The Times of Israel published my new article “A Virus as a Crown in the Kingdom of Anti-Semites”
Besides COVID-19, there is another kind of ruthless contagion around the planet: anti-Semitism.
Conspiracy theories and blood libels against Jews are the new, and yet old, epidemic as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. The fact that Israel is working around the clock to develop a new vaccine against the deadly virus—which should be a reason for complements in a normal world—is surprisingly fueling hatred against Jews, accused of intentionally creating and spreading the virus to profit from its cure.
And when anti-Semites take aim to extensively spread their vicious agenda, tentacles of the far-right and the far-left intertwine forces to fight their common enemy: the Jews. Voices in Turkey and Iran, among other countries, blame Israel for what they call a pandemic that “serves Zionist’s interests.” BDS (the boycott movement against Israel, IfNotNow [left-wing Jewish activists], and White Supremacist groups have contributed their own share of bigotry and hatred to fuel the flames of a new wave of anti-Semitism, pointing their fingers at Jews for the Black Death plague that killed almost 50 million people worldwide, wiping out over half of Europe’s residents, a blood libel that was revived again in 1918 when the Spanish Flu pandemic ravaged the planet.
Same Hatred, A New Flare-Up
The current anti-Semitic wave indicates that the dark days when Jewish people were described as conniving and abusing elements of society are not over. The days in which we were accused of being responsible for all of the world’s problems are not behind us, quite the contrary. The wisdom of Kabbalah explains that there is one way anti-Semitism can be totally erased. Until certain measures are taken, anti-Semitism will not disappear since it is embedded in the very foundation of the world. It will continue to resurface, particularly in times of peril, with swift vengeance.
Why is this so? It is because, instinctively, people feel that Jews hold the keys to solve the world’s problems. By attacking Jews, they in fact raise the Jewish nation to the highest pedestal, holding them both responsible for the problems and, at the same time, acknowledging them as those who repair a broken planet.
A Gradual Development toward a New World
The wisdom of Kabbalah delineates the phenomenon of anti-Semitism, which will increasingly unfold until a new reality is created, in four developmental stages that are similar in many ways to the progression of a pandemic like the coronavirus.
During the first stage, the present one, we identify the appearance of a crisis, we recognize a disruption in the communication between us and our way of life. This realization provides a new perception of our situation and what is required of us. We want to rid ourselves of the problem that halts our lives, but we understand that we cannot escape it easily.
At the second stage, we begin to appreciate the seriousness of the situation and begin to ask deep questions about how to live side by side with the “virus,” the disruption: How should we manage society, the country, the changing economy, employment, family and education?
At the third stage, we understand that there is a need to make changes in society. Although it is still early to describe exactly how, the problematic disruption, just like the coronavirus, moves us toward social change, toward a more egalitarian society. The target of the trajectory of change is a society where everyone earns and receives what is essential for each person, the basic needs for their existence, while the rest of society’s energy and power is invested in the collective benefit. Such change does not happen overnight, but is a continuous process and one that will cause a lot of opposition. However, gradually positive changes will expand to all institutions and systems in society.
The fourth and last stage will be marked by the realization that we can gain tremendously from these changes, particularly in the area of new human communication of a higher and more spiritual type, and its importance will push us even further. At last, looking back at our journey in retrospect, we will be able to appreciate the fact that all the former stages, as difficult as they were, through which we passed, were precisely and only for our benefit.
How Can Jews Cure an Ill World
One might ask, what is the role of Jews in this equation? It is precisely the role of the Jewish nation, founded upon the tenet of “love your neighbor as yourself,” to lead the way to the attainment of unity and toward recovery of the balance in nature that has been lost as a result of our unruly, egoistic and self-centered human relations. Jews were the first people to identify and understand the laws of nature, the need to live in a society based on mutual responsibility.
The first time that a portion of humanity experienced itself as a society based on the principle of mutual sharing was in ancient Babylon some 3500 years ago with Abraham the Patriarch. He discovered a method for rising above the human ego to unite and discover the single force of nature through the process of unification. Abraham called for people to rise above their conflicts to unite and made his teachings available to whoever wanted to join in this process. Those who followed him were called by Abraham, “Israel,” which translates to “Yashar Kel” (“straight to God”). Since that time, the uniqueness of the Jewish people is their capacity to connect directly to the upper force in nature which controls and manages all reality. Only with this force, explain the Kabbalists, is there the possibility for the world to exchange its ruinous direction for a positive one.
Therefore, as soon as Jews begin to learn and implement this method of connection—the wisdom of Kabbalah to attain unity and begin to deliver it to the rest of the world, feelings of family and community will prevail between Jews and the rest of humanity. This accomplishment will produce a sensation like that of a protective and secure womb that will neutralize all of the person’s harmful preoccupations and eliminate uncertainty about the future. In this new reality, Jews will be appreciated as the promoters of warm relations based on love, bonds that provide calm and tranquility for the whole world.