From my column in Ynet: “Unity Log: What Makes Us Israelis Happy?”
The wondering of so many people about the meaning of life is what motivated me to go on a cross-national journey from north to south, to meet with local leadership and mayors, and to speak with thousands of people about how to fulfill the method of connection between us. As the holiday season ends, Rav Laitman summarizes his cross-national journey in Israel.
I have spent the last couple of years in my room, deeply engaged in Kabbalistic writings, writing articles for the world press, trying to explain the authentic wisdom of Kabbalah and its relevance to our lives through a variety of media channels. Every morning between three to six a.m., as Kabbalists have studied for ages, I give the daily Kabbalah lesson to thousands of students.
Hundreds of people sit before me in the Kabbalah La’am center in Petach Tikva and thousands more join them through the Internet from all over Israel and the world: from Berlin, New York, Moscow, Tokyo, South America, Africa, and even from Arab countries. I teach only from authentic Kabbalistic sources, and together we study this ancient wisdom of how to connect.
The flow of questions sent to me daily by students and by people who surf the web and social networks, along with the genuine concern for what is happening in Israeli society, have spurred me to get up from my desk and break my daily routine to go out on a lecture tour and meetings throughout the State of Israel to tell people everywhere about the method of connection that can unite Israel.
In this coming year, the State of Israel are facing serious dangers. The UN and UNESCO are acting against our right to exist by denying our connection to our Jewish heritage. The BDS organizations are doing their best to delegitimize the State of Israel. Anti-Semitism is raising its ugly head as Jews all over the world are being persecuted, and the world media keep defaming our name. This trend, which is threatening our very existence, will not stop and will only keep growing. There are quite a few organizations in the world today are acting in order to destroy the State of Israel, and if it were possible, the international community would strive to remove us from the historical map. The only solution we can resort to is to tighten the relationships between us, to unite forces, and fulfill our unique role. As soon as we begin to connect between us, humanity’s hostile attitude toward us will immediately change to a supportive attitude. The journey of “connecting Israel” that I went on made me feel that the nation of Israel is asking for unity and gave me hope that its people will get closer to each other.
We started the journey from the northernmost point, at the foot of Naftali Mount at Kibbutz Kfar Hanasi.
The audience, which included members of kibbutzes in the area and people from the upper Galilee settlements and villages, did not remain indifferent and demanded an explanation as to how I know that Israel is facing critical times. I explained that, according to the global perspective of nature, the nation of Israel has a mission. If we postpone the mission we were given to fulfill the method of connection by ourselves and to convey it to humanity, we might miss the opportunity we were given to improve and better our lives. All we must learn is how to cover all of our transgressions with love as the wisdom of Kabbalah tells us.
My journey continued to an impressive event in the “energy city” of Hadera. I had a very interesting conversation with Mr. Tzvi Gendelman, the mayor of Hadera, and we talked about the contribution of the discussion circles that my students are holding for the people of Hadera. I was happy to meet a very lively and intrigued audience at the local Kabbalah La’am center who inquired about how I believe we can change the face of Israeli society. I explained that, according to the wisdom of Kabbalah, the change can only come from strengthening the force of connection between us.
It was actually my encounter with the people of Tel Aviv during the third stop along my journey that I felt a kind of turning point. The city that doesn’t sleep has changed, and while the image of Tel Aviv has been the capital of egoism, audacity, and thoughtlessness for years, I actually felt a totally different spirit in the young audience who came in mass to the Kabbalah La’am center in Tel Aviv. I was asked provoking and relevant questions, but I was especially impressed by the desire to understand where our life in the 21st century is headed. It seems that it is actually because Tel Aviv is such a global city that the awareness of what is happening in the world has a very strong impact on it and arouses doubts among the people. Therefore, my encounter with the people of Tel Aviv, such a friendly, open, modern city, revealed a great potential for the fulfillment of the feeling of unity.
I or We?
In Haifa, I held a series of meetings with several local leaders—including the mayor of HaifaMr. Yona Yahav, the mayor of Nesher Mr. Avi Binemo, and the mayor of Acre Mr. Shimon Lankri. The three leaders are very different from each other, and each understands in his own way how deep the crisis is in Israeli society. Being the public’s representatives and as a result of their daily work with people, they understand and identify with the need for unity in Israeli society as the solution for all of the problems that we are facing.
“Everyone has been against the Jews for ages, and I don’t see any change in the future,” concluded the mayor of Haifa. “Unfortunately, we are not guarding our precious state, and I am not surprised that the younger generation wants to leave the country. This is the reason that I go out to teach citizenship studies to twelfth graders. I tell the students that seventy years after they burned us in the Holocaust, history is repeating itself. We destroyed the First Temple, we destroyed the Second Temple, and in the same way, we will also destroy the Third Temple, the last chance God has given us after the blow of the Holocaust. I am devastated after every lesson. The division in the nation is growing, and the ‘I’ dominates the ‘we.’It is our duty to fight this phenomenon as soon as possible and with all of our might.”
The troubling encounter with the mayors, the opposing reactions, and the rejection that I encounter with regard to the message of connection in humanity and with regard to the articles I publish in the global press, along with the growing crisis in Europe, sharpen my understanding of how far the world has deteriorated and the extent to which its hatred of Israel has grown. No, I am not speaking only about anti-Semites, but also about the attitude of the Jews who live abroad who display an increasingly negative attitude toward the State of Israel. Unfortunately, it is actually they who are leading the organizations that are trying to delegitimize the State of Israel.
According to the wisdom of Kabbalah, there is one reason for that: the hostility that our Jewish brothers overseas display toward us stems from the fact that we are not fulfilling our role in correcting the world. Our right to exist on our land depends on the close connection between us and on bringing our hearts together. Rav Yehuda Ashlag (Baal HaSulam) said a hundred years ago that we are living here on borrowed time and that the chance we were given is only in order to allow us to fulfill our role as Light unto the nations of the world, which means to connect as one man in one heart, thus setting an example for all of the nations of the world. The choice of whether to implement it or miss the opportunity is in our hands.
The New Israeli
Despite the dangers the nation of Israel faces, I am very hopeful that we will succeed. My dedicated students in the numerous centers of Kabbalah La’am all over Israel and the public who yearn to understand the wisdom of connection, which I have met on my journey throughout Israel, make me believe that the message of connection will eventually permeate among the people and that we will all change for the better.
I continued my journey to Ashkelon, Beer Sheva, Rehovot, and other cities. I was warmly welcomed everywhere, and the atmosphere was good. I enjoyed hearing the many intriguing and advanced questions about how to implement the method of connection. At the end of the final event in Ashkelon, I received a big bouquet of flowers and wished that the people of Ashkelon and all people in Israel would celebrate the new year peacefully.
We have a very special nation and incredible people, and I hope and pray that we will wake up, connect, and understand that the key to our success is in the good relationships between us, thus restoring the prosperous life of the past, of the times when brotherly love flourished among us and the nations of the world were nourished by the force of unity between us. Now that the holidays are over, I wish the people of Israel a good new year, a year of positive changes.
From Ynet article 10/25/16