The war between Russia and Ukraine leaves me bewildered, uneasy, and mainly worried, very worried. I have many students in both countries, and I care deeply for all of them. These two nations that have lived side by side for so long, have so much in common. They have been through a lot, but I didn’t think that they would end up in an all-out war. As unfeasible as it may seem today, the only solution is still to rise above our egos and unite, since in the end, it is only the ego that sets the tone in this conflict.
Unless we, all the people, not only those in the embroiled countries, rise above our egos, the war will spread to other countries and will have horrendous consequences. As former deputy commander-in-chief of NATO Richard Sherriff said, the situation “could turn into a catastrophic war… on a scale not seen in Europe since 1945.”
Precisely because two nations that have so much in common—religion, intermarriages, and more—are emphasizing what divides them, I see the situation as ominous to the entire world. They are building a wall between them in their hearts, which will be very difficult to break down later.
But for all the hatred that is now erupting, in the end, we will have no choice but to rise above it and unite. Despite the agony and exploding rage, the war will hasten our realization that our only chance for happiness is not through destruction of others.
Negativity has never produced positive results. This is why eventually, all the parties will succumb to exhaustion and despair, and agree to try the path of mutual consideration, and even mutual concern. I hope and pray that it will come soon and with as few casualties as possible.
When my teacher, RABASH, passed away, he left behind many notes where he wrote down his thoughts. After some years, I published them under the title Assorted Notes. Below is one that seems particularly pertinent today, and which I titled “Love of Others”: I look at one tiny dot, called “love of others,” and I think about it: What can I do to help people? As I look at the public, I see people’s suffering, illnesses, pains, and the suffering of individuals inflicted by the collective, meaning wars among nations. And besides prayer, there is nothing to give.