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My new article on Linkedin “Six Days in June that Changed Israel for Good”
This week, fifty-four years ago, the Six-Day War broke out. Leading to it was a weeks-long period of stress and anxiety in Israel, knowing that a war was about to break out, and that the intent of the enemy armies was to wipe the country off the map, as they had intended to do in 1948, during Israel’s War of Independence. But fifty-four years ago, six days after the war broke out, a truce was declared and Israel found itself several times bigger than it was six days prior, and in control of all of Sinai, the Golan Heights, all of Jerusalem, and the West Bank.
At first, Israelis were ecstatic with relief. But soon, hubris settled in, conceit began to contaminate the nation, and division plagued the Israeli society. Since then, Israel has not been the same. The Six-Day War changed Israel for good, but for the worse, for the far worse. The prize for defeating the armies of the enemies hands down on all fronts intoxicated us and turned us into arrogant fools. Instead of using the victory to show the world what Israel was really for, we bragged that Jews, too, could be strong.
The world does not need strong Jews; it needs spiritual leadership, guidance toward love of others, as our own Torah teaches. The world has plenty of strong nations, but none that can bring unity to the family of nations. This is what it expects from the Jews. And since Jews began to boast in their military power instead of in their solidarity, instead of supporting the Jewish state, the world shifted its support to the Palestinians.
Our sages have always connected the prosperity and success of our nation with unity, and our failures with division. The book Masechet Derech Eretz Zutah (chap. 9), for example, writes the following about the power of unity: “Thus would Rabbi Eleazar ha-Kappar say, ‘Love peace, and loathe division. Great is the peace, for even when Israel practice idol-worship and there is peace among them, the Creator says, ‘I wish not to touch [harm] them.’’” However, “If there is division among them,” continues the book, “what is it said about them? ‘Their heart is divided; now they will bear their guilt (Hosea 10:2).’”
Even before the establishment of the State of Israel, the great kabbalist and thinker Rav Yehuda Ashlag, aka Baal HaSulam, wrote in an essay titled “The Freedom”: “The matter of social unity … can be the source of every joy … and the separation between them is the source of every calamity and misfortune.”
Six years after the Six-Day War, the Yom Kippur [aka October] War broke out and caught us completely off guard. We managed to pull through it and ward off the invaders, but we paid heavily for our hubris and complacency. Yet, even then, we didn’t learn the lesson. Since then, each time Israel faced a military campaign, we pulled together and won. But each time, our unity diminished. In the last campaign, Operation Guardian of the Walls, our unity has completely eroded.
We decry our growing division in the face of intensifying antisemitism and anti-Israel sentiment, yet fail to understand that it is precisely our division that is intensifying the antisemitism and anti-Israel sentiment.
The sweet nectar of a sense of omnipotence is a poison that is destroying our society. We have to understand that our military strength buys us time, but it will not hold out forever. Our unity is our real weapon since it turns our enemies into friends and unites the whole world around us, rather than against us.
Henry Ford, a rabid antisemite and one of Hitler’s role models, wrote surprisingly positive and hopeful words about Jews in his nefarious book, The International Jew: The World’s Foremost Problem: “The whole prophetic purpose, with reference to Israel, seems to have been the moral enlightenment of the world through its agency.” In another place, he writes, “Modern reformers, who are constructing model social systems on paper, would do well to look into the social system under which the early Jews were organized.” Indeed, as the book Maor VaShemesh writes, “The prime defense against calamity is love and unity. When there are love, unity, and friendship between each other in Israel, no calamity can come over them.”
My new article on Linkedin “Why Blows Come in Waves”
Sooner or later, the world will recover from the blow of Covid-19. But if one thing is clear, it is that another version of Covid, another medical crisis, or a different kind of crisis, is soon to follow. Even before the onset of Covid-19, on August 13, 2018, WHO virologist Dr. Belinda Herring said, “The next pandemic could be around the corner.” More recently, on March 2, 2021, the magazine Infection Control Today published an article titled “Ready for the Next Pandemic? (Spoiler Alert: It’s Coming).” You can guess what it’s about.
For the most part, however, blows don’t come in clusters, but in waves, or one at a time, and for a good reason. Just as children learn through their parents’ discipline, humanity learns through nature’s discipline. Therefore, after nature disciplines us, it usually gives us time to rest, recover, but mainly—to think. Covid-19 is no exception. It is another blow in a series of worsening blows that will continue to worsen the more we ignore the lesson that nature is trying to teach. If previously, blows had a more local tone, Covid is unique in that it is truly global; no one is untouchable, and everyone is afraid.
By handing humanity this global jolt, nature doesn’t only show us who is the boss, but also that we are dependent on each other. And if we are dependent on each other, we have to help each other, take care of each other, and make sure everyone gets what they need. Otherwise, there will be more global blows. It has become a very simple calculation.
When the pancreas becomes dysfunctional, for example, the problem is not endemic to the pancreas; it spreads throughout the body and becomes diabetes. Today, nature is showing us that we are all vital organs. Therefore, for our own sake, we must be considerate and caring about everyone.
Although, as we said, the only way to learn it is through nature’s discipline, we can determine how fast we learn the lesson and progress to a better life for everyone. The more we stall, the tougher will be nature’s lessons.
We needn’t do anything specific; it is more about our attitude toward each other. Just as you don’t teach a mother what to do when she has a baby, but her love tells her what she needs to do and what she still needs to learn, when we develop care for one another, our new attitude will determine our behavior toward each other. Therefore, our focus should be on developing mutual care and consideration in order to avoid the next pandemic or the next big crisis, which is, as we just read, around the corner.
My new article on Linkedin “Our Own Worst Enemy”
Two things happened this week, which pertain to past wars: We commemorated the 54th anniversary of the Six-Day War in 1967, and new documents were released, which portray the hubris of decision makers leading to the Yom Kippur War (aka October War) in 1973. In the military sense, the Six-Day War was a surprisingly easy and sweeping victory, while the Yom Kippur War was a victory achieved at a great cost mainly because of the hubris that resulted from the previous campaign’s overwhelming success. In between the two campaigns was a prolonged war of attrition that regrettably did not abate our overconfidence.
There are important lessons to learn from the wars of the past, but there is one lesson that far outweighs all the others: It is impossible to win a war using only military means. An army can buy time, but the only way to win a war is to win it internally. In other words, while we won on the battlefield, we lost the war against ourselves. Since the Six-Day War, we have become a divided society. Conceit, vanity, and hatred of others have pervaded our nation and a sense of entitlement took over the gratitude for the return from a two-thousand years long exile.
And worst of all, even though we did not manage to unite the nation before the Six-Day war, after our great victory, we shunned unity even more. We have completely abandoned our vocation to be a virtuous people, a light unto nations that serves as a role model of love of others, that cultivates “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Instead of preaching for unity, as did Abraham, Moses, and the rest of the founders of our nation, we have come to pride ourselves in our military, technological, and industrial abilities. And because we have abandoned our vocation, the nations have abandoned us.
As long as we have external enemies who wish to wipe us off the face of the Earth, we must fight for our lives, and win! However, we mustn’t forget that at the end of the day, we are our own worst enemy. As soon as we connect among ourselves, our enemies will connect with us.
In the 1950s, the great kabbalist and thinker Rav Yehuda Ashlag, wrote that a “return such as today’s,” namely without unity, “does not impress the nations whatsoever, and we must fear lest they will sell Israel’s independence for their needs.” Evidently, Ashlag was right. Today, no country supports the Jewish state. We may tell ourselves that it is because we cannot explain our position properly, but in truth, it makes no difference what we say as long as we are spewing hatred of each other. The world simply does not want us around if we hate one another because in such a state, we are not a role model nation but the opposite, and the world does not want us if we set a bad example.
The people of Israel unite the world whether we are united or not. However, if we unite, the world will unite around us. If we divide and hate one another, the world will unite against us.
Michael Laitman, On Quora: “What is the highest form of freedom?“
Freedom means rising above ourselves, i.e. our egoistic nature that wants to enjoy on account of others and nature, to another level of existence, one where we acquire nature’s qualities of altruism and connection.
We experience freedom relative to the previous level we used to be on. However, regarding our next level, we are not free. We exist below it and need to rise to it in order to once again experience freedom. We progress accordingly until we attain the final level of complete balance with nature.
Balance with nature is the highest level of freedom, which includes all the other levels, and we are all destined to reach it.
In other words, the highest form of freedom is our final state, the goal of our existence. While we are all headed there in a long drawn-out process of evolution, which involves a lot of suffering on the way, the wisdom of Kabbalah is a method that lets us reach that state in a single lifetime.
Based on a Kabbalah lesson with Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman on July 2, 2017.
Written/edited by students of Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman.
What does Jerusalem mean in a high sense and Jerusalem Day in a spiritual sense?
Answer: Jerusalem Day is a day when the people, land, and state will find their central point of existence. Jerusalem—”Ir Shalem” (whole city), when people will feel that they have one heart, one thought, and one desire toward one goal.
Question: What is the goal of these united people?
Answer: To reveal the goal of the existence of the whole world to the whole world.
This goal is to bring people closer to each other so that there is no difference between them. This is a very lofty goal that should bring everyone to complete unification.
Then there will have to be one nation in the whole world covering the entire Earth. In this unity, it will begin to attain the upper force, the Creator, and will discover in this the reason, the goal of its existence, the existence of humanity!
Question: Then, will Jerusalem become the capital of the world?
Answer: Yes, and it will be Yerushalayim, Ir-Shlema, a whole world, a whole power, a whole heart, whole desire, whole city, and so on.
Question: When they say: “Jerusalem is a white city,” what do they mean?
Answer: White means that all must be built on bestowal and love—the color of light.
Remark: That is when they say, for example: “Paris,” you take it as it is, “New York,” you understand that it is like Babylon, there are many different nations and so on. When you say “Jerusalem” even to outsiders, will they still have something inside?
Answer: Yes, because in each one of all the people living on Earth, there is a point that has not yet awakened, called Jerusalem, and it is in each of us, in every person on Earth.
Question: People of different religions live in this city. Does this mean that the world will be like this city?
Answer: No, the world will be united. There will be one religion. It will be a religion of the attainment of the single upper force, which in exactly this manner will unite all the nations into one nation.
From KabTV’s “News with Dr. Michael Laitman” 5/10/21
Comment: The great Kabbalist ARI wrote that in the future all holidays will be canceled except for Purim.
My Response: All holidays speak of intermediate spiritual states on the path of correction from pure egoism to complete altruism, full of love, and therefore the last state will not be canceled. This is Purim.
Question: How did people write the “Scroll of Esther”?
Answer: They were in this state spiritually.
Comment: But the scroll is written like a children’s story.
My Response: It only seems to us that way.
Question: It is clear that there is some depth but if you look at it with simple eyes, it says that the feast lasted a hundred and eighty days. How can this be?
Answer: Why not? They did not sit at the table all day. The leaders of all subordinate states gathered, discussed together, studied something, watched dances, went hunting, and dined. This is all called a feast.
Behind all this, there are spiritual states, that is why they described it.
Question: Did they take the events of our world as a basis?
Answer: Yes. The fact is that any event in our world has its root in the spiritual world. Thus, when describing special events, they pointed to their roots. They still do today.Therefore, we know that this is how it happened, and this is how it should be.
From KabTV’s “Spiritual States”
Question: It is said that all wars for connection are fought for us by the Creator, the upper force of nature. How does it work?
Answer: Indeed, we have no strength. There is only the desire for this to happen. To the extent that we want to rise above our egoistic nature and connect with each other, we awaken the upper force of nature, which performs these actions and connects the opposing forces into one positive force. This is how it works.
Comment: Wars stimulate technological progress, but they do not contribute to the internal development of people.
My Response: They extend the time for our advancement. Progress only delays us at the corporeal level and does not allow us to rise to the spiritual level.
Question: What is “holy war”?
Answer: The holy war is a war in the name of connection, for the sake of the triumph of love between people.
Question: Should a Kabbalist justify world wars?
Answer: One cannot justify a war itself, but its purpose if it is necessary and comes from within nature, then yes.
From KabTV’s “Spiritual States” 5/14/21
Question: Suppose I understand that the Creator is putting me through different trials. This is felt as pleasure in the group, which means that I see that I had to undergo the trial in order to feel the power of the connection between us.
Do I simply enjoy this afterward or can I do something else for the sake of the society, for the sake of our correction?
Answer: I have never learned in the wisdom of Kabbalah about a state in which I enjoy for my own sake and by that bring the society pleasure. There is no such thing.
Do you want to positively bestow unto the society this way so that it will also connect to the Creator and enjoy Him? If this is what you think and if this is the only thought that manages you and not your personal feelings, you are on the right track.
From KabTV’s “Fundamentals of Kabbalah” 3/17/19
My Response: If it is not spiritual work, then yes; but if it is spiritual work, then no. We must advance non-stop along the spiritual path.
Comment: “The first step is only the beginning,” which means that having made this step, you are already halfway to victory.
My Response: The first step is not halfway to victory, but it is still a start. If it is the beginning of a victory, it will be possible to see it later on.
Question: Is it a sign that you are advancing if it is difficult?
Answer: I don’t think that difficulty is a sign of advancing correctly. No.
The sign of correct advancement is that we know how to connect all problems, information, data, and the contrasts to one unique whole to our root toward which we are moving, and where we all complement each other and connect perfectly into one unique whole picture.
Comment: “Break off the chains that bind your thoughts and then break off the chains that bind your body.” Sometimes we are stuck in the same place because our thoughts don’t allow us to advance and we need to get rid of negative thoughts that stop us and invoke fear.
My Response: We move by both negative and positive thoughts. It is like a wheel, part of which moves forward while the other part moves backward.
Comment: “Tranquility is the key to success.” When we are calm, we can do much more than when we are upset.
My Response: No. All of the wisdom of Kabbalah is built on contradictions, on a combination of contradictions. We need to be calm in full infinite motion and not any other way. We cannot be calm and succumb to fate and the flow of life wherever it carries us.
Those are methods of the East and they do not include the left line. So, I cannot compare them to the wisdom of Kabbalah and interpret them in any way.
Comment: “Condemnation is darkness for a person.” We should never humiliate or insult one’s personality. The only thing we can do is to condemn someone for his actions but not the person himself.
My Response: We should not condemn anyone, no one at all. You should correct yourself, and by correcting yourself, you correct the world in a way that there will no longer be anyone who will condemn you.
Comment: “Believing that you are right is a limitation.”
My Response: You can believe that you are right only when what you do is strengthened by the upper reason, by the masses, and not by you. When you follow the masses and reveal the Creator in the connection between you, you find the truth. But the truth cannot be according to the way of an individual.
In order to find your way in life you must have nine other friends so that in a ten you will be able to create a mini system, a mini-society in which, like in a lab, you will be able to plan in absolute accuracy all of nature, all of humanity, all the worlds between you.
You will create a kind of a magic ball of your ten desires and intentions, and in it you will be able to see all the universes, all the worlds, everything there is in them, and the Creator, and then by working on this model you will clearly understand who you are, where and how you are advancing.
From KabTV’s “News with Dr. Michael Laitman” 2/24/19