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In my regular column in Haaretz, my new article: “Good News! It’s OK to Talk about Anti-Semitism in America“
…because now we can talk about its causes and solutions.
In just over a month, more than 100 JCCs and synagogues received bomb threats and were forced to evacuate, three Jewish cemeteries were vandalized, one synagogue was shot at while people were inside, and swastikas were painted on buildings and cars.
“I raced from work twice after getting texts saying the kids had all been moved out of the building,” said one mother in the Midwest, who asked not to be named so as not to draw more attention from “whatever sick people are making these threats.”
“I know it could happen anyplace, but the fact that lately the calls are happening at the JCC makes you constantly on edge,” said Allison Vitagliano, whose 4-year-old son was evacuated from his preschool at the JCC of Central New Jersey.
“I’m realizing I live in a naive bubble because I don’t understand where this hatred is coming from. I knew there was discrimination against Muslims, Mexicans, black people, gay people, but it’s strange to me that this is happening to Jewish people. I thought we were past that and we could focus on supporting the other groups who are under attack,” said Taylor, a former board member of the preschool at the JCC in Maitland, Fla.
“I’d be lying if I said that neither of us were scared,” said Alison Levy, who asked not to name her child’s day school, fearing that it could be targeted again.
Monday after school, Honora Gathings’ daughter didn’t greet her when she got home like she usually does. Instead, she said, “We had a Code Black.”
The media presents this wave of Jew-hatred as a new trend in America, but it is not. During the Obama Administration, there were no less than 7,000 anti-Semitic incidents in the US, but they went largely unreported by the mainstream media for political reasons. Now that the administration has changed and the media is no longer obliged to protect the White House, we can finally speak openly about anti-Semitism in America and ponder what this means for US Jewry.
Hatred Like No Other
First, we must not be naïve, as Taylor put it in the above quote. Anti-Semitism is the oldest, most tenacious hatred; it will outlive all other hatreds. There is a special characteristic to Jew-hatred: It is not really hatred of the Jews, but rather anger at the Jews.
The reason for this anger stems from our origin and our purpose. The Jewish people is like no other people. Its first manifestation came into existence nearly 4,000 years ago in ancient Babylon. At that time, Abraham, the son of a Babylonian priest called Terah, noticed that something bad was happening to his countryfolk. Despite the abundance of food and water in the land, the Babylonians became increasingly discontent with one another, and gradually grew angry and hostile toward each other, putting their thriving civilization at risk. The book Pirkey de Rabbi Eliezer describes how the builders of the Tower of Babylon “wanted to speak to one another but did not know each other’s language. What did they do?” the book asks. “Each took his sword and they fought each another to the death. Indeed, half the world was slaughtered there, and from there they scattered all over the world.”
Abraham was deeply troubled by the woes of his people, the Babylonians, and began to reflect on their problem, as Maimonides describes in detail in Mishneh Torah (Chapter 1). Finally, Abraham realized that the hatred erupting throughout his country was unstoppable; it was a force of nature. Abraham also realized that people’s hatred for each other would only grow over time because of the uncontrollable jealousy innate in human nature. Envy makes us not only want to have enough, but to have more than others and become superior to them.
Our sages summarized this trait of human nature with two famous truisms: 1) “The inclination of a man’s heart is evil from his youth” (Gen 8:21). 2) “A man does not leave the world with half his desire in his hand. Rather, if he has one hundred, he wants to have two hundred, and if he has two hundred, he wants to have four hundred” (Kohelet Rabah 3:13).
Understanding that he could not stop the intensification of the hatred, Abraham looked for a solution in nature. He observed that in nature, the negative force of destruction is balanced by equally strong positive force of connection. Today we know that protons and electrons would not be able to maintain a balanced structure of an atom without the two forces of attraction and rejection balancing each other out, and that this balance is maintained through all the levels of existence. The revelation of the balance between forces inspired Abraham to formulate a new mode of conducting human society.
Instead of trying to enforce laws that suppress the intrinsically egoistic human nature, efforts that invariably fail because our hatred for each other is ever growing, Abraham determined that we should reinforce our unity instead. Rather than focus on the bad, Abraham said, focus on the good—on mercy, love, compassion, and unity. While nature balances the positive and negative forces naturally, humans have to do this consciously.
A Notion for All the Nations
As soon as Abraham realized that he had found the key to the misery of the Babylonians, he began to spread the news wherever he could. Alas, his king, Nimrod, resented Abraham’s ideas. Instead of adopting the idea of unity above hatred, Nimrod chased Abraham out of Babylon.
But as the expat wandered toward Canaan, he kept speaking of his revelation. According to Maimonides, “thousands and tens of thousands assembled around him, and they are the people of the house of Abraham. He planted this tenet in their hearts, composed books about it, and taught his son, Isaac. And Isaac sat and taught and warned, and informed Jacob, and appointed him a teacher, to sit and teach… And Jacob our Father taught all his sons” (Mishneh Torah, Chapter 1). Finally, a tribe that knew the law of unity was formed. Abraham’s posterity continued to develop his method until finally, King Solomon capped it with one verse: “Hate stirs strife, and love covers all crimes” (Prov 10:12).
Abraham never intended for his idea to be the sole possession of his group. He wished to help the entire Babylonian civilization, and was forced to abandon his plan only because Nimrod forced him out of Babylon. Abraham’s disciples knew this and circulated the new ideas to anyone who wished to listen. When Moses led the people of Israel out of Egypt, he, too, wanted to impart the notion of unity over hatred to everyone. In his commentary on the Torah, the Ramchal wrote that “Moses wished to complete the correction of the world at that time. … However, he did not succeed because of the corruptions that occurred along the way.”
Since the world could not be corrected at the time, the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob became entrusted with the method and were tasked with serving as “a light unto nations.” The nation of Israel that was born at the foot of Mt. Sinai merited the title “nation” only after its members committed to unite “as one man with one heart.” This unique method of formation of a nation cemented their peoplehood so strongly that despite the efforts of the Babylonian, Egyptian, Greek, and Roman empires to destroy them, they have all faded into the annals of history, while the Jews continue to exist.
The task that we received, to be “a light unto nations,” is the task to spread the method of unity above hatred that Abraham discovered and his descendants perfected. The hatred we perceive as anti-Semitism derives from our obligation to the nations to deliver this method of connection, the ability to unite above hatred.
Approximately 2,000 years ago, we succumbed to hatred and abandoned our unity, thinking that the Roman culture would be more advantageous to us. In consequence, we not only lost our land, but we also “gained” the hatred of the nations—without a light unto nations, they had no hope of covering their own hatred of each other and were therefore doomed to everlasting wars. This is why anti-Semites such as Mel Gibson and retired General William Boykin blame us for all the wars in the world. Without our example, they feel hopeless and turn their anger at us.
Throughout the centuries, we have been accused of every conceivable and inconceivable crime. We have been blamed for controlling the media, usury, blood libels of various forms, well poisoning, dominating the slave trade, disloyalty to our host countries, organ harvesting and AIDS spreading. Over the years, communists accused us of creating capitalism, and capitalists accused us of inventing communism. Christians accused us of killing Jesus, and acclaimed French historian and philosopher François Voltaire accused us of inventing Christianity. We have been labeled warmongers and cowards, racists and cosmopolitans, spineless and unbending, and so on and so forth.
All of this happened to us because we abandoned our unity. When we are united, we are not only strong, but the world has hope, a light at the end of the tunnel. When we are separated, we are not a Jewish people anymore, but the riffraff that we were before Abraham assembled us into a tribe that knew the path of unity.
Our Hatred of Each Other Makes Us Hated
Today’s anti-Semitism in America is no different from any other anti-Semitism throughout the ages. It is the anger of the American non-Jews at the Jews for not showing the path of unity. Many people already link the increasing fragmentation in American society to the rise in anti-Semitism. They are correct in this because the people who are supposed to be a role model of unity are role models of tribal hatred instead. Just look at what is happening in our communities: People of different political views cannot spend holidays together and sometimes even divorce over who voted for whom!
Our hatred of each other causes Americans to hate us even more. They will end out blaming the Jews for their division and nothing that the Jews can say will convince them otherwise.
If we want to end anti-Semitism in America, then we Jews must first unite among ourselves .Liberal Jews and conservative Jews must rise to the occasion, put aside their differences, and unite in order to save themselves. Otherwise, the hatred that will develop in America will be as powerful, if not more so than the one that engulfed Germany in the 1930s, and whose consequences we commemorate each year .We can already see this happening; we must not wait until it’s too late. Our task is to unite above our differences, just as our forefathers did, and put all else—including politics—aside.
Unity in today’s political climate may seem impossible, but it is not at all so. Throughout the world, people are realizing that unity above all differences is the key to their happiness. They come together for unity events and discover that same “social cement” that Abraham discovered nearly four millennia ago. The next event to take place in the US will be on May 4-7 in New Jersey. Nearly one thousand people of all religions, races, and backgrounds will attend, and I hope that the warmth they will experience there will reinforce their conviction that unity above differences is the only viable way to create a sustainable, prosperous society.
Utilizing all forms of mass media, advertising, persuasion and upbringing, the new social perspective must:
1. Condemn egoistic activity openly and firmly;
2. praise altruistic activity as being of highest value.
The topic of “giving back to society” must resound as the only and the highest social value.
Of course, had we received this kind of upbringing from childhood in kindergarten, school and onward through all forms of mass media—newspapers, radio, television— with the topic of giving back to society constantly resounding above the background noise of all other events, then all of humanity would have acquired a completely different form.
We have to come to this through the realization of evil, always revealing to a greater and greater degree that not one of our plans will be realized.
Man will not be able to realize even his most simple egoistic plans: the desire to succeed, to win, to delight in something. A question arises: Why? First, it is necessary to understand that nature has its own plans, according to which we develop. There is nothing to be done about this; we have to follow them instead of trying to create our own.
Suddenly a group of people gathers who want to take power. They organize a party and present their program of change for the world, the country, and the people. But where do they get these plans that seem so right to them? Does human society not need to develop according to nature? And would going against it not condemn us to suffering?
And still we continue to see in our world how each party and each ruler who come to power for several years ruin what can be ruined, and leaves. And he is replaced by a new party with new pretty promises to fix everything, but it only completes the destruction. No one cares what happens after they leave. There is not enough responsibility or understanding of what needs to be done.
There is no awareness that within nature is a specific program of development for human society, just as for every other part. All our research in nature proves that she knows what she is doing and develops everything in accordance with a clear plan, which has been in effect since before the appearance of humans on earth.
Planet earth evolved according to the laws of development of the inanimate level of nature, after that, the vegetative, animal, and finally, human. The entire evolution was programmed.
Inanimate nature plants, and animals suffer only as a result of human beings, and if not for us, they would not be suffering. Because there are no egoistic forces in them, they do not resist nature’s program, but instinctively obey all her laws.
But a human comes to this world in order to develop his egoism and to understand that by doing this he puts himself in opposition to nature. This is done on purpose, in order for him to compare his nature with the rest of nature and come to his own desire to follow her program, which is called the adhesion of creation with the Creator.
The work of a Kabbalist is to bring this knowledge to all of humanity. Today all conditions are available for this, both positive and negative. Negative conditions are revealed in the shattering of humanity, the global crisis.
Positive conditions are revealed in the global system of connection, the Internet, the ability to influence people outside the usual channels of mass media that follow their own selfish goals and propagate the viewpoints of those who pay them.
All that needs to be done is to “condemn egoistic actions openly and firmly, and praise altruistic actions as being of highest value.” Slowly it will reach humanity.
The most important point to convey in this explanation is that this comes from the laws of nature, from which we cannot escape. It is not a plan or principles dreamed up by some political party, but are the result of an intensive investigation of nature. And so we are not being asked if we agree with it or not—we are obliged to bring human society into agreement with the laws nature.
If human society enters this process, which is followed by the inanimate, vegetative, and animate levels of nature, then all levels will begin to function correctly. Therefore, if we correct the human being, then there will be no climate catastrophes, threats of global warming, or ice age.
Global warming does not depend on the external actions of people or exhaust fumes in the atmosphere, but only on the rise and fall of man. The cause is not in the development of our industrial technology, but in our egoistic interactions between each other—namely, it is the flame of our egoism that is raising the temperature in nature.
From the 2nd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 2/3/16, Lesson on the Topic: “Mismah Arosa (Arosa Document),” “What Is to Be Done?”
Torah, Deuteronomy 21:14: And it will be, if you do not desire her, then you shall send her away wherever she wishes, but you shall not sell her for money. You shall not keep her as a servant, because you have afflicted her.
The captive is a desire a person exempted from the previous egoistic intention, but is not able to make a correct altruistic intention on. Then he just sends it, so to speak, to deep waters, and it is “drifting” somewhere.
“You shall not keep her as a servant, because you have afflicted her” means that you rescued her from egoistic intention—you captured it and now you have to fully correct it, that is, to provide this desire with a correct altruistic direction toward the Creator.
If you can’t make it, leave your desire alone and consider it hovering somewhere. In a certain amount of time it will show up again, and then you will deal with it.
Question: What does it mean “you shall not sell her for money”?
Answer: The thing is that you have no right to change one desire to another and thus gain a screen for it. Money in Hebrew is “Kesef,” “Kisuf” – screen, covering. You can’t reach any gain from the fact that you didn’t finish your correction. But then it comes. Such fluctuations of desire constantly arise in a person.
You were confident that with the help of this desire you would now reach the next spiritual level, nearer to the Creator. But it proved to be above your capacities, and you can do nothing about it.
The fact is that this is not the woman who is sitting in your tent mourning her parents. This is you yourself connecting with this desire and cutting your hair. This is how a new desire is absorbed within a person, when he is willing to merge with the Creator with its help, but realizes that he’s unable to do it.
In principle, the Torah is talking about the work with the same desire, which manifests itself gradually, step by step, layer by layer. And at each level, we face problems because we have to realize these desires, see how connected with them we are how we cannot simply correct them, but need to ask the Creator for help. This is tremendous work. Everybody has to do what he is assigned to according to the root of his soul.
From KabTV’s “Secrets of the Eternal Book” 9/26/16
In the News (The Guardian): “The government [of the United Kingdom] is to formally adopt a definition of what constitutes antisemitism, … with [Prime Minister] Theresa May saying the measure will help efforts to combat hate crime against Jews.”
Question: So who are the anti-Semites?
Answer: An anti-Semitic person is a person who doesn’t understand the mission of the Jews in this world and therefore hates them instead of directing them toward the right channel and helping them advance. But if he understands the mission of the Jews, for instance as Henry Ford understood it, then this is another problem already. He cannot overcome a fundamental natural anti-Semitism, and, therefore, he was a typical anti-Semite and helped Hitler.
At first, Hitler had a positive attitude toward Jews; one could even say he was friendly. He tried every way to try to speak to them rationally, suggesting that they leave Germany and move to Palestine. But they didn’t hear him. So he understood that nobody needed those Jews and nobody would stop him or oppose their annihilation. Incidentally, for him this was a big revelation because he thought that the whole world would begin to scream at him and condemn him. But it turned out that, on the contrary, they were even ready to help him. None of the leading nations came out against the genocide, even though they knew very well what was happening.
Is it possible to think that billions of people are anti-Semites? I don’t know. Or vice versa, is it possible to think about Jews as greater anti-Semites because they hate their role in this world? This is very topical and timeless. Today, among the American Jews, there are very many anti-Semites who are against Israel and Judaism. They shake Judaism off themselves, like a snake that sheds its skin, in an attempt to disguise themselves in every way possible. But in the Torah, it is written that this will not help, “I will get to you anywhere, no matter where you may be hiding,” says the Creator. And this is true, because Jews are not a nation, but are an accessory to the goal of creation, which that person must carry for the world. But if he doesn’t do this, then the world blames him for all of their problems. This is precisely what is happening.
We cannot escape from carrying out this mission. The entire world revolves around it. The anti-Semites are right, everything revolves around the Jews, and there is a reason for hatred toward these 15 million people. This is one of the smallest peoples of the world, but look at what they are doing. There are so many problems around them and so many emotions involved with them. Let’s hope that the Jews will recognize their mission to show the whole world an example of unity, as is written in the Torah: “And you shall love your friend as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18). This law of human society must extend to all the inhabitants of the world.
Question: The American Jews are now trying to blend in among other peoples. Could the Jewish people disappear?
Answer: No, they cannot because nature itself is conducting this process, arousing a desire in a person to blend in, in order to show him that this is impossible, and inevitably later, he will have to carry out his role in this world joyously.
From KabTV’s “News with Michael Laitman” 12/28/16
Answer: Israel is one nation that walked in the desert together, but each in his own place, with his own flag. This is how we need to advance, the way they went from Mount Sinai to the Land of Israel, organized by the tribes, each with its flag and in the correct connection with others.
And it’s not about the march through material desert, but about the way to progress in spirituality.
There is a Hollywood movie that shows how the Jews walk in the desert simply one after another, but this is a wrong image. In the spiritual advancement each of the twelve tribes must maintain the correct relationship with others and all the time remain connected: four tribes on the right, four tribes on the left, and four tribes in the middle: HaVaYaH + HaVaYaH + HaVaYaH.
This entire structure must be preserved. When everyone experiences hindrances and the collective egoism rises, everyone has to make sure that we grow together, in the same form, remaining in the same perception, in the same matrix, just at the increasingly higher level.
Question: Why marriages between the tribes were forbidden?
Answer: Because it is necessary to preserve the initial HaVaYaH, the shape of the vessel. The whole nation is like one body. If the body is built in a certain way: head, trunk, arms, and legs, then it is impossible to mix an arm with a leg.
Question: These are not arms and legs, but people!
Answer: If people from the different tribes will mix, it is even worse than mixing an arm with a leg. It is impossible to mix the brain from the head and the bone marrow from arms and legs. Each of us was created with the specific features, like organs of a material body, and therefore all together we are similar to one organism, one person. The different tribes of Israel are like different organs of one body.
Question: It is still unclear why two people can’t get married?
Answer: When we speak about the tribes of Israel it isn’t about people, but about the organs of one spiritual body, which is the people of Israel. Yet, with the physical bodies you can do anything you want; the Torah doesn’t speak about them at all.
All the tribes should support each other, as it is written, “Love your neighbour as yourself.”
Question: Why then they are fenced off from each other and given their own allotment?
Answer: How can I help another tribe if I don’t belong exactly to the tribe that was assigned to me? Let’s say that you belong to the tribe of Naphtali, and I belong to Zebulun.
Each tribe has its own specific spiritual work and I can help another only if I realize myself exactly like Zebulun and you as Naphtali. And for the tribes of Asher and Gad I must do different work and provide different support, and they in return to me.
Imagine twelve people who are in the group, but each of them has their own soul. If we try changing it, we only spoil it. Therefore, we shouldn’t change anyone, but only connect between us. None of us has any flaws, the fault is only in the connection between us and therefore, we need to pay attention only to it, work on it and correct it, in order to reveal the upper force within the corrected connection.
From KabTV’s “New Life” 12/1/16
There are two approaches to life. The first approach is to devote most of our attention to this world, getting as much pleasure out of it as possible. This is why humanity conquers space and explores the depths of an atom. All this is work with the matter.
But the wisdom of Kabbalah says that instead of flying to distant stars we need to delve into the depth of a human being. The world is uncovered within us, we see the world within ourselves. A person perceives the reality with his consciousness and therefore, by changing it he changes the reality.
Reality is a reflection of our inner qualities. By correcting our inner qualities, we begin to see the spiritual world. And by returning to our original egoistic characteristics, we see this world.
That is why even in relation to the Torah there are two approaches. There are those who observe the commandments of the Torah only in their actions, thinking that the Torah describes external observance. And that is why such Torah is called external, because it is observed only through physical actions and words. But there are people called Kabbalists who believe that following the Torah is an internal action, carried out by changing human nature.
By working in the group according to the method of Kabbalah and attracting the Light that Reforms, a person begins to fulfill the Torah and the commandments not only with hands, legs, and words, but through the desire that is corrected with the help of the Light and divided into 613 parts. And this why it is said, “the opinion of the Torah is opposite to the opinion of the masses.”
The external approach is also associated with the study of nature by regular sciences, the aspiration to explore the depths of the inanimate, vegetative, and animate levels, and to transform the world by changing nature and governments externally.
In contrast, the wisdom of Kabbalah says that if the world is the result of our perception, then it is necessary to correct only our perception, our inner qualities. Only in this manner can we change the world, humanity, man, and all of reality to such an extent that we will begin to experience the world as eternal, perfect, and limitless.
For this reason the opinion of the masses differs from that of the Torah, and there is nothing that can be done about this, it is not possible to bring them together. Little by little the upper Light operates on humanity, advancing it toward the need to acknowledge the truth and realize that all of reality exists within. There is nothing outside of us, everything is perceived within our awareness.
The passage from the general world-view, accepted by all humanity that perceives the world as external to them, to the world as a product of perception within human awareness, is called liberation. The eyes of the masses will open and they will begin to approach the truth.
Then the wisdom of Kabbalah will be revealed not only to specific individuals, but to all, and it will explain to all of humanity its mission and the purpose of man in this reality.
Everyone will realize that our world is not this planet Earth, where we are destined to be born and die, but that it is a small stop-over station, a starting point, from which we have to begin to develop further.
From the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 1/30/17, Lesson on the Topic: “Daat Baalei Baitam Hafuha Midaat Torah (The Mind of the Landlords Is Opposed to the Reason of the Torah)”
Who doesn’t want to be happy? InternationalDayOfHappiness
It’s cute when people who know nothing about Kabbalah and have no attainment of the Upper World start dispensing judgment about it…
The goal of Creation is to unite the nations. This is the work of the Jews (Havodat Hashem). Antisemitism is sent to force them to do it.
The UN rescinded its accusation of apartheid toward Israel, but more will follow until the Jews reveal the method of correction to the world
Once again, ministers from Israel’s left & right were invited to our annual Kabbalah convention, and were amazed.
From Twitter, 3/20/17
Answer: To do this you need a teacher, books, a group, and persistence with the lessons. You can then be sure that you are on the right track and will achieve the goal.
From the Kabbalah Lesson in Russian 1/1/17
From the point of view of Bina, which Moses symbolizes, he connected with Malchut (the people of Israel) and transmitted all of his power to it so that the people could begin to rise from a state of Malchut in the Land of Israel (which had already been a different power of Malchut) to Bina.
This was the blessing through which he transferred power to the land and to the people, and the people had to implement them. The implementation includes clarification of the nature and the sequence of the corrective actions, as well as preparation of the people for movement and advancement in different forces (tribes), to individual people, tens, hundreds, and so forth.
This made it clear how they could continue to gather into greater unity in their constantly growing egoism and desire called the “Land of Israel” that was revealed by them and aim straight toward the Creator.
They began to fight in order to direct their desires toward bestowal and love, above the egoism that was depicted by the seven peoples, which were manifested in the seven structures: Hesed, Gevurah, Tifferet, Netzach, Hod, Yesod, and Malchut.
This was serious work, but Moses no longer had any connection with it because he was only the characteristic of Bina, and he only transmitted love and bestowal to the people of Israel. Working between the characteristic of bestowal and the zealous, powerful egoistic desire the “Land of Israel” will be the next level, Joshua ben Nun. This force would lead the people forward toward the Land of Israel.
From the Kabbalah Lesson in Russian 9/4/16