Heard of Beer Pong? It’s a drinking game played by young people in the U.S.. They aim a ping pong ball into a half-full beer glass on the other side of the table. When someone scores, the player on the other side drinks the beer from the glass the ball landed in.
Last week some high school students in Atlanta chose to play an outrageous version of Beer Pong: “Jews vs. Nazis.” They uploaded a photo that went viral, showing glasses full of beer laid out in the form of a Star of David on one side, and in the form of a swastika on the other. They were expelled from high school, but this is not the first and surely not the last time we will witness such a phenomenon.
Since the neo-Nazi riots in Charlottesville two weeks ago, 26 anti-Semitic incidents have been reported in the U.S. and the trend is escalating: Swastikas were sprayed on doors, synagogue windows shattered, and the Holocaust memorial in Boston was vandalized. In Britain, anti-Semitism has reached a boiling point with a third of the Jews considering leaving and the vast majority hiding their Jewish identity. In Germany, the word “Israelkritisch” (i.e., being critical of the State of Israel) is being included in the newest edition of the Duden dictionary, and in Poland a money changer issued bills with anti-Semitic stamps showing the symbol of Nazi Germany.
This dizzying pace of deterioration is a wake-up call to world Jewry. Rav Kook wrote: “If the shofar cannot be blown for redemption, the enemies of Israel come and blow in our ears for redemption. They warn us and make noise, and leave us no rest. Amalek, Hitler, etc, awaken for redemption.” (“Essays of Rav Kook.”)
Kabbalist Yehuda Ashlag, a.k.a. Baal HaSulam, wrote at the time: “If we miss the hour to stand up together as one man, with tremendous efforts required in times of danger, the facts we are facing are very threatening.” (“The Nation.”)
The sages of Israel have no interest in sowing fear. Rather, they are trying to help us see the underlying map of natural forces at play. According to the wisdom of Kabbalah, human society is interconnected as a single network and the people of Israel are like central hubs connecting the nodes across the network. They have a decisive and unique role in the system: Connecting “as one man with one heart,” thus providing a positive example for humanity and being “a light unto nations.” When Jews are unified, and not only in times of distress, this unity flows through the entire human network and permeates the human psyche.
However, when Jews do not fulfill their role, they invoke subconscious sentiments among the nations of the world that inspire violence and hatred. The Talmud says it point blank: “No calamity comes to the world but for Israel.” (Yevamot, 63.) The core solution to anti-Semitism, which has reared its ugly head in recent weeks, is one: Jews must unite, and better sooner than later. The choice is in our hands.
Posted on Facebook August 29th, 2017