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In the News (Scientific American): “A person’s experience as a child or teenager can have a profound impact on their future children’s lives, new work is showing. Rachel Yehuda, a researcher in the growing field of epigenetics and the intergenerational effects of trauma, and her colleagues have long studied mass trauma survivors and their offspring. Their latest results reveal that descendants of people who survived the Holocaust have different stress hormone profiles than their peers, perhaps predisposing them to anxiety disorders.
“Yehuda’s team at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and the James J. Peters Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Bronx, N.Y., and others had previously established that survivors of the Holocaust have altered levels of circulating stress hormones compared with other Jewish adults of the same age. Survivors have lower levels of cortisol, a hormone that helps the body return to normal after trauma; those who suffered post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have even lower levels.
“This finding echoes the results of many other human epigenetic studies that show that the effects of certain experiences during childhood and adolescence are especially enduring in individuals and sometimes even across generations.
“With low levels of cortisol and high levels of the enzyme that breaks it down, many descendants of Holocaust survivors would be ill adapted to survive starvation themselves. In fact, that stress hormone profile might make them more susceptible to PTSD; previous studies have indeed suggested that the offspring of Holocaust survivors are more vulnerable to the effects of stress and are more likely to experience symptoms of PTSD. These descendants may also be at risk for age-related metabolic syndromes, including obesity, hypertension and insulin resistance, particularly in an environment of plenty.”
My Comment: If you take into account the 20 centuries of systematic oppression, then it is not clear how these people can still experience joy, bring up children, and love humor.
A follow up to the post “The Scroll Of Esther Is Our Spiritual Heritage“
Purim is salvation, but not by the force of arms. What happened in the past is happening now in Israel, Europe, and everywhere. It is revealed in a concealed manner in the form of current figures, which are essentially identical to those in the past. Our force is in our unity. Only unity will save the Jewish nation from its enemies.
We see how Haman raises his head again and sentences us. Mordecai doesn’t have to go to the town square anymore, since now his message is echoed through the media and the Internet. This is a clear sign that the concealed has to be revealed. Life calls us to remember the love that used to connect our hearts.
When we awaken from our indifference and separation and come together as one man we will become a positive role model. This is because humanity today actually needs a method to rise above the conflicts and reach mutual understanding and bestowal. When we become a real, proper, and active role model the whole world will be on our side.
From the Purim Holiday Brochure, 3/1/15
The Book of Zohar, “Night of the Bride”: All the days of exile are called night, for this is when the Creator’s face is concealed from Israel, as the impure forces rule and separate His loyal servants from Him. Yet, this is the time when the bride unites with her husband…
The union between the bride and her husband (The Zohar uses the word “husband” instead of “bridegroom”) occurs thanks to the Torah and Mitzvot (Commandments) of the righteous, referred to as “those who keep the Torah…”
The point in the heart, the spiritual awakening during the long exile—which means in the duration of six thousand years—grows only by darkness, by the feeling of exile. We must turn this darkness into Light each time until, after the six days of action, we reach the seventh day of the seventh millennium, a state of total Light.
Therefore, all of our work is to accept the state as darkness, as night, and turn it into day. We determine that the state, the feeling we have received, is day and not night.
It seems as darkness with regard to our ego, with regard to the desire to enjoy, and with regard to our desire to bestow it seems as an opportunity and as Light.
From the 3rd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 5/21/14, The Zohar
Chapter 8: Together Forever
Unity, Unity, and Unity Once Again
As has been said throughout the book, unity has been Israel’s “insurance” against all evils, the ultimate panacea. And yet, by now our egotism has so evolved that we can no longer maintain unity unless our very survival depends on it. This fault was noticed by friends and foes alike.
In a paper he published in June 1940, Baal HaSulam noted that our troubles come from lack of unity. He wrote that we are “like a pile of nuts, united into a single body from outside by a sack that wraps and aggregates them.”[i] However, he continues, “That measure of unity does not make them a uniform body, and even the slightest movement of the sack inflicts racket and separations among them, by which they come to constant partial unifications and separations. All that is lacking is the natural unification from within, and the power of their unity derives from external situations. Concerning us, it is a very painful matter.”[ii]
In Chapter 5 we mentioned Baal HaSulam’s essay, “There Is a Certain People,” in which he writes that Haman relied on the Jews’ separation from one another as the key to his triumph over them. Haman knew that separation among them meant that they were also separated from the Creator, the quality of bestowal, the force that creates reality. For this reason, Haman believed he could exploit the weakness of the Jews to do away with them. Much to his regret, Mordechai perceived that danger just as well as Haman, and “went to correct that flaw, as it is explained in the verse, ‘the Jews gathered,’ etc., ‘to gather themselves together, and to stand up for their lives.’ That is, they saved themselves by uniting.”[iii]
A more contemporary “Haman,” Adolf Hitler, also noticed the trait of unity in Jews, and noted the lack of it among us today. In Mein Kampf, Hitler wrote, “The Jew is only united when a common danger forces him to be or a common booty entices him; if these two grounds are lacking, the qualities of the crassest egoism come into their own, and in the twinkling of an eye the united people turns into a horde of rats, fighting bloodily among themselves.”[iv]
Therefore, before we go about discussing how we can achieve unity and thus prevent future calamities such as those that our people has experienced throughout the generations, we will dedicate this chapter to excerpts from rabbis and Jewish scholars of all generations. These will remind us of the wall-to-wall agreement concerning the paramount importance of unity and solidarity. Since our essential substance is the will to receive, to succeed in uniting, it is vital that we first come to want unity—even if merely as a shield against afflictions—before we go about establishing it. Below are our sages’ inspiring words.
[i] Rav Yehuda Leib HaLevi Ashlag (Baal HaSulam), The Writings of Baal HaSulam, “The Nation” (Ashlag Research Institute, Israel, 2009), 489.
[iii] Rav Yehuda Leib HaLevi Ashlag, Shamati [I Heard], essay no. 144, “There Is a Certain People” (Canada, Laitman Kabbalah Publishers, 2009), 300.
[iv] Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf (The Noontide Press: Books On-Line), 219, url: www.angelfire.com/folk/bigbaldbob88/MeinKampf.pdf