Entries in the 'New Publications' Category

“Why I Care (And Write) About The World” (Times Of Israel)

The Times of Israel published my new article “Why I Care (and Write) about the World

Recently, I have received some questions about my interest in “worldly” matters. These readers seem to believe that kabbalists should take no interest in the material world and current affairs. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Kabbalists care a great deal about the world, and for very good reasons.

But before I elaborate on the reasons for writing and speaking about the world we live in, it is important to realize that in doing so, I am in no way the first. Great sages throughout the centuries were very interested in the events of their time. They often wrote about it, too. In the 20th century alone, two spiritual giants expressed themselves on various occasions regarding the world around them. When the great Rav Kook saw that the Jews were in danger abroad, he wrote a plea for their arrival at the land of Israel. In a declaration published in the book Essays of the Raaiah, he asked them, “Assemble one by one, wait not for formal words and orders; wait not for permits from renowned ones. Do what you can, flee and gather.” After a few more sentences, he adds, “Amalek, Petlura [anti-Semitic Ukrainian leader], Hitler, and so forth, awaken for redemption. One who did not hear [the call] … for his ears were blocked … will hear against his will.”

A contemporary of Rav Kook, the great Rav Yehuda Ashlag—known as Baal HaSulam for his Sulam [Ladder] commentary on The Book of Zohar, and the father of my teacher, Rav Baruch Ashlag (RABASH)—wrote in great detail about current affairs. His essays “The Peace” and “Peace in the World,” and his extensive composition The Writings of the Last Generation are some of the publications where he expressed his views on current affairs and politics, both in Israel and around the world.

But Baal HaSulam worked tirelessly to circulate his ideas, and mainly his warnings. He published a newspaper titled The Nation, in which he dealt only with current affairs, and predicted the outcome of WWII, Israel’s conflicts with the Arabs, and much more.

In “The Peace,” Baal HaSulam analyzes Russian communism and predicts its downfall. Even though he wrote the article in 1932, he was already convinced of Russia’s ultimate collapse. In his words, “Go and see what has become of [Russia]: Instead of rising and exceeding the achievements of the capitalist countries, they have sunk ever lower.” Note that in 1932, he already wrote in past tense, as though it was a done deal. “Now,” he continues, “they not only fail to benefit the lives of the workers a little more than in the capitalist countries, they cannot even secure their daily bread and clothes on their flesh.” Later in the essay, Baal HaSulam explains that this has happened to them because they failed to educate their people about the importance of unity and solidarity.

Baal HaSulam does not stop his explanation with Russia. In The Writings of the Last Generation, written shortly after World War II, he explains once more why communism did not succeed, and what will follow it: “Soviet Russia has already proven that an insufficiently developed society will invert the cooperative governance into the worst governance in the world. Moreover, [Marx] assumed that the subsequent phase to the ruin of today’s [capitalistic democratic] governance is the governance of the workers, but reality has shown [perhaps a reference to Weimar] that the subsequent governance to today’s governance is the Nazi or fascistic governance.”

We might think that this was a slip of the pen, so to speak, but Baal HaSulam makes his point very clear. In his writings, he mentions the word Nazi, Nazis, or Nazism 27 times, and the word “fascist” or “fascism” 11 times. In the excerpt below, he warns that the Nazi regime is likely to emerge from the Left rather than from the Right: “We should also take into account that all those who are ruining the natural process of the just governance actually came from the proletariat and emerged from their midst, and not necessarily the Soviets, but the majority of Nazis were also initially pure socialists, as well as the majority of fascists. Even Mussolini himself was initially an enthusiastic socialist leader.”

Further below, Baal HaSulam returns to Marx and writes about the danger of Nazism emerging specifically in democratic, capitalistic countries: “[Marx] thought that the subsequent stage to the bourgeois [capitalistic] regime would be a cooperative workers’ regime, but in the end, we are living witnesses that if the democratic bourgeois government were to be ruined now, a Nazi and fascist regime would promptly rise in its stead.” Worse yet, “Whenever the democratic government is ruined, a fascist, Nazi regime will inherit it.”

Baal HaSulam did not settle for writing about his predictions. He participated physically in political assemblies and parades in Poland before he moved to the land of Israel. Here, he met with political and social leaders and tried to convince them to include education toward unity in their platforms, speeches, and writings. He met with David Ben Gurion, the first prime minister of Israel; Zalman Shazar, the 3rd president of Israel; Moshe Sharett, the second prime minister of Israel; Haim Arlosoroff, head of the Political Department of the Jewish Agency, renowned poet Hayim Nahman Bialik, and many others. In all those meetings, he strove to promote the agenda of unity above differences. Regrettably, they would not listen, and today we are faced with the consequences.

My teacher, RABASH, Baal HaSulam’s first born son and successor, spoke to me at great length about current affairs and where they would develop. He knew that I would continue his path and the path of his father; we had talked about it many times, and it is my commitment to him and to Baal HaSulam to carry on with my efforts to warn humanity about the approaching cataclysm.

We need to understand that a kabbalist relates to the world in a very different way than other people. A kabbalist’s one and only goal is to help everyone develop the quality of love of others. Kabbalists strive for connection above all the differences, knowing full well that these differences all come from the singular, benevolent force that has created the world, and are implanted in the world precisely so that we will be able to develop the quality of love of others to counter the natural rejection we feel toward those who oppose our views. Were it not for the existence of opposers, we would not feel hate and would therefore have no impetus to develop love in order to counter it. It turns out that even those we hate, the Creator—the force of love and giving—put them there in order to help us grow and become loving individuals.

The countless conflicts in our world are opportunities to bridge hatred by building love between us. This is why these conflicts occur in the first place. If we acknowledge this and work on building love, our bonding strengthens and our society thrives. If we do not seize the moment and succumb to our hatred, the force of giving will have to give us even greater hatred in order to compel us to build love above it. It turns out that the more we avoid our work, the more we bring upon ourselves increasing pain and hardships.

We need to understand that spirituality means giving, love. It is not some parallel universe or an “elevated” state of consciousness where you become aloof and indifferent to material life. On the contrary, spirituality is an approach to life in this world that changes our perception of it. A kabbalist’s task is therefore to help all people see the force of giving acting behind everything that happens, and help them connect with it. A kabbalist must take interest and write about current affairs as a means to explain the operations of the giving force, the Creator, and advise people how to direct their lives, establish their own connections with the Creator, and achieve happiness and confidence in life.

When kabbalists observe the world, they look for the easiest, quickest, and most pleasant ways for people to achieve the positive transformation that they want to advance. If this way requires support for a certain political entity or direction, they will support it. They have no personal benefits to gain as a result of their support, or any other ulterior motive. Their only motivation for supporting any entity or organization, political or not, is the advancement of humanity toward connection, mutual responsibility, and solidarity. Kabbalists will support anyone who champions it, and appose anyone who hinders it.

Because kabbalists want everyone to be connected and acquire the quality of love, they care about the entire world: all the people, animals, plants, and planets. Rav Kook once said to the renowned author Alexander Ziskind Rabinovitz (AZAR): “I wish the whole of humanity could be placed into a single body, so I could embrace them all.” This is the attitude of a true kabbalist.

“Jerusalem, The Heart Of The World” (Thrive Global)

Thrive Global published my new article: “Jerusalem, the Heart of the World

We discover a fresh new purpose to our lives as we come closer to each other in our thoughts and feelings of mutual care and empathy. We align ourselves with the perfect global interconnectedness and reciprocity existing in nature.

South African actors rehearse their “Jerusalema” dance steps as they prepare to shoot a special feature film based on the viral music hit, after an online dance challenge captivated millions around the world, at the Cape Town Film Studios in Cape Town, South Africa, September 24, 2020. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

The pandemic’s determination and tenacity to continue its global spread has created a numbness and dulled us to sleep. A general fatigue has expanded throughout humanity, so the urge to find any source of contentment is only natural. Recently, a song in the Zulu language came along with a message of hope—Jerusalema—which transformed into a collective dance that has taken the world by storm. Its wildfire spread shows how eager people are to connect. Now the question is how can that feeling of connection be elevated to a higher level of unity, one that surpasses our physical actions and the distances between us to give lasting joy.

Jerusalem is the heart, the center of the world, the epicenter of all desires and aspirations, a state in which everything is based on mutual love for one another. When we reach such a state through the connection of our hearts, we will not only activate new sensations of livelihood, high spirits and energy, we will also attain boundless and eternal joy.
Michael Laitman

Some of my students asked me about the global sensation “Jerusalema,” explaining that the South African theme became a lockdown anthem as group dances spread in every part of the planet to uplift the spirit during Covid-19 restrictions. My response is that dancing, especially in a group, is a positive activity as it gives a sense of togetherness. At the same time, humanity’s state of desperation will still be waiting to resurface as soon as the contagious beats die down and everyone returns to his own place and concerns about the uncertain future.

In other words, a group activity for entertainment will act as a sort of therapy and escape from reality, but it won’t allow us to close our eyes like scared children without sharpening our minds with meaningful questions about what the tiny virus is trying to teach us. The pandemic calls for a deeper scrutiny of the state of the world, what we have wrongly built until now, and what needs to be flipped for humanity’s betterment—that the virus is stirring up the need for connection between us toward the goal of a better life.

Interestingly, the song’s theme of Jerusalema as home, as a special place in life, can be explained with a profound perspective from the wisdom of Kabbalah. In the Ari’s book The Tree of Life, it is written that if a person reaches the revelation of the upper force through the right attitudes of love and bestowal toward others, he discovers a special quality called “Jerusalem,” which refers not to a physical place but to a state of perfect unity.

Therefore, today’s Jerusalem, which is a holy city for the three major world religions, is not the real Jerusalem written about by prophets and sages. Jerusalem (Yerushalayim) represents the “perfect city” (Ira Shlemah) in which we all achieve perfection in the relationships between us, complementing each other. We discover a fresh new purpose to our lives as we come closer to each other in our thoughts and feelings of mutual care and empathy. We align ourselves with the perfect global interconnectedness and reciprocity existing in nature.

Jerusalem is the heart, the center of the world, the epicenter of all desires and aspirations, a state in which everything is based on mutual love for one another. When we reach such a state through the connection of our hearts, we will not only activate new sensations of livelihood, high spirits and energy, we will also attain boundless and eternal joy.

— Published on November 26, 2020

“Physical Microevolution Reflects Giant Evolution In The Spirit” (Thrive Global)

Thrive Global published my new article: “Physical Microevolution Reflects Giant Evolution in the Spirit

The main attribute that is evolving in us now is our sociability. We are shifting from “survival of the fittest” to “survival of the friendliest.”

Surprisingly, humanity is still evolving, even physically. Moreover, we are accelerating our evolution. According to researchers from Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia, who published their findings in the Journal of Anatomy, “A lot of people thought humans have stopped evolving. But our study shows we are still evolving — faster than at any point in the past 250 years.” As a result of this accelerated evolution, babies are being “born without wisdom teeth and with an extra artery in their arm, while other babies are born with shorter faces, smaller jaws and extra bones in their legs and feet,” they explain. These are not abnormalities; they are natural mutations in healthy babies.

If we get through the next few years without destroying ourselves through war and bloodshed, we will come out the other end of the internal revolution strong, united, and happy.
Michael Laitman

But these changes indicate more than physical evolution. They reflect the profound transformation we are going through in our mindsets. Tomorrow’s children will differ from us in much more than an extra artery or fewer teeth. They will think differently, feel differently, communicate differently, and will therefore build a very different world. They will literally be a different species. We are now in the midst of a historic transformation, which is why humanity is so unsure about its future.

We are moving into an era where we will not feel ourselves as distinct individuals, but as an organism composed of myriad cells and organs spread out across the globe. The advancing globalization and interdependence we have witnessed over the past century will shift from the outside to the inside. We will feel connected not only in consuming commodities, but in our minds and hearts.

Already, the coronavirus pandemic has shown us that we are dependent on each other for our health. Gradually, we will learn that we are dependent on each other for our thoughts and feelings, our aspirations, dreams, and goals in life. We will discover that we cannot leave one part of the planet unattended since that would be as if we have neglected part of ourselves.

It is nothing like anything we’ve ever experienced. It is not communism or even socialism, but a new, social mindset of mutual accountability, a desire to feel close to all the people in the world simply because they really are a part of me.

Currently, we are baffled and afraid for our future. But anyone who fosters connection among people above all the differences should know that he or she is going in the right direction.

If we are afraid of diversity today, tomorrow we will embrace it. We will cherish those micro differences between us in our minds, bodies, cultures, faiths, and habits as they will enrich our lives with color and vitality.

The main attribute that is evolving in us now is our sociability. We are shifting from “survival of the fittest” to “survival of the friendliest.” The transition period may be tumultuous, but we can go through it quickly and pleasantly if we go through it together.

If we get through the next few years without destroying ourselves through war and bloodshed, we will come out the other end of the internal revolution strong, united, and happy. But this will happen only if we act in unison toward this goal. If we do not, then nature will impel us in its myriad horrendous ways to transform ourselves regardless of our wishes.

— Published on November 25, 2020

“Hubris Kills” (Thrive Global)

Thrive Global published my new article: “Hubris Kills

If I could advise rulers on the most essential asset to their countries, I would tell them that education for connection is their number one requirement for successful governance.

Hubris is one of our most fundamental, yet destructive traits. There is even an academic name for it: illusory superiority. Basically, it means that most people think they are better than they really are in most aspects of life. We tend to overestimate our qualities and abilities in most everything we do, say, or think. We tend to overestimate our cognitive abilities, health habits, driving skills, and intelligence.

Especially today, lack of connection, hatred, and alienation are ruining everything. We are unique individuals, we will stay unique, and we should stay unique. However, unless we are taught how to use our uniqueness for the common good, our uniqueness will bring upon us nothing but bloodshed and death, instead of prosperity and joy.
Michael Laitman

We even think that we are more bias-resistant than we actually are. Researchers call it the “bias blind spot,” which basically means we describe ourselves as less susceptible to bias than other people. But if, for example, 68 percent of surveyed faculty at the University of Nebraska rate themselves in the top 25 percent for teaching ability, and 94 percent rate themselves as above average, some of them have to be unrealistic about themselves since the numbers simply don’t add up. The same goes for Masters of Business Administration students at Stanford University, 87 percent of whom rated their academic performance as above the median.

One of the key explanations that researchers have found to the phenomenon of illusory superiority is, not surprisingly, egocentrism. In other words, most of us are too selfish to see ourselves for who we truly are.

Hubris, or illusory superiority, would be amusing if it didn’t cost us heavily. It makes us think we can beat the other traders in the stock market and we end up losing money. It makes us think we have a good chance of winning the lottery so it’s worthwhile to spend more and more money on it, or on other forms of gambling, when in fact, our chances are near zero. It makes us engage in unhealthy eating habits thinking that we can beat the odds and not be affected by our poor nutrition. It also makes us take unnecessary and unwise risks on the road believing that nothing will happen to us. But people die and become maimed for the rest of their lives because of these misjudgments. These errors don’t impact only the people who make them, but often other people, too, whose only “crime” was that they were present when the misjudgment occurred.

However, while egoism is indeed the primary cause of hubris, there is a good reason for it, and a good solution. The sense of uniqueness is common to all of us. Each of us is indeed unique and it is good that this is so, provided we use it correctly.

Just as no two cells in our body are the same, no two people in the organism of humanity are the same. Each cell in our body is unique, just like us, since each cell has a unique task. When it performs its task, it contributes to the whole body. In other words, only when the cell uses its unique characteristic to benefit the entire body, its uniqueness contributes to the well-being of the collective, the organism, and we become healthy. If it uses its uniqueness for any purpose other than to improve the common good, it becomes harmful to the body and must be ejected from it.

So do we: When we use our uniqueness for the benefit of society, we help society, which in turn supports us and our unique self-expression. When we use our uniqueness for any other purpose, such as to accumulate wealth or power, we become injurious to society. In that case, we have one of two options: Either we change our ways and use our uniqueness for the common good, or stay as we are and society, at some point, will eject us. Therefore, the only way to define positivity and negativity is by defining whether one’s actions benefit society or harm it.

Currently, we are clearly using our traits negatively. It is no one’s fault; it is how we are all born and how we are all brought up. Nevertheless, if we keep this up, we will destroy one another. In fact, we are already on the edge.

Mutual consideration doesn’t come naturally to egocentric beings. Education is therefore a necessary tool in shifting our mindset from “me first” to “we first.” If I could advise rulers on the most essential asset to their countries, I would tell them that education for connection is their number one requirement for successful governance.

Especially today, lack of connection, hatred, and alienation are ruining everything. We are unique individuals, we will stay unique, and we should stay unique. However, unless we are taught how to use our uniqueness for the common good, our uniqueness will bring upon us nothing but bloodshed and death, instead of prosperity and joy.

— Published on November 25, 2020

“What Alzheimer Cannot Erase” (Linkedin)

My new article on Linkedin “What Alzheimer Cannot Erase

An old woman, fallen and withered, sits almost lifeless in a wheelchair, as strains from Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake begin to play in the background she suddenly straightens up, awakens from oblivion, and her hands dance in perfect unison with the music as she recalls the choreography as if she were standing on a huge stage in front of thousands of shining eyes.

And where do we absorb the spirit from? From connection between human beings. In the tendency to connect with others, a channel opens up within us to absorb forces from it, to receive spiritual “air.”

This woman is Marta Gonzalez, and she did dance on the grand stages of the world when she was the prima ballerina of a New York ballet company she founded in the 1960’s. But for many years she has been suffering Alzheimer’s disease. In a video recently posted on the Internet she was seen with gentle sounds mesmerizing her in a moment of magic and arousing her memory and body movements.

The music here is marginal, it’s just a means. It is the spirit, the energy of life, the inner admiration, that shone in it and radiated from it. In Marta’s case the essence of life was folded and turned off in a thin memory, and a melody lit it up once again.

The spirit is the force that lies between the physical and the spiritual worlds, and it is the one that elevates man from one state to another, elevates one from level to level. In our time the human spirit is of utter importance, especially because humanity is facing difficult times of epidemics, diseases, and famine. Earthly problems are temporary, but the spirit is eternal, spreads over the whole universe, detached from the limitations of time, motion, and space. It is a spiritual force that elevates man.

And where do we absorb the spirit from? From connection between human beings. In the tendency to connect with others, a channel opens up within us to absorb forces from it, to receive spiritual “air.”

Like Marta, even when she was unaware of it, through the fact that she acted to encourage others, to lift their spirits through her performances, she herself received great spiritual awakening that emanated from within and evoked emotion in those around her. Through our unity we can also generate that rippling and eternal effect on the big stage called life.

“Debunking More Myths – Satan And The End Of The World” (Linkedin)

My new article on Linkedin “Debunking More Myths – Satan and the End of the World

A student asked me if Satan exists, and if he does, can he be defeated or will he bring upon us the end of the world. Well, Satan exists, and he will indeed bring us to the end of the world. However, Satan isn’t what we think he is, and the end of the world is not the end of our existence, but rather the beginning of a much better life here on this planet.

Luckily, Satan, namely our egoism, has brought our world to the verge of ruin, and soon we will discover its futility and embark on the path of giving. I wish nothing more than for all of us to come out of this world and enter the new reality as quickly and as pleasantly as possible.

The word Satan comes from the Hebrew word soteh, meaning deflecting. Satan is in fact our egoism, which deflects us from the path of love and giving, and pits us against each other. It is the voice inside of us that tells us that everyone is against us, that we have to fight our whole lives, and that if we don’t, we will be crushed. And because Satan sits within each and every one of us, and we all listen to it, it creates a world where we are all against each other, distrust one another, hate one another, and want to be on top of everyone in order to feel that we are the best, and to prevent others from trampling us.

This is how Satan rules the world. And because it rules the world by installing such negative thoughts within us, our whole world has come to its current miserable state where we are fighting one another. Unless we overthrow the Satan within us very soon, we will destroy our world through nothing more than our hatred for each other.

So will Satan bring upon us the end of the world? It certainly will, and the sooner the better, as this is our entry into a new and much better reality. The Hebrew word for “world” is olam, from the word “haalama,” meaning concealment. Satan conceals the truth from us—that the world isn’t really governed by egoism, but by giving. Otherwise, how could life be created, through egoism? Can an egoistic force create life? Only a force of love and giving could create our world and life within it. Receiving is required only to secure our existence, but once existence is secured, we should engage with one another through the attribute of giving, rather than exploiting, and then we will see that indeed, giving makes the world go ‘round, not egoism.

When we discover the truth that the power of giving created and controls our world, it will be the end of our concealment, meaning the end of our olam [world], and the entry into a new reality of love and giving, where everything lasts because giving is the force that creates life. In this reality of giving, everything is complete, lasting, and connected, since giving requires connection, and when everyone gives, everyone wants to connect.

Luckily, Satan, namely our egoism, has brought our world to the verge of ruin, and soon we will discover its futility and embark on the path of giving. I wish nothing more than for all of us to come out of this world and enter the new reality as quickly and as pleasantly as possible.

“Modern Day Sodom” (Linkedin)

My new article on Linkedin “Modern Day Sodom

America cherishes individualism. It prides itself in its laws regarding protection of private property and has taken freedom of expression to the extreme. So why is America falling apart? Because building walls to protect one’s privacy isolates you from everyone else, and when the motto is each one for him or herself, there is no society and the country crumbles.

What America has done with its society was in fact a construction of a modern day Sodom, which is now tearing at the seams. It is evident to anyone with eyes in his head that on the current trajectory, America has no future. Moreover, I would say that unless the whole country reverses course beginning January 20th, America will lose all that it achieved, and within a few years, it will be in ruins.

My teacher’s father, the great kabbalist Yehuda Ashlag, a.k.a., Baal HaSulam, wrote, “Let mine be mine and let yours be yours … is sodomite rule.” He explains that the people of Sodom were not mean to one another; they were cold and indifferent, totally alienated from each other. This, says Baal HaSulam, caused their downfall. Later in the article, Baal HaSulam writes, “Let mine be mine and let yours be yours … is Sodomite Rule, the opposite of love of others.” In other words, the problem with the people of Sodom was that they had no love for one another, or as Baal HaSulam wrote in another article, “Let mine be mine and let yours be yours … is, in fact, the attribute of egoists.” You cannot cultivate egoism and expect society to last.

What America has done with its society was in fact a construction of a modern day Sodom, which is now tearing at the seams. It is evident to anyone with eyes in his head that on the current trajectory, America has no future. Moreover, I would say that unless the whole country reverses course beginning January 20th, America will lose all that it achieved, and within a few years, it will be in ruins.

As long as America stands, it stands a chance, but it must begin the educational process now. The liberation of the individual was good for its time. Now that individualism is deeply rooted in the people, connection and commitment to society must take the lead.

Human nature develops us as individuals, but it does not develop us as a society. This, we must do of our own volition and through our own initiative. It is similar to raising a child until he or she can function independently, but then you have to teach them how to function as individuals within a society.

This is where America stands now. It has stood in this place far too long, and did not realize it had to rise to the next level: turning individuals into a society. Now, it is living out its last days of glory. If it does not embrace the change and becomes a society of connected individuals, it will collapse in flames just as the once great city of Sodom.

“So Much To Be Thankful For This Thanksgiving” (Times Of Israel)

The Times of Israel published my new article “So Much to Be Thankful for This Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a celebration awaited by Americans the whole year. Extended family and friends put aside work and travel long distances to reunite for a day of feasting, sitting around the holiday table, sharing memories, and giving thanks. But this year will be different. A health and economic crisis due to the pandemic may spoil the plans many had in mind. So one may ask, Is there really something to be thankful for in 2020? Absolutely. The nation faces a unique opportunity to come together despite the heavy atmosphere after the elections, to rise above the differences and beyond the physical distance.

Cities across the US are ratcheting up COVID-19 restrictions amid the record-breaking resurgence of the virus, recommending that people stay at home, avoid large gatherings, and keep distance from others to prevent further contagion. Regardless of the personal decision that every American will make on how to celebrate, the spirit that inspired this festivity in the beginning is the most important aspect to highlight, a spirit which is more relevant today than ever before.

One of the most popular explanations of the origin of this holiday dates back to 1621 when colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn feast in Plymouth, Massachusetts to express their gratitude to God for the abundant harvest season. But it wasn’t actually until 1863 that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving as a national holiday in November.

Much of the credit for the establishment of the holiday is attributed to Sarah Josepha Hale, a widow from New Hampshire who worked as a writer to support her five children. She published a novel that devoted an entire chapter to envisioning a Thanksgiving dinner. For decades, she tirelessly lobbied and demanded from officials that they designate such a holiday until she finally reached Lincoln and convinced him to do it. She firmly believed that Thanksgiving would reunite the United States, help heal the wounds of the nation and bridge the gaps that threatened to tear the country apart in the aftermath of the devastating Civil War.

Where can we find the Sarah Hale of today in America who can pressure the country to unite? Where is the woman who will come to unite us against all adversaries and pestilence until we achieve peace and progress as a society in any place in the world, a state that can only result from our human connection? Unfortunately, no such figure is seen on the horizon.

It is remarkable how many years ago a lone woman was able to influence the head of state and oblige him to establish a national day of unification for generations to come. Even today, when women have gained so much in status and in political influence, it is very difficult for us to imagine how a woman could come and convince American leaders to sit together and “smoke the peace pipe.”

And yet, there still remains much to celebrate on Thanksgiving. First, the very foundation of the American nation is marked by historical initiatives like Sarah’s, aimed at the unification of people, initiatives which can serve as an example to the entire world. And second, for the first time in history, Thanksgiving this year finds America and the entire world in one common scenario in which we all realize that we are in this thing together.

The crisis created by the exhausting global plague has immersed the entire planet in basically the same predicament. The virus does not distinguish between Republican and Democrat, right and left, north and south, east and west, all are under pressure to unite in order to overcome the crisis. It is as if the Supreme Force itself is testing us—nature versus the human being.

So what should we be thankful for and to whom? To the Supreme Force that has placed us in one pot, the entire planet, in which we see the human fault line that requires healing and repair. It is telling us that even if we have technically built everything right, our mental and emotional state is so damaged that a new kind of Thanksgiving celebration is required, one in which people will need to overcome the differences and connect in their hearts.

We need to thank nature for evil as well as for good, as it directs us to pursue love and connection for humanity to succeed. Bad things are revealed so we can also later appreciate them as good, since without them we could not have achieved good. Like a person with no appetite, how can anyone enjoy a feast without the preceding hunger?

If we look at problems and crises as a prelude and preparation for good things that will follow, we will run life instead of letting life run us. At the end of all wars there will always be peace; after all the fights, there will always be connection. Now is the time to build the strongest force of all, the power of the connection between us. It is the only power that will let us discover a promising future ahead of us.
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“Why Americans’ Lives Are Shortening, Contrary To The Rest Of The World” (Thrive Global)

Thrive Global published my new article: “Why Americans’ Lives Are Shortening, Contrary to the Rest of the World

It may be that America has passed the point of no return and the divisions in society are beyond repair at this point.

The Oxford University based website Our World in Data for provision of reliable statistics recently published some disturbing figures about America. In virtually every country in the world, life expectancy is growing. The one notable exception is the United States. There, life expectancy has been shrinking consistently since 2014.

It may take another civil war for Americans to recognize that only acceptance, appreciation, and embracing diversity can form a sustainable society, but the fact that a new administration will begin this coming January, regardless of the identity of the president, requires that I make one more effort to express my view that education toward embracing diversity is the basis of America’s survival, before the leader of the free world vanishes in flames.
Michael Laitman

The stunned researchers, who noticed that the decline in Americans’ life expectancy is a trend rather than a “statistical error,” looked into the reasons for this oddity and found some unsettling facts. The reasons that Americans live less and less are mostly social, not medical, economic, or environmental. Americans kill each other and themselves, die of opioid-overdoses, obesity, as well as other oddities such as prevalent infant mortality and lack of access to life saving drugs such as insulin. These latter two, in turn, also point to structural social problems more than they point to medical or environmental problems, since there is no reason why the country with the most developed healthcare system in the world will not be able to practically eliminate infant mortality or provide insulin to those who really need it.

I think that this data reflects all too well the social crisis unfolding in America. America has neglected its social work—the work on human relations. We must understand that there is no country in the world like the United States. The population of the US consists of such diversity of peoples and races that makes it an eclectic assembly of people who have nothing in common, and often harbor ancient hostilities toward each other. This is why in America, more than anywhere else, education toward unity is vital to its survival. I would even go as far as to say that without forming a uniform American identity, which Americans lack because of their diverse backgrounds, America will not survive.

Because America has not done this in a meaningful way since the end of the civil war, the same problems that caused the outbreak of the civil war still exist today, along with numerous other problems that have piled up on top of it. Now, these problems are bringing the country to the brink of a second civil war.

America proclaims to be “the land of the free,” but what do you do if one person’s freedom is another one’s subjection? “The inclination of a man’s heart is evil from his youth” (Gen. 8:21), we know. If we let our inclination loose unrestrained, it will exploit, abuse, and kill indiscriminately. Liberalism is a great idea as long as you liberate people to the extent that they have been taught to preserve and respect other people’s freedom of expression and safety as much as they respect and preserve their own.

The First Amendment, which mandates freedom of expression for all, is too often implemented more along the lines of freedom to express hatred toward others, and freedom to silence views I think are wrong. This is a direct result of liberating the ego before it has been taught that liberalism and freedom of expression mean that everyone has the right to express themselves, not just me.

Just as you cannot let an untrained dog into the street, we should not let the “untrained dog” within us run free, or it is bound to bite and maim other people. First, we must learn to accept, then appreciate, and ultimately cherish the differences between us. We must come to see how our diversity may initially create misunderstandings and dislike, but when we work with it correctly, it enriches us and contributes to our wisdom as individuals, and to our strength as a society.

It may be that America has passed the point of no return and the divisions in society are beyond repair at this point. It may take another civil war for Americans to recognize that only acceptance, appreciation, and embracing diversity can form a sustainable society, but the fact that a new administration will begin this coming January, regardless of the identity of the president, requires that I make one more effort to express my view that education toward embracing diversity is the basis of America’s survival, before the leader of the free world vanishes in flames.

— Published on November 23, 2020

“Jewish Unity & Antisemitism: Moses & The Establishment Of The People Of Israel” (Times Of Israel)

The Times of Israel published my new article “Jewish Unity & Antisemitism: Moses & the Establishment of the People of Israel

(Article No. 3 in a series) In the previous article, we described Israel’s time in Egypt, how they prospered while they were united under Joseph’s leadership, and how they assimilated after his passing, which then turned the Egyptians against them. In this article, we will explore Moses’ efforts to reunite the tormented and enslaved people and thereby redeem them from their oppressors and bring them out of Egypt. We will also show that once they united and were redeemed, they were tasked with being “a light unto nations,” namely to pass on their unity to the rest of the world.

Despite their worsening situation in Egypt, Israel did not unite until the arrival of Moses. When he arrived, he began to reunite Israel until, eventually, they were able to escape from Pharaoh’s rule.

Once out of Egypt, at the foot of Mt. Sinai, the people of Israel solidified their unity to the point that they became as one. This is why the great 11th century commentator RASHI described them as being “as one man with one heart.” That level of unity was the requirement for the aggregate of strangers who subscribed to Abraham’s message to be “officially” declared a nation. There, at the foot of the mountain, was the birth of the nation of Israel. The example of disunity and enslavement vs. unity and redemption that the Hebrews had experienced in Egypt was to be a lesson for them to maintain their unity no matter how intense their egoism grows. As we will see throughout this series, the linkage between disunity and adversity has not been broken since. Regrettably, neither has the lesson been learned.

When Moses united the people of Israel, he did not intend to unite Israel only for their own sake. Just as Abraham wanted to unite all the Babylonians but had to do with those who followed him, Moses wanted to help the whole world find unity, not just the Israelites.

Accommodating Moses’ wish to spread the ideology of unity to all of humanity, immediately after the people of Israel were declared a nation, they were tasked with being “a light unto nations” (Isaiah 42:5, Isaiah 49:6), namely to spread this unity. In The Commentary of Ramchal on the Torah, the great 18th century kabbalist wrote, “Moses wished to complete the correction of the world at that time. This is why he took the mixed multitude, as he thought that thus would be the correction of the world … However, he did not succeed because of the corruptions that occurred along the way.”

Similar to Ramchal, in the 19th century, Isaac Hever Wildman wrote in his book Beit Olamim, “That was Moses’ prayer and blessing to the generation of the desert, that they would be the beginning of the correction of the world.”

Even more astounding words regarding the purpose of establishing the people of Israel were written in the book Maor VaShemesh: “‘That He may establish you today as His people’ means that by that you will have revival, you will be saved from all calamities. Afterward He said to them, ‘Now not with you alone am I making this covenant,’ meaning that being saved from any harm by bonding was not promised only to Moses’ generation. Rather, ‘But with those who stand here with us today … and with those who are not with us here today,’ meaning that all future generations have been promised it—to pass through all the bludgeons of the covenant and that they will not be harmed, through the unity and bonding that will be among them.”

We, therefore, see that the level of unity in Israel, the fate of the people, and the fate of the world have been linked from the very inception of the nation. That unbroken link is at the root of all our troubles, as we will see through the rest of this series.

The next article will look into the events that led to the split within the people of Israel between the Kingdom of Israel, the Kingdom of Judah, and the corruption that led to the ruin of the First Temple.

For much more on this topic, please see my latest publication, The Jewish Choice: Unity or Anti-Semitism: Historical facts on anti-Semitism as a reflection of Jewish social discord.
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