The Times of Israel published my new article “Tisha B’Av 2018: A Day of Reckoning in Israeli Society”
Let’s conduct a social exercise and see our reality through two worldviews.
One shows us the alienated world we know, with social division, cruelty and discrimination that leaves no choice besides taking to the streets. On the other hand — and here is the exercise — let’s aspire to see a different reality where we are all one family, linked by threads of love, and equally respecting the will of all members of society.
From day to day, the need for this new reality becomes clearer than ever before, the need to feel connection above the daily sense of separation. This is not about fake smiles and niceties. It’s about a whole new spiritual space of human relations — living in conjunction with the binding force of nature that ties all of us together into a single fabric of humanity.
The sense of equality that will emerge is a new perspective we haven’t seen before. We will discover how there can be room for everyone. The sense of a higher force of connection between us will provide us with the importance of preserving our differences, and the recognition that our conflicts and differences enable us to see the harmony and wholeness that lies in nature.
But in order for such a dream-reality to take shape, we have to make room within us. We have to shape a new perception of reality, opposite to the narrow, egoistic one that rules us. It takes practice and we have to play with it like children. We have to envision ourselves living in a warm and loving family, in the embrace of a loving society. We have to awaken latent feelings of connection between us, which will illuminate the dark spaces between us.
Then, nature will work its magic: the game we play will change our perception of what’s realistic. It’s not that reality itself will change before our eyes, but our perception of reality certainly will.
On Tisha B’Av, the day that symbolizes our unfounded hatred to each other, there is no shortage of attempts to elevate the value of social unity. But whether it’s through discussion circles in city squares, on social networks, or in protest tents, the discourse doesn’t rise above the limited, earthly level.
Surely, today we are not afraid of social disagreements and no longer try to blur them. We are well aware that the secular people will never agree with the religious, and those on the right will remain in dispute with those on the left.
However, acknowledging the differences between us is not enough to take us to a new space.
We lack the genuine urgency to break through the barrier of our worldly perception. The ego holds us captive, chains us to a dividing worldview in which we can never rebuild our society. At the moment, it seems like the need for change will only come with intensifying troubles, wars, struggles and protests.
But there is another way. Shorter, faster and more pleasant to all of us. It is through consciously playing, through practice, through education.
For two thousand years the Kabbalists have been pointing to unity as a solution to all our troubles. They warn us in every way they can that if we don’t connect to our common spiritual root, the events of life will teach us to do so in a very difficult and long-winding path.
Therefore, we must begin relating to the better future we want for ourselves and our children, to the positive relationship between all of us. We are not required to let go of our opinion or give in to others. We are only required to play with a new worldview, where above our differences, we are connected as one family.
The brotherly love that we will gradually build will be called “the third Temple.”