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How grateful do we have to be to our enemies for their desire to vilify us in all earthly sins. If we calculate how much money was invested in all the articles about us, we would never be able to make ourselves this famous. The future generations will figure it out!
From Twitter, 8/20/19
The Times of Israel published my new article “Is Israel the Solution to Anti-Semitism?”
“You Jews, Hitler should have finished you off,” screamed an attacker while he sprayed water in the face of a Jewish man in Crown Heights, NY. Another three Hasidic Jews were punched in the face on their way to the synagogue in Williamsburg in a renewed series of violent attacks against Jews in the US. In Germany, a rabbi and his two sons were spit on and verbally attacked as they left a synagogue in Munich. These are only a few examples of a vast list of anti-Semitic attacks against Jews during just the last few days.
One might ask what the Jewish response to this should be. Is the rise of anti-Semitism in the world a wakeup call for Jews to move to Israel? Clearly, the solution is not as simple as packing and moving. Our only lasting safety depends on becoming one unified people wherever we are.
Research organizations evaluating bigotry and hatred define the conditions facing Jewish communities worldwide, in light of growing anti-Semitism, as “a state of emergency.” Several surveys recently conducted across Europe reach the same conclusion: Jewish people in the region live in fear and experience increasingly frequent and more violent assaults and harassment only because of their religion.
In the US, the situation is no less alarming. A record number of 1,879 anti-Semitic incidents were reported in 2018, while so far this year, there are no signs of improvement. On the contrary, the trend is strengthening from every direction.
Is Israel a Safe Haven for Diaspora Jews?
I do not view the Israel of today as a fulfillment of our founder’s dream: a national home that would embrace and accommodate all Jews who wish to move to Israel. While it is clear that those fleeing from threat and with no alternative might want to follow their Zionist aspiration to move to the Land of Israel, receiving an official welcome into the country, the challenge of the absorption process into Israeli society can be very difficult.
Israel is far from being “the promised land… flowing with milk and honey,” as described in Exodus. Instead of milk and honey, Israelis face knives and rockets. In addition to constant external threats, deep internal divisions and frictions make Israel feel like a pot about to boil over.
Therefore, how realistic is it to expect a smooth integration of new immigrants into a deeply split society suffering from a lack of communication between its different factions? For example, although Jerusalem might be only an hour away from Tel Aviv, the two major cities are worlds apart. This is also applicable to the periphery areas vis-a-vis the center of the country. Their populations’ mindset and perception are significantly different and little common ground for mutual understanding has been built. Division is evident in virtually all areas of the Israeli social and political spectrum.
A Call to Unite
Massive immigration of all Jews in the world to the Land of Israel should not be considered the ultimate solution and purpose. The single reason for the Jewish people’s survival of persecution and hatred throughout history till today, is to fulfill the mission for which the Jewish nation was conceived: to unite “as one man with one heart” and by so doing become “a light unto the nations.” As long as we distance ourselves from this goal, the nations of the world pressure us through anti-Semitism to remind us of our role.
Put another way, the solution to anti-Semitism is not a matter of territory. The solution can be found in the connection of the Jewish people beyond consideration of physical frontiers. It can only be achieved by becoming closer to each other, heart to heart, through our mutual understanding, care and reciprocity. As Kabbalist Rav Yehuda Ashlag wrote in his paper “The Nation”:
“It is clear that the immense effort required of us on the rugged road ahead requires unity as strong and as solid as steel, from all factions of the nation without exception. If we do not come out with united ranks toward the mighty forces standing in our way then we are doomed before we even started.”
For this reason, the hatred against Jews that increasingly surfaces stresses the urgency for us to take action and come together “as one man with one heart.” When we achieve that state of unity and radiate this example to the rest of the world, it will be perceived as our ultimate and most valuable contribution to humanity. Then, and only then, the animosity against us will vanish.
The lower one receives everything from the upper one: this world, the upper world, and all the means for the ascent, all the components of correction, and all the internal conditions. What is left for him is to scrutinize his attitude to his external and internal states, that is, to the group, to the world, to himself, and then integrate into the group and annul himself.
For now we cannot do anything other than annul ourselves. Even later, when we will be working with all our might, all our participation consists of increasingly annulling ourselves. For the time being, this is the entire correction: until the very end, until the coming of the Messiah, the light of Rav Paalim uMekabtziel. All our greatest actions are the actions of annulling ourselves because we are working on correcting egoism.
The annulment can be either passive or active, at different degrees, in constantly changing internal and external conditions. But the main experience we need to gain from all the states we go through is the ability to annul ourselves by our own choice. I must know why I annul myself, toward whom, how to do it, and by doing so, I find the ten, the group, and the entire world.
By annulling myself, I adhere to the annulment of the Creator and attain Him through His annulment. This is how a baby attains his mother through their mutual annulment. Otherwise, he will be attached to her only externally, using her because she serves him. However, by annulling himself for the sake of connection with her, he begins to understand how she annuls herself toward him, and he studies the upper one this way. Here, it is very important to annul oneself toward the right people and not toward the entire external egoistic world.
Passive annulment is bestowal for the sake of bestowal, and active annulment is reception for the sake of bestowal. I am in the upper one, I feel Him and understand what contentment I can give Him through my reception, helping Him to be revealed within me. To give to the Creator the pleasure of His revelation in the created beings is the work that until the end of correction is done in the ascent, with AHP de Aliyah, by adhering to the upper, that is, by annulling myself before Him through the annulment toward the group. As it is written: “From love for the created beings to the love for the Creator.”
This is how we advance step by step, rising and falling, and again rising and falling, as it is written: “And there was evening and there was morning, one day.” Every time we build a new state because we lose everything we received previously. If we remembered and kept the previous state, the exertion would be impure. I have to fall to the state of “Shimon from the market.”1
We are in the corporeal world in order to have an opportunity to organize systems here that do not depend on our spiritual ascents and descents. Therefore, we can remind each other about the intention, oblige ourselves to work according to a timetable, according to the corporeal states. This is why the one who does not come to the lesson every day is not participating in the common work. Every lesson is a new ascent, new participation, connection, and construction of the Kli.2
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 8/8/19, Writings of Baal HaSulam, “Preface to the Wisdom of Kabbalah,” Item 179
1 Minute 28:40 – 36:12
2 Minute 35:30
Answer: There is no difference.
Question: According to you, ultimately people will be independent, meaning the Creator Himself. Isn’t this just a catch phrase?
Answer: No. The upper force exists; this is the Creator. There is a lower power that was created by Him. According to the parameters one acquires, one must become equal to the Creator.
Question: How is it possible to understand if a desire is a desire of the Creator or a desire of a person?
Answer: The desire of the Creator is in all of nature, and in fact, a person has no desire. Only the desire of the Creator exists. If you could absolutely renounce yourself, you would find that you only have the desire of the Creator.
Question: How must one understand the expression: “Don’t believe in yourself until the day you die” (Pirkei Avot 2:4)? What does “in yourself” mean? Is it your egoism?
Answer: Yes, in your egoism. Never believe in your own powers in any way.
From a Virtual Lesson, 03/24/19
Question: What is intention and how is it related to desire?
Answer: Intention determines desire. If the intention is directly related to desire, then this is the most primitive kind of desire. If I cannot directly realize the desire, then I develop a whole program of its implementation in myself. The program of the realization of the desire is called intention.
Suppose I want to achieve some kind of goal. But for this I need to take a certain path, certain actions, to attract people to it, to do something myself. All this is invested in my intentions to achieve the ultimate goal. In fact, these intentions are also actions, but with respect to the ultimate goal, they are intentions.
Intention is the ultimate goal, which is present in all my intermediate actions.
Question: So a person has a desire, an intention, and a brain that processes information in order to serve these desires?
Answer: Yes. The brain controls the so-called heart—desires. It concentrates them, interconnects them in various combinations in order to achieve the final goal.
From KabTV’s “Basics of Kabbalah”, 12/03/18
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Lesson on the Topic “There is None Else Besides Him”
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Lesson on the Topic “A Kli [vessel] that Holds a Blessing for Israel”
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