November 19, 2015
The security situation is affecting every aspect of our lives. When the general insanity is maintained every day by clips of stabbing attacks, and at the same time Europe starts marking Israeli products, is it any wonder that we are growing numb? How else can we deal with such a reality?
The World Depends on Israel
The hatred of Israel is not a new phenomenon; it has been around since the inception of our people. This hatred is so entrenched that it seems to be rooted in nature.
A long time ago we painfully learned that the more the world suffers, the more it blames us for its woes. If today’s trend continues it will not be long before the entire world will hate us, just as the Arabs hate us now.
We already know that all of humanity is connected in a single network. But we must also recognize Israel’s pivotal impact on this network. It is written in The Book of Zohar that the actions and thoughts of the nation of Israel, positively or negatively impact the fate of the entire world. All the bad that is happening in the world comes back to us to awaken and obligate us to carry out our role.
What Does It Mean to Carry Out Our Role, and How Can It Benefit Us?
First we need to recognize that changing our fate lies in our hands. All it requires is that we honestly try to connect among us. This is the key, strengthening the ties between all of us—secular, religious, Israeli Jews and diaspora Jews—everyone. Instead of being dozens of mutually mistrusting tribes, we must become mutually responsible for one another, until we truly become “as one man with one heart.”
When we connect, when we are considerate of one another, we are channeling positivity through us to the world. And the opposite is just as true: with our hostile thoughts and actions toward one another we are radiating negativity to the world, inflicting disasters on ourselves and on humanity. The mutual responsibility and concern for others determine how our lives will look tomorrow, how the world will look tomorrow, and the response that we will get as a result of its state.
But is it possible to connect? Any person we turn to with this question will agree to connect, but will immediately say it’s not possible. This is true, unless we have a method. The method for connection is the wisdom of Kabbalah. When the wisdom of Kabbalah speaks of correction, it speaks of correcting the connection among people. When we learn the wisdom of Kabbalah, we learn how to connect and channel this positivity through us to the world. By this we bring balance to the forces governing our lives. Our attempts to love one another awaken a positive force that spreads through us to all of humanity, and calms its swelling antagonism toward us.
The “Introduction to the Book of Zohar” explains how the unity of the people of Israel determines the fate of the world. The excerpt below is direct translation of the end of the “Introduction to the Book of Zohar” as Rav Yehuda Leib HaLevi Ashlag wrote it in his Sulam [Ladder] commentary on The Book of Zohar.
“66) Bear in mind that in everything there is internality and externality. In the world in general, Israel, the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, are considered the internality of the world, and the seventy nations are considered the externality of the world. Also, there is internality within Israel themselves, which are the wholehearted workers of the Creator, and there is externality—those who do not devote themselves to the work of the Creator. Among the nations of the world, there is internality as well, which are the Righteous of the Nations of the World, and there is externality, which are the rude and the harmful among them.
“Additionally, among the servants of the Creator among the Children of Israel, there is internality, being those rewarded with comprehension of the soul of the internality of the Torah and its secrets, and externality, who merely observe the practical part of the Torah.
“Also, there is internality in every person from Israel—the Israel within—which is the point in the heart, and externality—which is the inner Nations of the World, the body itself. But even the inner Nations of the World in that person are considered proselytes, since by cleaving to the internality, they become like proselytes from among the Nations of the World, that came and cleaved to the whole of Israel.
“67) When a person from Israel enhances and dignifies one’s internality, which is the Israel in that person, over the externality, which are the Nations of the World in him, that is, when one dedicates the majority of one’s efforts to enhance and exalt one’s internality, to benefit one’s soul, and gives minor efforts, the mere necessity, to sustain the Nations of the World in him, meaning the bodily needs, as it is written (Avot, 1), ‘Make your Torah permanent and your labor temporary,’ by so doing, one makes the Children of Israel soar upwards in the internality and externality of the world as well, and the Nations of the World, which are the externality, to recognize and acknowledge the value of the Children of Israel.
“And if, God forbid, it is to the contrary, and an individual from Israel enhances and appreciates one’s externality, which is the Nations of the World in him, more than the inner Israel in him, as it is written (Deuteronomy 28), ‘The stranger that is in the midst of thee,’ meaning the externality in that person rises and soars, and you yourself, the internality, the Israel in you, plunges down? With these actions, one causes the externality of the world in general—the Nations of the World—to soar ever higher and overcome Israel, degrading them to the ground, and the Children of Israel, the internality in the world, to plunge deep down.
“68) Do not be surprised that one person’s actions bring elevation or decline to the whole world, for it is an unbending law that the general and the particular are as equal as two peas in a pod. And all that applies in the general, applies in the particular, as well. Moreover, the parts make what is found in the whole, for the general can appear only after the appearance of the parts in it, according to the quantity and quality of the parts. Evidently, the value of an act of a part elevates or declines the entire whole.
“That will clarify to you what is written in The Zohar, that by engagement in The Book of Zohar and the wisdom of truth, they will be rewarded with complete redemption from exile (Tikkunim, end of Tikkun No. 6). We might ask, what has the study of The Zohar to do with the redemption of Israel from among the nations?
“69) From the above we can thoroughly understand that the Torah, too, contains internality and externality, as does the entire world. Therefore, one who engages in the Torah has these two degrees, as well. When one increases one’s toil in the internality of the Torah and its secrets, to that extent, one makes the virtue of the internality of the world—which are Israel—soar high above the externality of the world, which are the Nations of the World. And all the nations will acknowledge and recognize Israel’s merit over them, until the realization of the words, ‘And the people shall take them, and bring them to their place: and the house of Israel shall possess them in the land of the Lord’ (Isaiah 14, 2), and also ‘Thus says the Lord God, Behold, I will lift up my hand to the nations, and set up my standard to the peoples: and they shall bring thy sons in their arms, and thy daughters shall be carried on their shoulders’ (Isaiah 49, 22).
“But if, God forbid, it is to the contrary, and a person from Israel degrades the virtue of the internality of the Torah and its secrets, which deals with the conduct of our souls and their degrees, and the perception and the tastes of the Mitzvot [commandments] with regard to the advantage of the externality of the Torah, which deals only with the practical part? Also, even if one does occasionally engage in the internality of the Torah, and dedicates a little of one’s time to it, when it is neither night nor day, as though it were redundant, by that one dishonors and degrades the internality of the world, which are the Children of Israel, and enhances the externality of the world—meaning the Nations of the World—over them. They will humiliate and disgrace the Children of Israel, and regard Israel as superfluous, as though the world has no need for them, God forbid.
“Furthermore, by that, they make even the externality in the Nations of the World overpower their own internality, for the worst among the Nations of the World, the harmful and the destructors of the world, rise above their internality, which are the Righteous of the Nations of the World. And then they make all the ruin and the heinous slaughter our generation had witnessed, may God protect us from here on.
“Thus you see that the redemption of Israel and the whole of Israel’s merit depend on the study of The Zohar and the internality of the Torah. And vise versa, all the destruction and the decline of the Children of Israel are because they have abandoned the internality of the Torah. They have degraded its merit and made it seemingly redundant.
“70) This is what is written in the Tikkunim [corrections] of The Zohar (Tikkun 30): ‘Awaken and rise for the Holy Divinity, for you have an empty heart, without the understanding to know and to attain it, although it is within you.’ The meaning of it is, as it is written (Isaiah 40), that a voice pounds in the heart of each and every one of Israel, to cry and to pray for raising the Holy Divinity, which is the collection of all the souls of Israel. But Divinity says, ‘I have no strength to raise myself off the dust, for ‘all flesh is grass,’ they are all like beasts, eating hay and grass.’ This means that they keep the Mitzvot mindlessly, like beasts, ‘and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field, all the good deeds that they do, they do for themselves.’
“That means that with the Mitzvot they perform, they have no intention of doing them in order to bring contentment to their Maker. Rather, they keep the Mitzvot only for their own benefit, and even the best among them, who dedicate all their time to engagement in the Torah, do it only to benefit their own bodies, without the desirable aim—to bring contentment to their Maker.
“It is said about the generation of that time: ‘A spirit leaves and will not return to the world,’ meaning the spirit of the Messiah, who must deliver Israel from all their troubles until the complete redemption, to keep the words, ‘for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord.’ That spirit had left and does not shine in the world.
“Woe unto them that make the spirit of Messiah leave and depart from the world, and cannot return to the world. They are the ones that make the Torah dry, without any moisture of comprehension and reason. They confine themselves to the practical part of the Torah, and do not wish to try to understand the wisdom of Kabbalah, to know and to understand the secrets of the Torah and the flavors of Mitzva. Woe unto them, for with these actions they bring about the existence of poverty, ruin, and robbery, looting, killing, and destructions in the world.
“71) The reason for their words is, as we have explained, that when all those who engage in the Torah degrade their own internality and the internality of the Torah, leaving it as though it were redundant in the world, and engage in it only at a time that is neither day nor night, and in this regard, they are like blind searching the wall, by that, they intensify their own externality, the benefit of their own bodies. Also, they consider the externality of the Torah higher than the internality of the Torah. And with these actions they cause all the forms of externality in the world to overpower all the internal parts in the world, each according to its essence.
“This is so because the externality in the whole of Israel, meaning the Nations of the World in them, overpowers and revokes the internality in the whole of Israel, which are those who are great in the Torah. Also, the externality in the Nations of the World—the destructors among them—intensify and revoke the internality among them, which are the Righteous of the Nations of the World. Additionally, the externality of the entire world, being the Nations of the World, intensify and revoke the Children of Israel—the internality of the world.
“In such a generation, all the destructors among the Nations of the World raise their heads and wish primarily to destroy and to kill the Children of Israel, as it is written (Yevamot 63), ‘No calamity comes to the world but for Israel.’ This means, as it is written in the above corrections, that they cause poverty, ruin, robbery, killing, and destruction in the whole world.
“And through our many faults, we have witnessed to all that is said in the above-mentioned Tikkunim, and moreover, the judgment struck the very best of us, as our sages said (Baba Kama 60), ‘And it start with the righteous first.’ And of all the glory Israel had had in the countries of Poland and Lithuania, etc., there remains but the relics in our holy land. Now it is upon us, relics, to correct that dreadful wrong. Each of us remainders should take upon himself, heart and soul, to henceforth intensify the internality of the Torah, and give it its rightful place, according to its merit over the externality of the Torah.
“And then, each and every one of us will be rewarded with intensifying his own internality, meaning the Israel within us, which is the needs of the soul over our own externality, which is the Nations of the World within us, that is, the needs of the body. That force will come to the whole of Israel, until the Nations of the World within us recognize and acknowledge the merit of the great sages of Israel over them, and will listen to them and obey them.
“Also, the internality of the Nations of the World, the Righteous of the Nations of the World, will overpower and submit their externality, which are the destructors. And the internality of the world, too, which are Israel, shall rise in all their merit and virtue over the externality of the world, which are the nations. Then, all the nations of the world will recognize and acknowledge Israel’s merit over them.
“And they shall follow the words (Isaiah 14, 2), ‘And the people shall take them, and bring them to their place: and the house of Israel shall possess them in the land of the Lord.’ And also (Isaiah 49, 22), ‘And they shall bring thy sons in their arms, and thy daughters shall be carried on their shoulders.’ That is what is written in The Zohar (Nasso, p 124b), ‘through this composition,’ which is The Book of Zohar, ‘they will be delivered from exile with mercy.’ Amen, would that be so.