the sages said, “no calamity comes to the world unless it is for Israel since, as it says in Tikunei HaZohar, Israel are the cause of poverty, killing, robbery, and destruction all over the world” (The Writings of Baal HaSulam).

On the other hand, if we act responsibly and unite as one man in one heart, as the wisdom of Kabbalah teaches us, we use our egoistic nature correctly, spurring the positive force of connection in nature and radiating it through the network between us to the entire world. Baal HaSulam wrote, “the Israeli nation had been constructed as a sort of gateway by which the sparks of purity would shine upon the whole of the human race the world over … until they develop to such an extent that they can understand the pleasantness and tranquility that are found in the kernel of love of others” (Baal HaSulam, “The Arvut“). The unity that spreads through us to the global network softens the hearts of mankind and brings them closer to each other and defuses the evil thoughts they have as to how to harm themselves through fascist regimes and, all the more so, how to harm the Jews.

“When there is love, unity, and friendship, there is no room for any calamity” (Maor VaShemesh). In other words, the choice is ours. We only have to show the world how to properly connect. A loose connection between us will bring the rise of fascism, whereas a tight connection will lead to its fall.
[199219]
 Ynet 12/8/16

Ynet: “2017: An Optimistic Prediction”

From my weekly column in Ynet: “2017: An Optimistic Prediction”

Terrorism, waves of immigration, Brexit, Donald Trump, jingoism, ISIS, the legalization of soft drugs, climate crises, raging social networking, and a host of negative dramatic events plagued us in the past year. Summarizing the year is the easy part; the wisdom is in understanding what must change so that next year’s summary will be better. Rav Laitman with an optimistic prediction for the year 2017

2016 was a year of many upheavals in the entire world. It was a complex, intense year full of sharp turns that ultimately permeated the public consciousness with the recognition that we are in a problematic social, economic, and security situation. This recognition is also the best thing that has happened to humanity, and it also grants an opening to great hope.

It turns out that we can succeed in anything or at least prevent deterioration if we just change our way of thinking. The secret of success lies in identifying the connection between the various negative events, locating the factor that motivates them, neutralizing it, and in this way, balancing the course of events in 2017.

The End of the Era of Egoism

According to Kabbalah, the factor that links a variety of events,  both positive and negative, is the egoistic nature of humans—the desire to receive pleasure and delight—the attempt to benefit maximally and succeed in all areas of life, even if we trample others on the way there.

What is surprising about the year 2016 is that there already are clearly recognizable signs of the end of egoistic development after the thousands of years of the existence of the human species. The wars, crises, and great disappointments that we experienced this year are a sign that the egoistic system in its exploitative form doesn’t work anymore.

The egoistic fuel has run out. There is no more drive to enter into financial, commercial, political, military, and cultural competition because the end is in sight. In this way, no one wins; all of us lose. Combine the processes of globalization, advanced technology, and three-dimensional printers in the equation occupying the world, and the conclusion is that the future in the labor market starting from the year 2017 will be very different than what we have been familiar with up to now. In such a situation, even more severe events are liable to happen than what we were exposed to in the past year.

A Time for Renewal

Egoism will not disappear. It is inherent in us from birth. But the moment the understanding becomes more clear in the consciousness of humanity that if we continue to operate only from our egoistic nature, we will fall into an abyss, only then can the need for an essential change be awakened, and from it, we can begin to search for a new method that will transcend the negative power of the ego for somewhere new and positive.

The desire for profit, the drive to succeed, and mutual competition that have motivated us up to now—the characteristics and inclinations of human nature—will not blur or become extinct. We need to learn to use them wisely and beneficially, instead of for an individual’s personal benefit, directed  toward the benefit of all of society.

The wisdom of Kabbalah exactly fits the transition from the old world to the new world, from 2016 to 2017. It has the power to guide a person and all of humanity in a positive way, stimulating the right questions and providing a wide and deep perspective for understanding the processes that are visiting the world. The method of connection that the ancient wisdom of Kabbalah offers provides a way that can change our attitude toward others, treat each other correctly, and make a living from each other, but with respect. With the help of a process that integrates study and experiential workshops, the ability to connect with each other is developed. We become closer to each other emotionally, and we transcend our innate egoistic nature to a broad, eternal, and higher reality.

Symbolically, the end of the year is celebrated with the end of Chanukah, the Festival of Lights. From the darkness, the Light breaks through; from the crack in the ground, the plant sprouts, and from the crisis, life is born. I have never been so optimistic toward a new year in which the two components required for achieving a good and happy life have been placed together before our eyes: despair in the results that we have achieved so far, and in contrast, the wisdom of Kabbalah is available to everyone who desires it; it provides the right direction toward the royal road. The future is in our hands. 2017 can be optimistic.
[199695]
From Ynet article 12/29/16

Haaretz: “Obama’s Legacy Of Incompetence, And A New Hope Arising“

In my regular column in Haaretz, my new article: “Obama’s Legacy of Incompetence, and a New Hope Arising

Following Obama’s eight years from hell, his would be successor, Hillary Clinton, didn’t stand a chance.

On December 26, Bret Stephens of The Wall Street Journal published an opinion piece titled “Obama’s Fitting Finish” lambasting not only Obama’s final weeks in office, but his entire presidency. According to Stephens, in just eight years, Obama has entangled the US military in Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Pakistan, dissolved the US alliances with Egypt and Turkey, empowered Iran, reignited the Cold War with Russia, sent millions of Muslim migrants into the heart of Europe, and shredded the US alliance with Israel. During his term, the US national debt has doubled, the middle class has diminished significantly, mostly due to downward mobilization, and healthcare has become ineffective and expensive. On the home front, racial tensions have risen to levels not seen since the 1960s, gun violence has skyrocketed, anti-Semitism has become mainstream, and Muslim terrorism has become an oft-seen incident on American soil. When you look at all the damage that this one president has done, you understand that his ideological successor, Hillary Clinton, didn’t stand a chance. People have had enough.

The pretense of the liberal Left has been exposed: a dictatorship of the financial elite. People will not be fooled anymore; their checking accounts are telling them the truth about the economy and the policy that has engendered their hardships. Political correctness (a key weapon in the liberalism mass-manipulation campaign) may have stifled people’s free speech, but it did not deter them from expressing their views at the ballot box. Their message is, “The time of unhinged exploitation of the masses by the ruling elite is over.”

The End of the Ego Era

As long as capitalism was based on a reasonable level of egoism, where people worked to sustain themselves and their families, the economy was moving forward. But the ego is like cancer; it doesn’t stop growing and spreading until it kills its host. Today’s level of egoism has become noxious narcissism. Women are marrying themselves, children are changing their sexes before they reach their teens, yet if someone dares to suggest that there is something unusual about these phenomena, the guardians of political correctness will label them as backward/chauvinist/bigot, or all the above and then some. On the altar of our self-absorption, we are sacrificing our happiness.

Why have so many studies concluded that the single most important thing we can do for our happiness is to connect with other people? Why did the Talmud state, “That which you hate, do not do unto your neighbor; this is the whole of the Torah” (Masechet Shabbat, 31a), and why did Rabbi Akiva add, “Love your neighbor as yourself” is the great rule of the Torah? Also, why did both offshoots of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, adopt Rabbi Akiva’s tenet as their own, and why have so many belief systems adopted the Golden Rule, which requires that we treat others the way we would like to be treated? The single answer to all of these questions is that human connection, loving other people and being loved by them are the things that make us happy. This is human nature. When you focus solely on yourself, you end up marrying yourself. Then, by default, you are unhappy because you have gone against your own nature, but political correctness won’t let you admit it even to yourself. When this is the state of society, can we be surprised that immediately after being forced to sit with their families during Christmas, youths across the US turned malls into war zones?

If we stay on this route, governments, which are currently settling for sedating people by doping them through legalized marijuana, will feel compelled to cull people like farmers cull sick poultry and cattle. Humanity’s only sustainable alternative to this morass is to end the Ego Era and relearn how to connect.

Basics First

One of the most trending topics in Silicon Valley and other places where people are concerned with the future of humanity is Universal Basic Income (UBI). UBI means that if you are alive, you deserve to receive enough money to sustain yourself with dignity. In the US, academics and opinion leaders such as hi-tech mogul Elon Musk, co-founder of Facebook Chris Hughes, former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, acclaimed astrophysicist Stephen Hawking have not only expressed their support of the idea that people will not have to work to secure their daily bread, but even engage in finding practical solutions to implement this.

Around the world, governments are taking interest in UBI, possibly as a means to avoid social unrest. Canada is about to launch a pilot in Prince Edward Island Province, and Fife Council in Scotland is currently considering a trial UBI scheme. Next year, the Netherlands will launch what The Atlantic dubbed, the “money-for-nothing experiment,” which guarantees residents in Utrecht and surrounding cities “a flat sum of €960 per month.”

I wholeheartedly agree with the idea of UBI. However, if we settle for giving people money to live, without helping them find meaning in connection, which we determined was the basis for happiness, then what happened in the US malls after Christmas will look like ripples in a bathtub compared to a tsunami.

Back to the Golden Rule

In order to secure our personal future and the future of society, we need to shake off alienation and reteach ourselves the joy of caring for each other. We can do this easily by providing people with a Universal Basic Income, on condition that they partake in connection trainings where they will learn how to communicate positively with one another, how to reestablish trust with family and friends, how to channel aggression away from violence and toward creativity, and other such topics.

I have seen many examples of people who were previously suspicious and antagonistic warm up to one another on a very deep level. An organization whose work I cherish has done wonders to help communities come together through nurturing their social cohesion. Liberated from economic concerns for themselves and for their families, people will happily partake in such trainings because of the immediate benefit from improving social ties.

People who will still work, in order to keep the chain of provision running, will also benefit from the social transformation because the atmosphere in their neighborhoods and homes will improve. In addition, employed people will not be left out of the trainings altogether. They will partake in trainings on a limited basis and will understand the basic concepts of the social shift that society is undergoing. In this way, they will voluntarily partake in it, and should they become jobless, they will easily find their way in the new social ambience.

Over time, senior students at the connection trainings will themselves become teachers, expanding the reach of the transformation to more and more communities. As the positive effect of the transformation ripples out, the social benefits of the spirit of connection will reduce hostility, allowing municipalities and states to reduce expenditures on policing and social services. Since depression is caused largely by social disconnection, people’s higher spirits and renewed sense of purpose will improve their health and depression related illnesses will drastically decline. This, in turn, will save billions of dollars to the country’s struggling healthcare system. Along with depression, substance abuse will drop, as people will have no need to escape from an undesirable reality. As people learn new and meaningful ways to connect and communicate, hopelessness will transform into hopefulness.

A Paradigm Shift

The transformation we are seeing is not a “blooper” of history; it is part of a paradigm shift that will see us all rejoicing in affinity and closeness. Human nature will eventually force us to adjust ourselves and our societies to its requirement that we will thrive through positive connections. Since we already know this, we can avoid the unforgiving consequences of compulsory transformation. We can and should initiate the transformation by ourselves, and usher humanity into a new era of Universal Basic Income for all, coupled with thriving social life and a peaceful international arena.

Assuming Obama does not inflict irreparable damage on the US before he leaves office, it is my sincere hope that in the coming months America will take its first, bold steps toward a brighter future of togetherness, connectedness, and friendship. The American people will benefit from this, as will the entire world.
[199636]

Ynet: “How Do We Change The Next UN Resolution?”

From my weekly column in Ynet: “How Do We Change the Next UN Resolution?”

Chanukah symbolizes the victory of the few over the many; the victory of the Maccabees’ choice of the force of unity over the forces of separation. According to the wisdom of Kabbalah we can change the balance of power for the better only if we unite, so we could prevent the UN from voting against us. Just before the next anti-Israeli resolution comes up, Rav Laitman explains how we succeeded in the past and how we can succeed today.

If the UN Security Council had to vote on the establishment of the State of Israel today, chances are that most of members in the UN would vote against it and some countries would abstain. It is time we acknowledge that the Jewish State does not have many true friends among the 193 members of the UN

 

It is true that Barak Obama, the American president, is the one who initiated, led, and cooked up the last scandalous anti-Israeli resolution, choosing to end his administration this way. Even Britain, headed by the pro-Israeli Theresa May voted against Israel, just like Russia headed by Putin, Israel’s “friend”; every country according to considerations of expediency, as it is in politics. But Obama’s “revenge” is only a symptom. The problem is much greater.

If we put interests aside, we will discover that there is no state or nation today which truly supports Israel. Somehow, sooner or later, they condemn us. In some countries they actually hate us and in most countries they would simply be happy if we disappeared from the globe. This has been the attitude toward the state of Israel since the days of Ben Gurion and Golda Meir. You cannot connect it to the ongoing conflict with our cousins the Arabs since many nations like them even less than they like us. Could it be that the hatred stems from our geographical location? But we are also rejected abroad… and as for Israel, the hatred raged even before we settled here. The culprits may change each time, but the phenomenon remains.

When we face such significant moments in which the waves of hatred are growing threatening to wash us away, we should stop for a moment and try to understand why we are so hated and unworthy in the eyes of the world. Is there a root to the deep hatred that the other nations have been feeling toward us since the dawn of humanity?

The Law of Anti-Semitism

According to the wisdom of Kabbalah, anti-Semitism, or anti-Israelism in its modern name, is not a passing phenomenon but a law of nature that can be measured. When we unite above our conflicts and disagreements, the positive force that can do wonders spreads in the world. On the other hand, when we are separated and divided, we invoke the negative force in the world, which boomerangs and hits us with a burst of anti-Semitism.

The irrational hatred that is gaining strength today reminds us the hard way that we have a role, and although we would be glad to avoid it, it is impossible. Even if we assimilate or blur our Israeli identity, we will forever remain Jews. We are the nation that carries the idea, the social ideal of love of man, the nation, and of the world. We became a nation on the basis of love of others that is expressed in the rule “love thy friend as thyself.” Only if we return to fulfill this love can we defuse the hatred the world feels toward us. Kabbalists tell us that we, the Jews, determine the fate of the world. The Book of Zohar says that just as the organs of the body cannot exist even for a moment without the heart, the nations of the world cannot exist in the world without Israel.

By uniting, we compel the world to unite and great abundance begins to flow. However, the division between us divides the other nations of the world and clogs the pipes of the abundance and invokes wars and hatred in humanity. The direct and the indirect outcome of this process pushes the nations of the world to harm the spiritual root called Israel and to try to annihilate us, since we are perceived as the root of all the evil in the world.

Baal HaSulam, Rav Yehuda Ashlag, the greatest Kabbalists of the 20th century, said that the nation of Israel is a kind of a transmitter and to the extent that Israel are united, they can convey their power to the other nations of the world. He says that “we are the sons of the ideal” and only when we fulfill it and unite will we find peace.

Nowhere to Run

The UN Security Council resolution takes us back decades. It is enough to look around and see how countries, which just yesterday were considered to be stable, are crumbling and being destroyed. If international pressure is put on the State of Israel for a long time, it may make our life very difficult and take us back to the time when whole communities in enlightened Europe were destroyed. Although it seems that the Jewish nation has a stable home in the land of Israel, its success and its existence depend on the fulfillment of our role, as Baal HaSulam said, to build a model society in Israel based on the principles of connection and to convey this method to the world, since otherwise the whole Zionist movement will be disintegrated.

The cry of Baal HaSulam, who warned people of the anti-Semitic events of the past century and who knew the laws of nature that operate in reality, still echoes today and is more relevant today than ever. The UN Security Council resolution 2334 should be a reminder of our role: to unite and to be Light unto the nations of the world—to set a good example of a corrected society in which everyone lives in brotherly love above all differences.

Even the vain attempts to find shelter in the shade of the new administration headed by President-elect Donald
Trump and to expect him to save us will not rid us of our duty. We may feel short-term relief regarding our security, but eventually we will once again advance toward our fatal choice, just as we did when we first became a nation at the gathering before Mt. Sinai.

Then, at the foot of the mountain, we managed to overcome the mountain of hatred and connected as one man in one heart. If we connect as one bundle today, we will be able to harness the hatred the world feels toward to our favor. As long as we continue to treat each other cruelly, the world will be cruel to us. So as it says in our sources: “the main thing that protects Israel from calamity is love and unity, and when there is love and unity and friendship among the people of Israel, no calamity can harm them.” (“Maor VaShemesh“)
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Ynet 12/27/16