Entries in the 'Israel' Category

“The Fast Of Gedaliah And How It Resonates In Contemporary Jewish Life” (Times Of Israel)

The Times of Israel published my new article “The Fast of Gedaliah and How It Resonates In Contemporary Jewish Life

The murder of Gedalia Ben Ahikam was the first political assassination where a Jew killed a Jew. This tragedy is commemorated on the day after Rosh Hashanah with the Fast of Gedaliah.

Most likely we have hardly heard about this personality, so why is it relevant to our lives as Jews? It is because it reminds us of the heavy price that we pay when we as a nation degenerate into extreme internal disputes.

How did this unfortunate event in Jewish history unfold and what is its deeper meaning?

The assassination took place in the locality of Mitzpa in the Judean Desert just 2,591 years ago. The kingdom of Judea was then under Babylonian occupation, the First Temple had been destroyed, and Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, ruled the country. In those days, the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem, exiled most of the Jewish nobility to Babylon (today’s Iraq), and concentrated in Judea the poor workers who remained so they would supply the soldiers with food.

Nebuchadnezzar appointed Gedaliah Ben Ahikam, the son of a respected family in Judea, as his High Commissioner. His role was to control the social order of the occupied minority that had remained as a sort of “Ambassador for Jewish Affairs.” Gedaliah was worried about the political entanglement that the kings of Babylon and Amon had worked out, but true to the advice of Jeremiah the prophet, the senior spiritual personality of the time, he settled in Mitzpa, west of Jerusalem, and assumed his role as the kingdom’s governor.

In less than two months, he managed to unite the remnants of the refugees of the destruction, rehabilitate the Jewish community, and life returned to its course. As a result, many Jews returned from neighboring countries, but none suspected the scheme that was being plotted under Gedaliah’s nose.

What was that scheme?

Ismael Ben Natanyah, a scion of the House of David, could not acquiesce to the fact that he was not chosen to rule Judea and was hoping to take over the reins in the country. Motivated by jealousy, he recruited a group of Jews, and together they conspired to eliminate Gedaliah. He joined forces with the King of Amon (today’s Jordan) who himself felt threatened by the renewed strength of the Jewish community headed by Gedaliah, and together they executed their malevolent plan on the eve of Rosh Hashanah.

In the midst of a festive meal hosted by Gedaliah for Ismael and his men, Ismael murdered Gedaliah the “traitor” and also massacred all of his supporters. Ismael, who had hoped to become the ruler, was met with strong opposition and rejection from the Jewish population, and became forced to escape and find refuge in Trans-Jordan. The residents of Judea, fearful of Babylonian revenge, fled to Egypt, and following them, the last remnants of the Jews immigrated to different countries and the Babylonian exile officially began.

The unfounded hatred that erupted in Judea cut short the hope of reconstruction and renewal. It brought about the last disintegration in Israeli society. It put an end to Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel and it ended the period of the First Temple: the symbol of unity and mutual guarantee. Since that day, it has been customary to mark the division that tore us apart and drove us out of the country as a day of fasting.

3,000 years have passed since then, and not a lot has changed in the 2019 model of the “Kingdom of Judea.” The people of Israel are divided into camps and tribes with different conceptions and viewpoints. Polarization and division are the order of the day. Any sort of leadership is met with derision, and unfounded hatred abounds. The Fast of Gedaliah that is commemorated the first day out of the ten days of repentance between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is a day of deep soul searching in which we should find out what can unite us as a people.

The more we deal with the natural elements of the people of Israel—unity, mutual guarantee and love of others—the sooner we will arrive at the realization that the reason for all suffering in our lives is the human ego: the negative force in nature. In order to counteract the ego, we need a positive force: the light of the Torah, which resides in our unity.

The murder of Gedaliah and the fast for its remembrance are a reminder, as Maimonides writes:

“There are days in which all of Israel torments themselves because of all the troubles that have occurred in them, in order to awaken the hearts and open ways of repentance. And it will serve to remind us of our bad deeds, and this memory we shall return to do good.”
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Blitz Of Kabbalah Tips – 3/10/19

laitman_962.3Question: You talk about the education of a single European, a single person. What will be the basis for the upbringing of a new individual? Is Kabbalah the method that you propose? Where is the basis, the concept of your proposed path?

Answer: You just need to open the books of the wisdom of Kabbalah where everything is written, and read them.

Question: Who is the Creator? Something not from this world? So how can one induce Him for anything?

Answer: The Creator is not from this world, that is correct and accurate. He is the highest power of bestowal and love. He can bestow to you only to the degree that you want to instill the properties of bestowal and love in you. If you want to acquire the attitude of love and bestowal toward others, then you must turn to the Creator.

Question: What does the fulfillment of a desire mean?

Answer: The fulfillment of a desire means getting what I want. In our state, all of our desires are egoistic, and therefore, we do not receive their fulfillment. Even if we do get fulfillment, we discover later that we have become even emptier. This teaches us not to want to be fulfilled egotistically.

Question: Could the Jews have awakened without anti-Semitism?

Answer: Certainly not! That is why the Creator urges us to fulfill our destiny by inciting hatred toward Israel.

Question: What should little children of two or three years of age be taught first and foremost?

Answer: At the age of two or three, it is certainly too early to teach them anything. But you can try to teach them to be connected well with others.

Question: How does the Creator respond to your teaching us? Do you feel His response?

Answer: The Creator fully approves of me, He responds very well, and I feel this perfectly. I am not joking! You can do the same and discover it.

Question: I am an artist. Please tell me, why are visual arts necessary and will they be important in the future?

Answer: No, they are not very important and will not be important in the future. This is because people will discover an inner spiritual vision that cannot be expressed in any way but solely and only through our soul.

Question: Why should you care for others if you yourself need love? What I mean is, should I not care about myself first and foremost?

Answer: In this case you will never be able to satisfy yourself and you will never feel love. If you are in need of love, you must love others. Then you will begin to feel love for you.
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From KabTV’s “Answers to Questions from Facebook” 3/10/19

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“Israel At A Crossroads: Time For A Government For Everyone” (Newsmax)

My article in Newsmax: “Israel at a Crossroads: Time for a Government for Everyone

If other people’s failures can make us feel a bit better in our loss, Israel is not alone in the world in its political limbo after the second elections this year again left no clear winner.

Similarly, Spain is headed for its fourth election in four years in the wake of inconclusive results from last April’s polls; and in the UK, the Supreme Court ruled that Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend Parliament — an apparent move to avoid opposition to Brexit — was unlawful, causing political turmoil.

It seems humanity has advanced technologically but has regressed in terms of stability and certainty about the future. The good news is that reaching a solution does not require rocket science. The leaders just need to take the example of a family and govern accordingly.

Family life is based on interdependence and built on mutual concessions. If it weren’t, then any crisis could easily lead to divorce.

A delicate balance is kept where, on one hand, the couple endeavors to stay close and appreciate the comfort and security that the closeness provides, while on the other hand, they maintain healthy individuality and room for personal growth. Successful couples move in a sort of mutual dance where each partner refrains from seeing the negative aspects of the other and covers disagreements with love.

From Independence to Interdependence

In Israel, the leaders who aspire to run the country feel no interdependence. They appear to be complete separated, bearing no resemblance to a warm family. Each pursues his own justice, barricades himself in his position, and thinks of his own self-interest.

Unlike family management, where negotiations are relatively easy and the damages are small in scale, at the state level, slight movements can quickly result in complicated political squabbles that risk deterioration into social crises or re-elections. Therefore, any party that barricades itself within its own position deserves no governance until it can muster the strength to relent a little in its position and pride.

It is abundantly clear to everyone that the success of the State of Israel will depend on its ability to form a national-unity government. This government should be like a family incorporating countless opposing views and political rivalries, yet working together, mutually compromising for the benefit of the people. It can only work this way because no unity can exist except above diverse opinions. The sages expressed it as follows: “Just as their faces are different, so are their opinions,” in other words, just like the differences that exist between members of a family.

The political approaches of the two major parties, Likud and Blue-White, are similar in character. Therefore, the current prize to be won for Israel can be taken by compromise and nothing else. Even if there is a significant conflict in the future between the two leaders, Netanyahu and Gantz — disagreements over the peace process that could deteriorate into real struggles, for instance — the national-unity government’s magic will work.

Unity Out of Diversity

Unity accepts and contains the other, agrees to work with the different, and gives room to everyone.

Unity balances the various worldviews and draws a continuous line between diverse perspectives in order to weave a single, complete vision. Unity produces a reflective and rich discourse from a smorgasbord of opinions.

Israel’s divided people are thirsty for solidarity and cross-sectional social cohesion, wishing beyond hope that our chosen leaders would set an example and sit together at a round table, just like in a classic family. We long for leadership strong enough to demonstrate mutual trust, one that can give up on ego and pride for the people’s benefit.

Good for All, Good for Me

Leadership that works toward such unity would inspire people with a positive spirit of becoming an example of willingness to yield self-benefit for the collective good.

Why would someone be willing to give up their own particular position for everyone’s benefit?

Such visionary leadership is possible when one comes to realize that each of us is an integral part of a collective whole, so when everyone benefits, I am also a recipient of that goodness.

This has been the hallmark governing resilience the people of Israel since time immemorial: a powerful government made up of leaders with differing views who are strong enough to transcend their private egos for our common property: the people of Israel. With such leadership, the people too will come out stronger and more united, able to rise above the prevailing divisions in society. This is the beginning of the road to heralding Israel’s unity as an example for the world.

My Thoughts On Twitter 9/16/19

Dr Michael Laitman Twitter

Former #fundamentalists, #nationalists, unwilling to talk to anyone who differs from them in the slightest, will suddenly change. The Upper light will change everything. As it now intensifies the darkness, so will it also correct it. The main thing is for us to become a conducting channel for Him—this is our work.
#Kabbalah #Europe

#Europeans will understand that the key to achieving unity is in the integral method of connection, covering all crimes with love, with the help of the Upper force, as taught by Kabbalah. The only way to unite is to create such conditions where the Upper force can act on us through #Israel, as through a channel of connection.

#Europe will feel powerless, with no way out. We must provide a solution. It is important for all our Kabbalistic groups to unite. We will bring the light of unity to Europe. Contradictions will subside, opinions, thoughts, and desires will change. Everything will be resolved in thought, for thoughts will suddenly become new.
#Europe

50 years ago the situation with the #refugees was unimaginable—Europeans guarded every nation’s uniqueness, there were firm borders. According to the Upper program, everyone must reveal the breakage they are in. The way to reveal the necessity for correction is to bring a foreign force into it.
#migrants #Europe

How can the European nations achieve unity with this staggering number of #refugees? Refugees only help the European nations understand that unity must come above all differences. We must see the wave of refugees as sent by the Upper force—destruction for the sake of correction.

There will be many problems and wrongs on the way to the goal—above it all, without despair or retreat, strengthening and uniting more and more, we need to build an opposite state, love. This is how the world is made and how it must be corrected. Only this way will perfection be revealed.
#personaldevelopment #spirituality

The force that reinforces the nation depends on its ability to unite, i.e., become like the Upper force, which is oneness. Such a nation can overcome any difficulties for they manifest as breaks and imperfections in it that require correction. #Israel

A prerequisite for every nation is a strong internal bond and instinctive love. Those who remain in this state of harmony are the ones who make up the #nation, giving it the right to happiness and existence. (Baal HaSulam, newspaper The Nation)
#Kabbalah #society #Israeli
From Twitter, 9/16/19

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New Life #1145 – The Image Of The People Of Israel

New Life #1145 – The Image of the People of Israel
Dr. Michael Laitman in conversation with Oren Levi and Nitzah Mazoz

Since the time of Abraham, who connected a collection of people from various nations and cultures, Jews have embraced their inherent spiritual gene. In order to stimulate this gene, we must identify with our root and advance the increasingly divisive and separated world toward connection. The wisdom of Kabbalah explains how to connect above the opposites, in two layers. According to the law of nature, the people of Israel must fulfill their special role and spread the method of connection throughout the world.
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From KabTV’s “New Life #1145 – The Image of the People of Israel,” 7/30/19

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“Which Side Is Right In The Israel-Palestine Conflict?” (Quora)

Dr. Michael LaitmanMichael Laitman, On Quora: Which side is right in the Israel-Palestine conflict?

No side is correct because no side knows the truth. The question is: what is the truth?

The people of Israel alone determine the attitude that the nations of the world have toward them. The nations of the world have no free choice in how they perceive Israel. According to the wisdom of Kabbalah, Israel are people with free choice, because it was the people of Israel who were granted the ability to rise above the egoistic human nature—the desire to enjoy at the expense of others—that runs on autopilot within each and every person. If the people of Israel make the choice to rise above the divisive egoistic drives and unite, then an abundance of goodness will flow out to the world through them. Likewise, if the people of Israel fail in making that choice, letting egoism continue to grow unabated, then no agreements will help them: it will be bad for them and for the world.

Free choice is the choice to connect among each other and by doing so, reveal the upper force—the force of connection and love—here in this world. If we fail to make that choice, then the negative side of the force of connection and love—division and hatred due to egoistic desires growing without any effective regulation—will ripple out to all humanity in depth and width. This is the root of any positive or negative attitude toward Israel from the nations of the world.

Today, since the people of Israel are not making any effort to realize their unifying role in the world, then anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli sentiment—including denial of the State of Israel—grows in order to pressure the people of Israel to fulfill their duty in the world.

Therefore, Palestinians are not responsible for the way they think and behave toward Israel. The law of nature draws humanity to connection at the peak of its development, and those who resist and deny Israel act according to their function within this system, which is to pressure the people of Israel to exercise their free choice. I thus see in Israel’s haters simply the force of nature, which reveals itself to us in such a way. The people of Israel, however, have free choice, i.e. the ability to change themselves, as they have been given a method of the world’s correction. So who’s to blame? I can’t say that Palestinians or anyone in the world are to blame for any of their hatred toward Israel, since no one in the world other than the people of Israel have free choice. There is a statement in the wisdom of Kabbalah about this: “the heads of ministers are in the hands of God.” That is, those in ruling positions around the world have no free choice in how they think and act, since the demands of the system of nature operate on them in order for them to carry out what needs to unfold in nature.

Is Israel An Apartheid State? What Are The Facts That Prove Or Disprove This Opinion?” (Quora)

Dr. Michael LaitmanMichael Laitman, On Quora: Is Israel an apartheid state? What are the facts that prove or disprove this opinion?

I have no interest in such labels that people pin on Israel. I evaluate Israel solely according to the authentic Kabbalistic sources that I have been studying for the past 40-plus years.

In any case, taking into consideration the amount of Arabs in Israeli society, from studying at universities through to assuming respected professions such as lawyers and doctors, I wouldn’t consider Israel an apartheid state. Apartheid is something else entirely. But again, whatever name-calling is addressed at Israel doesn’t matter to me. What matters is the intensifying need of the people of Israel to carry out their role in the world: to unite (“love your neighbor as yourself”) and be a conduit for unity to spread worldwide (“a light unto nations”). If the people of Israel will observe such a condition, then it will be good for them and for the world. If they don’t, then it will be the opposite.

“What Are Your Reasons For Supporting Israel?” (Quora)

Dr. Michael LaitmanMichael Laitman, On Quora: What are your reasons for supporting Israel?

I support Israel for a single reason: that Israel becomes a source of the world’s connection. Through the special connection that Israel has the potential to bring—a connection above people’s innate divisive drives (“Love covers all transgressions” [Proverbs 10:12])—the world can elevate itself to another level of existence, both corporeally and spiritually:

Corporeally, this means that all human conflicts and natural disasters would cease. We would feel a life filled with happiness and confidence as a result of the balance with nature that such connection would yield.
Spiritually, it means we would rise to a new dimension of eternity and perfection. This is due to awakening the force of connection and love dwelling in nature to reveal in our newly-created connections.

Therefore, I support Israel for this sole reason.

Today, it is very sad for me to see the contrary, how Israel is the source of all of the world’s problems (“No calamity comes to the world but for Israel” [Yevamot 63]). That is, the more that the people of Israel fail to apply efforts in the direction of connection—connection above our differences for the sake of positive global connection—the more the world sinks deeper into division and conflict. It is as Kabbalist Yehuda Ashlag (Baal HaSulam) writes in item 69 of his “Introduction to The Book of Zohar,” that “they cause poverty, ruin, robbery, killing and destruction in the whole world.” Why? It is because the people of Israel possess the method for the correction of human nature, i.e. correction of the egoistic, self-centered drive to benefit at the expense of others, which is growing rampant in our era. The more the ego inflates without an effective form of regulation—the connection above differences that the people of Israel have a method and a role to realize—the more problems and crises abound in the world.

Moreover, the more the nations of the world feel problems in their lives, the more they feel hatred toward Israel. This is because they subconsciously feel that the people of Israel are the source of their problems and are holding something significant away from them. Anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism thus rise due to the people of Israel’s failure to implement the role required of them in the world.

Therefore, the people of Israel need only come to the realization that they hold their own as well as humanity’s life and well-being in their hands. By starting to tilt the scales toward connection, they will bring harmony to themselves and to the world, whereas by continuing to tilt the scales toward division through their indifference and rejection of their role, they will continue inviting problems to the world and hatred to themselves.

It is thus my hope that the people of Israel will acknowledge their role and start making efforts to connect sooner rather than later, because if things keep developing as they currently do, then not only will the elimination of the State of Israel become a reality, but we will experience wars and major suffering on a global scale the likes that we have never seen before.

“Do You Support The Existence Of Israel? Why?” (Quora)

Dr. Michael LaitmanMichael Laitman, On Quora: Do you support the existence of Israel? Why?

I support the existence of Israel as a source of the world’s connection. Through the special connection that Israel has the potential to bring—a connection above people’s innate divisive drives (“Love covers all transgressions” [Proverbs 10:12])—the world can elevate itself to another level of existence, both corporeally and spiritually:

Corporeally, this means that all human conflicts and natural disasters would cease. We would feel a life filled with happiness and confidence as a result of the balance with nature that such connection would yield.
Spiritually, it means we would rise to a new dimension of eternity and perfection. This is due to awakening the force of connection and love dwelling in nature to reveal in our newly-created connections.
Therefore, yes, I do support such a nation’s existence.

Today, it is very sad for me to see the contrary, how Israel is the source of all of the world’s problems (“No calamity comes to the world but for Israel” [Yevamot 63]). That is, the more that the people of Israel fail to apply efforts in the direction of connection—connection above our differences for the sake of positive global connection—the more the world sinks deeper into division and conflict. It is as Kabbalist Yehuda Ashlag (Baal HaSulam) writes in item 69 of his “Introduction to The Book of Zohar,” that “they cause poverty, ruin, robbery, killing and destruction in the whole world.” Why? It is because the people of Israel possess the method for the correction of human nature, i.e. correction of the egoistic, self-centered drive to benefit at the expense of others, which is growing rampant in our era. The more the ego inflates without an effective form of regulation—the connection above differences that the people of Israel have a method and a role to realize—the more problems and crises abound in the world.

Moreover, the more the nations of the world feel problems in their lives, the more they feel hatred toward Israel. This is because they subconsciously feel that the people of Israel are the source of their problems and are holding something significant away from them. Anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism thus rise due to the people of Israel’s failure to implement the role required of them in the world.

Therefore, the people of Israel need only come to the realization that they hold their own as well as humanity’s life and well-being in their hands. By starting to tilt the scales toward connection, they will bring harmony to themselves and to the world, whereas by continuing to tilt the scales toward division through their indifference and rejection of their role, they will continue inviting problems to the world and hatred to themselves.

It is thus my hope that the people of Israel will acknowledge their role and start making efforts to connect sooner rather than later, because if things keep developing as they currently do, then we will experience wars and major suffering on a whole new level of egoistic relations the likes that we have never seen before.

“Does The State Of Israel Have A Right To Exist? Why Or Why Not?” (Quora)

Dr. Michael LaitmanMichael Laitman, On Quora: Does the State of Israel have a right to exist? Why or why not?

According to the wisdom of Kabbalah, there is a program that runs through nature’s and humanity’s development, which guides us all to a state of complete unification, eternity and perfection at the end of our development. In this process, the State of Israel has been given a right and ability to exist, however on a very specific condition: that the people of Israel fulfill a key role in the process.

What is the role of the people of Israel? It is to pioneer a method of unifying above division among each other—i.e. to reach what is described as “love your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18) and “love covers all transgressions” (Proverbs 10:12)—in order to become a conduit for unity to expand worldwide—i.e. to be “a light unto the nations” (Isaiah 42:6).

According to our role, to bring unity to the world, we have been doing the opposite until today. We are unaware of the duty we have toward the world, and due to the lack of awareness and efforts to unite, we experience increasing division among each other. As a result, we become a source of the world’s problems, conflicts and separation.

Therefore, if the people of Israel fail to develop from this moment onward in a unifying direction, then the period of the existence of the State of Israel will come to an end. If the people of Israel in the State of Israel, in the land that we have been given, fail to motion toward serving the world with a positive example of unification, and continue developing in the opposite direction, then the State of Israel will have no right to exist. Then, as has taken place before in history, the Jewish people would become pressured to exit this land and disperse around the world. Moreover, according to the exponentially-growing hatred toward the Jewish people and the methodical delegitimization of the State of Israel unfolding from one day to the next, I think that the decision to eliminate the State of Israel could very well happen soon.