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Michael Laitman, On The Times of Israel: “The Surprising Reason that American Jews Hide Their Identity”
A recent American Jewish Committee (AJC) survey has discovered that while slightly more than half of American Jewish millennials feel that Israel is very or somewhat important to them, nearly a quarter said that antisemitism has caused them to hide their identity. The survey also showed that more than a quarter of American Jewish millennials approve of distancing themselves from Israel “to better fit in among friends,” and a little more than a quarter said that the anti-Israel climate in the US is making them “rethink their own commitment to Israel.”
These “disturbing trends within the U.S. Jewish community’s younger cohort,” as the survey referred to them, will gain momentum and overtake American Jewry unless we Jews, and especially in Israel, know our place and role in the world. If we recognize why we are here in Israel, the whole world will recognize it, too, and respect us. If we do not, the whole world, world Jewry included, will condemn us and exclude us from the family of nations.
The fact that it has been nearly four millennia since the founding of our nation and the assumption of our role to be a light to nations does not mean that we have been relieved of our duty. We became a nation by espousing and fighting for unity above all our divisions. Because we succeeded, we were ordered to set an example to the world. That order has never been revoked, and the “anti-Israel climate,” as the AJC survey calls it, is the result of our negligence in carrying out our duty.
The formal establishment of the State of Israel, through the November 29, 1947 vote in the League of Nations (the precursor of the United Nations), was a precedent. It was, and still is the only case in history where the world’s nations debate, vote, and agree on creating a new state. But if the vote that went so well in 1947 were to be taken now, no one would vote in favor of establishing a Jewish state. After seventy-five years of negligence and contempt for our only duty—to exert to unite above our divisions—the world has lost its patience with us, hence the anti-Israel climate.
If you look at our history, and I have written two books about it (links below), you will find that all our major catastrophes were preceded by prolonged periods of division and internal hatred. Our sages in antiquity did not blame foreign enemies for our downfalls and exiles, but corruption and division that emerged from within.
They do not blame Nebuchadnezzar II, king of Babylon, for the destruction of the First Temple and the expulsion of the Jews from the land of Israel. Rather, they blame our own corruption and bloodshed, particularly among the Jewish leadership of the time.
Likewise, our sages do not blame Titus, the Roman general who later became emperor, for destroying Jerusalem and the Second Temple, and expelling the Jews. Instead, they pin it on baseless hatred among us, Jews. Our sages assumed responsibility for our woes, the complete opposite of today’s approach, which depicts us as helpless victims, when in fact we could have opted to unite in the face of adversity but failed to do so.
Today, as it happened every time in our past, Israel will not win the approval of the world until it raises the value of unity above all other values. Regardless of political opinions, culture, origin, tradition, or education, unity among Jews must be the prime value in the Israeli society. Otherwise, everyone will turn against us, as is happening now, including Jews around the world—either in order to protect themselves, or because they, too, will feel that Israel is not a country they can or want to sympathize with. They may find other justifications for distancing themselves from the Jewish state, but the real motive will be the division, partisanship, and hatred among the Jews in Israel.
Until we return to our core values of love of others, mutual responsibility, and connection above all differences, we will not have the approval of the nations to live in Israel and maintain a Jewish state here. We will continue to be pariahs in Israel, and pariahs in the world. If, however, we reassume our duty, everyone will accept us, respect us, and justify our presence here. We will not need to fight for our national survival since we will have no enemies, not even the Arabs. In such a situation, world Jewry will rally behind us and strengthen our unity even more, and we will truly be a model of unity, a light unto nations.
For more on the linkage between Jewish division and its impact on Jewish history, see my books Like a Bundle of Reeds: Why unity and mutual guarantee are today’s call of the hour, and The Jewish Choice: Unity or Anti-Semitism, Historical facts on anti-Semitism as a reflection of Jewish social discord.
Medium published my new article “What If We Rewind the Clock?”
The University of Cambridge magazine announced that Cambridge researchers have found a way “to rewind the clock on human skin cells by 30 years.” The body of the story is slightly less promising, explaining that the researchers were able “to partly restore the function of older cells, as well as renew the biological age,” and that “in experiments that simulated a skin wound, the partially rejuvenated cells showed signs of behaving more like youthful cells.” Although the researchers believe that “the findings could eventually revolutionise regenerative medicine,” I am not so certain. Moreover, even if they do, it will go against nature, and clashing with nature is never advisable.
Regenerating cells could help with some injuries or medical problems, but it will not work for the whole body. We will not be able to make ourselves thirty years younger, and any attempt to do so will bring upon us malfunctions and diseases that will prevent us from achieving it.
Besides, I would not want to perform such a procedure on myself because I do not believe that starting over is such a great idea. We may think that the experiences we have gained over the years will help us if we are young again, but they will not; we will not be any wiser.
Our bodies are not meant to live forever. They are here to serve as vehicles for achieving much more than physical existence. Real life exists not in the confines of the body, but in the connections between people, connections on every level: body (which we already have), mind (of which we have some), and spirit (of which we have none).
Because spiritual life is about connections between people’s hearts, where their desires and aspirations become intertwined and they feel each other without words, they are not confined by bodies or time. They do not need to rewind the clock because there is no clock to begin with.
Being able to rejuvenate our cells means that we will continue to live in perpetual fear of death and suffering. It confines us to our ego and keeps us jailed in our bodies. Being able to connect with all of reality on the spiritual level means that we have risen above our egos and broken through the partitions that make us feel apart.
For such a person, physical time is meaningless. Instead, there is an eternal flow of desires and feelings that continuously form new connections and new experiences.
To rise to that level, we need to invert our focus from catering to our egos to nurturing and improving our connections with others. If we work on it with likeminded people, we will be able to gradually lift these connections to a level where the body becomes meaningless and people begin to feel one another regardless of location or physical presence.
Once we achieve it with one person, we can replicate it with everyone and everything; we discover a part of reality to which we have not been privy. At that time, we rise above time. It turns out that surprisingly, the key to achieving immortality is not in biology, but in our connections with each other.
Medium published my new article “Despite Militant Tone, Nuclear War Not Likely”
On Monday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin held a press conference in Poland following a meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. It was the first time the US admitted that its real goal is not so much to save Ukraine as it is to weaken Russia. Austin said, “We want to see Russia weakened to the degree that it can’t do the kinds of things that it has done in invading Ukraine.” He also added that Russia “has already lost a lot of military capability. … And we want to see them not have the capability to very quickly reproduce that capability.”
The following day, Austin hosted a forum in Germany with representatives from nearly forty nations. At the forum, “the German government … agreed to provide 50 Cheetah anti-aircraft systems to Ukraine. The British government also agreed to provide Ukraine with anti-aircraft capabilities, …along with Canada’s offer of eight armored vehicles.”
Moreover, according to the announcement by the Department of Defense, “a decision was made to extend the forum so more work could be done. Going forward, Austin said, there will be a monthly ‘contact group’ to further discuss how best to assist Ukraine. ‘The contact group will be a vehicle for nations of goodwill to intensify our efforts, coordinate our assistance, and focus on winning today’s fight and the struggles to come,’” Austin concluded.
According to The Wall Street Journal, in response to the American moves, Russia’s top diplomat, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, said “the West was engaged in a proxy war with his country that could escalate into a global conflict with nuclear weapons. ‘The risk is serious, real. It should not be underestimated,’ …Lavrov said in a Russian state-television interview.”
Despite the militant tone and growing tensions, I do not believe an all-out world war is imminent, or in the viability of a nuclear confrontation. At the end of the day, the Russians, too, understand that using nuclear weapons leads to a no-way-back situation. Such a scenario could devastate them so tragically that they will not be able to recover.
Also, considering the fact that Russia consists of countless different nations living under Moscow’s rule, if it were to collapse, it would disintegrate and not much would be left of it. I do not believe that Russia can venture down that road.
Moreover, even if Russia were to use, or attempt to use nuclear arms, it would find that it promises more than it can deliver. It can devastate entire cities, or even an entire country, but it is an irrepressible and unmanageable weapon. Therefore, I do not think that this is what will help Russia stand up to NATO.
What may happen is that Russia will position its forces on the borders of Ukraine and maintain the tension between the two countries. In this way, there will not be an active war, but rather a constant tension between the two countries, from which the US and Europe will benefit.
As a result of the conflict, I think there will be more balance in the region. It may be a terrible price to pay, but for the world, a tense balance between Russia and Ukraine is the best solution at the moment. It will weaken both countries and lead to greater balance in the world once the active hostilities subside. In the end, I hope, the parties will grow too tired to keep fighting, and exhaustion will impel them to find a path for peace.
Michael Laitman, On The Times of Israel: “No Safe Place for Jews, Unless We Create It”
As the State of Israel marked Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day), thousands of Muslims gathered at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and chanted slogans calling for the massacre of Jews. It raises the harsh question of whether Israel can still be considered a shelter for Jews at a time when multiple reports find record-high numbers of antisemitic incidents globally.
An estimated 150,000 Muslim worshipers took part in mass prayers on the Temple Mount by the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan on May 1. Some used the occasion to march and shout “Khyber, Khyber al-Yahud”—a call for the annihilation of Jews, like the mass murder that occurred in the Khyber battle of 629 CE.
It is bitterly ironic that this happens after decades of immense efforts to curb antisemitism following the Holocaust, and in Jerusalem no less, the capital of the Jewish state, the same state conceived as the homeland and safe haven for those escaping hatred and persecution for no other reason than being Jews.
This should remind us that it’s useless to look for a place where there are no Jew haters because we will find no such place, including Israel. Instead, we should be looking for the way to transform the hatred between Jews into love, and to build a common place of connection between us. By doing so, all the evil and rejection against us from the nations of the world and from our neighbors would be replaced by good.
We need to understand that if not for the hatred of the nations of the world towards us, we would have ceased to be a distinct people long ago. That is to say Jews, the smallest of minorities, and the most prominent, would have vanished among the nations. Unfortunately, we behave like brothers primarily in times of trouble. Only when pressured by hatred against us are we forced to be close to each other.
This is so because, according to our roots, we were not founded on the common denominators of residential area, family relations, origin or color, but as a conglomeration of different peoples. Therefore, there is no natural inclination and closeness between us; we need to work on it consciously. No less important, we must not wait for others to compel us.
As Kabbalist Yehuda Ashlag, Baal HaSulam warned back in 1940 in his writings, “Even the little we have left of the national love is not instilled in us positively, as it is in all the nations. Rather, it exists within us on a negative basis: It is the common suffering that each of us suffers being a member of the nation. This has imprinted within us a national awareness and proximity, as with fellow-sufferers.” And added, “Its measure of warmth suffices only to an ephemeral excitement, but without the power and strength with which we can be rebuilt as a nation that carries itself. This is because a union that exists due to an outside cause is not at all a national union.”
We have no alternative but to rise above our differences and unite. The phenomenon of antisemitism is revealed in the world as a natural response to remind the people of Israel why it exists in the world. Our only option and shield for defending ourselves against hatred is the implementation of our role as “a light unto the nations,” which can only be achieved through our unity. Plain and simple—only to the extent that we connect with one another above the rejection and hatred between us will we be able to enjoy peace and quiet.
Michael Laitman, On Quora: “Is any human really free?“
We have no free choice at our current level of existence. Decisions are made, either consciously or subconsciously, somewhere in our subconscious based on certain instincts, habits and social influences. And even if we accidentally choose something, it is also not freedom since we choose by chance instead of deciding by ourselves.
If we are given the opportunity to make a free choice at our current level of existence, we would not know what to base it on, where to lead it, and why we would choose one thing over another.
Our current understanding of freedom is to seek minimal pressure from undesirable extraneous sources. It is thus not freedom as a category.
Freedom is when we are positioned between two natures, two universes, corporeal and spiritual, i.e. when we can act based on the practice of receiving for our own sake (the corporeal nature), or bestowal and love for the sake of others (the spiritual nature).
Between these two natures, we have the opportunity for freedom. In the wisdom of Kabbalah, this is a specific inner place called Klipat Noga (the Noga shell). It is a very special and subtle point-like state that is located between two universes. In between them, we have a choice of where we can go, but the moment we have made the choice, we then have no freedom neither here nor there.
Based on KabTV’s “Close- Up, Dissenting Opinion” with Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman on August 29, 2010. Written/edited by students of Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman.
My Response: No, you do not have to do it. You do not have to cover anything, you do not have to deal with anything. We should just try to love. Otherwise, it is impossible to get out of this state.
Now a lot of evil has been revealed, and we have the opportunity to reveal goodness.
Question: And if we did not have such an opportunity to reveal goodness, to reveal love, would evil be revealed?
Answer: From where? We must approach a feeling of goodness and love in advance, gradually, slowly, in order to begin to feel that in fact, there is evil and hatred between us, and then consciously extract the property of love and connection.
Question: If this evil had not been revealed, would we not have been able to obtain this love today?
Answer: Yes, of course.
Question: So it turns out that we are already able to extract it?
Answer: We are capable of it. We have to. Otherwise, it would not open. We must be prepared for this.
Question: Is there any law in this?
Answer: The law is absolutely clear, there is such a sinusoidal, periodic component here.
Love and hate, love and hate, this is how it should periodically manifest itself, overlapping each other, and grow, grow, and grow.
From KabTV’s “News with Dr. Michael Laitman” 3/14/22
Question: How can we understand this “reaching love for the Creator?”
Answer: I have to establish such relationships and states with other people who are both close and distant and with absolutely everyone regardless of what kind of relationships I have with them, until they all eventually give me the opportunity to feel and explore the Creator.
Question: When you say “the Creator” what do you mean?
Answer: The very feeling of love, connection, mutuality, getting closer to each other, and adhesion.
Question: Should this be our goal? And do we need to constantly move toward it?
Answer: Yes. We must constantly move toward it. Moreover, the Creator by Himself does not exist. A feeling exists of getting closer to others, which arises from a mutual attempt to reveal the quality of love and bestowal.
Question: Do you call this feeling the revelation of the Creator?
Answer: Yes. The Creator is love. This has nothing to do with love for a man, a woman, a child, no matter who or what. This is just love for everything that I would say, feels like it exists outside of me.
Question: Is there love only outside of me?
Question: I do not have it within me. And is it right to say love is only outside of me?
Answer: Within me it is egoistic and predetermined and I must rise above it to feel the true love.
From KabTV’s “News with Dr. Michael Laitman” 3/14/22
In the News (Popular Mechanics): “It sure looks like Jeff Bezos has plans to cheat death.
“The founder and former CEO of Amazon has reportedly made an investment in the freshly launched Altos Labs, a biotech startup focused on ‘cellular rejuvenation programming to restore cell health and resilience, with the goal of reversing disease to transform medicine’ … . With $3 billion in backing on day one, Altos Labs has hit the ground running with what may be the single largest funding round for a biotech company, according to the Financial Times of London.”
My Response: Naturally, he cares about this. He will take care for himself.
Question: What do you think about this aspiration of people? He probably explains it beautifully: “I want people to live longer,” and so on.
Answer: Why do people need to live longer?
Comment: Man wants to live longer.
My Response: Why? He does not know. But he wants to. Let him answer this first: “Why do you need it?”
Let’s say I have the elixir of life. You take one drop and you will live another 100 years. Then you will come to me again. And then what? How will this help such a Mephistopheles?
Question: Do you think that a person’s hand will not shake when he takes this drop in order to live longer? Or do you actually want that his hand would shake, and he would think: “Why? What will it give me?”
Answer: The instinct to live is very strong. If I know that I am now in charge of my life and death, then I think that everyone will agree for yet another round.
Question: To live more, to suffer for another round?
Answer: Only the fear of death, its inevitability, and the unknown will make a person live. That is, nothing good.
Question: Are you saying that the fear of death will make a person live and not the purpose of life?
Answer: It is natural. What purpose of life? There is none. The purpose of an ordinary person’s life is to escape from death. Why? “I am afraid.”
Question: How should it be?
Answer: I have seen many elderly people, old people who agree with death: “Now I am going to lie down and I will not get up, and it is good.” A person gets tired of life. Why continue the same thing tomorrow and the day after tomorrow, and again?
Question: If you find the purpose of life, then is it justified to live longer and longer? I have found the purpose of life, I want to reach it.
Answer: Then, naturally, you have all the incentives. If your purpose in life justifies prolonging your life, prolong it. Come to the cashier, write a request, and take the elixir.
Question: Should the purpose of life be unattainable? Very elevated? Or are we talking about even an ordinary purpose of life?
Answer: You write a request, and we will see. We will make a decision. Let’s give him two years or 20 years. Or maybe 200 years.
Question: For what purpose of life will you personally approve 200 years and give the elixir? Say, somebody came to you and said: “I have such and such purpose of life.”
Answer: I would not give anything to anyone. Absolutely nothing to anyone. Whatever you have, keep within this deadline.
Question: What purpose do you accept as the purpose of life?
Answer: To be able to do more for people. This is not easy. To reach such a decision and then implement it. I hope we will have enough time.
From KabTV’s “News with Dr. Michael Laitman” 2/10/22
Question: These days, everything can easily be painted gold. Although it looks cheap, people still have a desire for something shiny, made to look like gold. Why doesn’t the passion for this disappear?
Answer: We cannot be indifferent to the color of gold because for thousands of years it has been the most valuable color. If we give a child different colors to play with, he will also reach for the warm light. Not for silver, but for gold, because it is a warm light, a warm color.
But personally, I do not look at it that way. I have not felt any value in it for a long time.
Comment: It’s just that the entire world is constantly revolving around shiny trinkets.
My Response: The entire world must come to the recognition of the evil of its egoism, to the fact that we work for it for free, that this egoism is inside everyone like a cancerous tumor eating us up.
A person must understand this, and begin to fight against egoism, to feel it in himself as the most evil, most cunning, insidious enemy, and also understand that there is nothing outside, and everything is only inside.
From KabTV’s “I Got a Call. Dollars, Gold or Diamonds?” 4/21/14