Entries in the 'Q&A' Category

“What Does Kabbalah Entail And Believe?” (Quora)

Dr. Michael LaitmanMichael Laitman, On Quora: What does Kabbalah entail and believe?

The wisdom of Kabbalah doesn’t involve believing in anything. Or in other words, “belief” is a degree in Kabbalah where only once one attains something, then one can discuss believing in that thing.

There is only one practice in Kabbalah: attracting the Ohr Makif (surrounding light), i.e., the higher force dwelling in nature that changes us from our inborn corporeal form to a spiritual one.

This wisdom is very simple because it is based on the interaction of two forces: the higher spiritual force of bestowal and love and the lower corporeal force of egoism, of reception. Moreover, it states that there is nothing other than these two forces in reality.

The higher force of bestowal and love controls the lower force, the egoistic desire, and everything that happens in reality, which the wisdom of Kabbalah studies, is realized in the interaction between these forces.

The lower force is generated by the higher force and is called “existence from absence.” It is like in mathematics where there is zero and something different to zero.

The higher force acts upon and influences our desire, which is completely under its control. We are desire: each one of us individually and all of us together.

We are unconscious of how the higher force acts through us, thinking that we are in control of ourselves. But, in fact, each one of us is simply a small device. We have the opportunity of evoking the additional influence of the higher force.

To the extent that we attract it to develop wisely, we understand how the higher force influences us and carries out particular actions in us. We begin to study how it operates on us, and by doing so, start developing the ability to control the way it influences us.

What Professions Will Become Obsolete?

Today, the development of technology and artificial intelligence makes us think about our future. If the human workforce is no longer necessary, then what will come of us? How will it influence the social structure?

Historian and philosopher, Yuval Noah Harari, in his book A Brief History of Tomorrow, states that in the near future, humanity will be split into two subspecies:

1) the minority, “the owners” of the artificial intelligence and the super-specialists;

2) the majority, everybody else.

In a wide consideration, there will still be producers and consumers, but when all work niches are filled with an automated workforce, “everybody else” will become just a useless “protein mass,” artificially stimulated to consume. We already can observe this phenomenon today. It seems that there is more to come.

How can we manage this emerging situation?

The wisdom of Kabbalah states that besides what we observe, there is the higher governance. Humanity does not exist all by itself. It has a predefined goal of existence and stages that it needs to undergo in order to reach that goal.

According to the natural process, first, we will reach the understanding that we are killing ourselves (in Kabbalah it is called “the recognition of evil”). Then, we will gradually reveal the possibility of the higher reality, perfect and eternal, to which we can smoothly transition from our current existence.

As a result, we will all go through an inner transformation, and no matter which professions will disappear and which ones will stay, humanity will be aware of how to balance and live a joyful and delighted life.

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“What Is Kabbalah? How Is It Practiced Today And By Whom?” (Quora)

Dr. Michael LaitmanMichael Laitman, On Quora: What is Kabbalah? How is it practiced today and by whom?

The wisdom of Kabbalah has been connected to religion, mysticism, yoga, tarot cards, numerology, astrology, charms, amulets, magic and that a person must be at least 40 years of age in order to study.

The reason for the misconceptions is that Kabbalah is thousands of years old. The first person who discovered the wisdom of Kabbalah was Adam HaRishon, who lived over 5,000 years ago. The wisdom developed from Adam HaRishon’s time until a significant transition in the wisdom took place around 2,000 years ago, which left only a few unique individuals to engage in it, i.e., in its authentic form.

Since then, Kabbalistic writings have passed through the hands and minds of millions of people. Likewise, many who have encountered Kabbalah have blended it with their own backgrounds, teachings and understandings, without attaining what authentic Kabbalah was intended for. This ongoing mixture over the generations has given rise to the numerous misconceptions (read more about the misconceptions in the “Kabbalah and Magic” section of this page, and in the “Myths about Kabbalah” section of the website).

So what is Kabbalah then? As written above, Kabbalist Yehuda Ashlag’s definition of the wisdom of Kabbalah is as follows:

“This wisdom is no more and no less than a sequence of roots, which hang down by way of cause and effect, in fixed, determined rules, interweaving to a single, exalted goal described as, ‘the revelation of His Godliness to His creatures in this world.’”

In plain English, this definition can break down to the following:

Kabbalah is a method by which any person can attain a higher level of reality.

It is important to note that it is a method, an empirical method, not a belief. Also, any person can study it, regardless of race, gender or nationality. “Attainment” means a clear perception and sensation, not an idea, theory or philosophy.

The higher level of reality that one attains through correct Kabbalah study has been given many names. As you can see in Baal HaSulam’s above definition, he uses the words “His Godliness” to define the higher level of reality. You will also find words in Kabbalistic texts such as the “Upper Force,” “Upper Light,” “the Creator,” “Nature,” “God,” “the Lord” and “the King,” all describing that higher level of reality.

What do these terms define?

They define a quality of bestowal and love, which is the source of everything that exists in reality. This quality is also defined as a desire to bestow, often cited as a “will to bestow.”

Opposite the higher level of reality is us in our current level of reality. You could call it the “lower level of reality.” As the quality of the higher level of reality is bestowal, opposite to it is the quality of reception, also called the “will to receive.” That is the quality of what is called “the creation” in the wisdom of Kabbalah, or in Baal HaSulam’s above definition, “the creatures.”

This then brings about the question: If the wisdom of Kabbalah is a method where any person, while alive in this lifetime, can attain a higher level of reality, which means attaining access to a quality of bestowal, why would anybody want to do that?

The reasons why are as follows:

1) Transient Pleasure vs. Continuous Pleasure

In our current level of reality, every time we find pleasure, it dissipates. The pleasure neutralizes the desire. For example, if you’re hungry and you really want to eat, and you’re handed your favorite dish, then your first bite of that dish is pure bliss. The more you continue to eat, the lesser the pleasure you feel. At a certain point, you’ll feel satiated: the desire to eat became quenched. Moreover, if you’d continue eating, the same action that was giving you pleasure a few moments ago, you’d start feeling sick.

Our problem in our current level of reality is that we don’t know how to sustain and increase our enjoyment. As a will to receive pleasure, our inborn nature is such that pleasures fade away upon their reception, they don’t increase.

The wisdom of Kabbalah teaches us how we can use our desire in a new direction, with what is called an “intention to bestow.” By applying this new use of our desire, we can start feeling enjoyments in an opposite way to the way we currently feel them: where instead of enjoyments fading away upon their impact, they increase and become continuous.

2) Incomplete Perception vs. Complete Perception

We live in a world of consequences, not knowing why we’re here, where we’re from, where we’re headed, what’s the purpose of us being here, and how everything is connected. We perceive a small fragment of reality, limited within time, space and motion. No matter how much we learn throughout our lives and throughout our human history, we never reach a state where we feel we have complete perception. By attaining the higher level of reality, we add that part that we’re missing in our current level of reality, and expanding our sense and understanding to form a complete picture.

3) Separation vs. Connection

We perceive ourselves as being separated from billions of other people, and many more animals, plants and objects. We construct our lives based on this separation, and encounter a life filled with struggles, pursuits and conflicts, often feeling like we just need to survive as best as we can until we ultimately perish. By attaining a higher level of reality, we attain connection to everything around us, seeing everything and everyone as pieces of a single puzzle, harmonious and integrated, like cells and organs in a healthily functioning body.

“What Does Cause Some Jews To Endure Poverty In Israel?” (Quora)

Dr. Michael LaitmanMichael Laitman, On Quora: What does cause some Jews to endure poverty in Israel?

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.

“Is There A Rise In Hate Crimes Against Jews In 2019?” (Quora)

Dr. Michael LaitmanMichael Laitman, On Quora: Is there a rise in hate crimes against Jews in 2019?

At least in the United States, nearly 60% of crimes religiously motivated in the last year were committed against Jews, with 1,879 such incidents reported during this period. Physical attacks on Jews have also increased nationwide by 105% over the past year. In New York alone, anti-Semitic assaults make up more than half of its reported hate crimes.

The question then becomes: How can we disallow anti-Semitic crimes and threats from becoming the new norm?

While some American Jews justifiably fear an unknown future, the majority of U.S. Jews are still skeptical about the possibility that a terrible disaster could hit in their homeland. However, reality shows that American Jews’ sense of immunity has been lost. That Jewish places of worship, community centers, and homes have become targets is a situation that was inconceivable in the past.

In my recently released book, The Jewish Choice: Unity or Anti-Semitism, I detail at length similarities between pre-WWII Nazi Germany and today’s America, and aim to show how throughout history, whenever the Jewish people become divided, anti-Semitism rises, and often ends up in disaster. On the other hand, as I have been extensively explaining for many years, the way to salvation from anti-Semitism by the Jewish people is in its unity.

In order to thrive and survive, the people of Israel have to be united “as one man with one heart,” i.e., to live in mutual responsibility according to the rule, “love your neighbor as yourself.” These are not merely pleasant or empty words. It is the order of the day.

Unity of the Jewish people is intended to bring spiritual prosperity and well-being not only to the Jews, but to humanity. The role of the Jewish people is to be a “light unto the nations,” providing every person on this planet with a method to achieve unity and the manifestation of a positive unifying example.

Anti-Semites harbor unexplained irrational enmity toward Jews. According to the wisdom of Kabbalah, this negative sensation is inherently a longing for unity among Jews, one that will fill all of life’s gray spaces with light and vitality.

There is a chance to unite, and by doing so, stop further escalation of anti-Semitism. But we need to act in the direction of coming closer to each other and rising above our differences before it is too late. It is as written, “once permission has been granted to the Destroyer, he does not distinguish between righteous and wicked.”

When Hitler came to power in 1933, first Chief Rabbi of Eretz Israel and Kabbalist Rav Kook delivered a sermon in the old city of Jerusalem in which he spoke about the terrible Holocaust, years before it began:

“Enemies force the Jewish people to be redeemed, blasting the trumpets of war, bombarding them with deafening threats of harassment and torment, giving them no respite in the Diaspora. The shofar of an impure animal becomes the shofar of Mashiach. Amalek, Petilura, Hitler and their ilk- awaken us to redemption. The one who did not listen to the sound of the first shofar and the ones whose ears are closed up and do not want to listen to the sound of the second, ordinary shofar will listen to the sound of the impure, invalid shofar. They will listen against their will.” (Berachot 51b)

Today, President Trump is pro-Israeli, but sooner or later, the administration will change, and a leader can enter into office with a lot less sympathy for the Jews.

In such a scenario, the media will limit its coverage of violent incidents against Jews. Less awareness from the authorities and the public would thus make anti-Semitism take a far uglier turn from its current intensification.

If the message of our better future depending on our unity reaches listening ears, we will experience a shift to safety, peace, and calm. As long we are given an opportunity to disseminate the method of connection — the wisdom of Kabbalah — it is our duty to do so, as it holds the potential to dissipate all threats and bring us to a newfound harmony.

“What Can Be Done To Stop What Appears To Be The Rising Incidents Of Antisemitism In The United States?” (Quora)

Dr. Michael LaitmanMichael Laitman, On Quora: What can be done to stop what appears to be the rising incidents of antisemitism in the United States?

The way to stop anti-Semitism in the United States is the same as how to stop anti-Semitism anywhere in the world: to raise awareness of the root cause of anti-Semitism in order to invert hatred into love.

Kabbalistic sources explain both such a cause and solution to anti-Semitism. It is because Kabbalists perceive developmental processes unfolding in our world, and can both warn people of oncoming threats, as well as offer a remedy to prevent such threats from materializing.

For instance, Kabbalist Rav Yehuda Ashlag (Baal HaSulam), the most renowned Kabbalist of the 20th Century, tried convincing European Jews in the 1930s to leave Europe because he foresaw the oncoming disaster. Both following his example, as well as taking heed to the alerting recent rise in anti-Semitism worldwide, I also feel the need to communicate the message about the root cause of anti-Semitism and its solution both to Jews and non-Jews, and I extensively write and speak on the topic with the hope that, at the very least, a future mass tragedy can be prevented.

In relation to the United States, I have lectured to Jewish communities in the United States at various intervals over the last 20 years. During the 2000s, I was laughed at when I mentioned that anti-Semitism was going to become a growing issue in America.

In the 2010s, after anti-Semitism’s immense exponential growth, both in the amounts of anti-Semitic crimes and threats, as well as in anti-Semitic sentiment, I explained how all signs were pointing to the next Holocaust emerging in America.

At the turn of the decade, after a string of anti-Semitic attacks in New York and New Jersey in a relatively short time period, Jewish lawmakers started acknowledging how a “slow-rolling pogrom” was taking place in New York.

Until a sharp sudden rise in anti-Semitic attacks within a relatively close radius took place, I saw little response to this message from the Jewish people. It is written about us, that we are a stiff-necked people, i.e., we have a tough skin that makes it very hard to penetrate such awareness into our perception.

In any case, in order to prevent a future dystopian scenario for the Jewish people in the United States, as well as elsewhere, the message is the same for all Jews: we need to unite, according to the tenet “love your friend as yourself,” in order to become “a light unto the nations,” i.e., a conduit that passes the positive unifying force dwelling in nature to the world. If the message doesn’t become accepted through education, explanation and promotion, then anti-Semitic blows and suffering will rise, “softening our stiff necks,” undesirably increasing our ability to absorb such a message.

That is the state we first reached some 3,800 years ago in ancient Babylon, under Abraham’s guidance, which granted us the name, “the people of Israel” (“Israel” from the words, “Yashar Kel,” which means “straight to God” [“God” being the same as “Nature” according to Kabbalah, i.e., a positive force that connects all elements of reality]). Also, according to the same unifying tendency, we were later named “Jews,” from the word for “unity” (the Hebrew word for “Jew” [Yehudi] comes from the word for “united” [yihudi] [Yaarot Devash, Part 2, Drush no. 2]).

Today, we are reaching new global proportions of anti-Semitism that the world has never seen, since today’s world is more globally-integrated than ever before. Due to anti-Semitism emerging as a natural phenomenon in non-Jews, toward a subconscious expectation for the Jews to pioneer a process toward more positive human connection, then we can expect a future where everyone other than a few Jews will be anti-Semitic.

Therefore, we Jews first and foremost need to show everyone how unity above the growing hostile divisions in society is not only a possibility, but that there is a method of connection to guide our every step of the way. By implementing such a method on ourselves, we send positive unifying ripples throughout humanity’s consciousness, and invite an opposite attitude from anti-Semitism upon ourselves in return. In other words, by witnessing increasing positive connection, and subsequent rises in happiness, support and confidence in society at large, the general attitude toward a unified Jewish people would become favorable and encouraging.

However, if the Jewish people will continue rejecting, ignoring or remaining unaware of the message of the need to unite, then instead of seeing unity form in society’s mainstream, we can expect unity to form more and more in society’s fringes, i.e., as Nazi and fascist unity. Such unity is dangerous, since it is built on uniting around the hatred of the other, and it becomes the infrastructure that can lead to the manifestation of horrific events, as exemplified by the Holocaust.

Therefore, I hope that Jews in general, and especially American Jews, will start noticing that the ball is in our court, and that we need to play the game well: to prioritize our unity in order to spread unity onward. If we do so, we will experience a better general state in America and around the world. However, if we fail to realize what the wisdom of Kabbalah is saying on this pressing issue, then the state will become much worse.

“Is Jewish Kabbalah Similar To Sufism?” (Quora)

Dr. Michael LaitmanMichael Laitman, On Quora: Is Jewish Kabbalah similar to Sufism?

Sufism and Kabbalah both discuss the need to develop an attitude of love for another as life’s guiding principle. Sufism, however, does not explain the structure of the system of creation and its conduct. It is better suited to the masses because it speaks about the solution to human and spiritual problems on the level of our world.

Sufism does not explain the structure of the upper world with the precision that the wisdom of Kabbalah does: Sefirot, Partzufim, Olamot, Ohr, NRNHY (Nefesh, Ruach, Neshama, Haya, Yechida), KHB ZON (Keter, Hochma, Bina, Zeir Anpin, Nukva), Tzimtzum, Masach, Ohr Hozer, and all the rest of the concepts. Only in Kabbalah are such “celestial mechanics” described.

Why are such descriptions needed? They are needed when one begins to attain the upper world. A person in attainment of the spiritual system cannot make inner order and clarification if relying solely on emotion or the teacher. For such a person, the teacher transforms from a person to an internal characteristic, and he perceives and emphasizes the inner layer of reality that Kabbalists call “the Creator,” while lowering the priority on the reality we perceive with our five senses. The progressive attainment of such a reality requires deeper definitions and emotions, and one must work with more subtle and measured states.

I am no Sufism expert, but it seems to me that it is a part of Kabbalah. Moreover, if we penetrate more deeply into true Sufism, then it would possible to discover the dividing line beyond which the wisdom of Kabbalah is imperative. According to its foundation, Sufism is the correct study for leading the person precisely toward the goal, but up to a particular limit.

The idea is that with all of us there are different levels of ego. Sufism stops at a deep level of ego. Yet for people with a big ego, Sufism is not enough. Such people need a greater weapon against themselves, and thus need the wisdom of Kabbalah.

Unfortunately, Sufism has stopped its development for some time. Today in the Muslim world, it is not wanted at all. This is a great shame because once there was a connection between Jews and Muslims through Sufism.

“Has There Ever Been A Holocaust In America? Do You Think It Could Ever Happen Here?” (Quora)

Dr. Michael LaitmanMichael Laitman, On Quora: Has there ever been a Holocaust in America? Do you think it could ever happen here?

There has never been a Holocaust in America before. However, if we look at the accelerating increase of anti-Semitism crimes and threats in America in recent years, then a Holocaust in America is a definite possibility. Moreover, today’s America holds many striking similarities to Nazi Germany of the 1930s, which I detail in my recently released book, The Jewish Choice: Unity or Anti-Semitism.

Unprecedented Speed of Anti-Semitism’s Rise

The recent period around the turn the decade into 2020 has given us some very aggressive examples of anti-Semitic acts across New York and New Jersey.

In a letter dated December 29, 2019, of the New York State Senator, Simcha Felder, New York State Assemblyman, Simcha Eichenstein, and two New York City Councilmen, Chaim Deutsch and Kalman Yeger, addressed to New York City Governor, Andrew Cuomo, they described how:

“Anti-Semitic hate crimes have grown to frighteningly high numbers over the past several months. During the past several days in particular, 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. This has been appropriately described as a ‘slow-rolling pogrom.’ We are writing to ask that you declare a state of emergency. … Simply stated, 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.”

Moreover, former Democratic New York State Assemblyman and radio show host Dov Hikind mentioned that “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. What will happen next?”

In the 2000s, I spoke about anti-Semitism in the US as a forthcoming problem, and was laughed at.

In the 2010s, when anti-Semitism began its exponential climb in the US and around the world, and started becoming acknowledged as a problem, I then talked about the next Holocaust taking place in the US.

Today, at the turn of the new decade, we can see how the awareness of the possibility of the next Holocaust taking place in America is coming to light.

Indeed then, as Dov Hikind asked, what is next?

The Fateful Shift from Division to Unity

The laws of nature are bringing human society to tighter connection, and the Jewish people, whether knowingly or unknowingly, host a method to make a key shift in realizing such connection positively—the ability to unite above all the fiery social division, as is written in the words, “love will cover all transgressions,” in order to pass such an ability to all people of the world, i.e., to be “a light unto the nations.”

Nature is demanding us to cease being a destructive and divisive force, and start becoming a positive and unified force.

If we fail to initiate the beginning of the Jewish people’s correction, by starting to implement unity above our differences, we will feel increasing pressures. The pressures would not only be in the US, but everywhere in the world, including the State of Israel where we could expect more and more sanctions and constraints. We would then continue strengthening our security until we would feel stuck in our little fortress with enemy forces surrounding us from all sides.

And if that would fail to prod us to unite, then we could expect such events as even an elimination of the State of Israel, and such disasters where, as Kabbalists have written, only a small group would remain to unite above our divisive drives.

“If the total ruin that they are destined to bring upon the world is still not evident to the world, they can wait for a third world war, or a fourth one … and the relics that remain after the ruin will have no other choice but to take upon themselves this work, where both individuals and nations will not work for themselves more than is necessary for their sustenance, while everything else they do will be for the good of others.” – Yehuda Ashlag, “The Writings of the Last Generation.”

The sooner we realize that our unity causes the unity of human society as a whole, and that by so doing, we will experience a wholly different positive, harmonious, peaceful and appreciative response from the world, then the sooner we can reverse the foreboding trend of anti-Semitism and find ourselves in a harmonious world. By uniting, we carry out our role in the world, and establish a newfound balance of forces between humanity and nature.

The First Step toward Unity

The first step toward unity is that we understand the need to save ourselves from destruction together with the need for adaptation with nature’s connecting tendency. If we do so, then we will see incredible phenomena unfold before our very eyes: a complete inversion of anti-Semitism to its opposite—a love and appreciation for the Jewish people who bring unity and light to the world. There would simply be no reason for anyone to hate Jews since people would know how to unite, and united people do not hate each other, nor the ones who teach and encourage their unity.

We need no long painful paths to reach such a state. By starting to think and act in a direction of the unity of all Jewish people right now, we can start pioneering an epic and historical positive transformation.

“Why Does The Jewish Community Have To Go Through So Much Suffering In History And Today?” (Quora)

Dr. Michael LaitmanMichael Laitman, On Quora: Why does the Jewish community have to go through so much suffering in history and today?

We Jews endure suffering from anti-Semitic sentiment toward us from the nations of the world, which has always existed, but which intensifies in certain periods more than others.

In my recently released book, The Jewish Choice: Unity or Anti-Semitism, I thoroughly detail how we have suffered throughout history due to anti-Semitism that rises up against us.

What then is the cause of anti-Semitism, which makes different nations at different periods in history rise up against us?

Many reasons have been stated, for instance, that we hold too much power in countries we’ve assimilated into, ruling the whole world, being greedy, envy of our disproportionate success in the world compared to other nations, oppressing Palestine as a Jewish State, the fall of Germany in World War I, the assassination of Tsar Alexander II in 19th Century Russia, drinking children’s blood in the Middle Ages, denying Muhammad’s prophethood and murdering Jesus Christ.

However, beyond any kind of reasoning that has been given at different time periods, we need to understand how the many reasons given for anti-Semitism are preceded by the sensation of hatred in and of itself. As Kabbalist Rav Yehuda Ashlag (Baal HaSulam) writes in his article “The Solution”:

“It is a fact that Israel is hated by all nations, whether for religious reasons, racial reasons, capitalist reasons, communist reasons, or for cosmopolitan reasons, etc. It is so because the hatred precedes all reasons, but each merely resolves its loathing according to its own psychology.”

In other words, anti-Semitism exists independently of the many varied actions and behaviors of the Jewish people.

Anti-Semitism is rather a sensation embedded in nature that emerges within people.

How does the feeling of anti-Semitism, a hatred of Jews, surface?

In order to answer this, we need to understand the foundation of the Jewish people, the Jewish role in the world, and how non-Jews respond in relation to whether or not Jews are performing this role.

The Foundation of the Jewish People

The Jewish people emerged in ancient Babylon some 4,000 years ago. It was a time when Babylon was experiencing a crisis of social division, with conflicts and hatred tearing up the ancient Babylonian society. During this period, Abraham, a Babylonian priest who discovered the path to unite above the growing divisions, i.e. reaching the revelation of the single force of love and bestowal that exists in reality above the growing ego, began openly teaching his method to anyone who wanted to learn.

Since social division was felt as a burning problem, many people flocked to learn with Abraham. He guided them to the discovery of the single force of love and bestowal above their divisive drives. The group he led became known as “the people of Israel” (i.e. “Israel” coming from “Yashar Kel,” which means “straight to God,” i.e. straight to the single force of love and bestowal that exists in reality), and later they became known as “Jews” (the Hebrew word for “Jew” [Yehudi] comes from the word for “united” [yihudi] [Yaarot Devash, Part 2, Drush no. 2]).

Therefore, the Jewish nation was founded not on a biological basis, but on an ideological one.

People from all over ancient Babylon who felt a problem with social division and a need for unity gathered under Abraham’s method and united above their divisive drives. By doing so, they became known as “a light unto the nations,” as the attainment of the one, unique and unified force of nature above the human ego, which causes all the divisiveness and problems in society, has a positive domino effect that “upgrades” human consciousness: it leads to more positive connections, more consideration, support, love and care, among humanity in general.

The Jewish Role in the World

As it was then, so it is today, but on a much larger, global scale.

The overblown human ego, social division, conflicts and hatred are all experiencing an exponential boost, bringing about myriad problems and crises. For instance, despite more human population than ever before on the planet, and all the technological and cross-cultural connections that have been established worldwide, human society feels more and more isolation, stress, depression, emptiness and anxiety.

The more people feel such problems, the more people subconsciously feel that the Jews are the cause of these problems.

That is where the sensation of anti-Semitism comes from: that the Jews have a role in the world, to unite (“love your friend as yourself”) above division (“love will cover all transgressions”), and by doing so, be a conduit for the single unifying force of love and bestowal to spread throughout the collective human consciousness (“a light unto the nations”).

The Response to the Jews from the Nations of the World in Relation to the Jewish Role

If we Jews function correctly in relation to our role in the world—uniting among each other in order to pass unity to the world—then we will experience a positive reaction from everyone in the world.

If, however, as it currently stands, we fail to acknowledge or make any effort to unite among each other, we then block the positive unifying force from reaching humanity, and hatred stirs up in non-Jews toward the Jews as a natural phenomenon that serves to pressure us to perform our role.

It is thus my hope that we will realize our role in the world sooner rather than later, sparing the world and ourselves much suffering.

We simply don’t see what it would mean if we make some steps toward uniting, how much all the tension in human society and between nations would calm down, how all the exploitation, manipulation, hatred and abuse in humanity would be replaced by mutual support, consideration, love and care for our fellow human beings.

This is why I put in so many efforts to disseminate the message about the role of Jews in the world, and the cause and solution to anti-Semitism, since humanity’s future of happiness or torment depends specifically on this.

“Is Another Holocaust Inevitable This Time In The USA?” (Quora)

Dr. Michael LaitmanMichael Laitman, On Quora: Is another Holocaust inevitable this time in the USA?

The signals of an extremely dangerous situation for Jews similar to the time preceding the Holocaust are definitely visible 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 Holocaust 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.