Entries in the 'Israel Today' Category

“No Calamity Comes To The World But For Israel” (Linkedin)

My new article on Linkedin “No Calamity Comes to the World but for Israel

“No calamity comes to the world but for Israel.” These poignant words of our sages (Yevamot, 63a) capture the reason for all the tragedies that afflict us. Not only the Talmud warns about the reason for Israel’s blows. The Book of Zohar also states that when the people of Israel veer off from the right way, “with these actions they bring about the existence of poverty, ruin, and robbery, looting, killing, and destructions in the world” (Tikkuney Zohar, No. 30).

Our nation was formed through a vow to unite “as one man with one heart,” and unity has always been our strength. “The prime defense against calamity is love and unity. When there are love, unity, and friendship between each other in Israel, no calamity can come over them” writes the book Maor VaShemesh.

In the days following the Meron disaster, where 45 people, many of whom children, died in a stampede, the people of Israel proved once more that in crisis, the nation unites. For a short while, we’ve put aside the vociferous, spite-filled arguments, and united in mourning over the pointless loss of life. But tomorrow, when the headlines change and the heart-wrenching pictures give way to new fiascos, the malice will return more intense and venomous than ever. While the circumstances that allowed for this disaster to happen must be examined, we must also not miss out on the opportunity that this tragedy has given us to reconstruct our social relations in this country because this, in the end, is our real source of strength.

In his essay “The Nation,” Baal HaSulam laments our lack of internal unity and ephemeral coalitions. “We are like a pile of nuts,” he writes, “united into a single body from the outside by a sack that envelops and unites them. Their measure of unity does not make them a united body, and each movement applied to the sack produces in them tumult and separation. Thus, they consistently arrive at new unions and partial aggregations. The fault is that they lack the inner unity, and their whole force of unity comes through outside incidents. To us,” concludes Baal HaSulam, “this is very painful to the heart.”

Our nation was formed through a vow to unite “as one man with one heart,” and unity has always been our strength. “The prime defense against calamity is love and unity. When there are love, unity, and friendship between each other in Israel, no calamity can come over them” writes the book Maor VaShemesh.

Moreover, when Israel unite, they are “a light unto nations,” setting an example of love and unity to the world. The Book of Zohar writes that when the people of Israel unite above their hatred, they bring peace to the world. In the portion Aharei Mot, The Zohar writes, “‘Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to also sit together.’ These are the friends as they sit together and are not separated from each other. At first, they seem like people at war, wishing to kill one another … then they return to being in brotherly love. …And you, the friends who are here, as you were in fondness and love before, henceforth you will also not part from one another … and by your merit, there will be peace in the world.”

The onus of unity does not lie on one faction, but on all parts of the Israeli society. It is time we began a national reflection on our conduct as a nation. We can blame each other all we want for the disasters that land on us, but they will not stop until we realize that they reflect not our incompetence, but our division. Naturally, incompetence and recklessness are accomplices in every disaster, but these vices, too, are the results of our callousness and indifference toward each other. If we are content with finger pointing, we’d better get ready for the next blow.

Some of us openly admit their feeling that “we are not one nation.” However, if we use it to justify our alienation from each other, we will suffer more blows until we realize that we are meant to rise above our hatred, not embrace it and brag about our candor. Only when we rise above divisions are we regarded as a nation, and only then does the world welcome us. The book Sifrey Devarim details how in antiquity, people from other nations would come to Jerusalem during the pilgrimages to witness the brotherhood among Jews. They would “go up to Jerusalem and see Israel … and say, ‘It is becoming to cling only to this nation.’”

Indeed, as we embrace the grieving families, we should also embrace the message of unity. As our sages wrote, this is “our prime defense against calamity,” and the only way we can realize the vocation of our nation in this world.
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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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“Dozens Of Reasons To Unite” (Linkedin)

My new article on Linkedin “Dozens of Reasons to Unite

“The prime defense against calamity is love and unity,” writes Rabbi Kalman Halevi Epstein in the book Maor VaShemesh. “When there are love, unity, and friendship between each other in Israel, no calamity can come over them. …Even if they worship idols, but there is bonding among them, and no separation of hearts, they have peace and quiet, and no Satan or evildoer, as by this [unity], all the curses and suffering are removed.”

The Book of Zohar, the seminal book in the wisdom of Kabbalah, was written in that spirit, the spirit of love and unity. In the portion Ki Tissa, the book writes, “All those friends who do not love each other depart the world before their time. All the friends in Rashbi’s time had love of soul and love of spirit among them. …Rabbi Shimon would say, ‘All the friends who do not love each other cause themselves to stray from the right path.’ …Abraham loved Isaac; Isaac loved Abraham; and they were embraced. And they were both gripped in Jacob with love and brotherhood… The friends should be like them and not blemish them, for if love is lacking in them they will blemish their value above.”

“The prime defense against calamity is love and unity,” writes Rabbi Kalman Halevi Epstein in the book Maor VaShemesh. “When there are love, unity, and friendship between each other in Israel, no calamity can come over them. …Even if they worship idols, but there is bonding among them, and no separation of hearts, they have peace and quiet, and no Satan or evildoer, as by this [unity], all the curses and suffering are removed.”

Last night, a tragedy of historic proportions struck the people of Israel, as dozens of people were crushed to death on the tomb site of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai (Rashbi), author of The Book of Zohar. They came there because last night, some nineteen centuries ago, Rashbi and his disciples completed the writing of this book of love and unity. But there, instead of love and unity, thousands were crushed in the stampede, and dozens lost their lives.

The pain and shock are indescribable. It is a time of deep sadness for the whole nation. But when we rise from the grieving, we must take the one and only action that can prevent such tragedies from reoccurring. We must do what our sages throughout the ages have advised us: unite above all our different colors, cultures, beliefs, and opinions.

Masechet Derech Eretz Zuta (Chapter 9), written at approximately the same time as the Talmud, is one of numerous statements in that spirit: “Even when Israel worship idols and there is peace among them, the Lord says, ‘I have no wish to harm them.’ …But if they are disputed, what is it that is said about them? ‘Their heart is divided; now they will bear their guilt.’” Similarly, Rabbi Shmuel Bornstein writes in the book Shem MiShmuel (VaYakhel): “When they [Israel] are as one man with one heart, they are as a fortified wall against the forces of evil.” But perhaps the most fitting on this mournful day are the words of the Talmud (Taanit 23a): “This is what people say: ‘either friendship or death.’”

Kabbalah Is Flexible Science

234Question: A certain teaching tradition has developed in Kabbalah based on the fact that there is content, but the form, methods, and commentary on it are determined by the teacher himself. In this case, we are too dependent on his personality.

And there is another approach when forms and methods of the work are clearly prescribed, and the task of the teacher is not to deviate from what is offered to him.

Which is correct: to focus on personal factors of a person or on the approved technology?

Answer: I don’t think you can separate one from the other. But since Kabbalah is an ancient science that has been taking shape over many thousands of years, it is natural that we should attach ourselves to those great personalities who laid down this structure.

Kabbalah has developed several trends that have taken shape over the past 500 years in Western Europe, the Baltic States, and the Middle and Near East. Each of these regions includes different sub-areas. They are described in different sources and there is a lot of material on all the branching directions. This regards explanations from the sources to the consumers.

And if the teacher’s charismatic personality also manifests here, then of course, he can change something, compare and apply it. I do not think that the science of Kabbalah is a rigid science that cannot be changed and somehow adapted to the audience, to the teacher, especially in our time. The main thing is to convey its essence, i.e., the revelation of the Creator to every person in our world. This is the subject of its study.

The Kabbalistic methodology is changing and will continue to change, and we must look at it very pragmatically and not go into inertia.
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From KabTV’s “Integral Course” 3/19/21

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“What We Should Remember On Israel’s Memorial Day” (Linkedin)

My new article on Linkedin “What We Should Remember on Israel’s Memorial Day

This evening begins Israel’s Memorial Day for the Fallen Soldiers of the Wars of Israel and Victims of Actions of Terrorism. Our nation is unique. Alongside the grieving for the fallen and the victims, we must bear in mind that the State of Israel and the people of Israel are in a unique position. We are the only nation whose fate lies in its hands. While it is true that we are surrounded by enemies who wish nothing but our destruction, it is also true, if hard to accept, that we can turn our enemies into friends if we do what we must do, on which I will elaborate below. Therefore, on the one hand, we must mourn the fallen; on the other hand, we must assume responsibility for our lives in order to prevent others from falling and achieve the long sought after peace with our neighbors.

Israel is indeed in a unique position to determine its own fate. We really can prevent further casualties. If we reignite the bond between us and become the role model that the world is looking for, it will turn the world’s heart in our favor. If there is a lesson we can take from our painful history for this memorial day, it is the lesson of unity that paves our way to peace.

The composition of the people of Israel is unique. We did not emerge from a specific tribe or a specific place. Our ancestors were originally strangers who joined into a group that followed Abraham because they believed in his message of mercy and love of others. Under Abraham’s guidance, those strangers, who were often enemies, bonded so strongly that they formed a new nation. That nation was unique, founded on the constant pursuit of love of others, and on rising above the hatred that flared between them on occasion. Every time the ancient enmities resurfaced, our ancestors would reinforce their bond a little more in order to overcome the new burst of hatred. As a result, they became a nation whose members truly united “as one man with one heart.”

The unique achievement of our ancestors, accompanied by their biological connection to their original nations, made them the perfect candidates for spreading the method of achieving of peace among all nations. The Book of Zohar describes in a few terse, yet powerful sentences the whole sequence from hatred, through bonding, to spreading the message. In the portion Acharei Mot, The Book of Zohar writes, “‘Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to also sit together.” These are the friends as they sit together, unseparated from each other. At first, they seem like people at war, wishing to kill one another. Then they return to being in brotherly love. …And you, the friends who are here, as you were in fondness and love before, henceforth you will also not part … and by your merit there will be peace in the world.”

Because of the unique quality of the people of Israel and its unique makeup, whenever internal or international tensions rise, people point their fingers at the Jews. Although most people are unaware of the ancient connection between the Jewish people and the rest of the world, that hidden tie still lives within there and directs the world toward us when it seeks a way to overcome trouble.

The ancient Jews did not preach the nations about unity. They taught by example. In the 3rd century BC, for example, there was relative calm in the land of Israel. As a result, people from the nations of the world would come to Jerusalem during the pilgrimages of Sukkot, Passover, and Shavuot, to witness the unity of the Jews. During each pilgrimage, the sight was spectacular. The pilgrimages were intended primarily for uniting the hearts of the members of the nation. In his book The Antiquities of the Jews (Book IV, chap. 8), 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 inside the city, the pilgrims were greeted with open arms. The townsfolk let them into their homes and treated them as family. The Mishnah (Bikurim, 3) relishes in 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 (Chapter 35), adds in this regard: “All the material needs of every person who came to Jerusalem were 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.’”

And most important, those festivals of bonding made Israel into “a light unto nations.” The book Sifrey Devarim (Item 354) details how non-Jews would “go up to Jerusalem and see Israel … and say, ‘It is becoming to cling only to this nation.’”

We therefore see that Israel is indeed in a unique position to determine its own fate. We really can prevent further casualties. If we reignite the bond between us and become the role model that the world is looking for, it will turn the world’s heart in our favor. If there is a lesson we can take from our painful history for this memorial day, it is the lesson of unity that paves our way to peace.

“From Startup Nation To United Nation” (Linkedin)

My new article on Linkedin “From Startup Nation to United Nation

Israel has always tried to appease the world and please it. We’ve gone from bragging about our achievements in high-tech to showing off pretty girls, to boasting the speed with which we vaccinated the population in Israel. The world may be very impressed, yet it doesn’t like Israel any better. If anything, Israel’s achievements only anger the world and make it more resentful. Those who do like Israel, like it because of the people of Israel’s historic vocation, which has nothing to do with high-tech or vaccinations. Those who hate Israel, hate it because of our historic vocation, too. Therefore, if we want the world to accept Israel, we must understand vocation and follow through with it.

Under Abraham, who was dubbed “the man of mercy,” they learned that kindness and caring are the most sublime values in existence, worth any effort to acquire them. Oddly enough, the Israelites’ initial strangeness worked in their favor, making their caring “untainted by partiality” due to familial affinity. The union they had achieved, therefore, came to them only through their success in becoming sympathetic individuals who truly cared for one another.

Israel’s vocation, and the reason that the world approved of establishing a Jewish state in the midst of a hostile Arab population, has to do with how we formed as a nation. We tend to forget it because if we remember how we began, it will require efforts to reestablish it. Yet, if we ignore our history, then we have neither present nor future.

Israel’s nationhood began when we committed to each other to love one another as ourselves, to care for each other “as one man with one heart.” At that time, under Mt. Sinai, we became a nation. It was indeed a miracle. We weren’t “meant” to succeed since our ancestors came from a variety of tribes and clans that inhabited the Fertile Crescent, and had nothing in common. The only thing that held them together was the fact that they had followed the same teacher, Abraham the Patriarch, whose ideology they embraced.

Under Abraham, who was dubbed “the man of mercy,” they learned that kindness and caring are the most sublime values in existence, worth any effort to acquire them. Oddly enough, the Israelites’ initial strangeness worked in their favor, making their caring “untainted by partiality” due to familial affinity. The union they had achieved, therefore, came to them only through their success in becoming sympathetic individuals who truly cared for one another.

Following Abraham’s passing, his heirs continued to develop their father’s ideology; they perfected it to the point that under Moses’ leadership, they achieved complete unity and were declared a nation. Indeed, that nation was like none other: bonded by selfless love as opposed to biological affiliation, which is inherently self-centered. And though they often fell out of love with one another, the young nation managed to overcome numerous trials and tribulations, and created a legacy of unity that transcends hatred, or as King Solomon phrased it, “Hate stirs strife, and love will cover all crimes” (Prov. 10:12).

This unique nation became a role model, an example of how the world will have to be at some point in the future. Since all nations cannot be relatives, they will have to find some other way to unite, or they will destroy one another. That other way was the way of Israel. This is why once the Israelites became a nation, they were tasked with being “a light unto nations”—to set an example that the world could follow. That was Israel’s historic vocation, and it still is. This is why the League of Nations supported establishing a Jewish home for the Jews in their historic land in November 1947, and this is still our obligation to the world.

Currently, despite all the technological innovations that Israel has provided, the medical developments, and scientific breakthroughs that have come from our small country, the world holds everything against us. This is its way of telling us that this is not what it wants from us. What it wants is that we do what we did before: unite above hatred. The world wants us to unite even though we cannot stand each other. It wants us to learn to care the way our ancestors did, and show the world how they, too, can do it.

We must not forget that our ancestors came from the nations of the world, and they, too, must unite. Yet, since they did not have Abraham, it is up to Israel to pave the way. Just as Abraham was the man of mercy, Israel must now become a nation of mercy that the world can follow.

The world does not need our kindness to strangers; they need our kindness to each other, which is, let’s face it, the hardest thing of all. But the world will not embrace us until we embrace each other above our mutual dislike. It is time to rebrand Israel, from Startup Nation to The United Nation.
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“Where Should Israel Invest Its Gas Royalties?” (Quora)

Dr. Michael LaitmanMichael Laitman, On Quora: Where should Israel invest its gas royalties?

In 2020, Israel received the equivalent of around three billion US dollars in gas royalties. Part of it was supposed to go to a Israeli Citizens’ Fund for the benefit of Israeli citizens, but the fund is not yet operational. Indeed, what is the best investment for these royalties?

It is unlikely that the Israeli Citizens’ fund will be created, as nobody is genuinely looking in such a direction. If, however, it would miraculously come to fruition, then education should be its number one priority. Even though a major portion of Israel’s budget currently goes to education, it is not the kind of education that people need.

The education people need should teach how to live harmoniously with one another through developing positive and warm connections, and implementing mutual responsibility. In its current definition, education is only about acquiring knowledge and skills. All problems in Israel are thus education-based.

Education is a widespread problem concerning every person. The best investment of Israel’s gas royalties would be in a wide-scale project that educates people, with the aid of the media, how to upgrade connections to become more positive and harmonious. An upgrade in people’s connection means an upgrade in attitudes to one another, so that around the clock, we would be concerned with how to increase goodness, benevolence, happiness, confidence, support, encouragement, kindness, altruism and positivity in society.

Such education is opposite to human nature, which is selfish at its core. In other words, the essence of education is to elevate us above our self-centeredness in order to develop positive connections. This is why it is necessary to educate everyone. In order to do so, education does not require any big budget. Instead, it requires clear and consistent explanations that without upgrading our connections to become more supportive and encouraging of one another, then a truly harmonious life will always elude us.

By prioritizing, investing and engaging in this new kind of education, a new positive atmosphere would envelop society. We would feel a new goal open up before us, and a new kind of motivation, which would urge us to become more united. It is especially in a highly egoistic place like Israel that such a revolution in education needs to come about. Moreover, it is not only about improving Israeli society, but by improving the connections among the people of Israel, the foundation would become set for positive connections among humanity at large to unfold. As such, we would fulfill our destiny (“Love your neighbor as yourself”) and pass on the method of connection to the world (to become “a light unto the nations”).

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

“Israel—From Slavery To Freedom” (Linkedin)

My new article on Linkedin “Israel—From Slavery to Freedom

Passover in Israel is celebrated with a certain sense of freedom this year, with the sensation among its population that the pandemic is behind us. People are taking advantage of the spring sun to relax and travel, almost without restrictions, while the situation around the world is completely different. Many countries continue to battle the coronavirus plague. In Germany and France the third wave is worsening, in Britain and Spain the morbidity rate is climbing again, and in Brazil thousands are dying every day. From country to country we see that the threat of the virus is far from over.

Not only in medicine and technology must Israel be at the forefront, but we must also be a leading force on the spiritual front. It is upon us to demonstrate unity and social cohesion as a supreme value. We were founded as a people upon this root and have been nourished by it since the days of Abraham. Therefore, our first obligation is to unite and, at the same time, find creative ways to make our method of social unity accessible to the world.

Why is Israel first to taste a bit of freedom? Because we are a small and smart country, a country where it is possible to make hasty and effective decisions, and to easily adjust guidelines for the area from one day to the next. Israel did not ask for alms from any nation but simply reached out, bought vaccines and began inoculating its population until it covered the country. The sense of urgency characterized by this nation, which is used to operating in a state of war, would have allowed the vaccination to start even earlier and even faster, but the fears, uncertainties and false news that arose about the raging virus contributed to the relative slowdown.

Still, Israel provides a good example of management of the pandemic. Technological and medical power are Israeli success stories. The historic Mapai party, which bequeathed to Israel a well organized and accessible public health system based on social democratic values, functioned wonderfully during the pandemic.

Another core feature inherent to the Israeli nation that contributed to our effective response is our interdependence. No one in the country can be completely detached from the others since we share a common life. We have suffered together in the Holocaust; we have been persecuted as Jews for generations; we each bring with us our own immigration story. All of this commonality works together for mutual support when a shared challenge like the pandemic arises. There is a shared concern that the situation we go through affects one another.

This foundation of mutual guarantee among us will spur us on to develop further and become an advanced country in many areas. But at the same time, there is an expectation that the world will continue to slander us by claiming that we are the distributors of the coronavirus, spreading stories about how the Jews took care of themselves without regard for the rest of the world.

It is of paramount importance that we carefully consider our role and responsibility to the rest of the world. From a global perspective, the role of the State of Israel towards the world is crucial and complex. It would behoove us to clearly identify where we could and should contribute most to humanity.

Not only in medicine and technology must Israel be at the forefront, but we must also be a leading force on the spiritual front. It is upon us to demonstrate unity and social cohesion as a supreme value. We were founded as a people upon this root and have been nourished by it since the days of Abraham. Therefore, our first obligation is to unite and, at the same time, find creative ways to make our method of social unity accessible to the world.

It is not an easy task to project unity, neither within the complex state of Israel nor within the world in its present state. All of humanity and with us topping the chart are deeply mired in the mud of egoism. If we do not act together with cohesive forces to extricate ourselves, we will sink even deeper. This will cause the spread of more diseases and epidemics in addition to the existing strains and mutations.

These days when Israel enjoys a national respite from the yoke of the coronavirus provide an opportunity for us to take stock and ask how we will increase the unity between us, how we will show positive examples to others, how we will prioritize the needs of others, how we can continue to ascend and connect. It is worthwhile to make any efforts that we can in this direction, even if the actions are artificial at first, because eventually, the habit will become second nature. There is no more perfect time to begin this ascent toward unity than during Passover, passing over the slavery of our selfish approach to an era of unity and mutual guarantee. This is the journey that will truly lead us all to freedom.
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“Politics Of The Obstinate” (Linkedin)

My new article on Linkedin “Politics of the Obstinate

After a fourth election in less than two years, Israel has become the world’s laughing stock. But for the State of Israel, it isn’t funny. The country is paralyzed in many respects, from offices that require ministers, to large projects that are stuck due to indecision, through Covid vaccines that must be bought. Indeed, this is the nature of the Jews: an obstinate people. Nevertheless, if we use our obstinacy correctly, we will turn it into resolve to unite above our differences, which in turn will lift us to unimaginable achievements.

Today, when Israel is engulfed in perpetual political frays that begin to resemble those of our forefathers, we should realize that it is a calling to employ the same method that they used—to realize that differences are not reasons to break up, but to strengthen our unity. We will have no relief from internal enmity until we realize that we cannot defeat one another since the war is not meant to be won, but to yield cohesion.

There is a reason why the Jewish people are so obstinate. They are descendants of people who would not relinquish their views and tried everything they could to crown their opinion over the people of Israel. Having exhausted themselves trying, they finally realized that the flaw was not in their own view or in the opposite view, but in their own nature, which sought dominion and separation instead of collaboration and union. They realized that life can be complete only when there are two sides that complement one another, so the other view is actually a complementary perception and not an opposite.

This realization of the ancient Hebrews created a unique nation whose bond was not biological but rather ideological and spiritual. Even more important, their union marked a way for all of humanity to unite despite biological, ethnic, cultural, religious, and racial differences. Once the Hebrews chose union over separation, every dispute became a reason for strengthening their bond rather than for shredding the nation. Moreover, since the original Jews came from the Fertile Crescent, the cradle of most of today’s nations, the bond they had formed became a proof that peace among all nations is possible, and that there is even a method for achieving it.

Today, when Israel is engulfed in perpetual political frays that begin to resemble those of our forefathers, we should realize that it is a calling to employ the same method that they used—to realize that differences are not reasons to break up, but to strengthen our unity. We will have no relief from internal enmity until we realize that we cannot defeat one another since the war is not meant to be won, but to yield cohesion.

When we finally realize this and achieve union, the world, which now derides us, will look in awe at the miracle of the Jewish state. It will want to emulate our method. This will mark the final victory of peace—which comes from the Hebrew word “complementation”—over war. The politics of the obstinate, therefore, should not be about being more obstinate than the other, but about rising together above intransigence and forming a genuine bond.

“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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