Chapter 8: Together Forever
Unity, Unity, and Unity Once Again
Unity—The Heart and Soul of Israel
Although Beit Shamai and Beit Hillel were disputed, they treated each other with fondness and friendship, to keep what was said (Zachariah 8), “Love truth and peace.”
Babylonian Talmud, Yevamot, Chapter 1, p 14b
In Israel is the secret to the unity of the world. This is why they are called “men.”
Rav Avraham Yitzhak HaCohen Kook (the Raiah), Orot HaKodesh [Lights of Holiness], Vol. 2, p 415
It was established on Mount Sinai that the children of Israel became one nation. This is why it is written, “I,” in singular form, because to the extent of the unity between them, His Godliness is present over the children of Israel.
Yehuda Leib Arie Altar (ADMOR of Gur), Sefat Emet [Language of Truth], VaYikra [Leviticus], Parashat BaHar [Portion, On the Mount], TARLAV (1893)
It is known that from the perspective of the mind, each person is an individual … but from the perspective of the heart, there is unity in Israel.
Rabbi Shmuel Bornstein, Shem MiShmuel [A Name Out of Samuel], Shemot [Exodus], TAR’AH (1915)
When Israel entered the land, they were completely one nation. The evidence of that is that as long as Israel did not cross the Jordan and did not arrive at the land, they were not punished … until they crossed and became responsible for one another.
Thus, Israel did not become responsible for one another because one is called Arev [guarantor/responsible for] when one is Meorav [mixed/mingled] with another, and Israel did not become connected into being entirely one nation until they arrived at the land and were together in the land, and had one place, the land of Israel. And through the land of Israel, they are completely one nation.
Judah Loewe ben Bezalel (the Maharal of Prague), Eternal Paths, “Path of Righteousness,” Chapter 6
Because the 600,000 souls of Israel are all tied to one another like a woven rope, united as one without separation, should you shake the beginning of the tightened rope, you will shake all of it. Therefore, should one man sin, wrath will be upon the entire congregation. The reason is that all of Israel are responsible for one another.
One who blemishes, blemishes all the souls of Israel until he returns to mend what he had corrupted in his soul. …It means that since the parts relate to one another, they will not be separated.
Rabbi Eliyahu Di Vidash, Beginning of Wisdom, “Gate of Fear,” Chapter 14
The soul ascends and becomes complete primarily when all the souls mingle and become one, for then they rise toward the sanctity, for sanctity is one. …Therefore, first, one should take upon oneself the commandment, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” as our Rav wrote that it is impossible to utter words of prayer unless by peace, when one connects with all the souls of Israel.
Rabbi Nathan Sternhertz, Likutey Halachot [Assorted Rules], “Synagogue Rules,” Rule no. 1
Although the bodies of the whole of Israel are divided, their souls are a single unity at the root. …This is why Israel are commanded to unity of the hearts, as it is written, “And Israel encamped there,” in singular form [in Hebrew], which means that they were corresponding below, meaning they had unity.
Rabbi David Solomon Eibenschutz, Willows of the Brook, Nassoh [Take]
Israel were not given the Torah [Law of Bestowal] before they had acquired complete unity, as we wrote regarding the verse (Exodus 19:2), “And Israel encamped there before the mount.” Moses too would not receive at all, as our sages said, (Berachot [Blessings], 32a) that the Creator said to Moses concerning the calf, “Come down from your greatness, for I have given you greatness only for Israel.”
Rabbi Moshe Alsheich, Moses’ Law, concerning Deuteronomy, 33:4-5.
When Israel have unity, there is no end to their attainment.
Rabbi Elimelech Weisblum of Lizhensk, Noam Elimelech [The Pleasantness of Elimelech], Pinehas
“Jerusalem that is built as a city that is joined together” (Psalms, 122:3)—a city that makes all of Israel friends.
Jerusalem Talmud, Hagigah, Chapter 3, Rule 6
You, the friends who are here, as you were in fondness and love before, henceforth you will not part from one another, until the Lord rejoices with you and declares peace over you. And by your merit there will be peace in the world, as it is written, “For the sake of my brothers and friends I will speak, ‘May peace be in you.’”
Rav Yehuda Ashlag (Baal HaSulam), The Book of Zohar with the Sulam Commentary, Aharei Mot [After the Death], item 66