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The Times of Israel published my new article “Anti-Semitism in Australia: The Deeper Cause and Solution”
Two anti-Semitic events involving children that hit Australia in the past week are just the tip of the iceberg showing a worldwide boost in anti-Semitic sentiment, crimes and threats.
The first was a 5-year-old who was revealed to be subject to anti-Semitic bullying at his school’s bathrooms regularly for months. It reached such scales where the boy would wet his pants in class rather than use the bathroom to avoid the ridicule. All it took was his classmates finding out that he was circumcised for the abuse to begin, which included calling him a “Jewish cockroach.”
At another school, a 12-year-old Jewish student was taken to the park by his classmates, who forced him to bend over and kiss the shoes of a Muslim boy. Of course, the act was photographed and spread on social media. In the months following, the child suffered from anti-Semitic slander, physical assaults, threats and curses. Beyond an injury to his face, which ended with a visit to the hospital, the child began to suffer from acute anxiety.
In both cases, the schools denied involvement in the incidents, and faced minor backlash from the Jewish children’s parents and Jewish organizations. Both Jewish children eventually left the schools.
Despite these events coming to light in the media, there is no guarantee of a safeguard from future such events. We are left with no reason to believe that other Jewish children won’t face similar or worse bullying.
The 2018 Anti-Semitism Report of the Kantor Center reported an unprecedented 59% increase in anti-Semitism cases in Australia compared to the previous year. The cases included phone and email harassment and threats, verbal abuse, vandalism, and anti-Semitic posters and graffiti spreading in the public sphere unimpeded.
These are just some of the cases. Most cases are not reported at all, and Jews continue encountering harassment and curses on a regular basis whether on their way to synagogues on Shabbat, whether at Jewish festivals or other Jewish events.
It’s no wonder that Jews and Israelis living in Australia are starting to feel uncomfortable, to say the least.
I have quite a few students and friends there. Debbie and Avi are part of a large Jewish and Israeli community, living in Bondi Beach in Sydney. Debbie stated that she shivered when she saw the pews of Sydney’s northwestern neighborhoods covered with swastikas and graffiti that call for killing Jews.
Aviva and her family also migrated to Australia a decade ago in her work for a small town near Byron Bay, which has a large community of Israelis. One day when Aviva was sitting in a little café, as she usually did, she was surprised to discover a swastika adorning her coffee. When she asked the waiter what this meant, he explained that Hitler was basically pursuing peace and equality, and his ideas had good intentions.
Apparently, even in a stable and tolerant democracy, in which Jews are free to maintain their beliefs and customs, there is reason to fear. Again, we find that Jews have nowhere else in the world to escape and shake off their role.
The wisdom of Kabbalah explains that Jews have a special role in the human puzzle: “Israel’s purpose is to unite the entire world into one family,” writes Rabbi Kook. The people of Israel are a special people who rose with the common agreement to love one another and live “as one man with one heart.”
The method of uniting the Jewish people, which can also unite humanity, has been instilled in us Jews. Therefore, it is our duty to use it, and to bring about the long-awaited union between us—to set an example for a humanity that is suffering from increasing division and hatred. But as long as we continue letting ourselves get driven into conflict with each other, failing to transcend our egos and connect with each other, anti-Semitism intensifies and gives us a hard reminder that we have a role.
The only way to stop and even reverse the rising trend of anti-Semitism around the world is if we Jews realize our unity above our growing divisions, and to spread this unifying tendency to the world.
Baal HaSulam, “Peace in the World”: … the benefit of each and every person within his collective is evaluated not according to his own goodness, but according to his service to the public. And vice-versa, we appreciate the attribute of evil of each and every individual only according to the harm one inflicts upon the public in general, and not by one’s own individual value.
These things are crystal clear both from the perspective of the truth in them, and from the perspective of the good in them. This is because what is found in the collective is only what is found in the individual. And the benefit of the collective is the benefit of each and every individual: who harms the collective takes his share in the harm, and who benefits the collective takes his share in the benefit, since individuals are part of the whole, and the whole is not worth in anyway more than the sum of its individuals.
Here is a constant calculation, absolutely complete and very real.
I see before me a vast integral system of the entire world, not our world, but all the worlds. I feel like I am locked in this system through the rest of humanity, an enormous amount of interconnected cogwheels. And I have absolutely no freedom to turn by a few degrees in one direction or another.
After all, a cogwheel is like a sphere: I can spin here and there, in different directions, at different angles.
Yet, wherever I turn, I am connected with other cogwheels. I affect their rotation, their state, and they affect me. This is the world.
This means that nature is absolutely whole and interconnected and we have no way to do anything against it.
From KabTV’s “Fundamentals of Kabbalah,” 7/21/19
Answer: It is the ability to analyze and examine all of your states and choose which one of them is the best and most correct one.
Question: What does it mean to take responsibility for my actions if the Creator manages everything? According to the wisdom of Kabbalah, is it my responsibility to understand and analyze what the Creator is doing with me?
Answer: You are responsible for your actions within the framework of the freedom of choice given to you as if the Creator were in your place.
Question: Who are the spiritual father and mother of the soul?
Answer: The spiritual father and mother are systems in the spiritual world, which are also called Aba ve Ima (father and mother). The two systems give birth to my soul and I exist under their management.
Question: When is the pursuit of knowledge corporeal and when is it spiritual?
Answer: It all depends on why you seek knowledge. If you strive to know how to connect with others and help them attain adhesion with the Creator, it is spiritual. If it is the opposite, it is physical.
Question: Is there a law in nature that good states help to forget the bad states?
Answer: In principle, yes. But not in Kabbalah. In Kabbalah, everything is connected and ultimately you begin to comprehend this as one good, general, and integral. Moreover, there is nothing bad. If you practice Kabbalah, you fall and rise over and over again, and all of your descents are considered ascents. There is nothing negative.
From the Kabbalah Lesson in Russian, 6/16/19