From my weekly column in Ynet, the largest Israeli news and general content website.
According to a recent survey, our children are traumatized. Sixty four percent of the children are afraid to leave their home, to be in public places, or walk to school, following exposure to violent videos released recently.
We are becoming dangerously indifferent from one bloody breaking news to another, and it is as if we are getting used to living in anxiety. It is insane to live in a reality in which a knife might be pulled out at any moment on a bus, a tram, an entrance to a mall, or on the street.
This difficult situation affects all aspects of our lives. The general fervor is heated by daily news videos of ordinary people being slaughtered by terrorists that shoot to kill. All this is live, immediate, and close. Not surprisingly, in these conditions, our senses are dulled. How can you cope with such a bizarre reality any differently?
And if troubles at home aren’t enough, Israel is also in the eye of the storm abroad. The foreign media set new records of anti-Semitism, and as a consolation prize, the EU decided to tag thousands of Israeli products with the intention to boycott Israel.
The World Depends On Israel
Hatred toward Israel is not a new phenomenon. We have known it for ages, regardless of the political situation. The attitude of the peoples of the world toward us has been the same for ages and it seems that it is rooted in nature. We have already realized that the more the world suffers, the more they point their finger at us with accusations, and the day is not far off when the whole world will hate us just like the Arabs do now.
According to Kabbalah, all of humanity connected in one network, and Israel has a decisive influence. The Book of Zohar states that the thoughts and actions of the people of Israel, positively or negatively, affect the fate of the whole world. Israel is responsible for all the evil in the world and it comes back to us in order to wake us up and force us to fulfill our role. On the other hand, when we act in favor of the world, we will immediately feel a positive response.
How Can We Change Our Fate for the Better?
First we have to realize that the key for changing our destiny is in our hands alone (as the whole world claims against us…), and then we begin to act, to make tremendous efforts to connect, to strengthen the network of connections between us, between non-religious and religious Jews, between new immigrants and veteran citizens, between those living in the center and those in the periphery, between everyone. We must begin to live as one man in one heart instead of tribes living here in an obscure federation.
When we connect, when we care for one another, we become a conductor for all the goodness that flows into the world. On the other hand, if we are hostile towards one another, we reflect evil into the world, which leads to terrible disasters unto all of humanity and ourselves. Mutual guarantee and caring for others is what determines what our life will be like tomorrow, what the world will look like, and what the response to that state will be.
Is it possible to connect? Every person we will turn to with this question will agree to connect, but will also add that it is impossible. This is true. We need a method in order to connect. This method is the wisdom of Kabbalah; a wisdom that is all about correcting the connection between people. When we study Kabbalah and show even the slightest desire to connect as a result, we already balance the forces that manage our lives. The inclination to love others inspires the positive force that spreads through us to all of humanity and calms it down. The peoples of the world subconsciously feel that and will be grateful to us.
Unity between us determines what the next breaking news will be!
The “Introduction to The Book of Zohar” (Items 66-71,) tells us how the connection among the people of Israel determines the fate of the world:
66) Bear in mind that in everything there is internality and externality. In the world in general, Israel, the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, are considered the internality of the world, and the seventy nations are considered the externality of the world. Also, there is internality within Israel themselves, which are the wholehearted workers of the Creator, and there is externality—those who do not devote themselves to the work of the Creator. Among the nations of the world, there is internality as well, which is, the righteous of the nations of the world, and there is externality, which are the rude and the harmful among them.
Additionally, among the servants of the Creator among the children of Israel, there is internality, being those rewarded with comprehension of the soul of the internality of the Torah and its secrets, and externality, who merely observe the practical part of the Torah.
Also, there is internality in every person from Israel—the Israel within—which is the point in the heart, and externality—which is the inner nations of the world, the body itself. But even the inner nations of the world in that person are considered proselytes, since by cleaving to the internality, they become like proselytes from among the nations of the world, that came and cleaved to the whole of Israel.
67) When a person from Israel enhances and dignifies one’s internality, which is the Israel in that person, over the externality, which are the nations of the world in him, that is, when one dedicates the majority of one’s efforts to enhance and exalt one’s internality, to benefit one’s soul, and gives minor efforts, the mere necessity, to sustain the nations of the world in him, meaning the bodily needs, as it is written (Avot, 1), “Make your Torah permanent and your labor temporary,” by so doing, one makes the children of Israel soar upwards in the internality and externality of the world as well, and the nations of the world, which are the externality, to recognize and acknowledge the value of the children of Israel.
And if, God forbid, it is to the contrary, and an individual from Israel enhances and appreciates one’s externality, which is the nations of the world in him, more than the inner Israel in him, as it is written (Deuteronomy 28), “The stranger that is in the midst of thee,” meaning the externality in that person rises and soars, and you yourself, the internality, the Israel in you, plunges down? With these actions, one causes the externality of the world in general—the nations of the world—to soar ever higher and overcome Israel, degrading them to the ground, and the children of Israel, the internality in the world, to plunge deep down.
68) Do not be surprised that one person’s actions bring elevation or decline to the whole world, for it is an unbending law that the general and the particular are as equal as two peas in a pod. And all that applies in the general applies in the particular, as well. Moreover, the parts make what is found in the whole, for the general can appear only after the appearance of the parts in it, according to the quantity and quality of the parts. Evidently, the value of an act of a part elevates or declines the entire whole.
That will clarify to you what is written in The Zohar, that by engagement in The Book of Zohar and the wisdom of truth, they will be rewarded with complete redemption from exile (Tikkunim, end of Tikkun No. 6). We might ask, what has the study of The Zohar to do with the redemption of Israel from among the nations?
69) From the above we can thoroughly understand that the Torah, too, contains internality and externality, as does the entire world. Therefore, one who engages in the Torah has these two degrees, as well. When one increases one’s toil in the internality of the Torah and its secrets, to that extent, one makes the virtue of the internality of the world—which are Israel—soar high above the externality of the world, which are the nations of the world. And all the nations will acknowledge and recognize Israel’s merit over them, until the realization of the words, “And the people shall take them, and bring them to their place: and the house of Israel shall possess them in the land of the Lord” (Isaiah 14, 2), and also “Thus says the Lord God, Behold, I will lift up my hand to the nations, and set up my standard to the peoples: and they shall bring thy sons in their arms, and thy daughters shall be carried on their shoulders” (Isaiah 49, 22).
But if, God forbid, it is to the contrary, and a person from Israel degrades the virtue of the internality of the Torah and its secrets, which deals with the conduct of our souls and their degrees, and the perception and the tastes of the Mitzvot with regard to the advantage of the externality of the Torah, which deals only with the practical part? Also, even if one does occasionally engage in the internality of the Torah, and dedicates a little of one’s time to it, when it is neither night nor day, as though it were redundant, by that one dishonors and degrades the internality of the world, which are the children of Israel, and enhances the externality of the world—meaning the nations of the world—over them. They will humiliate and disgrace the children of Israel, and regard Israel as superfluous, as though the world has no need for them, God forbid.
Furthermore, by that, they make even the externality in the nations of the world overpower their own internality, for the worst among the nations of the world, the harmful and the destructors of the world, rise above their internality, which are the “righteous of the nations of the world.” And then they make all the ruin and the heinous slaughter our generation had witnessed, may God protect us from here on.
Thus you see that the redemption of Israel and the whole of Israel’s merit depend on the study of The Zohar and the internality of the Torah. And vice versa, all the destruction and the decline of the children of Israel are because they have abandoned the internality of the Torah. They have degraded its merit and made it seemingly redundant.
70) This is what is written in the Tikkunim (corrections) of The Zohar (Tikkun 30): “Awaken and rise for the holy divinity, for you have an empty heart, without the understanding to know and to attain it, although it is within you.” The meaning of it is, as it is written (Isaiah 40), that a voice pounds in the heart of each and every one of Israel, to cry and to pray for raising the holy divinity, which is the collection of all the souls of Israel. But Divinity says, “I have no strength to raise myself off the dust, for ‘all flesh is grass,’ they are all like beasts, eating hay and grass.” This means that they keep the Mitzvot mindlessly, like beasts, “and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field, all the good deeds that they do, they do for themselves.”
That means that with the Mitzvot they perform, they have no intention of doing them in order to bring contentment to their Maker. Rather, they keep the Mitzvot only for their own benefit, and even the best among them, who dedicate all their time to engagement in the Torah, do it only to benefit their own bodies, without the desirable aim—to bring contentment to their Maker.
It is said about the generation of that time: “A spirit leaves and will not return to the world,” meaning the spirit of the Messiah, who must deliver Israel from all their troubles until the complete redemption, to keep the words, “for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord.” That spirit had left and does not shine in the world.
Woe unto them that make the spirit of Messiah leave and depart from the world, and cannot return to the world. They are the ones that make the Torah dry, without any moisture of comprehension and reason. They confine themselves to the practical part of the Torah, and do not wish to try to understand the wisdom of Kabbalah, to know and to understand the secrets of the Torah and the flavors of Mitzva. Woe unto them, for with these actions they bring about the existence of poverty, ruin, and robbery, looting, killing, and destructions in the world.
71) The reason for their words is, as we have explained, that when all those who engage in the Torah degrade their own internality and the internality of the Torah, leaving it as though it were redundant in the world, and engage in it only at a time that is neither day nor night, and in this regard, they are like blind searching the wall, by that, they intensify their own externality, the benefit of their own bodies. Also, they consider the externality of the Torah higher than the internality of the Torah. And with these actions they cause all the forms of externality in the world to overpower all the internal parts in the world, each according to its essence.
This is so because the externality in the whole of Israel, meaning the nations of the world in them, overpowers and revokes the internality in the whole of Israel, which are those who are great in the Torah. Also, the externality in the nations of the world—the destructors among them—intensify and revoke the internality among them, which are the righteous of the nations of the world. Additionally, the externality of the entire world, being the nations of the world intensifies and revokes the children of Israel—the internality of the world.
In such a generation, all the destructors among the nations of the world raise their heads and wish primarily to destroy and to kill the children of Israel, as it is written (Yevamot 63), “No calamity comes to the world but for Israel.” This means, as it is written in the above corrections, that they cause poverty, ruin, robbery, killing, and destruction in the whole world.
And through our many faults, we have witnessed to all that is said in the above-mentioned Tikkunim, and moreover, the judgment struck the very best of us, as our sages said (Baba Kama).
60) “And it starts with the righteous first.” And of all the glory Israel had had in the countries of Poland and Lithuania, etc., there remains but the relics in our holy land. Now it is upon us, relics, to correct that dreadful wrong. Each of us remainders should take upon himself, heart and soul, to henceforth intensify the internality of the Torah, and give it its rightful place, according to its merit over the externality of the Torah.
And then, each and every one of us will be rewarded with intensifying his own internality, meaning the Israel within us, which is the needs of the soul over our own externality, which is the nations of the world within us, that is, the needs of the body. That force will come to the whole of Israel, until the nations of the world within us recognize and acknowledge the merit of the great sages of Israel over them, and will listen to them and obey them.
Also, the internality of the nations of the world, the righteous of the nations of the world, will overpower and submit their externality, which are the destructors. And the internality of the world, too, which are Israel, shall rise in all their merit and virtue over the externality of the world, which are the nations. Then, all the nations of the world will recognize and acknowledge Israel’s merit over them.
And they shall follow the words (Isaiah 14:2), “And the people shall take them, and bring them to their place: and the house of Israel shall possess them in the land of the Lord.” And also (Isaiah 49:22), “And they shall bring thy sons in their arms, and thy daughters shall be carried on their shoulders.” That is what is written in The Zohar (Nasoh, p 124b), “through this composition,” which is The Book of Zohar, “they will be delivered from exile with mercy.” Amen, will this be so.”
The column is based on the “Introduction to The Book of Zohar” by Baal HaSulam, Rav Yehuda Ashlag.
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