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My new article on Linkedin “The Bully Is a Victim, Too”
One of the most painful, yet often undetected social phenomena among children is ostracism. Usually, it happens when a leader in a social group, such as a class or a sports team, picks a child as a target for exclusion and turns the rest of the group against the victim. To the child, it is a horrific experience that can scar a young soul for life. Worse yet, a bully who behaves this way feels emboldened by it and is therefore likely to repeat it either toward the victim or toward other children. To cure this social ailment, we need to understand why bullies behave this way and how we can help them adopt more positive patterns of behavior.
Bullies target children they perceive as weak, who do not stand up to them, or who are socially isolated. The bully’s goal is not so much to make the victim feel bad, as it is to make the bully feel good about himself or herself.
Often, bullies come from homes where they feel insecure. They may be suffering from physical or emotional abuse and feel trampled on at home. To compensate for their sense of inferiority at home, they need to feel superior elsewhere, and that other place is likely to be school or a sports team, or any social setting where the bully participates.
Compared to other forms of bullying, the problem with exclusion is that the bully “recruits” the rest of the group to gang up on the victim, leaving the victim socially isolated and without emotional support. For a child, such a situation can be devastating.
To tackle the phenomenon, it is not enough to punish the bully. A punishment might stop the bully from continuing to harass the victim for whom he or she was punished, but it will not stop the bully from looking for other victims because the need to bully will continue. Worse yet, it might make the intimidator continue to bully, but in more stealthy and sinister ways.
Therefore, it is essential to understand why the bully behaves this way, and provide the compensation for the lack that the bully needs in more constructive ways. Instead of the bully seeking compensation by him or herself, the society should offer the compensation in a manner that fills the bully’s emotional deficiency and does not hurt others.
Human nature requires us to feel good about ourselves. If there is a place where we feel inferior, we will not rest until we compensate for it. Therefore, if a person feels loved and supported, he or she will never feel inferior, and will therefore not wish to make others feel unloved or excluded.
The solution to the problem of bullying, therefore, and especially that of ostracism, lies in the hands of society—to create a warm and loving environment for all the children where they can grow and express their unique qualities in a socially-constructive manner, for the benefit of all of society.
If children work together on projects that require everyone’s skills, they will learn to rely on each other, trust each other, and delight in each other’s talents. Most importantly, they will come to care for one another. Instead of envy, their sense of interdependence will bring them to support each other as each child’s unique abilities benefit the entire group. When all the children cooperate in this manner, they form a harmonious society where each individual is fully satisfied and at the same time cares for the rest of all the members of the group.
Michael Laitman, On The Times of Israel: “The Ukrainian Jewish Legacy”
Beyond the headlines of the deadly war in Ukraine from which a large number of Jews are fleeing to Israel, lies a unique and rarely told story about the remarkable contribution of Ukrainian Jews to science, art, politics, culture and education in the history of Israel and the world.
Throughout the years, many Jews who were born and lived in Ukraine imprinted their unique world-class talents in many areas. Among the most prominent names of Ukrainian origin are Rabbi Yisrael ben Eliezer, known as the “Baal Shem Tov,” who was the father of the Hasidic movement. Some of his famous students include Rabbi Nachman of Breslav and Menachem Mendel of Kotzk. Among other names on the list of influential Ukrainian Jews are former Israeli leaders such as Golda Meir, Ze’ev Jabotinsky, Moshe Sharet, Yitzhak Ben Zvi, and Levi Eshkol.
The world of literature is also replete with spectacular landscape descriptions of the green hills of Ukraine. Nobel Prize-winning author S.Y. Agnon was inspired by his hometown Buchach. Aaron Appelfeld wrote enthusiastically about Bukovina, and Bruno Schultz about Drohobych streets.
Ukraine is beautiful. I remember traveling from north to south—from Russia to Belarus, and from Belarus through Ukraine to Odessa, which lies on the Black Sea coast. There is not much difference in the transition from Russia to Belarus. Everything looks almost the same, filthy and broken. In the air it was noticeable how neglected everything around us was and that no one seemed to care much about the roadside villages. But from the moment we crossed the border and entered the territory of Ukraine, we immediately rubbed our eyes. We saw a new and clean place; even poor villages were well taken care of to preserve everything they had and to repair anything that was broken.
I remember it as a beautiful area, the climate was comfortable, the soil was fertile, everything was blooming, the conditions were relatively good and there was room to accommodate millions. Although Jews have lived in many countries in Eastern Europe, many of them were drawn to live in Ukrainian cities and villages, being pushed into the “borderline—the meaning of the word “ukraina.”
The Ukrainians were a very rural and land-loving people, and the locals always expected the Jews to bring development in science and medicine, in culture and the arts. At the same time, Jews experienced great antisemitism and many pogroms throughout their history in Ukraine. This pressure built within the local Jews a unique approach to life and to overcoming adversity through hard work—a kind of willpower and impulse that made them pioneers.
Even today, although we Jews have immigrated to Israel and established a national home, we still feel the stress of antisemitism pressing upon us from the global village. From every direction we are being increasingly pressured, and this is true both for Diaspora Jews and for Jews in Israel. Wherever we flee, we are always blamed for being Jews.
This pressure upon us needs to lead us to apply our willpower to a new kind of overcoming—the implementation of the correct method for forging Jewish unity to reconnect the essence of the Jewish people that we have lost in the useless quarrels between us. If we will re-acquire the knowledge and wisdom found in the connection between us, in our unity, we will then be able to give the world an unparalleled blessing, the breakthrough of lasting peace, tranquility, and fulfillment, the light humanity so desperately needs. And this gift to humanity will be the most valuable and lasting contribution of the Jewish people to the world—a true enlightenment in times of darkness.
My new article on Linkedin “World War III Has Begun; How It Unfolds Depends on Us”
We think of the Russia-Ukraine war as a local conflict, but it is much more than that; it is a global war on multiple fronts. The war is not only a military conflict; it is also an economic war of attrition. With skyrocketing gas prices and shortage of staples, people all over the world are feeling the consequences of the war.
This war is transforming the entire modus operandi of humanity. Since the dawn of time, we have been accustomed to living by the motto, “survival of the fittest.” By and large, the rule was that the strong determined the rules, and the rules were often abusive toward the weak. Now, it seems like a new mindset has set in: Wanting something and being strong enough to take it does not mean that the world will accept it.
The war, therefore, is being fought on the inside no less, and perhaps more than on the outside. Our very makeup is changing from abusive to cooperative, from narcissistic to altruistic.
It hurts, and it will not happen without a struggle, but it is irreversible. This is the path of our evolution toward the purpose of our creation—to encompass within us all of creation. To do that, we must come to care for it, just as a mother encompasses her child through her maternal love.
The struggle to transition from our current uncaring and mean approach to all creations but ourselves, into wise and compassionate beings is called “the war of Gog and Magog” or Armageddon.
Since the war is about our inner makeup, we can fight it within us. If we object to struggling with ourselves over who will rule—the ego or love—the physical reality will force us to choose love nonetheless. However, it will do so by hurting us in a very physical way.
The war in Eastern Europe is nothing compared to what we might have to endure if we resist the process. The horrific descriptions of our sages and prophets hint at it, and we would not want to live through it.
Alternatively, we can fight this war within us without firing a single bullet. The choice is in our hands. All we need is to continue in the same direction that nature is already leading us: toward connection. If we make an effort to care for one another, even though initially we don’t, then we are moving in the right direction. If we try to resolve conflicts not with guns or even legal battles, but by strengthening the care and friendship between us, then we are saving lives and sparing torments from countless people.
In conclusion, let us try to rise above the hatred and see the human on the other side, who suffers too. Let us think that this war was given to us so we would think about each other more than we have so far. After all, were it not for this war, we would not notice one another. Now that it is here, we are no longer indifferent. Although our feelings are currently negative, now that we are aware of them, we can work on them together and turn them around. These are the wars of the Messiah who moshech [Hebrew: pulls] us out of the ego, and into mutual love.
There must be disagreements. After all, then we have the opportunity to make efforts precisely in the place of conflict to rise above the differences, not destroy them, as they try to kill the enemy in our world, to break him, but to complete each other.
Completion is always expressed in mutual bestowal, in the attraction of the Creator’s quality between the feuding parties, between the creations. This is the only way to achieve the right completion, which means peace.
Therefore, the Creator awakens all wars and problems in order to give us the opportunity to correct them in the form of mutual completion in the middle line to establish peace between us due to the fact that the Creator will be revealed between everyone. And this will be the end of all wars in the world.
Until then, wars and conflicts will not end, and we will have to learn better and better how to reach the middle line so that “Creating peace above and bring peace to us.”
Usually the problem is that neither side can, in its egoism, establish the correct cause of the dispute, which consists in the lack of revelation of the Creator. And if we know that all conflicts are designed to give us more desire, opportunities, and abilities to reveal the upper force, then we will already act in the right direction. And then new conflicts will arise, more and more, but they will guide us more and more correctly and more precisely to the revelation of the Creator.
From the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 3/11/22, “Winning the War (against the evil inclination)”
We all come from the same root, from one unique and unified upper force. Even the disputes that flare up between all the inhabitants of this world at all times—those that are happening today, those that happened before us, and those that will be after us—also come from the upper force, because there is none else besides it.
The Creator created this dispute in order for us to reveal all the differences that exist between us in all the forms: in good and evil, bitter and sweet, truth and lies, light and darkness. We are able to feel and take into account only differences, and on their basis we determine connections and contradictions in order to cover all crimes with love.
This is impossible without the dispute that is revealed between the opposite sides. The more our oppositeness is revealed, the greater the differences between our qualities, the more we have the opportunity to understand creation, to feel ourselves, and finally to feel the Creator, to whom we all are opposite.
All these clashes and disagreements between us do not exist by chance, but are specially created by the Creator so that we would be able to feel and know Him. Therefore, the dispute is necessary for our existence. If there are no disputes, differences, and feelings of contradictions, we do not feel that we exist.
The entire difference between alive and dead, which gives a sense of life, exists only through disputes. The Creator created the entire creation as the opposite of Him, and the feeling of this opposition gives us the opportunity to exist and turn it to be in our favor, directing the desire to receive toward bestowal. The combination of these two opposite forms allows us to understand creation, ourselves, and the Creator.
Therefore, there is no choice, we have to always come from darkness to light each and every time, at each and every degree, and in each and every state, reveal contradictions. It is exactly by connecting contradictory sides that we attain the essence of creation and understand why the Creator created us with such qualities.
This is why the dispute is now flaring up in the form of a war. This war is special, it is not just a simple corporeal quarrel, but much more internal in comparison with all the previous ones. This is a war of a new kind for the ideology that the Creator wants to instill into humanity so that we can feel and attain the forms of nature created by Him and to eventually attain Him. We are like clay in the hands of a master, and we come out with a new mind and feelings.
“Peace” (Shalom) comes from the word “perfection” (Shlemut). The world is the name of the Creator, the connection between all the disputing parties, which, would seem, is impossible to bring closer to each other even by a millimeter.
Then suddenly we see that there is a special code, a method, of making peace. It is impossible to bring the conflicting parties closer together directly, but through the upper force everything suddenly adds up for the joint existence. It cannot be in any other way! The upper force could not reveal itself between us in any way other than inside this dispute.
It is necessary to come to peace (to perfection) from the dispute. One thing is impossible without the other, and therefore everything begins with confrontation, with the recognition of disputes.
From the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 3/11/22, “Winning the War (against the evil inclination)”
Question: Why do all biblical stories of the Torah place such emphasis on war? There are always some conflicts going on in it.
Answer: Because war is a natural state of the world that consists of two opposing forces.
Bringing these forces into some kind of balance with each other, into some kind of more or less correct interaction, so that we can benefit from the fact that they are opposite and at the same time work together for some one purpose–this is peace.
Question: Yet, on the other hand, it is written that the entire Torah is the law of love. Where is love there?!
Answer: The Torah explains to us how we can constantly try to hold both forces so that they work for one single purpose. Then there will be peace.
In other words, the Torah is an instruction on how to balance the two forces of nature within a person and how to correctly direct them so that there is peace in the world.
“Army” in Hebrew “Tzava,” “Tze,” (exit) and “Bo” (entrance), means alternate exits of a person from under the control of egoism and entrances into it.
The same thing happens at all levels. All we do is feel one or the other force influencing us, and try to maneuver between them.
From KabTV’s “Spiritual States” 3/1/22
Answer: In general, it is happening all the time. But there is no such state for us to feel it in ourselves so we see what it is, what it is for, in the name of what, and so on. So we say that it is not happening yet and it will be in the future.
But in principle, this is an awareness of the state we are in and the state it is desirable to come to, the state we are finally coming to.
Today we cannot imagine the future correct state. It is worse than Armageddon. So, we must be led to this state by being consistently taught, and having all our insides revealed and shown to us.
Question: Wars, hatred?
Answer: Hatred and wars, there are many ways to explain to a person who he is and why he still needs to go through negative feelings. Only then will we begin to appreciate the state of truth, love.
Question: Tell me, please, will we be grateful for the terrible conditions that we have passed through?
Answer: We will hold on to them because if they disappear, then the right and useful states will disappear. Nothing that is done goes unnoticed. We must absorb it all.
Question: That is, will I be grateful even for all this?
Answer: So it is said: A person should bless both good and evil.
From KabTV’s “News with Dr. Michael Laitman” 2/28/22
Driverless cars and drones delivering food and medicine to houses no longer surprise anyone. In many countries this is already being tested. But this frees many people from working. What should we do with them?
Answer: The number of people released from work should be very large in order to make it easier to convert our egoism into its opposite, altruism, the quality of bestowal and good connection. After all, it is divided by the number of carriers of egoism. And so it is relatively small in each of us.
If we had the strength to resist our nature, then, of course, we could be like Adam and Eve. We would not need to be divided into eight billion parts.
Since we are very weak but still must convert our egoism into a good connection between us, by changing our attitude toward the world, that is, practically changing the world, we need this great number of people.
From KabTV’s “Virtual World” 2/9/22
Question: Are Kabbalah, Judaism, and Jews different things?
Answer: No, they are parallel. For the Jewish people, Judaism is a common religion. Next to Judaism, there is a slightly different trend, called Kabbalah.
Kabbalah lies at the origin of the Jewish people. However, it has been in a semi-concealed state for centuries.
Question: You have been practicing Kabbalah for fifty years. During this time, have you discovered the origin of the universe? Do you understand what is happening in this world?
Answer: Yes. This is exactly what Kabbalah engages in.
From KabTV’s “Meetings with Kabbalah” 1/5/22