Baal HaSulam, “The Writings of the Last Generation.” Introduction: …and looks into the past as one looks in the mirror and sees one’s flaws so as to correct them. Similarly, the mind sees what it has been through, and corrects its future conducts.
Question: At the end of the 19th century, the first emigration of Jews from Russia to Israel began. Preceding this, there were brutal pogroms in Kutaisi and, after that, in Kishinev. However, the Jews still remained, living there for some time. Why?
Answer: An inner development was required both for the individual and for the people to move them from their place. For example, you can sit and suffer all the time, but still won’t be motivated enough to leave. However, when you are under the influence of external and internal pressure, the awareness of the accumulation of evil and bitterness leads the individual or the entire people to no longer being able to remain in the same place, and they must move.
Question: But why did the Jews specifically begin to leave Russia? After all, the accumulation of evil happened no less in Europe also.
Answer: In the 19th century in Europe, there was relative calm. On a general background of anti-Semitism, the life of the Jews there passed quite well, and they prospered; whereas, at the same time in Russia, the “Black Hundreds” movement became active (extremist right-wing organizations who were active from 1905 to 1917, who among other things were also anti-Semitic). The Jews were put into settlements with defined borders and could not develop cities or villages.
The problem was that Russian society was very backward in much of its development in comparison to European society, whereas the Jews of Russia, according to their rate of advancement, were ahead of the Russians who lived with them. So, Russia was like a prison for Jews. They couldn’t do anything. Only the abolition of serfdom and the first Zionist Congress in Basel created the opportunity for a change in atmosphere, and they could just leave.
From KabTV’s “About Our Life” 5/7/15