Published recently in my column on Ynet, “The Answer to Terrorism—Strengthening the Foundations of the Nation.”
In these difficult and pressing times of “daily attacks” there is only one answer to those thirsty for blood who rise up to annihilate us—strengthening the foundations of our nation.
Even a talented screenwriter would have difficulty writing a more complicated scene. Within a radius of a few hundred kilometers, a collection of the most extreme terrorist organizations of humanity has gathered, and they surround us from every direction. The terrorist attacks are turning into a daily routine, and with them difficult scenes. Bloodthirsty murderers try to injure, stab, and ruthlessly eliminate everything in their path. It is impossible for us to reconcile ourselves to this situation.
We can only stand against this wild, frenzied hatred and extremism if we can revitalize our nation’s roots—unity. Only our unity will make our country, again, a safe home. If we miss the opportunity to come together and stand as one against those who hate us, the ring around us will ignite and we will lose the ability to be a free people in our land. This is exactly what our enemies wish.
Despite the severity of the sights, and in the worse case events, we experience daily, we continue to fence ourselves off from each other, each confined to his own world, and each party crouches in its corner and continues to advance only the narrow interests of its constituents.
With the danger that is lurking in every corner, we must take advantage of the benefit of a broad process that would lead the nation to unity, above all separation.
Harmony in a Single Body
Interactions in a nation are similar to the interrelationships between the various organs in the human body. Harmony exists within the human body: the brain is responsible for thinking, the eyes for seeing, the legs for carrying us, and so on. The nation is also made up of leaders, advisors, managers, and workers who must operate in complete harmony as a necessary condition for maintaining normal life.
The weakening of the nation is the result of impaired relationships between its “organs.” Our sages said, “Jerusalem was only destroyed because of unfounded hatred” (Yoma 9b). Hatred and division are an illness that weakens the body of the nation, disintegrating it from within, like a deadly disease, which is the result of a lack of harmony between the organs.
Unity in a Nutshell
The only way to reinvigorate into the Israeli nation these days is to create a sense of connection, a mutual bond and Arvut (mutual guarantee) between us. We must pull ourselves together and understand that the personal happiness of each one of us depends on the happiness of the entire nation. And personal weakness also depends on the weakness of the nation; so strengthening the network of social connections between us and cultivating our social capital will give us strength, and in a period of crisis like this, they are in our psyche.
During the years of exile, we lost the feeling of natural nationalism. The threads of love that bound us atrophied and detached from our hearts. Unlike every other nation in the world, the nationalistic feeling that still remained in us stems from the common suffering we experienced and still experience. The wars, hardships, and disasters are what consolidate us—we are brothers only in a time of trouble.
Unity whose source is in common external suffering is not true unity; it is “unity in a time of emergency” and it doesn’t have the power to build a nation that will be strong even in routine times. We are like a collection of nuts with hard shells put together into a single sack. Within the sack each one is closed within his shell. The sack creates an artificial unity between the nuts and doesn’t consolidate them into a single body. When the sack disappears, the unity disappears.
Strengthening the National Muscles
There is only one way to stop the horrific wave of terror and ensure our future as a strong nation—to start a nationwide social and educational process aimed at uniting people. We need to once again revive those national muscles that have been inactive in us for these two thousand years.
Social capital is our strength. Unity is the basic condition for the rebuilding of the people of Israel in the land of Israel. Without unity, we cannot ensure the welfare and future of the State of Israel. Without it we are like a building without a solid foundation, which is threatened to collapse with any vibration.
Our concern for the revival of the Israeli nation must have priority over every other concern. Only an educational process whose goal is to instill unity among the people of Israel will lead to success, prosperity, and security. We can no longer turn a blind eye our eye. Our unity is the foundation of the building; it is the only thing that will determine the stature of the State of Israel and the attainments that we will achieve.
This article was written according to the newspaper, The Nation published by Baal HaSulam, Rabbi Yehudah Ashlag, June 5, 1940.
Published on Ynet 11/04/15