Like A Bundle of Reeds, Why Unity and Mutual Guarantee Are Today’s Call of the Hour, Michael Laitman, Ph.D.
Humanity deserves to be united into a single family. At that time all the quarrels and the ill will that stem from divisions of nations and their boundaries shall cease. However, the world requires mitigation, whereby humanity will be perfected through each nation’s unique characteristics. This deficiency is what the Assembly of Israel will complement.
—The Rav Kook, Orot HaRaaiah [Lights of the Raaiah], Shavuot, p 70
It has not been easy to write this book. I have written dozens of books, but none has been as emotionally demanding or intellectually challenging. For many years now, I have known the task that stands before us, but I have always been hesitant about writing directly to my Jewish brethren. I did not wish to be perceived as condescending or overbearing, and being tediously preachy or admonitory is not high on my “To Do” list.
And yet, my Kabbalah studies with Rabash taught me that the direction in which the world is moving is en route to ending in mayhem. That is why the Rabash’s father, Baal HaSulam, as well as his son, were more eager to circulate the ancient wisdom as a cure to humanity’s soaring egotism than any previous Kabbalist.
Baal HaSulam was anxious about the growing global interdependence early in the 1930s, when very few people in the world were even conscious of the process. He knew that it would lead to an irresolvable crisis if humanity did not support that mutual dependence with mutual guarantee, that human nature would not be able to tolerate the contrast between interdependence and mutual aversion.
At the same time, even at that early stage in our globalization, Baal HaSulam realized that the process was irreversible, that because we are parts of a single soul, a single desire, we are inherently connected. He also knew, as did all the sages quoted in this book, that the goal for which we were created was not for people to be strangers and hateful, but to bond and unite through the quality of bestowal.
Today we see how right he was. We are hopelessly ill-connected, and vehemently resentful of it. Our social systems, such as economy, health, and education, assume that ill will is the foundation of human relations, and therefore each entity shores itself up through regulations, legislations, and solicitors.
But this modus operandi is unsustainable. As good families assume goodwill among family members, all members of humankind must learn to trust one another.
However, as shown throughout the book, because our egos constantly evolve and emphasize our uniqueness rather than our unity, we need a method to help us achieve unity atop our disparity, without suppressing or nullifying it. That method is rooted in the spiritual patrimony of our people, and is the gift of the Jews to humanity, the salvation that the nations all await from the Jews.
The gift can be handed down through the wisdom of Kabbalah, through Integral Education, by the means that Baal HaSulam suggested in The Nation, or by any other means that will yield a fundamental change in human nature from divisiveness to unity, from animosity to empathy and care. If we achieve that unity, then the more we differ in our character, the stronger and warmer will be our bond. As Rabbi Nathan Sternhertz described it, “It primarily depends on man, who is the heart of Creation, and on whom everything depends. This is why ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’ is the great klal [“rule,” but also “collective”] of the Torah, to include in unity and peace, which is the heart of the vitality, persistence, and correction of the whole of Creation, by people of differing views being included together in love, unity, and peace.”[i]
Indeed, the beauty of our people is in its unity, its cohesion. Our nation began as a group of individuals who shared a common desire: to discover life’s essential force. We discovered that it was, in a word, “love,” and we discovered it because we developed that quality within us. That force of love united us, and in the spirit of love, we sought to share our discovery with anyone who willed it.
Over time, we have lost our connection, first with each other, then with the force we discovered through our bond. But now the world needs us to rekindle that bond, first among us, and subsequently among the whole of humanity.
We are a gifted nation, a nation with the gift of love, which is the quality of the Creator. Receiving this gift is the goal for which humanity was created, and we are the only conduit by which this love can flow to all the nations. Since the dawn of humanity, “never have so few owed so much to so many,” to paraphrase Winston Churchill’s words. And yet, never have so few been capable of giving so much to so many.
Indeed, as Baal HaSulam says, “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, which is Dvekut [equivalence of form] with Him.”[ii]
[i] Rabbi Nathan Sternhertz, Likutey Halachot [Assorted Rules], “Rules of Tefilat Arvit [Evening Prayer],” Rule no. 4.
[ii] Rav Yehuda Leib HaLevi Ashlag (Baal HaSulam), The Writings of Baal HaSulam, “The Arvut [Mutual Guarantee],” item 28 (Ashlag Research Institute, Israel, 2009), 393.