Michael Laitman, On The Times of Israel: “Who gave you the right?”
Once a week, filmmaker Semion Vinokur interviews me on a program called Novosti (News). In the program, Semion asks about current affairs and presents viewers’ comments. In the previous show, he presented a poignant question from a viewer who called herself (or perhaps himself) Her. Below is a translated transcript of the question with Semion’s follow-up questions, and my answers.
Question: Her writes to you as follows: I keep hearing in your clips that you say that only the Jews can change the world. Why do you take such a responsibility on your nation? And also, who gave you the right to do this? Please answer my question and don’t tell me that it is written in the Torah.
Answer: Because the method for correcting the world lies with the Jews. It was handed to us thousands of years ago.
Question: You see, we are only making ourselves stand out!
Answer: Can we make ourselves stand out more than we have been standing out throughout history?
Question: Yes, but it brings upon us resentment!
Answer: I understand this, but it is better to understand that this is the truth, and that you are hated precisely because of this. In other words, I accept their conclusion and say, “Yes, you are right, the problem is with us, we are to blame.”
Question: So we cannot run away from this?
Answer: No, no. However, killing us will also not make things easier on the world; it is better if we listen and reflect on how we can really use this eternal truth.
Question: There is no proof of what you are saying
Answer: If we, Israel, do what we must, there will be proof.
Question: But in the meantime, for many people, these are just words.
Answer: Of course, but on the other hand, they can say, “Oh, so this is why we hate them, that means we are right to hate them.”
Question: But what if a person doesn’t hate Jews? Many people don’t hate Jews, and we are basically telling them, “You do hate Jews!” We make a lot of clips of this kind with you, and the responses are always along the same line: “Chosen? The chosen people? Who gave you the right? Why are you so sure of that?”
Answer: But they themselves are saying it, all of humanity! Humanity has a special attitude toward Jews, a special opinion, a special demand. This matter has been with us for thousands of years; it is time to stop covering it and pretend like it doesn’t exist.
Question: So what should a non-Jew do if he wants to hear what you are saying?
Answer: He should simply listen to what I am saying.
Question: Even if he is not Jewish?
Answer: It makes no difference whether he is Jewish or not.
Question: But you are saying that the Jews have to do something specific!
Answer: Right. the Jews must know what distinguishes them, and accordingly, reveal their uniqueness to the nations of the world. Then, together with the rest of the nations, they must take upon themselves the transformation of all of humanity, of nature, of everything that exists.
Question: Transformation from what and into what?
Answer: Transformation from humanity’s absolute egoism, as we see today, into its opposite, into connection.
Question: Is this the task of the Jews?
Answer: Precisely this is upon the Jews to do.
Question: What about the rest of the nations?
Answer: The rest of the nations of the world should listen to what the Jews are saying because perhaps they [Jews] have a point, perhaps this is what can save us.
Question: But very few Jews speak about connection and changing our nature; the majority of Jews say nothing of the kind.
Answer: The majority do not know about their responsibility or understand their task; they are like everyone else.
Question: Their task is to connect and present it to the world?
Question: OK, we will keep discussing it, as always; perhaps they will listen, and perhaps not.
Answer: They will listen, for sure.
Question: What makes you so hopeful?
Answer: I hang my hope on the fact that the world will not change just like that. It will not transition into a new state instantaneously. But in the end, nature will force all the nations of the world, and primarily the Jews, to think about what it really means to correct the world, and what we should come to, and first of all the Jews.
Question: Clear, but it is not simple.
Answer: It is not simple, but we are running out of time.
*For more elaborate explanations on the role of the Jewish people in the world, look in 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.