Around the world, people are looking closely at the vote count in America. When it comes to the United States, everyone has an interest. In Israel, too, the split society is split between supporting the candidates. But Israel is different from the rest of the world. If Israeli society manages to unite above its internal disagreements and aversions, it will not have to choose which president is better for it; everyone, including current enemies, will want to help Israel.
Instead of looking overseas for satisfaction or dismay, Israelis should look at one another and make peace among themselves. Nothing hurts Israel more than its internal hatred.
There have always been conflicts and disagreement among Jews. It’s the nature of opinionated people to be obstinate. This is not a problem. The problem begins when we think that we must convince our dissenters that we are right and they are wrong. This will never happen; it isn’t meant to happen.
The Jewish people weren’t meant to agree with one another; they were meant to rise above their disagreements. We might think it’s not important to do so, but the inability to transcend hatred and dispute is the world’s number one problem. Today, everyone is becoming increasingly opinionated and intolerant to other views. Because everyone thinks they are right, we begin to hate each other and want to cancel one another. Unless we find a way to maintain social cohesion, the tension will increase until it snaps and chaos will take over.
The ancient Hebrews were the only ones who found such a way. They discovered that disagreements enrich them, hone their thinking and polish their ideas, as long as they increase their love for one another more than the distance that the disagreements create. In fact, they learned that the purpose of the arguments, and their real benefit, was not the polishing of views, but the increase of love and unity. The disagreements were merely the impetus that drove the Israeli people to deepen their cohesion and strengthen their bonds. This is why The Book of Zohar (BeShalach) stated, “All the wars in the Torah are peace and love.”
Without disagreements, we would become indifferent to each other. The disputes cause us to pay attention to each other and the anger makes us feel uncomfortable. If we succumb to our anger, we end up in hate. But if we strive to love each other just as siblings love each other even when they disagree, then the love between us increases after each dispute, since the intensity of the dispute forces us to match it with love in order not to disintegrate society.
Currently, Israel is sharply divided. This is exactly the point where we must increase our love for one another in order to match it with our mutual dislike. If we do not do so, we will end up in civil war and the country will disintegrate. But if we increase our unity and care for one another above the level of hatred that reveals itself each time, the whole world will see that this is possible and will want to learn from our example. The ability to rise above disputes is the trait that everyone needs and no one has. If we show how we can do this, everyone will be thankful, including our enemies. This is why Israel is the only country whose fate depends solely on its people, and not on external forces.
Featured in The Times of Israel (11/04/2020)