Question: Irrespective of the abundance of problems that Israel undergoes nowadays, often we are the ones who add to the list of the troubles. Lately, the question of the legally enforced status of the “Jewish state” was presented to the general public.
Actually, the general public has to recognize that Israel is a national homeland of the Jewish people from all over the world that has the right for self-realization and self-determination. Besides, the new law will state that the land of Israel is the historic homeland of the entire Jewish people.
Answer: Never before were such questions raised in the Diaspora. We “sat quietly” around the world going about our business.
When we were given the opportunity to return to the land of Israel, the question of what laws should we live according to in this country emerged.
The biblical concept of “the holiness of the land” is not applicable to the current situation in Israel. It applies only under the condition that the Temple exists. That’s why this territory cannot be called “the land of Israel.” Such terminology refers to the future, to the time of the Messiah’s arrival as part of the faith of the people or to the time when good relationships among us will be set up.
If we refer to the roots, we still have to find correct definitions of terms such as “the people of Israel,” “the land of Israel,” “the State of Israel,” and “the Jews.” Also, we have to define the notions of “the countries of dispersion,” “the countries of the world,” and the “nations of the world.” These terms need thorough clarification. We have to understand in what way our laws are different from the laws of any other country in the world.
There is an apparent difference between the people of Israel and the nations of the world. We are aware of this dissimilarity irrespective of whether we live in this country or are dispersed around the world. Both in Israel and out of its borders, we see a very specific attitude to the Jews on behalf of the nations of the world. For example, we are blamed for causing troubles all over the world.
After a policeman shot an African-American citizen in Ferguson, huge banners appeared on the streets broadcasting that this accident happened because of Israel and is a result of the Jewish confrontation with Palestinians. Any event, even those that have nothing to do with the Jews, turns out to be “because of us.” It has always been like that. We can see that these incidents happen all the time. This tendency is built in their foundation.
That’s why we should realize what exactly happens with and around us. Anti-Semitism is caused by the fact that we are really a special nation created by Abraham on the principle of loving our neighbors as ourselves. In accordance with this principle, we have to live in brotherly love with each other so that we all are friends and nobody does to others what one hates for oneself. This is the condition of mutual guarantee, unity, reciprocity, when everyone takes care of others and others care about one.
Abraham gathered his students from all over ancient Babylon and created a group that later became a nation. It happened three thousand years ago. In essence, the Jews are not an ethnicity in the traditional meaning of the world; rather, they are Abraham’s assembly, the descendants of the Babylonians who joined Abraham under the slogan of brotherly love.
It doesn’t matter what tribe or ethnicity each of them came from. If anybody wanted to make a “dome of love” above things that separated them from each other, if one was ready to devote oneself to establishing connection instead of detachment, then one joined the brotherhood and became a part of the people of Israel. These men regarded themselves as a unified whole, not as separate entities. That’s what Abraham taught them.
This is the basis of the people of Israel. This is where our Torah, a study of unity, comes from. We are not united by ethnic roots. Each person in the world can become a Jew if he or she wants to be united with others and to live in accordance with the law of love.
In fact, the law of love is a law of the Jewish character. The goal of the people of Israel is to carry the entire world to understand one unified principle: “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” In other words, the goal is bringing people to unity where there is no inequality or distance whatsoever. This is the goal of creation. We all have to attain it.
That’s why it is said that we have to be “the Light for the nations”; i.e., our task is to explain this notion to the whole world and help other nations attain the ultimate state.
From KabTV’s “A New Life” 11/30/14