We have become accustomed to getting swept away by cultural confrontations, but in reality, when the gaps between us continue to grow to a feeling of a threat, there is a special method for how to maintain each and every opinion, as well as to hold onto a common goal above them.
Israelis love to argue about almost everything. They spar at home, flame on Facebook, and dominate the road, and just about every place possible. Even the hall of the elected public officials in Israel has become an arena for the most prominently reported disputes. The Israeli Knesset is the main meeting place for the culture of debate.
The moment that one “friend” gets up and delivers his speech, immediately his “friend” stands up against him and contradicts him. Constructive criticism for discussion or illuminating issues on our minds is welcome, but much of the discussion that we encounter today is motivated by narrow interests, not from a desire to benefit society.
Ostensibly the polarization and division in Israeli society reflects failure, but the wisdom of Kabbalah holds that a developed society is one that knows how to contain opposites within it, a wide range of diverse opinions (1). Pluralism, differences of opinion, and public discourse, even if they conflict, are important to maintain and even intensify, but above them, it is necessary to build a sort of glue that unites us above the differences, or in the end, we will “devour” each other.
It Is All Mine
Jewish history is interwoven with conflicts and oppositions between different parts of the society in which the peak is represented by the unfounded hatred that developed among the people that later led to the destruction of the Temple (2). Since then, one dominant force has acted among the people of Israel, known in the wisdom of Kabbalah as egoism or the left line; when we use it only in its natural form, it begets hatred and division. We can learn about the intensity of the opposition between us from the proverbial: “Two hold a garment. One of them says, ‘I found it,’ and the other says, ‘I found it.’ One of them says, ‘It is all mine,’ and the other one says, ‘It is all mine.’ Then the one shall swear that his share in it is not less than half, and the other shall swear that his share in it is not less than half…” (3), and they disagree.
The dispute between the two in the end leads to the conclusion that in fact, in all areas all of us hold onto that prayer shawl in the same common destiny that joins us together. However, in order to balance the negative force that causes every person to be concerned only about himself, we need to awaken the positive force that can glue us together and elevate warmth and a sense of family, connecting us above all of the conflicts that divide us. In the wisdom of Kabbalah, this force is called the right line. To awaken it, we must invest effort and connect between us (4).
The Golden Road
The starting point for the first communication between us is the common aspiration for the better future everyone hopes for. A common goal can develop within us the readiness to concede and listen to others. We don’t need to concede our personal positions or our individuality. On the contrary, in the light of the common goal and despite the differences, we try to create connection.
As a result of this, a new point of contact is created between us. This is not a compromise or a temporary bridge, but a middle line that balances between the two opposing lines and complements them (5). The matter is similar to couples who quarrel with each other, but always keep in mind the ideal marital relationship that joins them together. Specifically, the ongoing quarrels and the desire to dominate each other creates the infrastructure that helps the couple rise above the struggle between them and create a new connection.
The Wisdom of Connection
Let’s not allow ourselves to sink into endless social struggles that will cause the nation to deteriorate into terrible corruption and brutality. We must consider all these cases as a sign that expresses the imperative to bring peace among all of the disputants.
It is in the power of the wisdom of connection to bring this unity, without deleting the gaps between us. The magic of the method is that it changes the attitude toward the dispute. Suddenly, the picture seems different in purpose and takes on a new meaning. The opposition is clarified as a unique motive that has been created for us so that we could rise further above the gaps and connect in a system of mutually responsible relationships (6).
If we don’t take action, sooner or later the oppositions are liable to lead to a social short-circuit that would disrupt all the systems in the nation. To prevent this proactively, it is better for us to take responsibility and seriously consider the establishment of a body that intentionally will guide and correctly direct each and every citizen in the nation of Israel, a kind of national social-educational council that regularly would initiate processes and social events to develop the value of unity in the social consciousness. The future of the society is in the hands of every one of us (7).
1. “…drawing the right conclusions depends particularly on the multiplicity of disagreements and separation between opinions. The more contradictions there are between opinions and the more criticism there is, the more the knowledge and wisdom increases…” Rav Yehudah Ashlag (Baal HaSulam), “The Freedom.”
2. “The Temple was destroyed because of unfounded hatred, when their hearts were divided and they were divided and were not worthy of the Temple since it is the unity of Israel.” Rabbi Israel Segal, Netzhah Israel, chapter 4.
3. “Two hold a garment. One of them says, ‘I found it,’ and the other says, ‘I found it.’ One of them says, ‘It is all mine,’ and the other one says, ‘It is all mine.’ Then the one shall swear that his share in it is not less than half, and the other shall swear that his share in it is not less than half…” Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Baba Metzi’a, Chapter I, 2a, Mishnah.
4. “Hatred arouses quarrels, but love covers all transgressions” (Proverbs 10:12).
“…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.” Rabbi Nathan Sternhertz, Likutey Halachot [Assorted Rules], “Rules of Tefilat Arvit [Evening Prayer],” Rule no. 4.
5. “…this is the middle line, which decides between the two lines—right and left—which are opposite from one another in a way that both shine to the side of holiness” Let There Be Light, VaYetze [And Jacob Went Out], Item 118.
6. “We are not neutral when we claim that for consolidation, there must be consolidation of common responsibility, of mutual responsibility, of mutual influence. We claim that we must not blur the boundaries between the unions, circles and parties, rather a shared recognition of the common reality and a common position in a test of common responsibility. Separation between hearts is a disease that afflicts the peoples in our time and following its cure by way of coerced union is nothing but a mistake. Unity is lacking in the organizational structure. At the moment there is no remedy for this except that there will be people from different circles of opinion who need one another with a pure heart and take the trouble together to discover the common foundation.” Martin Buber, “Education and Examining the World.”
7. “…social unity…can be the source of every joy and success.” Rav Yehudah Ashlag (Baal HaSulam), “The Freedom.”
“We have yet to open our eyes and see that only unity can save us. Only if we all unite … to work in favor of the entire nation, our labor will not be in vain.” Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, “VeOd Musar Lo Lokachnu.”
From Ynet article 4/6/16