In our time, other than the Kabbalists, nobody remembers the principle that once proclaimed the essential rule of the Torah, “And you shall love your friend as yourself.” Among the people of Israel, this principle disappeared in the days of the destruction of the second Beit HaMikdash (temple), which is in fact the destruction of this principle.
Going into exile means departing from the general rule of, “And you shall love your friend as yourself” to indifference and even unfounded hatred. But in our day, when we come to the period of correction, all those who belong to the descendants of Israel must return to it again along with all the others who feel within them an inclination towards correction of the world. This is a sign that spiritual Reshimot (genes) have already been clarified in them.
In ancient Babylon they appeared in only a small portion of the Babylonians, five thousand people out of three million. But today these Reshimot are awakened and clarified more and more.
For both these and the others, both Israel and the nations of the world, have become mixed together since then. They have developed and become perfected, and by passing through many different states, they have reached the recognition of evil and also some of the recognition of good. So today they are ready for correction.
Now in our state, that inclination, that Shevirah (breaking), that once was only in Babylon is appearing. Only toda.has Babylon spread over all of humanity. We need to pass through correction, and it is specifically Israel that must begin it.
So in the Book of Zohar it is written, “Happy are Israel among all the nations of the world.” This is because someone who receives an awakening has a wonderful opportunity to give contentment to the Creator. While for others who are not with this inclination, it will eventually come to them also.
The uniqueness of the people of Israel is that first they must begin the correction. They accept upon themselves the most difficult work, but they are happy about it and thank the Creator for having chosen them for the difficult task of being pioneers and going forward with correction of the world.
From the Preparation for the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 5/29/14