Entries in the 'New Publications' Category

“Your Negative Attitude to People Causes Climate Crises More Than Anything Else You Think Does” (Medium)

Medium published my new article “Your Negative Attitude to People Causes Climate Crises More Than Anything Else You Think Does

As the climate heads into greater extremes globally, how can we best deal with future climate crises?

The short answer is that we cannot deal with them unless we take care of nature’s inner balance.

We live in a tightly-closed and interdependent system in which everything boomerangs back to us. While living in such a system, we need to reconsider what we want and think, and how we treat each other, because our human connections are the primary influence on how nature responds to us.

It is common to think that climate is dependent on factors outside of us — whether it be balances between heat and cold in the environment, or the effects of various kinds of pollution we emit — because we lack a complete picture of how our attitudes to each other bring about the strongest responses from nature toward us.

No creature distorts nature the way that we people do. And it is not simply a matter of switching to renewable energy sources, electric cars and the like; it is a matter of how we relate to each other.

If we truly wish to witness more balance throughout nature and not have to deal with all kinds of cold waves and other natural disasters, then similarly to how we have electricity, water and gas meters in our homes, we should also have meters that count how much evil we emit into the world from our negative attitudes to each other. What I mean is that if we could feel the extent to which we emit negative forces into the world, which negatively ricochet back to us, then we would wish to change this negative driver within us. We would want to switch it to a drive that makes our human connections positive, and which harmonizes us with nature.

In simple terms, when we get up in the morning, we should first and foremost consider what we need to do in order for all people to have it good. Developing such an attitude is not so simple, yet we will need to seriously work on it as we head into the future. A life of increasing blows from nature or a life of peace and harmony depends on the extent to which we impact a shift in our attitudes to each other — from negative to positive.

“Holocaust Remembrance Day: Reflections on New Antisemitism” (Times of Israel)

Michael Laitman, On The Times of Israel: “Holocaust Remembrance Day: Reflections on New Antisemitism

Holocaust Remembrance Day is a time to reflect on the past, and how modern-day circumstances prove that the ominous specter of antisemitism didn’t simply die with World War II.

Indeed, Holocaust survivor Manfred Goldberg, recently stated that social media had given antisemites propaganda power “that the Nazis could only dream of.” Mr. Goldberg also shared his fears of a “bleak” future without survivors to tell their stories.

In my book, New Antisemitism Mutation of a Long-Lived Hatred, I emphasized the fact that antisemitism is alive and kicking and should serve as a wake-up call to Jews all over the world. Like Mr. Goldberg, many in the Jewish community have grave concerns for the future.

For example, Steven Spielberg, who established the USC Shoah Foundation to preserve the memory of the Holocaust, has expressed deep concern that genocide is as possible today as during the Nazi era. “When collective hate organizes and gets industrialized, then genocide follows. We have to take it more seriously today than I think we have had to take it in a generation.”

Within three months of Hitler’s coming to power in Germany in 1933, a nationwide boycott of Jewish businesses and professionals was ordered. The Nazis’ official explanation for the boycotts was that they were implemented as a counter-reaction to the demands of Jewish organizations in the US and Britain that were boycotting German-made products due to the Nazis’ rise to power. This action legitimized anti-Jewish activity and gave it official support which had not existed until that time, and it marked the commencement of the war against the Jews, with the penetration of the German consciousness with antisemitic ideology.

The Nazi boycotts were accompanied by harassment and vandalism of Jewish businesses, people, and institutions. The boycotts were followed by a widening cyclone of actions that led to the deaths of six million of our brethren. For this reason, it is understandable that when Jews hear the word “boycott,” it still triggers a brutal reminder of the beginnings of the Holocaust.

There are differences between the 1930s and today, the major one being the existence of the State of Israel. The position of Israel today in relation to worldwide Jewry is similar to that of the Jews of Germany in the 1930s: it stands at the frontline and bears the brunt of a new war against the Jews. Antisemitism has been repackaged under the guise of anti-Zionism.

Israel is an intrinsic part of the collective Jewish identity and is perceived as such by the nations of the world. So, when judgment is passed and punishment is imposed on Israel, it falls on the entire Jewish collective and not only an individual part. The increasing pressure against Jews and the State of Israel is a wake-up call for Jews to come together and ask essential questions: Who are we as a people? Where do we come from? Where are we headed?

The Jewish people are a unique example in humanity. The fact that our ancestors originally came from a wide variety of backgrounds, united above their differences, and became one nation, united “as one man with one heart,” makes us unique. But this uniqueness does not mean we are to look down on others; it means we are to serve others by using our ancestral wisdom to benefit humanity. Giving the world an example of unity under the motto, “love your neighbor as yourself,” is what the nations subliminally demand from us. They instinctively feel Jews hold the keys to peace and prosperity in the world, and their complaint for our not sharing these keys manifests as antisemitism.

It is incumbent upon each and every Jew to unite above our differences yet again. The only thing that will put an end to the new war against Jews is our making the entire Jewish people as one. As the great Kabbalist Rav Yehuda Ashlag wrote about the pivotal role of the Jewish nation and what is expected from us to fulfill:

“[The Creator said] ‘You shall be My Segula [remedy/virtue] from among all peoples.’ This means that you will be My remedy, and sparks of purification and cleansing of the body shall pass through you onto all the peoples and the nations of the world. The nations of the world are not yet ready for it, and I need at least one nation to start with now, so it will be as a remedy for all the nations.” The Writings of Baal HaSulam, The Arvut [Mutual Guarantee]

Over time, Jews have abandoned the unique connection we once cultivated and have become self-centered. However, the pressure of globalization is forcing us toward interdependence once again as humanity seeks a way to live together peacefully but cannot find one. Until Jews relearn how to create unity between us as before, the world will lack access to the knowledge of how to accomplish this necessity for integration and will continue to blame us for its woes. It is mounting pressure upon us until we finally change our course of action toward cohesion rather than division.

The need for cohesion is as crucial today as it was in those days. Jews must embark on a shared path to become a unified and thriving people once again with a desire for a common spirit and vision. We must set aside our materialistic impulses and our fears for the sake of this and future generations.

“Why Deny the Holocaust When We Can Simply Forget about It?” (Times of Israel)

Michael Laitman, On The Times of Israel: “Why Deny the Holocaust When We Can Simply Forget about It?

January 27 is the International Holocaust Remembrance Day. In recent years, there has been a sharp resurgence of antisemitism, which seems to be accelerating. The Jewish Agency’s Fighting Antisemitism page states, “With violent instances of antisemitism on the rise across the world, we are devoting more resources than ever to expunge this epidemic and ensure Jewish safety.” However, the efforts are not working. A report that the Jewish Agency recently released has found that antisemitic incidents on U.S. campuses have gone up by almost 50 percent during 2022, compared to a year earlier.

Even worse, as time passes, people forget about the Holocaust, or come to think that it was far less horrific than it actually was. This fork-movement of forgetting what had happened, on the one hand, and the spreading of antisemitism around the world, on the other hand, has reached levels that remind many Holocaust researchers of the venomous atmosphere that prevailed in Europe before the Holocaust, and which eventually allowed it to happen, if not accelerated and exacerbated it. I believe we have every right to be worried that what occurred might recur.

However, I also believe that we should acknowledge that our efforts are futile, and unless we overhaul them, matters will continue to deteriorate at an accelerating speed. But in order to change course, we need to know in which direction to turn, and for this to happen, we need to understand the roots of antisemitism.

Antisemitism has a very deep root. In fact, it is embedded in the laws of nature; it is one of its foundations. Allow me to explain.

The people of Israel are not like any other people, as much as they would like to be. The whole world treats us differently, and there is nothing we can do about it because the reason for the world’s attitude toward us is buried deep within us, deeper than we can see.

Two forces drive the universe, drive all of existence, all of creation. They are contradictory forces that always operate one against the other. The only way to reconcile them is to be aware of them and make a conscious effort to harness both of them for a higher cause.

On the inanimate level, these forces manifest as darkness and light, spring and fall, or as magnetic forces that pull or push away. On the animate level, they manifest as life and death, and love and hate. On the human level, they manifest as altruism and egoism, giving and taking, kindness and cruelty.

Because they are contradictory, the two forces are locked in an eternal struggle. However, they are of equal power, and therefore neither ever “wins.” Instead, they “take turns” dominating, and as a result, our universe evolves and changes ceaselessly.

Humans are the one exception. In every human being, the inherent tendency toward egoism wins. If we examine the history of humankind, we will see that the motivation behind all the changes that have ever happened was the glorification of its perpetrators or other self-centered drives.

The only people who have ever managed to rise above the innate selfish tendency in human nature and balance it with kindness, as it is in the rest of nature, were the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who united “as one man with one heart” and were declared a nation—the Israeli nation—at the foot of Mt. Sinai. However, the Israeli nation achieved what it achieved not for its own sake. It did this so as to become a model nation, a proof of concept, or if you will, a startup nation.

Yet, like most startup companies, Israel’s idea was great, but its product never reached the market. The Israelites operated it for a while but eventually, even they abandoned their own invention and joined the rest of the self-centered world.

Nevertheless, the seeds of love of others, of the commitment to build a society based on mutual responsibility and loving others as ourselves, remained buried deep within every Jewish person, even though they do rarely feel it, if ever. Yet, every Jew carries a hidden spark of love of others, which puts us at odds with everyone who wants to remain self-centered, which is all of humanity, including the Jews themselves. This is why everyone hates Jews, and Jews hate Jews more than anyone.

But for all the hatred and attempts to annihilate the Jews, it will never succeed. Since it is impossible to annihilate a force of nature, it is impossible to eradicate its expressions. Moreover, the more self-centeredness prevails around the world, the more the world deteriorates, and the closer we are getting to another world war. The only way to escape another global cataclysm and another round of punishment against the Jews is if the Jews become what they are supposed to be—a model nation based on mutual responsibility and love of others.

There is no point protesting against antisemites; it will not deter them or diminish their numbers. The only solution to the oldest hatred is to stop looking outward, and start looking at one another. We need to put our heads and hearts together in search of ways to unite and nurture mutual concern despite the deep division and profound hatred among the various factions of the nation. If we do this, if we only try, it will dissipate the hatred of the world toward us and will usher in a new era in the history of the relationship between the Jewish people and the world.

“What Will Prevent a Civil War” (Times of Israel)

Michael Laitman, On The Times of Israel: “What Will Prevent a Civil War
The tumultuous protests against the planned reforms to Israel’s judicial system seem to be tearing Israeli society apart. Prominent newspapers around the world have not only reported the plan to reform Israel’s justice system, but have actually taken sides. Thomas Friedman of The New York Times urged President Biden to take action against an Israeli government that is “hostile to American values.” At the same time, The Wall Street Journal published an editorial titled “Who’s Threatening Israeli Democracy?” and argued that it is actually Israel’s supreme court that poses the greatest risk to Israel’s democracy.

Indeed, I think there is truly an ideological war here. There are many entities involved, each with its own interest and benefits it wants to procure, but the result might be the division of the country. I think that we are truly in a precarious situation.

I do not think there is any nation more divided than the Jewish nation. When we consider what the struggle is about, the picture becomes even more confusing, since the parties are fighting over ideologies that have nothing to do with the tradition of the Jewish people. Different factions of the nation have adopted different ideologies from other nations, and now they are fighting for them as if they have been their core values since the inception of our nation. It is as if we have taken up ideological wars that were fought in the 19th and 20th centuries, and we are continuing the fight in the 21st century although neither ideology authentically belongs to the Jewish people.

And what is even worse, we are fighting for those ideologies against people from our own nation. In doing so, we are not only deepening the divide within the nation, but we are destroying the one ideology that is authentically ours: love of others above all the differences.

There is a good reason that we tend to adopt social ideologies from around the world. As a nation that has taken upon itself to do Tikkun Olam [correction of the world], it is inherently Jewish to take up all the ills of the world and cover them with a blanket of love for others. This is why we came up with such notions that we must love our neighbor as ourselves, build a society based on mutual responsibility, and unite with one another “as one man with one heart.”

However, if we are unaware of our task, then we still “catch” ideas from around the world, but we do not cover them with love, we do not correct them. As a result, we fight over these ideologies, hate each other for them, but nothing good comes out of it. If this modus operandi continues, the Jewish state, which was established to correct the world, will fall to pieces.

The Jewish people are no stranger to civil wars. In antiquity, we had had several of them, and the worst of which sent us into an exile that had lasted nearly two millennia. When Jews believe in something, they will fight to the death for it, very literally. They do not care who they have to face to make their view prevail, and do not think about the cost. The fact that they might lose the country altogether is no cause for them to stop. At such moments, it is either my way, or no way at all.

The problem here is not so much the destruction of the Jewish state, as it is the postponement of the correction of the world. Without understanding that we must set an example of rising above differences and forging love despite any disagreement, the whole world will not be able to advance toward it.

The hidden reason behind today’s growing antagonism toward the Jewish state has nothing to do with the stated cause of ostensible infringement of Palestinian human rights. The real reason is that the Jews are not doing what they are supposed to do. If they do not serve as an example of unity above hatred, of bridging differences with love, the world has no need for them, and certainly not for a Jewish state.

Even though this anger is unconscious, it is the driving force behind the growing hatred of Jews around the world. The ephemeral pretexts are just that, pretexts, but the reason for hating us is that we hate each other and cannot overcome it. Therefore, the only thing that can prevent a civil war is that we understand what Jews are meant to do, and resolutely follow our vocation.

“Living in a World of Gray People” (Times of Israel)

Michael Laitman, On The Times of Israel: “Living in a World of Gray People

A student told me about a forty-four-year-old woman who had decided when she was younger never to have children. But now that she is older, she wonders if she made the right choice because even though she has friends and relatives, it is not the same as having her own children, so she is afraid of growing old alone.

She is not the only one, the student told me. Today, many young people do not want to have children, either because they do not want to raise them in such a terrible world, or because they feel that there are too many people in the world already, and the planet cannot support all of us.

I cannot say that these stories surprise me. When people suffer, when they see that life is tough and they are only trying to survive, it is only natural for them not to want their children to experience it. As a result, many decide not to have children.

At the same time, the phenomenon of childlessness is much rarer in third-world countries than it is in Western countries, where the standard of living is much higher. This makes no sense unless we take into consideration that the quality of life is measured not only by one’s ability to provide for one’s physical existence, but also, if not mainly by one’s sense of happiness in one’s social environment.

When people have secured their physical existence but cannot find emotional satisfaction, their lives become gray, colorless. Especially in Europe, where people have everything, they also have coldness in their hearts and grayness in their lives. Nothing is more depressing than a colorless world, especially for children, so people do not want to bring them into such a world.

When my student asked what I thought would happen to those children who are born into today’s gray world, all I could tell him was what the wisdom of Kabbalah says, as I had seen it written in the writings of Baal HaSulam and as my teacher, RABASH, the firstborn son and successor of Baal HaSulam, had told me. They say that unless we change the society we live in, humanity will plunge into another era of world wars. They predict a third, and even a fourth world war, but this time nuclear ones.

Since the end of World War II, we have had a relatively quiet period, without global conflicts. It was a time when we could harness the lessons from the two world wars we had experienced in the first half of the 20th century, but we didn’t. We kept on arguing and fighting “cold” wars and proxy wars, until the window of opportunity had closed on us, and now we are approaching the realization of the warnings of Baal HaSulam and his son, RABASH.

For all the knowledge humanity has gained, for all its power, technological, military, and industrial achievements, and for all our knowledge of history, we cannot seem to change the course of the world toward anything enlightened, toward a good future. The one thing humanity has not learned throughout time is how to make our lives safer and calmer by simply caring for each other.

Instead of using our knowledge to improve our lives, we are playing with it like toddlers holding a loaded gun. This cannot end well.

If we want to add brighter colors to our world, we have to add another field of knowledge to our learning: how to care without wanting to dominate. These brighter colors lie with the people around us: They are the new perspectives that they bring, the new ideas and attitudes that enrich human society. If we embrace these myriad colors that surround us, the differences between us will not threaten us but strengthen us.

If we want to add some blue-sky colors to our lives, we need to find new horizons, horizons that exist in the dreams of others. If we learn to care about them, they will become our dreams, as well. If we want to add some green-grass colors to our lives, we must learn to be happy when our neighbor’s lawn is greener than it was. Not that it is greener than ours, but simply that it is greener than it was, and that our neighbor feels happy and content.

If we do this, then we will add the color I like the most: orange, the color of the sun. We already know all that we need to know in order to live in a sunny world. Now all we need is to learn how to care.

“Headed for Exile?” (Times of Israel)

Michael Laitman, On The Times of Israel: “Headed for Exile?

It has been more than two months since the general election in Israel took place. Although the results showed a clear winner, and no one disputes the integrity of the election process, the tensions in Israeli society seem to be growing all the time. There is talk of civil disobedience, apprehension of politicians who incite against the government, and repetitive mentioning of the words “civil war.” A well-known journalist even said that nothing will change until a lot of metaphoric, and even real blood is spilt.

As has happened many times before, the people of Israel’s worst, if not only enemy is internal division, internal hatred. No ruler has ever vanquished us unless we first annihilated one another. We are at a crossroads once again, and once again, we seem to be choosing the path of pain.

The fact that we all know our history and what has been our bane throughout the ages, makes no difference. No argument or reasoning will convince us to make concessions, or even negotiate with our dissenters. Our attitude has always been totalitarian: Either our rivals accept that we are right and relinquish all their claims, or we fight them to the death.

Politicians who expressed one opinion only a few years ago, now express the complete opposite opinion only because their position has changed from being in the government to being in the opposition, or the other way around. Every issue—from Israel’s judicial system through its economy to its security and defense—is subject to political position. Considerations of the best interest of the country simply do not exist anymore. Even if the country falls to pieces, “leaders” will not give up until they are king of the hill, even if the hill is a heap of smoldering ashes.

When the only considerations are what serves my ego, of course it is impossible to let anyone rule but me. If I am not the prime minister, I will interrupt and interfere in any way I can. This is the prevailing mindset.

I remember that years ago, I was slightly involved in the Israeli political system, but for years now I have refrained from any involvement. The only result of political meddling is that it puts the country at risk, and I want no part in it.

Our enemies rejoice at the sight of our internal hatred. Like the Romans did two thousand years ago, they will use our inner fragmentation and drive us out of here. As has happened so many times before, we will, God forbid, be exiled.

Throughout our history, our people have been exiled, slaughtered, burned, and tortured to death. All these torments came to us for our inner hatred. Nevertheless, we have refused to accept that our only road to happiness and peace is the road of loving one another.

Even though our nation conceived the ideas of love of others, charity, and mutual responsibility, we have always shunned these notions. Instead, we agreed to love only those who thought like we did and lived like we did. We have set an example of both mercy and cruelty, but in our annals, the latter has always ultimately won.

King Solomon said, “Hate stirs up strife, and love will cover all crimes” (Prov. 10:12). We are great at carrying out the first part of the verse, but we are awful at following its latter part.

We cannot hope to agree with one another; this will never happen. Our only hope is to learn that despite our disagreements, we are one nation. Unless we understand that just as brothers do not murder one another simply because they disagree, neither must we. Otherwise, we are headed for death and exile.

“Attendance Is Mandatory” (Times of Israel)

Michael Laitman, On The Times of Israel: “Attendance Is Mandatory

“Attendance Is Mandatory” may sound like the beginning of a post about school attendance, but it is not; it is a post about compulsory indoctrination at universities in Israel. On Sunday, at an academic convention at Haifa University, Israel, a new book was presented: Islam Is the Solution. The author of the book is none other than Abdullah Nimar Darwish, who founded the Islamic Movement in Israel, was convicted of terrorism, and served jail time in Israeli prison. One of the university professors declared that the status of the lecture is “attendance is mandatory,” and demanded that the students participate actively in this “important discussion.”

The university’s formal explanation was that the lecture is an academic event in every sense of the word. Despite the fact that the book and the lecture present terrorists as victims and Israelis, not Israeli soldiers, but all Israelis, as abusive oppressors, the university declared that it is tantamount to any other reading material.

Could the situation have been the reverse? Could a Zionist activist, convicted of terrorism against Palestinians, be invited to speak at Birzeit University near Ramallah (the administrative capital of the Palestinian Authority)? Never in a million years, and rightly so; it makes no sense to invite an avowed enemy to speak to young people in your country and influence their pliable minds.

All over the world, universities determine their agendas according to their donors’ identity. When their prime donors are anti-Israel, such as the case with many universities in the US and the UK, the schools’ curricula reflect this view. But in Israel, where universities are heavily subsidized by the Israeli government, promoting an anti-Israel agenda simply makes no sense. I understand that in this way, these academic institutions are trying to show the world that they are democratic and offer equal opportunities to everyone, but I do not think that endorsing explicitly anti-Israel speakers is appropriate.

I am all for freedom of expression, and I think there should be no oppression of any person or opinion. However, academia should be a place where people learn skills and professions, not where they are brainwashed.

I am not saying that it is easy to teach history, civics, philosophy, and other courses in humanities, liberal arts, and social science without exposing one’s political leaning, but this should certainly be the goal. This should be the official policy of the state, the official policy of the university, certainly with state-funded universities, and professors and lecturers should aspire to abide by it, with the help of rigorous monitoring by university staff. The fact that today’s lecturers and today’s curricula are far more politically biased, in some cases even blatantly so, means that politicizing a course is a trend, and trends can be reversed.

There is, however, one subject that should be taught without any restraints or fetters: connection and mutual care among people. The world we see today reflects the tensions and enmities that pervade society. The reason so much of today’s schooling is political is that the aspiration to enforce one’s view on all of society has intensified in everyone, making previously non-political discussions heated and hate-filled disputes over governance and government, where each side believes that the other side is not only wrong, but that its view is an existential threat and should be treated as such.

As a counterweight to this trend, we must teach—and this is the most important lesson all of us should learn if we want to survive—that we have no other choice but to learn to care about each other. Israel is not the United States. If we are not united, we will not survive. If we are united, we will have no enemies. In my opinion, “Unity First” should be a mandatory course in every faculty, discipline, and major in academia.

“The Heat between Us Melts the Ice” (Times of Israel)

Michael Laitman, On The Times of Israel: “The Heat between Us Melts the Ice

A study published in the journal Science and quoted in Time and elsewhere states that the world’s glaciers are shrinking and disappearing faster than scientists thought, with two-thirds of them projected to melt out of existence by the end of the century at current climate change trends. We can slow down the thaw “if the world can limit future warming to just a few more tenths of a degree and fulfill international goals,” say the authors of the study, but even they admit that it is “technically possible but unlikely.” In other words, humanity, again, is the problem.

Scientists have been warning about melting icebergs for decades, but so far, we have been reluctant to do what it takes to stop it. Everyone knows what to do in order to slow down the melting, but the profit that governments and powerful corporations make from industries that accelerate global warming are too big of a bait to resist.

The rising sea level, by the way, is only one of the dangers lurking in the melting icebergs. A potentially worse problem is the release of viruses and bacteria that are currently kept dormant under the ice, but will awaken once the ice is gone and the temperature rises. This process is already underway, but so far, according to scientists, we have been lucky and no serious pathogens have been discovered in the melting permafrost.

Another problem is the release of methane gas, which is currently locked in the frozen lands of Siberia and Alaska. The methane is already being emitted into the atmosphere as the ice is melting and its impact is accumulative.

Regrettably, as scientists fear, we are unable to make the necessary changes, even though they are recognized and workable. At the current level of antagonism that saturates every faction of human society, there is no chance that companies or governments will do anything for the sake of humanity unless it serves their own interests.

Melting glaciers is far from being the only problem that threatens humanity. War, pollution, inflation, oppression, slavery, hunger, depression, substance abuse, pandemics, extreme climate events, from severe droughts to extreme storms, is there one problem that does not stem from humanity’s concentration only on its own interests? It makes no difference who does the harm, since in the end, everyone is a culprit: Every person on the planet participates in depleting, polluting, and exploiting the soil, water, air, animals, and people. The more powerful the person or the institution, the more exploitative they are, but the trend is the same everywhere and for all people.

Therefore, the solution must be comprehensive and address the root of the problem rather than each symptom separately. Focusing on one crisis at a time, be it climate change or deforestation, or war, or hunger, or water pollution, or any other problem—will only exacerbate the problems rather than alleviate them, since it will distract us from the root cause and its only possible solution: changing our attitude to one another and to our surroundings, in that order.

We must teach ourselves to care for one another. Since this is very difficult to do, since we do not want to care for one another, we must teach ourselves about our mutual dependence—that if we hurt others, it hurts us.

Also, because we are all culprits, we must teach this everywhere and to everyone, without exception.

Once we establish mutual care, it will be easier to facilitate a workable and successful policy and follow it. Our awareness that we are obligated to follow it if we ourselves do not want to be hurt will make us abide by the regulations that will facilitate a difference in human society and in our relation to the planet as a whole.

“Why is it so hard for people to listen to someone without interrupting them?” (Quora)

Dr. Michael LaitmanMichael Laitman, On Quora: Why is it so hard for people to listen to someone without interrupting them?

Why is it sometimes very hard to listen to others? Due to our egoism and pride, where we primarily consider our self-benefit over everything and everyone else, it is common for us to hold certain disagreements with others’ opinions. It might not even be a different opinion, but the sheer fact that another person is saying what I would want to say and not me is enough for me not to listen.

The opinion itself is not so important. What matters is the ability to express oneself.

Sometimes, a situation arises where one person pushes their views onto another who might have different views, and this gives a feeling that the one pushing their views is suppressing the other person’s sense of self. It is because when we listen, we fall under the influence of the other person. Where are we in those moments? We seemingly become nonexistent, which is why we feel a need to switch on our own mouths here and there.

In other words, we should not enter into conversations in a direct and forceful way, even if what we say is seemingly right and to the point. There needs to be preparation. That is, we need to give the person we are talking with a feeling that they are right. We can then talk our hearts away with them, and afterward, when the other person has discharged themselves, we can then start turning the conversation little by little.

Based on the video “Why Can it Be So Hard to Listen to Other People?” with Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman and Tal Mandelbaum. Written/edited by students of Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman.
Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash.

“The Rabbis’ Letter against the new government is a big deal over nothing” (Times of Israel)

Michael Laitman, On The Times of Israel: “The Rabbis’ Letter against the new government is a big deal over nothing

As the new Israeli government was taking shape, an open letter titled A Call to Action began to circulate among American Jewish communities. The signatories, some of whom are prominent figures in American Jewry, pledged “to not invite any members of the RZP [Religious Zionist Party] … to speak at our congregations and organizations. We will speak out against their participation in other fora across our communities. We will encourage the boards of our congregations and organizations to join us in this protest as a demonstration of our commitment to our Jewish and democratic values.”

This letter is worth mentioning only because it is a good reminder for Israelis what American Jewry thinks of Israel. The letter exposes the simple truth that the majority of American Jewry, not all, but certainly a substantial majority among them, oppose Jews being in Israel, and oppose the State of Israel altogether. From their perspective, it would be best if Israel did not exist.

I understand why they need to speak out. First of all, if they keep quiet, it is as if they do not exist, so they need to make some noise. Second, by and large, American Jewry has one goal in mind: to make its stay in the US as safe and serene as possible. Since the world sees Jews as connected all over the world, American Jewry finds itself having to explain the position of the State of Israel, and it makes them feel uncomfortable and unsafe. Because they feel that the existence of Israel risks their own safety in the US, they do not want Israel to exist, certainly not as a Jewish, Zionist entity.

Israel’s Judiciary: Reform or Ruin?

Lucky for Israel, it is not in any way dependent on American Jewry. The money they donate will not be missed if it stops flowing; Israel is strong enough without it. The lobbying they do for Israel has also not been there for us for many years, and Israel’s strength lies elsewhere today. Therefore, I do not think that Israel should mind at all what Jewish congregations in America think about Israel.

The interests that shape Israel’s position in the world are far more comprehensive than our relationship with this or that denomination in American Jewry. Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, and Iran all take part in the map of interests, and Israel is much more powerful than it used to be, both on the military end and on the economic end.

In fact, even if the US would, for some reason, stop providing military and economic aid to Israel, it would not hurt Israel’s position or harm it economically or otherwise. I do not see such a scenario unfolding, but just to give some perspective as to how independent Israel has become, it is good to remember that we are standing on our own two feet today.

The new government that has just been sworn in is rife with experienced people, who know what they want and how to achieve it, and despite some newspapers’ attempts to portray the new government as a disaster in the making, the majority of the people in Israel feel more confident now than under the previous government.

Yet, above and beyond all the political arguments, the main problem that severs American Jewry from Israel and from Israelis is the simple truth that there is hatred between us. It is fine not to agree. There are arguments in every nation, and some people even choose to leave their country because they disagree with the policy of their government. However, no Chinese in exile and no Iraqi who has fled his country’s regime would want their country to stop existing altogether. This aspiration is uniquely Jewish, and stems from our total hatred for each other, what we Jews know as sinaat hinam (hatred without cause).

If we could overcome that hatred, we would be able to overcome every disagreement. Since we do not want to even admit that our hatred for each other is so deep, we have no chance of curing it. Specifically for the people of Israel, sinaat hinam is an unforgivable sin, the root cause of all the torments that the nations of the world have inflicted on us throughout the generations.

If we tried to love one another, we would not have to hate each other in politics; we would not feel we must appease the nations, and the world would not hate us. When humanity looks at us, it sees our hatred for each other, and seeing it makes them hate us to the core, to the point where they do not want our existence in this world.