Entries in the 'Israel' Category

“War And Peace In Jerusalem” (Linkedin)

My new article on Linkedin “War and Peace in Jerusalem

My grandfather, back in Belarus, was a very religious man. When I was a child, he would often tell me about Jerusalem. Even though I was only five or six years old then, I vividly remember the emotion in his words. He longed to feel Jerusalem, to unite with it. Simply speaking about it made his eyes shine.

The reason that Israel now governs Jerusalem is that the people of Israel have the onus of being “a light unto nations,” of bringing unity and peace to the world. The fundamental rule of the Torah is “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Israel must practice it and set an example to the rest of the world. Only when Israel does this will the rest of the world follow.

My grandfather was born in exile and died in exile. But when I came to Israel and went up to Jerusalem, I remembered his stories, and as soon as we started the climb into the mountains of Jerusalem, I felt his spirit with me; I was realizing my grandfather’s dream. It moved me deeply.

Regrettably, Jerusalem today is very far from the Jerusalem in my grandfather’s dreams. The Hebrew word for Jerusalem, “Yerushalaim“, is a combination of two words: “Ir” [city] “Shlema” [whole/complete], meaning “a city of wholeness” or “a city of completeness.” Also, the word “Shalom” [peace] comes from the world “Shlemut” [wholeness] or “Hashlama” [complementation]. This is why Jerusalem is also regarded as Ir Shalom [a city of peace].

Evidently, there is no wholeness in Jerusalem, no complementation, and certainly no peace. There is plenty of the opposite: division, conflict, and hate. King David, who wrote in Psalm 122 that Jerusalem was built as a city that was joined together, would not be happy if he saw that Jerusalem has become a symbol of conflict, a hub of religious fanaticism and bloodshed.

Despite the intolerance, the city will become what it was meant to be—a center of peace and wholeness, a center of healing for a tormented world. The Book of Zohar writes about Jerusalem (Pinhas, 152): “Jerusalem among the rest of the countries [is] like the heart among the organs. Hence, it is in the middle of the whole world, like the heart, which is in the middle of the organs.”

Jerusalem, being the central place for Judaism and Christianity, and an important center for Islam, reflects the relationships among the faiths. Since there is no peace among them, the center, where the three religions meet, becomes the focal point of the frictions among them, and therefore the center of hostilities. Over the centuries, the city has been governed by all three vying religions, but the governance has always been achieved by war. Jerusalem will become a city of wholeness and peace, but the question is how long it will take us to make of it what it is meant to be, and how much we will suffer in the process.

The reason that Israel now governs Jerusalem is that the people of Israel have the onus of being “a light unto nations,” of bringing unity and peace to the world. The fundamental rule of the Torah is “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Israel must practice it and set an example to the rest of the world. Only when Israel does this will the rest of the world follow.

For a short while in antiquity, Israel did just that. During the 3rd century BC, there was relative calm in the nation. Three times a year Jews would march up to Jerusalem to celebrate the festivals of pilgrimage: Sukkot, Passover, and Shavuot (Feast of Weeks). The pilgrimages were intended primarily for uniting the hearts of the people. In his book The Antiquities of the Jews, Flavius Josephus writes that the pilgrims would make “acquaintance … maintained by conversing together and by seeing and talking with one another, and so renewing the recollections of this union.”

Once they entered Jerusalem, the pilgrims were greeted with open arms. The townsfolk let them into their homes and treated them as family. The Mishnah (Bikurim 3) lauds this rare camaraderie: “All the craftsmen in Jerusalem would stand before them and ask about their well-being: ‘Our brothers, men of so and so place, have you come in peace?’ and the flute would play before them until they arrived at Temple Mount.” The book Avot de Rabbi Natan writes that every material need of every person who came to Jerusalem was met in full. “One did not say to one’s friend, ‘I could not find an oven on which to roast offerings in Jerusalem’ … or ‘I could not find a bed to sleep in, in Jerusalem.’”

While they lasted, those festivals of bonding had made Israel “a light unto nations.” The book Sifrey Devarim (Item 354) details how people from other nations would “go up to Jerusalem and see Israel … and say, ‘It is becoming to cling only to this nation.’”

Moreover, when Ptolemy II Philadelphus, King of Egypt, heard of the unity of the Jews, he wanted to learn their wisdom. Ptolemy invited seventy sages from Jerusalem to his palace in Alexandria to translate their books into Greek. But before he sent them off to create what is now known as the Septuagint, the first translation of the Old Testament into Greek, Ptolemy asked them about their wisdom, and mainly how he could benefit from it as a ruler. In The Antiquities of the Jews (Book XII), Josephus writes that Ptolemy had sat with the Hebrew sages for twelve straight days asking them “rather political questions, tending to the good … government of mankind.” Ptolemy was “delighted with hearing the laws read to him, and was astonished at the deep meaning and wisdom of the legislator,” writes Josephus.

Finally, “When they had explained all the problems that had been proposed by the king about every point, he was well-pleased with their answers,” concludes Josephus. Moreover, the historian writes that Ptolemy testified that “he had gained very great advantages by their coming, for he had received this profit from them, that he had learned how he ought to rule his subjects.”

Regrettably, Israel’s unity did not last. Internal division and conflicts destroyed the land, and the people were exiled because of their hatred for each other. Now that we are back in Israel, the burden of proof is once again on our shoulders to show that we are worthy of being “a light unto nations,” the center of unity whose heart is Jerusalem.
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The People Of Israel Before And After Receiving The Torah

933Question: What is the difference between the people before and after receiving the Torah on Mount Sinai?

Answer: Before receiving the Torah, the people are considered just a gathering of people.

Question: But why? After all, they were already called “Israelites” in Egypt?

Answer: They were called so by their natural aspiration. But what it meant, they did not know and did not understand. Therefore, there is nothing to say about their spiritual state, it was only minimal.

They partially began to feel themselves in egoistic bondage during the second half of their stay in Egypt and later in their attempts to get out of it.

But when they approached Mount Sinai, they were faced with the need to accept the Torah, the upper force, the quality of bestowal and love, and started using this quality to correct themselves, then they gradually revealed the meaning of the light of the Torah.

The light must transform human nature in all its 620 egoistic qualities from “receiving for oneself,” self-gratification, to the quality of bestowal, in order to please and fill others.

Thus, initially, Abraham gathered people around him who simply strive for the quality of bestowal. Therefore, they were called “Israel” (Yashar-El), directly to the Creator.

Then they began to examine themselves, their egoism, meaning that “they entered Egypt.” And only after leaving Egypt did the correction of their egoism begin and the Torah was given, instructions for its correction. This is the difference between the people before and after receiving the Torah.
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From KabTV’s “Spiritual States” 4/9/21

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Life Is A Song To The Whole World

944Scientists are trying to understand how singing affects the state of our body and soul. It has been noticed that when a person sings or listens to singing, his blood pressure and level of hormones in the blood can change. What is the secret of singing that can heal a person?

The point is that singing does not put any violent pressure on us. We do not feel it as someone else’s will wanting to subjugate us, but we connect with it and want to swim along with the pleasant melody. The song finds a response in our soul, in our inner experiences, in aspirations of the heart.

Therefore, we all love songs. Singing existed even before people started talking. Animals and birds also sing. Songs can express many more thoughts, desires, hopes, and aspirations for which there are no words and they evoke a much more correct and kind response in the hearts of people who will understand me and agree. The song is a special soft and kind language of communication.

A song is capable of generating a whole world of sensations in us because it comes from the very depths of the heart, from the innermost aspirations. I cannot sing what I totally disagree with, I cannot do it. You can say false words, but you will not be able to sing them.

People love to sing together because it leads to connection of hearts, to a common experience about which the song sings, to common hopes for the present and the future, to memories of the past, and a common history. The song can include an ocean of feelings and hopes of the entire nation or even the whole world.

Singing gives a person additional strength that was not in him before he began to sing. Singing may even be without words and it will still resonate in other people’s hearts. Everyone will present their words behind this melody.

In the tradition of many nations, there is choral singing, polyphony, which evokes the feeling of a special connection between people, a special power that is higher than us. This strength arises from the joining of hearts in song, common desires, disappointments, and hopes, that is, a common life.

Therefore, there is such a lofty piece as the “Song of Songs.” Singing is the most powerful appeal that is possible from person to person and from a person to the Creator.

In fact, a person sings all the time addressing the Creator. Any experience of a person at every moment of his existence is a song addressed to the higher force.

If all the people of Israel sang together, it would improve our relations with each other and improve the state of the country. Let’s all sit together and sing: “How nice and pleasant it is for brothers to sit together.” After all, only when we sit together as brothers can we feel good and pleasant. This singing itself will already be such a change beside which nothing would be needed.

If we want to change our country, our people, and the whole world for the better, then let’s sit down and sing about how good and pleasant it is for us to be together. This can change our destiny.

How else can we influence it? We did so much in order to correct, but the only way is to unite. If we are talking about how to achieve unity and turn to the higher force, how to exist together and spread the power of bestowal and love born of this unity to all of humanity, then this in itself is a blessing from above. The whole world would accept this power and unite in one heart.
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From KabTV’s “Look from the Inside” 3/8/21

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The Holocaust Is Not History But Actual World Problem

203Every year we mark the Holocaust Remembrance Day to honor the memory of the victims—six million European Jews. However, as years go by distancing us more and more from this event, the memory of it begins to fade.

Many young people have not heard the stories about Holocaust in their families and have never met with witnesses of these terrible events.

Therefore, there is a fear that the memory of the Holocaust may disappear because after a certain number of years there will be no living witnesses of the Holocaust, and there will be no one to pass this story on to the next generations.

This should not surprise us, because these are laws of nature. Things that are not in front of our eyes gradually cease to be important, and if we do not want to lose them, we must constantly renew them as if reviving those pictures.

No matter how much we tried to maintain this memory, arranged study trips to concentration camps for school children, it does not help much. As living witnesses of the Holocaust disappear, a new generation that is not related to this time will no longer be able to observe this tradition the way it used to be.

I was born in Belarus, in a place where Nazis carried out mass executions of Jews. In Vitebsk, the city of my childhood, there was also a ghetto, which was destroyed. Many of my relatives died in the Holocaust.

Although I was born after the war and knew about it only from stories, this memory was still very alive in our family. I was raised by people who managed to escape the Holocaust, and they told me about those who died. This left a very deep impression on me because I have lived in this atmosphere since I was born.

However, if modern young people have not heard about the Holocaust from their loved ones, have not spoken with eyewitnesses, then for them, it is as if it did not happen. We cannot blame them for that. It makes no sense to sit and cry, but it is very important to determine our attitude to the Holocaust, to analyze again its causes and consequences. Otherwise, we will not get rid of the Holocaust or we will even come to a new one.

We must draw conclusions from the Holocaust and change ourselves so that it will never happen again. We must understand why it happened and who is to blame. This is serious scrutiny that we must perform within each of us and ultimately with all of humanity because everyone participated in this.

How did it happen that the nations of the world accepted and readily implemented Hitler’s plan without any questions or doubts?

First of all, we need to understand who the people of Israel are, why they are called that, and what their purpose is. Why did they survive after so many generations of scattering and why did all of mankind pay so much attention to it? Until we answer all these questions we will not be able to understand what we are talking about at all.

Why do all nations make some kind of claims against Jews? It is clear that there are quarrels between neighbors, but why does everyone have complaints against Jews? We need to investigate this phenomenon and understand the exact causes. After all, this is not only history but an actual, global problem that does not disappear but only occasionally calms down a little and then intensifies again.

This intensification does not really depend on the Jews or the nations of the world but simply happens because a suitable period in history comes. We see that anti-Semitism is deeply rooted in nature: there is such a concept as Israel, the people of Israel, the land of Israel. It is a spiritual concept that lives in the world and exists from the beginning of creation to the very end. This problem will continue to exist until Israel brings the entire creation to the correct form.

This is what the Torah and, even more clearly, the wisdom of Kabbalah says. Without the Kabbalistic explanation of the causes of anti-Semitism, we cannot find a solution regarding the Holocaust and, in general, to all of history, to the entire creation. After all, this is not an earthly problem of the people of Israel, but the confrontation of the forces of nature, like a physical, chemical, or mathematical law. There are special relations between the parts of creation as absolute, unchangeable laws that are set and cannot be violated.

The central law among all these principles concerns the existence of the people of Israel, the land of Israel, the beginning and the end of creation, and the entire process between them regarding any particle of the universe. All this is connected together in one system in which we are included as a central force.

Natural anti-Semitism is the consequence of every person’s inclination for bestowal, love for his neighbor, for the Creator, for the upper force. Although this force is hated and rejected by everyone, it exists, and to the same extent there is also a force of rejection and hatred toward those who represent this force in our world, that is, for the quality called Yehudi from the word “Yehud – unity.
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From KabTV’s “A Conversation with Journalists” 4/6/21

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“And The Children Of Israel Sighed From The Elections” (Linkedin)

My new article on Linkedin “And the Children of Israel Sighed from the Elections

Since the first lockdown, I hardly ever go outside. In the rare occasions that I do venture outside, I see the mounting hatred in people’s eyes growing from one election campaign to the next. In today’s election system, the half whose view is not represented in the government remains bitter and vindictive. And because people cannot accept the situation, their hatred becomes more spiteful and malicious with each disappointment.

Relinquishing our desire for autocracy will allow us to create a space between us where connection governs, to make room for collaboration and partnership. This is the ideal that forged the Jewish people—the ideal of love of others. In our remote past, we practiced this ideology, and that was our heyday in history. Even today, it is the only solution that can lift us from the gutter of hatred where we wallow.

In a paper titled The Nation, the great 20th century kabbalist Baal HaSulam wrote in this regard, “The difficulty of the matter is that men cannot relinquish their ideals at all, since one can make concessions when it comes to one’s material life, to the extent that it is necessary for one’s physical existence, but it is not so with ideals. By nature, idealists will give all that they have for the triumph of their idea. And if they must relinquish their ideals even a little, it is not an honest concession. Rather, they stay alert and wait for a time when they can reclaim what [they believe] is theirs. Therefore, such compromises cannot be trusted.”

Indeed, reality proves that we keep failing on our way to the ballot booths. My real hope is that our failures remain merely ideological and not deteriorate into worse scenarios. If they remain this way, it will help us arrive more quickly at the realization that we are on a dead-end road. Since we cannot compromise and keep trying to win, we are certain to soon give up on the current election system.

The election system reflects a worldview, a perception of reality. It is an interpretation of our way of life and our thinking. The current system reflects a destructive approach that builds one side on the ruin of the other. For this reason, emerging from the current deadlock can happen only if we mutually give up on our aspiration for absolute control. Again, we need not concede our ideals, our “truth,” but only the desire to be the sole ruler.

Relinquishing our desire for autocracy will allow us to create a space between us where connection governs, to make room for collaboration and partnership. This is the ideal that forged the Jewish people—the ideal of love of others. In our remote past, we practiced this ideology, and that was our heyday in history. Even today, it is the only solution that can lift us from the gutter of hatred where we wallow.

To achieve this, we must engage in open discourse in order to find how we can come closer to each other despite, and above our differences. We needn’t understand each other’s views, and certainly not accept them. Nature has made us opposite, so there is nothing we can do to sway each other’s views.

Nevertheless, if we give connection preference over winning, we will find that our differing views create a stronger bond among the rivals than if we agreed, precisely because of the effort we made to establish it. Just as couples strengthen the bond between them as they overcome crises in their relationships, a nation solidifies itself as its members do not succumb to hatred and divorce from one another, but rise above it and forge bonds that are stronger than the hate. King Solomon coined the essence of this approach with his words, “Hate stirs strife, and love will cover all crimes” (Proverbs 10:12).

Today, we need this approach no less than we did in our nation’s infancy. It will keep us unique, maintain our individuality, and at the same time forge a bond among us that will be a role model that the entire world will seek to emulate.
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Why Does It Seem To Me That I Am A Jew?

622.02Comment: One of my students asked me a question: “Why do I find myself thinking so much about Jews lately, even think that I, myself, am a Jew?”

My Response: The fact is that we are approaching a certain development, although it never really stopped—it sometimes faded a little and at other times was re-kindled—when many have the subconscious feeling that there are special people who have this calling, who set the world in a new direction, and constantly ignite it.

Indeed, such a group of people exists, although it is mistakenly called a nation. It is not a nation but a group within humanity. We are living in a time when their mission should become clear to everyone, and everyone will understand the root of their connection to the Jews, and why each of them feels that, perhaps, he is a Jew himself.

First, because it is true: in every person there is a so-called point in the heart, which characterizes a Jew.

“Jew” ([“Hebrew”] from the word “Laavor“) means transition to another level of consciousness, perception of reality. This is the mission of this people, this group.

Therefore, people, especially today, feel that there is something in them that pushes them, calls them, pulls them to transition to the next level of attainment of nature, to their mission, and the meaning of life.
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From KabTV’s “Integral World” 7/13/18

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“Israel” And “Rome”—Two Forces That Govern The World

937The Book of Zohar: He said, “There must be three rulers of peoples who are standing in the city of Rome in the land, since they extend from HGT de ZA, and they are destined to declare bad decrees over Israel by the Romans. In other words, the flaw that Israel blemished in HGT gave the Romans strength to destroy the Temple and declare bad decrees.“

The Zohar speaks allegorically of the two forces that govern the world. The power of bestowal is called “Israel” (Yisrael, Yashar-El)—straight to the Creator. These are the people, the forces directed to the Creator, and it does not matter who they are by nationality because all this comes from Ancient Babylon and applies absolutely to all of humanity.

And the forces that strive to fill their own egoism are called “Rome.” In principle, the entire current European and, in general, world civilization comes from Rome.

Throughout history, these two completely opposite forces were in a certain contact with each other, more or less in balance, completing each other. The stronger the force of attraction to the Creator, the weaker Rome, the egoistic force of the world, is. Not just our world and not just Western civilization but its egoistic component. The smaller this egoistic component is, the lower Rome falls, the higher Israel rises, in allegorical terms.

We are talking only about the inner state of man and in no way about our world. Nothing will change in our world because we are already in a state of final correction, which everyone must achieve.

It should be emphasized that Israel is not what we today mean by a certain nation of the world with its destiny, culture, and everything that is in it, which everyone knows about like about no other small nation.

The fact is that this nation is special. It was separated from all mankind in Ancient Babylon by its spiritual quality when Abraham started to recruit a Kabbalistic group from the ancient Babylonians and unite into one whole those people who felt the desire to reach the Creator. Therefore, he called this group Israel (Yashar-El), straight to the Creator. It has existed ever since.

For fifteen hundred years, before the destruction of the Second Temple, it existed on the spiritual level as it was created by Abraham. And now, for the last two millennia, it has been disconnected from everything spiritual and there is absolutely no understanding in it why it is called so because it does not feel and does not know its purpose.

Today, if we talk to the Jews, the descendants of the ancient Kabbalists from the group of Abraham, we will find that they do not understand their mission at all and do not know it. They just live, that is all.
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From KabTV’s “The Power of The Book of Zohar” #8

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Did Humanity Ever Know Truth?

231.01Comment: We have now entered the era of post-truth, an era of disbelief, although this is not such a new phenomenon. Throughout human development, stories of entire nations have been invented.

Society first devours some kind of fictional story, and later it turns out that nothing was like that at all. And a person, not knowing whom to believe, stops believing anyone. He sees some kind of evolution of humanity, but he cannot grasp where the truth is.

My Response: He cannot grasp it because humanity has never been at the level of truth. Our primordial nature is egoism, which completely distorts the whole picture: both our inner and the surrounding world. Therefore, we have never known the truth.

The truth was only in the Jewish people for a short period of time, from the exodus of Egypt and the formation of the First Temple until the Babylonian captivity. Then they saw themselves and the world around them in their true form.

And then there was a gradual decline in the level of truth, which continued until the collapse of the Second Temple. And that was it, this level completely disappeared.

The true world is the force of good, which in fact controls the world and fills the entire space around us, and inside this force of good, we represent the egoistic forces opposite to it, and we see the whole world through its properties.

Therefore, it cannot be said that humanity once knew the truth. It was never there except for a very short period of time. Since then, the whole truth has been practically buried.

Those people who really want to get to it should take Kabbalistic books and, by seriously studying, begin to work on themselves according to this method, which will correct their egoistic properties into altruistic ones.

Only when they really come to the state of “Love your neighbor as yourself” will they be able to see the real picture of the entire universe and the positive force, the Creator, who controls this picture. Before that, everything is absolutely useless.

Therefore, science is today moving more toward the center, toward the realization that we are so wrong. But I cannot offer them anything except to study Kabbalah and learn the truth.

And the conclusions of scientists about the egoistic nature of man are correct. But they have no means to fix it, to rise above it. As long as we are in our egoistic properties, we will alter all our best impulses scientific, cultural, and other achievements to our detriment.
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From KabTV’s “Challenges of the 21st century. Introduction” 4/24/19

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A Nation Built On Love Your Neighbor

749.02You have raised the nation, the Israelites, on whom the faith of the Creator abides, as it should. This is the middle line, which includes both lines—the right and the left.

Increased his joy—this is the level of the Rosh of the Upper (the head of the Upper). That is, Hesed turned Hochma that Abraham merged with, is called the great one. And joy rests with him, meaning, the right line—Hesed (mercy). (The Book of Zohar)

There are three Upper qualities in us: Hesed, Gevura, and Tifferet, below there are: Netzach, Hod, and Yesod. Hesed rises into Hochma, Gevura into Bina, Netzach into Hesed, Yesod into Hod, and so on.

The three points: Cohen, Levi, and Israel always entail a gradual development. These are our inner qualities that have nothing to do with people in this world.

Any person, regardless of nationality, race, or affiliation, if he works internally on himself and wants to reach similarity with the Creator, egoism begins to manifest in him, as well as the property of the Creator, one line, then the second, and the third, with which he builds himself up. Therefore, this guidance applies to every person on Earth.

Question: Can a spiritual state of “rising Israel” occur to any person, whether he is Chinese or German?

Answer: Sure. The middle line is the similarity to the Creator. There is no such nationality—”Israel.” This is an artificially created nation based on the spiritual principle of “loving your neighbor as yourself.”

This was the call with which an ancient Babylonian priest and philosopher Abraham gathered the nation. Those who joined him wanted to advance using the quality of love and bestowal. Therefore, in our world, they have become what is called the people of Israel.

But, in general, any person who strives, with the help of the two qualities of nature, receiving and giving, egoism and altruism, to the Creator is called Yashar El, Israel.
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From KabTV’s “The Power of The Book of Zohar” #6

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“Will WW3 Start Because The Tensions Of Israel And Iran?” (Quora)

Dr. Michael LaitmanMichael Laitman, On Quora: Will WW3 start because the tensions of Israel and Iran?

Iran often discusses its aims to destroy Israel, while at the same time, it is paying a heavy price for its aspiration to build nuclear weapons. In fact, Israel does not disturb Iran, but helps Iran stand out. Iranians seem willing to sacrifice themselves in order to be seen as important and intimidating in this setup.

Regarding nuclear weapons, it is no more than a game. Leaders with nuclear weapons have no desire to use them. Historically, those who had nuclear weapons became more restrained, because the use of nuclear weapons draws the same threat onto themselves.

The Iranians are seemingly ready to die in order to gain respect, but what is it worth? When we die, we have no feeling or memory of any respect we received here. Therefore, the game is important for keeping them in the spotlight.

Israel should do nothing but hold a correct intention toward the situation, using it to come closer to the upper force, realizing the laws of nature among the relations of the people of Israel, with the most important one being, “Love your friend as yourself.”

On the physical level, Israel is correctly countering the looming threat from Iran for the time being. The problem is that Israelis are divided, which distances them from the upper force. At the end of the day, only the upper force can provide true protection.

This has nothing to do with religion. We have to understand that “Love your friend as yourself” is a law, a commandment, and it determines human relations. Moreover, implementing this law is the positive example that the people of Israel have to show the world.

If the people of Israel fulfill the commandment of “Love your friend as yourself,” then even the Iranians will start to love Israel, and this will become their source of respect: to connect to Israel, the nation that brings the method of correction to the world, i.e., the way to reach “Love your friend as yourself.” It was the revelation of this method that gave the people of Israel their name in Abraham’s times (“Israel” from “Yashar Kel” [“straight to the upper force”]).

The problem standing in Israel’s way to become a positive example for the world is simply hatred between Israelis. Therefore, a more unified and positive future or its opposite depends on whether or not the people of Israel come together, above their hatred, and show a positive unifying example to humanity.

Written/edited by students of Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman.