First of all, we feel ourselves in relation to something, because we cannot discuss a feeling in and of itself. Were there only me, I would not feel myself. I feel myself in relation to the environment, the air, the soil, the sun, the flowers—it does not matter what the object is, but feeling oneself means feeling oneself in relation to one’s surroundings. This is how we find ourselves in the world. We grow up from babies into grown adults through a process of discovering ourselves in relation to what surrounds us—the still, vegetative, animate and people.
Finding ourselves in relation to other people is of utmost significance in this process. From the moment we are born, we are surrounded by a family, whether big or small, i.e. people with whom we feel comfortable and safe, and who treat us favorably regardless of how we behave. In relation to our families, we do not have to examine, shrink and restrict ourselves, but we can be as we are, behaving like a baby in its mother’s arms, feeling like the world loves us. Everything is comfortable and positive in such a state.
However, when we grow up, we exit the framework of our families, and enter into other kinds of relations. We then need to discern why other people, whether they are closer or more distant from us, treat us one way or another. We learn from such relations that not all people are equal in their attitude toward us, and so we also have to treat them differently. We then have to restrict ourselves, to not be as open with them as to our families, and to not fully trust them.
Among the people who relate to us in various ways, there are those who are simply strangers, like anyone in the world, but there are also people who treat us in a specific special way, not because of our behavior, but because we belong to a special nation, the Jewish people. That attitude toward us can be positive, but it is mostly negative, i.e. if we are discussing humanity’s attitude to the Jewish people. I have discussed the reasons for the generally-negative attitude toward Jews at length in other places.
Based on the video “Do Jews Feel Different from Other People?” with Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman. Written/edited by students of Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman.
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