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My new article on Linkedin “Israel Won’t Buy Ben & Jerry’s New Flavor: Bitter Taste”
What is the connection between ice cream and politics? None. Except Ben & Jerry’s, the Vermont based international ice cream producer, has entered the fray. In a new lick of hatred towards Israel, the company announced that it would no longer sell ice cream in Judea and Samaria and East Jerusalem, places they call “Occupied Palestinian Territory.”
We do not need Ben and Jerry’s products, but we Jews do need each other to create a united front to stand strong and stop our enemies. That will be the only way to avoid being erased from the map, which is the ultimate goal of those who want to boycott us.
The company’s decision to ban the sales is not surprising though. Ben & Jerry’s, whose Jewish founders are not shy to show sympathy with progressives’ causes linked to the BDS (boycott, divest, sanction), easily surrendered to the pressure of Israeli foes. Can we consider Jewish self-haters as part of our people, the people of Israel? Why should we? They would be the first to march against Israel across America.
However, it shows exactly our main problem as a Jewish nation: the separation between us; it weakens our foundation and has gloomy ramifications for our future. It is our internal division that gnaws at us and invites attacks and boycotts against us. We must unite and oppose those who seek to harm parts or the entire Land of Israel. We need to respond, to put an end to their actions before they end us.
Israel is one body and any injury to one of its organs requires the mobilization of the entire body.
It is good that the Israeli franchisee of Ben & Jerry’s opposed the decision of the global company, but his success will only materialise if he takes advantage of the momentum and establishes his own Israeli made fine ice cream, and not ask the public to continue buying the same brand. Similarly, American chains have decided to stop selling Ben and Jerry’s products.
It is possible that we will be also singled out by other companies in the world, but we will stand on our own, and more importantly, we will feel the need to connect and become one. We cannot allow an ice cream manufacturer to dictate our policies or decide about our sovereignty. This should be a political decision at the highest level in government rather than a business ruling.
Today the aggression against us is over dessert, tomorrow other foods, clothes, wine, and the arts may become weaponized. Our enemies find any excuse to spread antisemitic hatred under the false umbrella of justice.
The positive side of these actions is that they pressure and push us to unite and defend ourselves, which is exactly what we are intended to do, since the method of unity was handed down to us since ancient Babylon. In the first stage we will unite against those who rise up against us, and in the next stage, we will connect for the sake of others, to fulfill our role as Jewish people, to be a light unto the nations. The cherry on top will be to spread harmony to the entire world and by so doing, we will set an example which the whole world can follow.
My new article on Linkedin “Is This Awful Summer the Best Summer of the Rest of Our Lives?”
I am not afraid of the pandemic; I am afraid that nature has started to relate to us the way we relate to it. It seems as though chaos has taken over the world. Natural disasters of unprecedented magnitude are occurring in multiple places simultaneously: unheard-of floods in some places, unparalleled fires in other places, sometimes a few hundred miles apart, and scorching heat in still other places. At the same time, the coronavirus is spreading once again with the Delta variant, and threatens to hamper humanity’s efforts to recover from the pestilence, while international relations are growing increasingly tense and volatile. But worst of all is the trend: it’s negative. Things are not only bad, but quickly worsening. If this trend continues, this awful summer will be the best summer of the rest of our lives.
We need to think things over. It makes no sense that so many crises are happening all over the world at the same time, that a virus is spreading around the world and disrupts the lives of every person in humanity, and all of these are unrelated incidents.
Perhaps you can blame climate change for natural disasters, but you cannot blame it for countries threatening to destroy one another. There is a deeper cause to our woes, and we can find it only in ourselves. When we analyze all the crises, we find that the one common element in all of them is man. If we are the common element, then the reason for the crises is within us.
More precisely, the reason for the crises is how we relate to nature and to one another. Nature is a perfect system. It maintains a dynamic balance we call homeostasis. Contrary to nature’s balance, we seek only to take and overtake. We have forced our winner-take-all attitude on a system that operates in a manner that guarantees everyone’s sustenance and well-being. We injected hatred, violence, and meanness into a system that contained none of it before. Now it seems as though that system is paying us back in our own coin: the currency of hatred.
If we wish to avoid unimaginable catastrophes, we must abandon the currency we’ve used so far and adopt nature’s currency of mutual responsibility and consideration. We have to start respecting each other’s right to lead healthy and safe lives, without trying to subjugate them, but for this, we must feel that we are all parts of one, global system.
Our sages knew all this thousands of years ago, and talked about this with anyone who wished to listen. The Jerusalem Talmud, for example, offers a beautiful allegory about our connectedness: “If the writing warns about habitual mistreatment, vengeance and bearing a grudge should be forbidden also toward those who are not from among your nation. Also, how is it possible for one to forgive an affront? [Suppose] one is cutting meat, and the knife descends into his hand; would he consider avenging his hand and cutting his other hand for cutting the first? So is this matter … the rule is that one does not take revenge against one’s neighbor, for it is as though he is taking revenge against his own body” (Nedarim 9:4).
We really haven’t any time to waste. Nature is clearly signaling that it is losing patience. If it erupts in all its wrath, Covid will be the least of our worries. Therefore, to save ourselves, we must start treating each other, and all of nature, as we would like others to treat us.
My new article on Linkedin “The Uniqueness of Human Development”
Physically, humans are very similar to other species of apes. In fact, we’re far less capable than other species: We’re much weaker, move slower, more susceptible to diseases, and we can’t climb trees. So how come we’ve become the “lords of the Earth?” The answer lies not in our abilities, but in a unique desire that only humans have: the desire to go beyond this world, the desire for the spiritual!
The desire for the spiritual causes us to ask questions, which develop our brains, which in turn make us smarter than all other species, which don’t question their condition or circumstances. But we don’t only ask how to make life more convenient or easy; we also ask, and this is the most important, what life is for. Everything we have developed, from art to technology, to industry, to science, to religion and philosophy, everything that makes us human pertains to the search for life’s purpose. This search has developed us to the point where we have become the lords of the Earth.
Yet, while the search for life’s purpose has developed us far beyond any other animal, it has also left us intensely frustrated. The inexplicable frenzy that the world seems to be going through these days is happening because of this craving to find the answer to the tormenting question about the meaning of life. In our frantic search for it, which is often an unconscious drive, we are running amok in every direction and destroying everything in our path.
Yet, gradually, we will come to realize that we can find our purpose not within us, but between us. The purpose of life is to lift us to a level where we understand how everything works, and why, namely that we understand the thought behind creation itself. To achieve this, we needn’t study each part in specific, but how all the parts work together to create reality. In other words, if we understand the connections between us, we will understand reality and understand ourselves. Only then will the world’s madness subside.
To understand our interconnections, we need to reconstruct the network that nature has created. This is why we have each other. If we build among us the same type of connections that exist in the rest of reality, we will understand the rest of reality. When we understand reality, we will realize that it is based on balance and harmony. Each part takes only what it needs, while the rest of its operations help maintain the system. In human society, this can be done only if people develop mutual love among. In that case, they will take for themselves only what they need, but more important, they will work wholeheartedly for the benefit of society.
Just as family members are considerate toward each other and help each other because they love one another, all of humanity can consciously develop such connections, and thereby understand all of existence, since all parts of reality are instinctively considerate and help sustain one another. Since what comes to all creations instinctively, comes to us laboriously and after much reflection, we will not be automated beings running on instincts, but conscious human beings, cognizant of their purpose in life and how they can achieve it.
Fierce flash floods are ravaging Germany. The death toll continues to grow every hour and more than a thousand people are missing. The water flooded roads, washed away foundations, and brought down bridges.
The destruction is similar to the aftermath of war. The flood zone is expanding and seizing new regions in Germany, Belgium, and Austria.
This is just a disaster. But we teach that there is only one reason for the negative attitude of nature toward us if we cross the permitted boundaries, it is the upper force, the Creator. Nature wants to see us in a perfect state, united like one man with one heart. And it is ready to tolerate if we deviate a little from this unity, but only within certain limits.
If we go beyond these boundaries, then nature is out of balance. This is what is happening and will continue to happen. We have entered into a confrontation with the upper force by disregarding our actions in relation to nature. Therefore, nature will continue to protest more strongly with floods, fires, pandemic, and in many others ways like the Egyptian plagues: blood, frogs, lice, etc.
There are many similar cataclysms ahead that we will have to endure over the next 10 to 20 years. But at the same time, we will begin to feel how it obliges us to bring ourselves into balance. The history of the Egyptian plagues repeats: all the “Egyptians” inside us, the egoistic forces, will receive ten blows until we raise our hands and say, “That’s enough, we can no longer stay in Egypt!”
Let it be comfortable and satisfying there, but we will have to escape from there. Where is “from there?” This escape is not from a geographical place, but from the relationships between us, from unfounded hatred to brotherly love.
But until we are ready for this escape, we will have to go through many blows, sufferings, problems, floods, fires, all kinds of pandemics, etc. This is the forecast for the next 10 to 20 years. By 2040, these disasters will spread around the globe, in each country and region in its own way.
We see that in the face of a common misfortune, people are beginning to help each other more, to show solidarity. But nature presents us with a much bigger bill, not just a little tweak to our lives and our relationships. We are talking about a radical correction of a person’s character, his nature, about revealing that we are all egoists and wanting to establish other relationships between us.
We are obliged to become kinder to each other, and this kind attitude between people will affect all other levels of nature: still, vegetative, and animate and will bring them to peace and harmony. These will be the consequences of the changes that occur in us, in our relations to each other.
I think it will take 20 years because such a change cannot happen overnight. After all, we begin with today’s absolutely opposite state, with complete unwillingness to take nature into account, with a lack of understanding that we are facing a system of upper forces that have come to change us.
We refuse to see the hand of the Creator in this and accept it as a help for our good for which we should be grateful. All problems are a consequence of the fact that we are in conflict with each other and therefore opposite to nature.
There is no shortcut here. After all, Egyptian slavery lasted for many years and ended with serious blows. See how Pharaoh, that is, our egoistic nature, a stubborn stony heart, protests and does not want to give in.
It seems that the Pharaoh already agrees to let us go so that we can go toward connection and love. And then he rescinds his permission and refuses to let us out, and we return to the same state again.
We will have to spend several years in this conflict. And besides, it should be noted that now this is happening on the scale of the whole world between all nations and states. Until governments and people begin to bow down, it will take time and a lot of suffering and blows. Such a typhoon may pass through Europe that nothing would remain there. Everything is done so people will humble themselves and accept the implementation of the principle of loving one’s neighbor as oneself.
From KabTV’s “A Conversation with Journalists” 7/18/21
My new article on Linkedin “The New President’s Very Important Mission”
The new president of the State of Israel, Isaac “Bougie” Herzog, has taken upon himself a very important mission, not only for the State of Israel, but for the Jews all over the world, and indeed for the whole world. In his inauguration speech, on July 7, 2021, he made two very important announcements: First, when speaking about the Israeli society, Herzog addressed the division that has spread throughout Israeli society. Instead of hating those who dispute us, Herzog suggested that were it not for them, we, too, would not develop and grow. In his words, “We must stop seeing the differences between us as an obstacle; they are the source of our strength. Thanks to them, Israeli power is revealed in its full intensity. After all, we would not be who we are without the vast range of human and ideological diversity that has gathered here.” Herzog also added, “I still believe in us. I believe that this is possible. … Let’s choose us, each day anew. We will choose to win together, and not only to win out over each other. We will choose to be kind, to extinguish the fire and the hatred with the Israeli spirit, to be plentiful in our love … to be united…. We will choose to bid farewell to the schism that is destroying us. All of us, together.”
Next, Herzog addressed the plague of antisemitism. He stated, “In my role as President of the State, I undertake to … assist in the battle against antisemitism and hatred of Israel.”
On the surface, there seems to be no connection between the two challenges that Herzog pointed out, namely Jewish unity and Jew-hatred. In truth, however, the two are intertwined, and the latter cannot be solved without first solving the former.
Throughout the ages, our sages have linked between our unity and prosperity, and our division and decline. This Sunday, we commemorated the 9th of the Hebrew month of Av, the date when both Temples were ruined. As every Jew knows, while those Temples were ruined by foreign armies, their success was made possible by our prior Jewish decline from unity into hatred, derision, and finally, mutual self-annihilation.
It is beyond the scope of this short article to cite the countless Jewish sources that speak of the paramount importance of our unity, but I would warmly advise the newly sworn president to refer to them for validity, as they support every word from his speech, which I just quoted above.
As I wrote above, Jewish unity is important not only for the well-being of the Jews; it is important for the entire world. Anyone familiar with the roots of the Jewish people knows that our ancestors came from various nations in ancient Mesopotamia, and were not an organic clan or a tribe that had evolved into a nation. Anyone familiar with our roots also knows that at the foot of Mt. Sinai, we united “as one man with one heart,” and thereby received the onus of being an example of unity. Being able to see our differences as the “source of our strength,” as Herzog put it, is indeed what made us special at that time, and “seeing the differences between us as an obstacle,” as he stated, has caused our downfall every single time.
Here, too, I would warmly advise referring to our own sources for validity. For example, in the portion Aharei Mot, The Book of Zohar writes about our unity, division, and its importance to the world: “‘Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to also sit together.’ These are the friends as they sit together and are not separated from each other. At first, they seem like people at war, wishing to kill one another … then they return to being in brotherly love. …And you, the friends who are here, as you were in fondness and love before, henceforth you will also not part from one another … and by your merit, there will be peace in the world.”
Our sages have always known this to be true and wrote about this throughout our history. Ramchal wrote about it in his commentary on the Torah, the book Kol Mevaser stressed it, too, but perhaps one of the most eloquent writers about the role of Israel in modern times was the great Rav Kook. In Orot HaKodesh, he wrote, “Since we were ruined by unfounded hatred, and the world was ruined with us, we will be rebuilt by unfounded love, and the world will be rebuilt with us.”
Indeed, when we rebuild our nation through unity and love, there will be no wars throughout the world, and certainly no antisemitism.
For more on this topic, refer to the book Like a Bundle of Reeds: Why unity and mutual guarantee are today’s call of the hour.
Michael Laitman, On Quora: “Should we give up our civil liberties to combat terrorism/preserve national security?“
We need to reach a decision that security should be universal, i.e., all over the world. If we lack security, and find ourselves in war, violence or using forceful methods anywhere in the world instead of cooperation, then the safety of the entire world will suffer.
Safety is respected and valued if it does not come from any egoistic consideration, such as power, force and pride. If we all observe such a condition, then the world and every society needs to accept it as a truly just form of security.
What amount of freedom can we forgo? We must reject our freedom for the needs of security on the condition that in the future we will correct society, having achieved freedom and safety. Otherwise all rejection of freedom for the sake of security is flawed.
Based on a Q&A with Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman on September 9, 2006. Written/edited by students of Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman.
Michael Laitman, On Quora: “Why are so many people who live in non-democratic countries and dictatorships hostile to the Western world?“
Many people who have been raised outside Western culture feel it as foreign because they see it as artificial and as an accumulation of several illusions. Much of the behavior among Westerners is distant from nature. For instance, Western culture generally pays little attention to human nature, and emphasizes external behaviors like how people should appear in society, and this gives rise to much hypocritical behavior, where we appear to be pleasant and well-mannered on the outside, and on the inside, everything is the opposite.
In other words, many people who were born and raised in non-Western cultures see the extent to which feelings of pride and superiority prevail in Western culture, and it is also the reason for Western democracy appearing to many as a total failure in building a just society.
In addition, Western democracy is based on Christian values, which are unaccepted by cultures that accord to different philosophies and religions, such as Islam, Judaism, Confucianism, Buddhism, Hinduism, among others. As a result, they do not accept Western culture and Christian values, and they feel the degree to which such values place society into narrow confines. Therefore, even when people emigrate to the West in order to lead easier and more developed lives, many of them end up hating Western culture and develop certain boundaries so that they can live according to their own cultures.
Based on a Q&A with Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman on September 9, 2006. Written/edited by students of Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman.
Question: In the outside world, the destruction of the Temple was manifested as various events happening precisely on the 9th of Av.
In 1312 BC messengers of Moses convinced people not to enter the Land of Israel. On the 9th of Av in 586 BC, Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the First Temple. On the 9th of Av in 70 AD, the Second Temple was destroyed by the Romans.
On the 9th of Av in 135 AD, the Betar fortress fell; it was the last stronghold in the Second Jewish War. On the 9th of Av 1290, the Jews were expelled from England. It goes on and on.
Is there any mysticism here?
Answer: This is not mysticism but information, clearly documented historical dates that indicate a certain recurrence. That is, there is a certain spiritual or physical natural law that continuously repeats on this date.
Just as in nature, on certain days there is a solar conjunction or full moon that we can calculate in advance. The same can be said about the 9th of Av.
This is a day of great events, when evil is revealed and serves as a springboard to the next state. According to what the wisdom of Kabbalah explains, we have gone through all the possible destructions that relate to the 9th of Av, and now this day no longer threatens us with any destruction because we are in the lowest possible state.
On the contrary, now we can only aspire for the state of connection, for the construction of the so-called Third Temple. When we create it by our common effort, we will fulfill our destiny and the entire world will connect in the best, highest, eternal, and perfect state.
From KabTV’s “Spiritual States,” “The 9th of Av—The Ruin Of The Temple”
All the friends in Rashbi’s time had love of soul and love of spirit [Nefesh and Ruach] among them. (“The Friends,” Unlocking The Zohar). Therefore, Rashbi’s students were able to write The Book of Zohar together.
Question: What is love of soul and spirit, love of Nefesh and Ruach?
Answer: This is the soul and the heart so they say. But in principle, these are two small desires.
Our current desires are more selfish. If we comprehend The Book of Zohar today, we will reveal many times more and many times more brightly what Rabbi Shimon and his disciples wrote because we are even greater egoists.
In relation to us, they were not serious egoists. But by working on ourselves, we have reached great heights.
From KabTV’s “The Power of The Book of Zohar #21”