Question from Facebook: Why was the origin of the greatest kings and teachers of the people of Israel, like King David and Rabbi Akiva, from among those who were not Jews?
Answer: A person who yearns for the Creator is called “Yashar-El” (Yisrael, Straight to the Creator). A person who wants to unite with others is called a “Yehudi” (Jew) from the word “Yechud” (Unification). This is what determines if you are a Jew or not. Today every person in the world, whether he is Spanish, French, Italian, or German, no matter who, can come and say: “I want to be a Jew.” In the wisdom of Kabbalah, they don’t divide the world into nationalities.
To be a Jew, a person must carry out what the Torah says. Namely he must yearn to implement the law “And you shall love your friend as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18). If he agrees to this, it means that he has become a Jew, a person who yearns for unity and unification to adhere with the Creator.
The term “Ivri” (Hebrew) is derived from the word, “L’Over” (to go over), moving from the principle of egoistic existence to altruistic existence. This is the foundation of our people, a group that accepted upon itself the principle, “And you shall love your friend as yourself.” As soon as a person accepts this principle, he becomes a Jew and everyone else, not.
From KabTV’s “News with Michael Laitman” 5/22/17