“For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. Out of all the peoples on the face of the earth, the Lord has chosen you to be his treasured possession.” – Deuteronomy 14:2
As Israel gears up for a massive 70th-anniversary party this Independence Day, I hope it will be ready to receive the greatest gift ever.
70 years is indeed a special period. It marks a person’s average lifespan—a period when we need to reflect on what we have accomplished in our lives. Likewise, the time has come for us to reflect on what we have accomplished as a nation:
Did we progress toward a tangible, unified goal?
Do our achievements in high tech, science, medicine, and defense truly benefit others?
Granted, any nation that has achieved the likes of what we’ve achieved with the means that we have had over the last 70 years would be very satisfied with itself.
However, the question remains: should we be measuring ourselves with the same sets of values as other nations?
We, the people of Israel, are unique. Whether it’s the Torah describing our uniqueness as a “chosen people” (Deuteronomy 14:2) and as a people who “bring Light to the world” (Midrash Rabba, Song of Songs, Portion no. 4), or the nations of the world pointing it out with increasingly intense anti-Semitic pressure, we are shown that we cannot simply rest on our laurels. On the contrary, we need to be alert to the fact that because of our uniqueness, we are held to a higher standard.
Our history, both inside and outside the boundaries of the State of Israel, is tainted with genocide, war, exile, and anti-Semitism. Even today, a UN vote on the existence of the State of Israel could very probably eliminate the State of Israel just as quickly as it was admitted in 70 years ago.
Therefore, we need to explore our ideology, our Torah, our history, our destiny, the attitude toward us from all the nations, and then examine whether we are making the right introspection in this special year.
Why don’t the same sets of values apply to Israel as they do to other nations?
While Israel continues to seek global recognition for its progress in high tech, science, medicine and agriculture, Israel stands for a completely different set of values. Therefore, no matter how much Israel exports cutting-edge technology to the world, the world’s stance toward Israel just becomes all the more bitter and harsh.
The Jewish nation was established in ancient Babylon by Abraham the Patriarch. Abraham united the people in Babylon who came to him to join the first ever “unity above differences” movement. People who refused to simply flow with the decadent Babylonian zeitgeist, and who saw the truth in Abraham’s call to “love your friend as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18) gathered around him. Abraham united that first group of people called them “Israel” (Yashar El) (Drush, Ramchal), and guided them to the land of Israel, the land of Canaan.
The unique vision of that group was their willingness to unite based simply on common brotherly love. It was very difficult because each individual’s ego was burning with its demands. Nonetheless, they put in efforts to unite according to the tenet, “love will cover all crimes.” (Proverbs 10:12)
The method Abraham taught is called “the wisdom of Kabbalah.” This is a method that guides people through a process of uniting above differences. Once unity is implemented in one group, it can then spread wider and wider until it reaches humanity as a whole.
However, after we returned to the land of Israel, we failed to accept the unifying principle of “love your friend as yourself” as the essential method we needed to continually sustain and grow, that this unifying principle is what identifies us as the people of Israel in the land of Israel. We left it, and it disappeared over the generations.
In our times, when the social division is rampant and unity is needed more than ever, we don’t know how to show the world the method of uniting above our differences, the method that can fix not only ours but humanity’s problems.
Why does the world hold a growing grudge against Israel?
Since unity is a growing need, and our identity is based on being given the method to implement and pass on unity, then by not fulfilling this function for humanity, we attract a negative attitude from the world.
Subconsciously, the nations of the world feel that we hold a special key for success, which we are withholding from them. On face value, it might be seen as a disproportionate power in finance, politics, business and the media, but the deeper root of these feelings, which both Israel and the nations of the world cannot yet point directly to, is that we’re expected to bring the method of correction to the world. Therefore, anti-Semitism will only continue compounding until we do.
So, where’s the biggest gift ever for Israel’s 70th-anniversary party?
Along with the celebration, we can add awareness of our true identity, our purpose, and role in the world. We can concentrate on what is needed in order to make progress in our ability to unite in the future, thereby adding unity to all the progress we’ve made up until today.
The wisdom of Kabbalah, a method for uniting people and nations, is really the biggest gift we can give to the Israeli people on its 70th anniversary, as it holds the solutions for literally all the problems we’re experiencing: solutions to unite above our internal political, religious, and social divisions; solutions to our complicated security situation and relationships with other countries and peoples; and all the way to solving our domestic and personal problems.
Moreover, by uniting, the nations of the world would stop feeling that we are withholding something from them. They would start feeling an upgrade in consciousness, a positive change in their lives and the tendency toward anti-Semitism would invert: we would be treated with reverence as we would be felt as the conduit of the good that fills people’s lives.
The gift is the wholeness, abundance and boundless fulfillment we can feel when the light of unity enters our lives. And the means to receive this gift is to cover all of our differences, divisions, and conflicts under a common umbrella of love.
My organization, the Bnei Baruch Kabbalah Education & Research Institute (Kabbalah L’Am in Israel), will also be conducting its own celebration of Israel’s 70-year anniversary with the World Kabbalah Convention on February 20-22, 2018. The convention will be a celebration of unity above differences, with over 7,000 people attending from over 50 countries in the Tel Aviv Convention Center. I warmly invite anyone who wishes to experience the true essence of Israel’s identity, culture, and uniqueness to join us. Anyone who feels even the tiniest curiosity or attraction to the wisdom of Kabbalah or unity as a solution to any problem is welcome to attend.