Thirty days to the elections in Israel, Israelis are so entrenched in their daily fix of political and cultural bashing, that they barely notice the global resurgence of anti-Semitism.
A giant parade in Belgium featured floats of two Hasidic Jews reaching out for money with money bags behind them. In the U.S., the Democratic Party softened its condemnation of anti-Semitism and made do with a lukewarm announcement, pledging to “combat hate of all kinds.” The next day a fan of the Berlin Union football team caused an outrage by tweeting that Israeli footballer Almog Cohen should be sent “to the chamber.”
However, the fact that headlines are increasingly drawing attention to the Jews is welcome, because all of us must begin to ask some serious questions about the root of anti-Semitism and the connection between the Jews and the rest of the world.
Let us briefly recount the birth story of the Jewish people: Some 3,800 years ago, in ancient Babylon, a priest named Abraham traveled to the various the tribes and clans who lived there. Amidst the growing human ego, he was looking for individuals who were willing to choose unity above all differences.
Thus, Abraham assembled a group of representatives from the cradle of civilization and turned them into a model of global unity. They learned how to discover the deeper binding force of nature, which connects human beings above all their differences.
Over time, that group left Babylon and grew in scale to the proportions of a nation. As long as they maintained their unity, they also radiated it to the rest of humanity. Or in other words, they were being a “light unto the nations.”
However, the human ego continued to grow out of control and ultimately led to division and conflict among the Jewish nation, just as it did among the rest of the world.
And so, Jews have forgotten their destiny. We have forgotten that if we abandon the unifying force that guides us, we no longer serve our purpose in the world, and invite hatred against us. As Kabbalist Yehuda Ashlag, “Baal HaSulam” wrote, we have forgotten that “the Israeli nation had been established as a kind of gateway, by which the sparks of purity will flow onto all of mankind across the world, until they develop and come to understand the pleasantness and serenity of love of others.”
If we do not rekindle the same kind of connection that has established our nationhood, and has been dormant for some 2,000 years, anti-Semitism will never stop.
The major difference between today and the 1930s is that it was only the Führer of Nazi Germany who openly pushed for the extermination of the Jews. From now on, manifestations of hatred towards Jews will multiply everywhere in the world. It will transcend geography, culture, religion and language. Anti-Semitism will not distinguish between a Republican and a Democratic Jew, a religious Jew or a secular Jew, an Ashkenazi Jew or a Sephardic Jew.
It is also a mistake to think of the State of Israel as a place of refuge. As things will escalate, it will be easier for the world to push the Jews to a place where they can isolate and sanction them.
The only place of refuge is our connection. Just as it was in Abraham’s tent: unity, love, caring and mutual responsibility put us in contact with the binding force of nature itself, so we can share with the rest of mankind. This is the only way to fulfill our true role in the world, and stop the growing waves of hatred towards us.
Featured in The Times of Israel