Entries in the 'New Publications' Category

“The Cause And Solution To Israel’s Increasing Exemptions From Military Service” (Times Of Israel)

The Times of Israel published my new article “The Cause and Solution to Israel’s Increasing Exemptions from Military Service

New data shows that every third Israeli designated for compulsory military service duty receives an exemption, and that most of them are under the mental health clause. The alarm bells went off since this statistic nearly doubled in the last four years, with the most likely explanation being that healthy youth are doing whatever they need to do in order to register as mentally incapable of serving in the army.

This phenomenon is not new but it does point to an overall downward trend in IDF recruitment. For example, when I enlisted in the Israeli Air Force some 40 years ago, the general atmosphere that enveloped everyone around me was that, “Soon this whole ordeal will be over with, and right after it’s done I’m flying away to wherever it may be, whether America, India or Australia. The main thing is that it’s far away.” This attitude gave the soldiers of the time a certain kind of fuel until their release date.

Obviously, the motivation for serving the country today is much lower. It is all the more so when the derogatory discourse of scorn and criticism of the State of Israel is a daily reality both inside and outside the country. In such a climate, who has the psychological strength and drive to undergo hard training and to fight devotedly for Israel? This general dissipated atmosphere raises Israel’s citizens to think that leaving the country is a much more desirable option than national service.

I, however, would in no way concede such service. Not only did I join the Air Force when I moved to Israel, but I raised my daughters to devote two full years to service of their country. The army is like a country within the country, where citizens from all walks of life come together and undergo an experience that unifies them, giving them a sense of a common identity within a surrounding climate that tears away at that unification. Undergoing such an out-of-the-ordinary experience to protect a common home is something that cannot be felt in any other setting.

It hurts me that we have developed such a disregard of the land of our ancestors. However, it is also clear to me that the inner spirit of Israel, the idea of brotherly love, cannot be eliminated. The Land of Israel will always be the central living spirit vitalizing the Jewish people.

Values that unify the people of Israel should be instilled in upcoming generations because if we continue business as usual, letting contempt toward the country fill our hearts, life will ultimately become worse not only for us, but for humanity as a whole. (On this point, I have expanded at length in other places about the vital role of the people of Israel.)

Thus, we must raise our youth to recognize the importance of our people and State. As part and parcel of our upbringing, we should learn about the essence of our spiritual root, the reason for being granted the Land of Israel, and our duty to unify and pass on this spirit of unification to the world. Through such an understanding, we would then realize the importance of protecting ourselves and our land from enemy threats. Likewise, when the feeling of importance in our role as a unique people and the value of our homeland fills Israeli citizens and especially the youth, then the recruitment percentages to serve Israel will rise accordingly.

“American Jews And The Israeli Dream – How Anti-Semitism Will Accelerate A Jewish American Exodus“ (Breaking Israel News)

The largest portal Breaking Israel News published my new article “American Jews and the Israeli Dream – How Anti-Semitism Will Accelerate a Jewish American Exodus”:

The future of American Jewry is at stake. In the face of distress and adversity due to the rise of virulent anti-Semitism in the US, Jews cannot bury their heads in the sand and pretend life is business as usual. The sense of safety in the US has changed and is collapsing fast. The option of emigrating to Israel can no longer be overlooked, not only as a matter of survival, but also as an opportunity for the renaissance of the Jewish nation.

59 percent of Americans perceive anti-Semitism to be more intense than 15 years ago, according to research conducted by the Hudson Institute. In fact, the statistics indicate that there were 234 anti-Semitic incidents reported last year compared to 186 cases in 2018, based on official data. Interestingly, while biased attacks against Jews rose 26% in New York City in just one year, hate crimes overall were at a record low. The biting reality exerts overwhelming pressures on Jewish communities, mainly in the largest US cities.

Thus, a shift in prevailing immigration trends is expected in the near future, particularly from the US, as the possibility of making Aliyah becomes an increasingly attractive option.

A New Chapter for Jewish American Immigration to Israel

A total of 3.3 million immigrants have moved to Israel from the time of the Jewish State’s establishment in 1948 until 2018, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics. Of all these immigrants, only 148,083 Jews emigrated from the United States, according to Jewish Agency data.

No one expects that tomorrow morning thousands of American Jews will arrive at Ben Gurion airport—it might take a decade—but thoughts about purchasing an apartment in Israel “just in case” increase. There is no reason for concern about real estate, however. Israel is a wide-open country. It has space not only for the thousands of Jews who will eventually arrive from North America, but for every Jew in the Diaspora, and even for the future reemergence of the ten lost tribes and their many descendants. Not a single one will be driven back into the sea.

The Book of Daniel calls the Land of Israel the “land of the deer.” Also, as the Talmud explains: “Just as the hide of the deer has the capacity to encompass its body, but shrinks when separated from its flesh, so too can the Land of Israel expand to encompass its rightful inhabitants but shrinks when we are exiled from it.” In other words, if we make Aliyah and settle in Israel, there will be room for all.

What will happen in the USA when the Jews leave? It will implode. Without the Jewish spirit which fills it and brings about its success and prosperity, America will lose its superpower status. This is what happened to Spain in the Middle Ages, in France, and in Germany. When the Jews were expelled, those countries lost their grandeur.

The Impact of a Massive American Aliyah

Massive immigration of Jews to Israel will project a state of enhanced Israeli power in the eyes of the Arab countries and will restrain them until calm descends over the Middle East. Clearly, the world is in a continuous maturation process. While it is true that for the time being we have a trusted friend in America, even if Trump is re-elected, change is still on the horizon. Imagine masses of hateful protesters, fed up with the government, converging on Pennsylvania Avenue all the way to the White House with no holds barred, kicking their feet until the government is overturned by force. Or perhaps someone who holds anti-Semitic views will rise to power and the trend of anti-Jewish and anti-Israeli sentiments will snowball.

In such a scenario, which is not at all unfathomable, Jews will not be allowed to escape with their property, certainly not with the industries and conglomerates they may own. In the best of cases, they will be able to flee in haste with only a suitcase in hand. Yes, history is bound to repeat itself. Such a period in the U.S will be reminiscent of the dark period eighty years ago. Not all details will be the same, but the rules of the game will be frighteningly similar.

This is why today, as then, we have to think about our good future and accelerate the change of incompatible lines of thought–from rejecting “the land of the deer” to love of the homeland. Israel is home, shield, and fortress. Within the stalking sound of anti-Semitism, the voice of Divine protection calls upon us to shelter together under one roof, even though this is not the final stop.

We can reach our final destiny of tranquility only when we attain complete unity in the connection of all currents and opinions, when we live in “love above all crimes” and differences. Only then will the bitter anti-Semitism end, as well as the troubles of the long exile. When we approach each other out of free choice to make strides into a positively connected future, and not to escape persecution, we will then reach redemption at last. As the Kabbalist and first Chief Rabbi of pre-state Israel, Rav Kook wrote,

“All individual thoughts and ideas proceeding in an impoverished and scattered state—the atmosphere of the land of other nations—must form one bundle, must clothe themselves in one general intent related to the life of the entire nation, under the influence of the land of Israel.” (Chevyon Oz)

In line with Rav Kook and the chain of great Kabbalists that preceded him, the Land of Israel was viewed as a new spiritual milestone and there the people returning to Zion would be required to realize their spiritual role. They believed that the Land of Israel was given to the people of Israel in order to form an exemplary spiritual society, a hotbed for the work in which the desire for inner fulfillment is cultivated, far beyond the aspects of territorial concern.

The ingathering of the Diaspora in the Land of Israel symbolizes the beginning of the realization of the spiritual idea upon which the Jewish people was founded: a place for attaining unity that transcends our narrow egoistic existence to build a common and flourishing destiny for all.

“Rekindling Black-Jewish Relations In America Through Jewish Unity” (Newsmax)

My article in Newsmax: “Rekindling Black-Jewish Relations in America Through Jewish Unity

From rhetoric to actions, anti-Semitism from certain sectors within America’s black community has set off an alarm as a new disturbing phenomenon causing deep distress among U.S. Jews. As surprising as it may seem, the most effective solution lies among Jews themselves.

In the last few months, a sharp increase in unprovoked violent attacks against Jews by black individuals took place in cities with large Orthodox Jewish communities, particularly in New York and New Jersey, including the killing of three people at a Jersey City kosher market and a machete attack at a rabbi’s home in Monsey. Those officially-defined hate crime incidents were the most violent of recent links in a chain of harassment, beatings, and vandalism against Jews in those areas.

Anti-Semitism From All Fronts

We are familiar with extreme right-wing anti-Semitism from white supremacists, which blames Jews for helping immigrants, among other accusations. We have begun to address anti-Semitism from the Left, among the most prominent being the BDS movement, but lately we are becoming increasingly acquainted with a new kind of anti-Semitism from parts of the black community.

To further complicate the division, among African Americans there appears to be two distinct types of anti-Semitism. The first type arises from the Black Hebrew Israelites, a group whose members define themselves as “the original Jews,” as opposed to white Jews who are blamed for stealing their legal heritage. The second type seems to be arising from the melting pot of communal life in the U.S., where developing hatred against Jews claims that they want to take over their property and neighborhoods and “bring us back to the miserable slavery days.” It is a view that has even found sympathizers among members of the Jersey City Board of Education, the media has recently revealed.

Embracing Humanity’s Melting Pot

It is important to understand that original Judaism had no interest in exclusive ownership of the Torah. On the contrary, it was intended to reach everyone in the world, particularly anyone who longs for unity and mutual guarantee. Anyone who wanted to live according to the great rule of the Torah, “love your neighbor as yourself,” was welcomed and we would all unite and embrace one another in great joy. As Kabbalist Rav Yehuda Ashlag (Baal HaSulam) wrote: “It is certain and unequivocal, that the purpose of Creation lies on the shoulders of the whole of the human race, black, white or yellow, without any essential difference.” (The Arvut)

Therefore, the claims of those from the first group who claim that “Judaism is mine” and “I fit but you do not” are basically discriminatory. Such an attitude, from whoever it originates, does not derive from real Judaism which calls for love of the other. The second type of anti-Semitism in the black community mentioned earlier belongs to the exclusionary anti-Semitic line of thought just described.

As we have seen throughout history in every period, some particular groups of people hold a grudge against the Jews and find their rationale for hatred. Baal HaSulam wrote about it as follows: “The hatred precedes all reasons, but each merely resolves its loathing according to its own psychology.” (The Writings of the Last Generation)

Therefore, it is quite easy to incite any oppressed group into believing that Jews are responsible for their bleak situation and that they have to act against them. Undoubtedly, the members of such a group will gladly espouse hatred for the Jews.

It is important to remember that the people of Israel were composed of representatives of numerous clans from ancient Babylon, which had extended to become “the 70 nations of the world.” Abraham the Patriarch established one overarching rule: unity above and beyond differences. It might seem like the people of Israel are like any other people, but they are in fact unique. The people of Israel have a particular role: to be united and serve the rest of the nations of the world.

Jews Paving the Way to Unity

When the people of Israel overcome their differences, they attain a degree of spiritual unity that reveals the upper force. At this time, a positive force emanates from them. They then spread “light unto the nations” and become a beacon of peace for all. On the other hand, when Jews make no motions toward unity, but instead let their differences separate them, the nations of the world feel it subconsciously. This is because everyone is connected in a single network. In the absence of the positive upper force, the negative force begins to bubble through. Instinctively, the world manifests hatred toward the Jewish nation, holding it responsible for the lack of balance between the two opposing forces. This is the underlying reason for the increasing anti-Semitism.

We can engage in all kinds of efforts that do not primarily focus on our unification in order to try and palliate this phenomenon, but they will bring about no meaningful and lasting positive changes. Anti-Semitism will only continue increasing unless we tackle it at its root through the only possible antidote: unity of the Jewish people, first and foremost, and then unity of the rest of the world. Such an intervention will neutralize all animosity toward us, and will bring about a peaceful existence and cordial relations among all people.

“How Parents Can Prevent Their Children Cutting Them Off” (KabNet)

KabNet published my new article: “How Parents Can Prevent Their Children Cutting Them Off

When my late mother lived alone in her older years in Canada, I did everything I could to find her the best place to live.

My son, who also lives in Canada, would send me pictures and videos of her, as he was well aware of my concern for her, and regularly updated how she was getting along and felt. This continued until the very day he sadly informed me of her passing.

Today, there is a phenomenon where adult children cut off their parents. Sometimes it is due to physical or emotional abuse they suffered in childhood, but it is also often related simply to money. The older children feel that their parents fail to provide them with the money they wanted or expected, and so the children scrap the parents from their lives, cutting them off from their grandchildren as well, sometimes to such extremes where they even tell their children that their grandparents are dead.

“It is our duty to our children to sustain a parallel relationship of being both their friends and their teachers.”

Over the years, I have closely observed how my wife raises our children. She made it clear to them that they could get everything they needed from us. Every cent we earned was for them, and this is also how it is today when they are grownups with families. Also, we have organized our savings and assets to be handed over to them when we leave the world. They are well aware of our investment in them, and how much we sacrifice for them, and they also discuss it openly among themselves.

At the same time, they have never been spoiled. It has always been made clear to them that they had to pay for everything they received in one way or another. For instance, we paid for their university studies monetarily, and they had to “pay” for those same studies with their full investment and focus.

It is very likely that this is an outcome of the culture we were raised in. Nevertheless, however, it is a healthy and correct approach. Both of my daughters completed their national service, and each served the full two years. My point is that my children have always received my full support, but also a deliberate hand, which demands accountability, responsibility and effort.

It is our duty to our children to sustain a parallel relationship of being both their friends and their teachers. With such an approach, we prevent an attitude forming toward us as being something to use and discard of, i.e., where they perceive their parents as a mere ATM machine and a kitchen.

This is why it is beneficial for parents to spend time with their children: to talk with them, listen to them, and do the things that they enjoy doing together, i.e., becoming friends to a certain extent. Also, the children need to have a certain extent of fear in losing their parents’ positive attitude toward them if the children display contempt and laziness.

Such a relationship prevents any desire for children to cut their parents out of their lives. Why would anyone want to abandon anything that provides a sensation of confidence, security, safety, empowerment and warmth in their lives, especially in today’s turbulent times?

Our parents can be the closest people in our lives. Even today, I see my wife behaving similarly with our grandchildren. They get along very well, openly and honestly discussing everything together.

Education is conducted not by words, but by sensation. When children are impressed by a genuine person-to-person relationship, it is recorded in their hearts, and they naturally emulate it in their relationships with others.

The examples we receive at home as we grow up later affect our every relationship in life. The general principle is as follows:

  • the way that you relate to your parents is the way that your children will relate to you,
  • the way that you relate to your siblings is the way that your children will relate to each other, and
  • the way that you relate to your children is the way that they will relate to their children.

“Why Connection Makes Us Happier Even If We’re Happy With Less Social Contact” (KabNet)

KabNet published my new article: “Why Connection Makes Us Happier Even If We’re Happy with Less Social Contact

Highly intelligent people are happier to have less social contact.

That is a conclusion from a study by evolutionary psychologists Satoshi Kanazawa and Norman P. Li, who examined the effects of population density, frequency of social interactions and intelligence levels in relation to people’s happiness.

It is quite a clear phenomenon. We can see how people who engage in specialized fields try to surround themselves only with whatever and whoever relates to the goals they have set for themselves.

“The principle is that when a person desires to connect with others as a means to reach the purpose of life—balance with the laws of nature—then this yearning guides the person to discover his or her perfect place in the system.”

I, too, would be happy to sit in a closed room all day with my books and my computer, and not come into contact with anyone. However, since I have come to the realization that the purpose of our lives is to correct ourselves by positively connecting with others—to transform our egoistic intention for self-benefit into an altruistic aim to benefit others, and by doing so, achieve balance with the laws of nature—then due to my adherence to life’s goal, I do whatever I can to come out of myself and connect with others.

In my case, this involves giving Kabbalah lessons every morning and evening, which is the most direct way to draw the force of connection into our lives. 1,000s of my students around the world use these lessons to increase their closeness to each other and to the laws of nature. They advance in their connection from one day to the next in groups of ten—an infrastructure for realizing such connection.

Outside of the lessons, I also have my schedule filled with speaking in programs for the TV, radio and Internet, writing articles and posts, working on books, and participating in various meetings, all in order to advance the idea of humanity’s needed connection.

Everyone has a different place in the system of creation, and thus it is unnecessary for everyone to study and spread the wisdom of Kabbalah in such an intensive way, even though the option is there for whomever so wishes.

However, the principle is that when a person desires to connect with others as a means to reach the purpose of life—balance with the laws of nature—then this yearning guides the person to discover his or her perfect place in the system. In the wisdom of Kabbalah, this is referred to as reaching the root of our soul, the ultimate harmonious state that we can all achieve.

“The Cause And Solution To Israel’s Poverty According To Kabbalah” (Times of Israel)

The Times of Israel published my new article “The Cause and Solution to Israel’s Poverty according to Kabbalah

Nearly one-third of Israel’s children and nearly one-fifth of Israel’s elderly are in poverty, according to a recent poverty report by Israel’s National Insurance Institute. When the country’s citizens make no effort to strive for a warm, family-like sensation, they let a high tension atmosphere develop that chokes its citizens from one day to the next. Such relations give rise to a country with great wealth and amassing poverty.

The Cause of Poverty: Not Sensing Each Other as Members of a Single Family

Israel’s “rich country, poor citizens” state is bigger than merely an economic situation, and thus cannot be solved at the economic level alone. It requires the implementation of connection-enriching programs through its education and media systems, regularly explaining how all Israeli citizens are members of a single family, and which aims to pass a family-like sensation among everyone.

It might sound like a socialist idea, but it’s not. We saw such examples in history, and they all failed. The reason was because they did not to take nature’s laws into account.

The laws of nature are integral laws of interconnectedness and interdependence. They guide us toward more and more connection, and in our times, the connections we need to form are at the level of our attitudes to each other: that we develop a feeling toward strangers as if they are members of our own family. By aligning our attitudes to each other accordingly, we guarantee ourselves a harmonious future.

2 Steps to Solve Poverty: Disagree With Division and Promote Connection

The first step toward a change of attitude to each other is disagreeing with our present separation. Social division is the principle cause of poverty, and our disagreement with this situation makes room for a new desire to appear—a desire to change our relationships so that we feel ourselves connected like members of a single family.

By activating and encouraging the desire for family-like connection to spread among society via educational and promotional means, we would then start seeing the erasure of our emotional remoteness, and likewise, its symptoms of poverty.

The Kabbalistic Explanation as to Why There’s a Growing Gap between Rich and Poor

According to the wisdom of Kabbalah, the state of imbalance between rich and poor takes place due to an imbalance between Ohr Hochma (light of wisdom) and Ohr Hassadim (light of mercy), i.e., when there is a lot of Ohr Hochma and only a little Ohr Hassadim.

What are these two lights in relation to this current situation? Ohr Hochma signifies spiritual abundance and wealth, while Ohr Hassadim expresses the desire to give that abundance and wealth. Ohr Hassadim is a condition that prevents the desire to keep receiving more and more for personal benefit to imbalance our systems. In other words, Ohr Hassadim can be thought of as a regulating device that warms the heart, which otherwise becomes continually colder in an encasement of egoism without such conditioning. Therefore, when we apply Ohr Hassadim upon our instinctive desire to devour everything for self-benefit, we build a new sense, a tool that gives us the ability to receive the Ohr Hochma in a balanced manner. In this way, we can have a country where all its citizens experience spiritual abundance and wealth. Without such a regulator, we then continually head in an egoistic direction and bear witness to the “rich country, poor citizens” situation we are in today.

Moreover, without the Ohr Hassadim regulator that aims to give the abundance to others in society, then not only the poor citizens feel as if they are deficient, but also the rich feel a constant lack. More wealth is never perceived as enough wealth, and thus they continually seek how to increasingly fulfill themselves. This is how the pressure of the Ohr Hochma is felt. When we aim to receive for self-benefit alone, then pleasures we receive ultimately encounter an empty space within us, like a black hole that extinguishes any self-aimed pleasure we absorb.

Therefore, whether or not we have a little or a lot depends on our attitudes to each other.

Abundance Reaches Everyone When Society Becomes as a Single Family

We can organize our relationships in order to create an abundance that fills the space between us. When we open ourselves up to others, we become conductors of that abundance, like hubs and nodes in a network that pass signals to each other, and then our lives becomes rich and diverse.

Therefore, the more the idea of our need to connect as a single family upon our innate division spreads among society, both rich and poor, then the more we will find that there is plenty to go around for everyone.

“Why A Holocaust Might Happen Again“ (Breaking Israel News)

The largest portal Breaking Israel News published my new article “Why a Holocaust Might Happen Again“:

No, it is not Jewish hysteria. The signals of an extremely dangerous situation for Jews similar to the time preceding the Holocaust are out there, this time in America, where historically high numbers of violent anti-Semitic attacks are reported every day. Deliberate assaults upon Jews only for being Jews have become particularly recurrent in New York. Hate crime monitoring groups call the state an “epidemic.”

In fact, 2019 was the worst year on record for anti-Semitic incidents in New York City: around 214 complaints compared to 182 cases the previous year, according to police data. These make up roughly half of all hate crimes reported in the city.

The “Slow-Rolling Pogrom” in New York

In a recent letter sent to New York City Governor, Andrew Cuomo, four Jewish lawmakers urged him to declare state of emergency amid the spate of anti-Semitic offenses, expressing great concern that “it is no longer safe to be identifiably Orthodox in the State of New York. We cannot shop, walk down a street, send our children to school, or even worship in peace.”

They described the menace against the American Jewish community as a “slow-rolling pogrom,” and added, “anti-Semitic hate crimes have grown to frighteningly high numbers over the past several months…. identifiably Orthodox Jews in and around areas we represent have been targeted with a rash of violence unseen in modern history. Orthodox Jews are being regularly assaulted, menaced, stabbed and murdered in increasing numbers.”

I cannot view the current situation heedlessly. During the last decade I’ve warned through media articles and books about the threat of a potential new Shoah on American soil in light of the growing anti-Jewish sentiment from multiple fronts. Only a few years ago, when I met Jewish leaders to express my concern, they reacted with incredulity.

Now their perspective has changed. Former Democratic New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind has questioned, “Why are Jews being assaulted in a way they were assaulted in pre-Nazi Germany?” and said, “if you were to ask Jews 20 years ago if a Holocaust could happen in America, you would get a uniform answer: ‘it’s impossible, not in America.’ Well, that’s not the case anymore.”

The increased recognition of American anti-Semitism is a positive first step toward addressing the problem and unearthing its solution. I expressed this in my new book The Jewish Choice: Unity or Anti-Semitism (p. 190) as follows:

“Clearly, the 20th century marked a new level in the cruelty of humankind, especially toward Jews. Having experienced the Holocaust, we cannot be certain that it will not happen again. If it happened once, it can happen twice, or thrice, and the globally mounting hatred toward Jews and toward the State of Israel proves that the fear of a second Holocaust is well-founded. This, once again, reminds us of the necessity to return to Abraham’s method of uniting above our differences, and of our duty to set an example to the world by so doing.”

As foremost Kabbalist Rav Yehuda Ashlag wrote in the early 1950s:

“The world erroneously considers Nazism a particular offshoot of Germany. In truth, it is the offshoot of a democracy and socialism that were left without … manners and justice. Thus, all the nations are the same in this, and there is no hope at all that Nazism will perish with the victory of the Allies, for tomorrow the Anglo-Saxons will adopt Nazism, since they, too, live in a world of democrats and Nazis.” (The Writings of the Last Generation)

The Jewish Duty to Prevent a New Tragedy

Our Jewish nation was forged upon the ideology of mercy and brotherly love, when strangers agreed to unite and bond as equals. We became a nation when we pledged to be “as one man with one heart.” Since then, it has been our duty to maintain this connection and pass it on, namely to be a “light unto the nations,” not out of entitlement, but to serve others. Therefore, the duty of the Jewish people is to execute and set an example of love of others to the world.

Over time, we have abandoned the unique connection we once cultivated and became self-centered. But now that globalization has made us interdependent, humanity is seeking a way to live together peacefully but cannot find one. Until Jews relearn how to be as united as before, the world lacks access to the knowledge of how to do this and will continue to blame us for its woes. Their unfulfilled demand is unfailingly projected as anti-Semitism, as a mounting pressure, until we change our course of action toward cohesion rather than division.

So being a light unto nations is a practical assignment: make peace among ourselves and the world will also be at peace.

Unity for Good

The world is always examining what we do, so whenever we display disharmony, it serves as a bad example that becomes reflected in the world. If we quarrel among each other, we project this disharmony onto other nations and they also begin to fight. But deep within they sense that their fight somehow originated with us, just as they express in the forms of mounting rancor toward us.

Our problem is that we unite only when a common enemy threatens us. If we would turn unity into a conscious process, we would require no dark outcome of a new Holocaust to direct us toward it. Thus, the pressing times we face will decisively demand us to make a fateful decision. Our Jewish choice is whether to remain divided and at odds and suffer the consequences, or to reverse our attitude toward one another, develop mutual responsibility and care, and spread it to the world. If we wisely choose the latter, a new reality of trust, friendship, and mutual support will unfold before us, in America and worldwide.

My new book, The Jewish Choice: Unity or Anti-Semitism is now available at Amazon and Laitman Kabbalah Publishers.

“The Most Important Takeaway From The Australian Wildfires” (KabNet)

KabNet published my new article: “The Most Important Takeaway from the Australian Wildfires

The sheer devastation of the 2019–2020 Australian wildfires is a poignant example of how the planet can’t stand us anymore.

Since we, as a human society, have yet to reach the awareness that nature is a live organism, treating it as lifeless, thinking that we can exploit and abuse it as we wish, we thus find ourselves experiencing its harsh knockbacks time and again.

Nature, which is none less than the universe, is our home and our soul. It is superior to us, and that is how we need to relate to it for a harmonious and balanced existence. However, we currently relate to it as inferior, and thus experience the opposite: an amalgamation of problems and crises negatively affecting us in myriad ways.

Nature is a force and a thought that includes us within itself. It has given birth to us, and it cannot be that the one giving birth is inferior to the one it gave birth to.

“If we woke up to the profound interconnectedness and interdependence of everyone and everything, then we would see the immense amount of harm we are currently causing the planet and ourselves.”

Therefore, we have a problem. We began our collision course with the planet a long time ago, and now we are gradually starting to see its responses. The negative responses we feel today are all in order to wake us up to how we need to relate to nature: as a single whole live organism of which we are its parts. Accordingly, we would be able to undergo transformations in our attitudes to nature, developing relations to each other and with nature as do cells and organs in the human body. We would then intend to optimally benefit the whole body of humanity and nature in every single move we make.

If we woke up to the profound interconnectedness and interdependence of everyone and everything, then we would see the immense amount of harm we are currently causing the planet and ourselves. Moreover, we would see how the harm is caused primarily at the level of human relations, i.e., our attitudes to each other. We have never lived through any period in history as we do today, where overwhelming deep-seated hatred rumbles throughout all of humanity.

Nature cannot tolerate such hatred. More than any other influence we as humans have on the still, vegetative and animate levels of nature, our negative influence on each other is what causes the fiercest negative response from nature toward us.

The current Australian wildfires, together with the increasing quantity and intensity of ecological disasters we’re experiencing in our times, all embody nature’s harsh hand that aims to show us that the problem is solely with our attitudes to each other. By changing these attitudes, i.e., by intending to rise above the hatred expanding among us and positively connect, we would set off a domino effect that would send harmonizing ripples throughout nature. In response, nature’s feedback would also become favorable to us, and ecological disasters would then be seen as a thing of the past.

“Reflections On 2019 And New Year’s Resolutions” (Medium)

Medium published my new article “Reflections on 2019 and New Year’s Resolutions

A new year is upon us, and the world welcomes a new decade. 2019 has been a positive eye-opener, leaving us with a number of understandings about our lives and our future as a human society.

We have learned how basically every system in the world fails to make us happier. Also, we became more mature and closer to understanding that we cannot change the world unless we change ourselves.

Therefore, as we head into 2020, how can we turn the page and effectively improve our lives? How can we establish goals that are both worthy and achievable?

The State of Our World

Undoubtedly, one of the loudest wake-up calls that something is wrong with the planet has been the ecological disruptions of catastrophic proportions. We started realizing that in order to face global environmental challenges, it is insufficient to burn fewer trees or become vegan. It became clearer that such a path fails us because it lacks an approach to the cause of the problems, which is the human ego: our selfish and exploitive attitude to our surrounding environment.

Misinformation was also another prevalent tendency this last year. We saw how the media influences our worldview, and not necessarily in our best interests, because it is usually controlled by interested parties seeking to advance specific agendas that cater to their own benefit. Money can buy placements in media outlets and social media, and anyone with enough of it can manipulate public opinion according to their interests.

Today’s media platforms make no improvements to our communication, but quite the opposite: they position people in opposition to each other and induce constant friction with one another. In essence, they work to our detriment, rather than to our benefit.

On a social level, we make no moves to promote connection-enriching education, one aimed at finding harmonious balance in our increasingly complex web of pluralistic connections. Conversely, instead of showing more and more positive role models and examples of people creating friendly connections in a time of growing social division, people are now more exposed to violence at school, at the workplace, in families, and in the arts, culture and media.

Divorce has continued to increase. Also, there is a rising amount of lonely people, to a point where loneliness has become considered as an epidemic.

We also see how from one year to the next, children become less and less dependent on their parents. On one hand, their growing independence is something positive, but on the other hand, it adds economic pressure on the new generation who has a hard time finding its place in the labor market.

The AI revolution has started showing itself in how machines rapidly substitute humans in many areas, making many professions in the hands of humans extinct.

Tourism continues as a busy industry that the entire world is engaged in. However, I believe that in the coming year, it will begin to slow down for several reasons, including economic difficulties and also since people’s desires constantly change. What was attractive and special in the past becomes routine, and its taste fades away and loses importance.

Humanity has exceeded its material sources of satisfaction that only give short-lived pleasure. It is a never-ending race to chase new sources of contentment as soon as old ones are satiated. We will then eventually return to our starting point, ending up in the same initial state of dissatisfaction, even being unhappier than we were before.

Worthwhile and Fulfilling Resolutions

In our current state, we feel more negative sensations such as emptiness and loneliness because we have realized that basically everything we as humanity have accomplished until today is purposeless and meaningless, as it provides no lasting satisfaction. That is the reason why, as societies evolve and life becomes more demanding, we can anticipate higher levels of depression and drug addiction in the coming year. Governments will even encourage the consumption of certain psychoactive substances, as they will serve the purpose of keeping the masses calm.

Increasing misfortunes and problems in human society will intensify the question as to why we fail to achieve an authentic and lasting form of happiness. On this point, the wisdom of Kabbalah explains that once we reach a dead end in our current form of development, we realize that the solution can be found within ourselves, in changing our individualistic and egoistic nature which harms us and our environment, transforming it into a connected reality of cooperation and care for others.

In short, the stronger our relations with others, the happier we are.

Therefore, the most important New Year’s resolution is to invest in the only source of true satisfaction, a source that can be found through positive human connection, in our collective unity, where each person is outwardly focused toward building friendships and benefiting society.

If our desire is focused outside ourselves, on giving to others, then we will not feel empty all the time. In such a state of connection, we will be able to achieve a beautiful and complete life, free of suffering. This source of fulfillment is limitless and not only relevant for the new year, but for our entire lives.

“Solidarity March In New York City: From Hatred And Fear To Love And Unity” (Times Of Israel)

The Times of Israel published my new article “Solidarity March in New York City: From Hatred and Fear to Love and Unity

As fear still ripples throughout the Jewish communities of Monsey, Brooklyn and Jersey City following the recent string of anti-Semitic attacks, today’s Solidarity March in New York City, organized by the UJA Federation, aims to counter the negative sensation head on, and bring the Jewish people together “proud, united and strong.”

My students in New York City will also be joining the march. As an act of unity aiming to support all Jews in New York City, it can have a certain positive effect, since unity of any kind acts throughout nature.

For instance, if secular and religious Jews walk side by side in a common identification, then it can bring a very brief moment of correspondence with the force of nature, which connects all parts of reality. Such short-lived unity can thus bring a temporary sense of relief from the rising anti-Semitic sentiment.

However, marches and demonstrations play no long-term role in preventing anti-Semitism’s future rise, and will thus fail to secure a positive future for the Jewish people.

For instance, a memorial march followed the Pittsburgh massacre with thousands of attendees. However, despite the march, a continued rise in anti-Semitic incidents in the US followed. The ADL reported a near-mirror of 785 reported anti-Semitic incidents in the first six months of 2019, which closely mirrored the 780 reported incidents in the same period a year earlier. Also, in New York City alone, anti-Semitic crimes rose 21% in the past year. Thus, as anti-Semitism has been exponentially increasing the past few years, it can be expected to continue increasing regardless of any marches and demonstrations.

Standing together in a march of solidarity is an admirable act, but if the Jewish people want to solve anti-Semitism at its root, they need to also sit down and learn together. Learning in groups has been part and parcel of what made us Jewish to begin with. It dates all the way back to when we learned how to unite according to the commandment, “love your neighbor as yourself,” under Abraham’s guidance some 3,800 years ago. Marches, on the other hand, have never been a Jewish activity.

Therefore, while we are in solidarity with the Jewish people of New York City today, we should still recognize that unifying in order to “say no to hate and no to fear,” as mentioned in the march’s promotion, is far from the kind of unity that made us a Jewish people to begin with. The essence of our unity is not reactionary to hatred that rises against us, but that we positively connect with a common intention to equalize ourselves with the laws of nature. This is why we received the name, “the people of Israel” under Abraham’s guidance: “Israel” stemming from the words, “straight to the upper force” (“Yashar Kel”), i.e., a common intention to love and bestow as is the quality of the upper force.

Therefore, I hope that we will realize the immense potential we hold: to learn our important role in the world, and not wait for more acts of hatred and fear to momentarily unite us, but that we will take our future into our own hands, implement the method made for uniting us, and become a positive unifying example to the world. We would then have a very good reason to be proud. By doing so, we would uproot anti-Semitism from its root, and witness a complete inversion of the sentiment surrounding us into one of support, encouragement and appreciation.