Warning signs of a global recession are becoming more evident, warn economic analysts. Germany’s economy, the largest in Europe and one of the strongest in the world, is heading into recession, while China’s growth has slowed to its lowest point since 2002. Besides the economic problems, a Russian nuclear accident that caused a measurable increase in radiation levels, and prolonged massive protests in Hong Kong that have continued week after week, are additional troubling news headlines that have yet to jolt the general public. So why then should Jews be worried? The hard lessons of history have taught us that when things start to collapse in society, sooner rather than later, Jews will be blamed. However, before this happens, the Jews have the ability to apply a special preventive treatment: to rise above all differences and unite.
First of all, it is important to understand the invisible connection between Jews and the future of the world. Jews have always been a unique phenomenon on a global scale—a collection of people with exceptionally well-developed desires to enjoy, who strive to earn and maximize every opportunity in every field. The first time that Jews were able to transcend the deeply-ingrained, innate trait of individualistic success and unite into one nation was about 3,800 years ago in ancient Babylon as a tribal society made up of people from different backgrounds, cultures and languages (a society very similar to today’s humanity).
Abraham gathered likeminded followers around him and taught them the wisdom of Kabbalah, the wisdom of connecting and living under the premise of love of others. This group of Babylonians, who were initially estranged from one another, undertook Abraham’s guidance toward uniting and became known as the people of Israel. This group has also been referred to as “Jews,” from the Hebrew “yehudi,” meaning one who is in unison and harmony with nature. From the time Israel was founded, it had only one mission and purpose: to be a “light unto the nations” and to serve as an example of unity and love of others to the rest of humanity.
Later on, at Mount Sinai, the people of Israel received the Torah, the wisdom of Kabbalah: a method of connection for all human beings so that they would be able to transcend the divisions and conflicts above the ego and live “as one man with one heart.” However, after the destruction of the Second Temple, once the brotherly love became lost and the value of exalted unity ceased to illuminate the spiritual vision of the people, they dispersed into 2,000 years of exile and wandering from one place to another.
The wisdom of Kabbalah, or “Reception” in English (from the Hebrew lekabel, “to receive” the upper light), was hidden. Yet the method endured intact and operational, so that when Jews endeavor to connect, the positive force of connection flows through them to the entire human network, balancing the negative force of egoistic self-interest—the source of all division—and elevating the world. This force erases fractures in human relations and restores relationships between countries and societies, including those at an international level.
Therefore, in light of the global turmoil we face today, Jews have an obligation to fulfill their spiritual role toward humanity. As Rav Kook, the first Chief Rabbi of Israel, wrote, “Israel has the secret of unity in the world.” Otherwise, anti-Semitism will rain down upon us and the nations of the world will point an accusing finger at us, demanding our unity. As the prophet Isaiah said, “And the peoples shall take them, and bring them to their place; and the house of Israel shall possess them in the land of the Lord” (Isaiah 14:12). However, no one promised that the road would be easy and pleasant. Indeed, it could well be difficult and painful. The choice of route depends entirely on us.
The first step toward realization of Isaiah’s prophecy is to spur the people of Israel in the construction of a new humanity, to raise awareness among Jews of their role in the world. With every anti-Semitic event that takes place, we must stop and consider why this is happening. With every explosion or horrific incident, we must rediscover our purpose as Jews in the world. We now have a great opportunity to open the gates to mutual acceptance and support for all with the use of the connection method we received from Abraham. In this way, we will be able to change the face of global society from one of hostility to one of unity.
Featured in The Times of Israel