Highlights from an interview with op-ed columnist and radio talk show host Prof. David Rosenthal
Below is the first collection of highlights from an interview recorded on July 12, 2021, where columnist and radio talk show host Prof. David Rosenthal asked kabbalist, scientist, and global thinker Dr. Michael Laitman about Kabbalah, current affairs, and his predictions for the future.
* Elaborated bios at the bottom of the page.
DR: It is a great pleasure to be able to interview you, Dr. Laitman, thank you very much for your consent. I would like to begin with a question regarding the Torah [Old Testament]. How can we summarize the content of the Torah, as Rabbi Akiva said, “Love your neighbor as yourself, this is a great rule in the Torah,” or as Hillel said, “That which you hate, do not do unto your neighbor, and the rest is commentary, go study”?
ML: This is precisely the essence of the Torah. The purpose of the Torah is to bring every single person into a bond with all the people so that all of us, regardless of sex, religion, or nationality, will unite in our hearts in such a way that there will be no difference between people. This is the purpose of our being in this world. Through the wisdom of Kabbalah, we try to approach this goal. The wisdom of Kabbalah also teaches that we are nearing a time when this should happen, so let us hope we will achieve it.
DR: In that case, I would like to ask why this generation has to deal with the pandemic, why did it deserve it?
ML: In the wisdom of Kabbalah, this generation is called “the generation of the end of correction.” Basically, we need to complete all the corrections that humanity went through so far, and in this generation, each and every person should implement it and shift from receiving to giving, from hate to love.
In order to accelerate this development, all kinds of troubles come to us in order to wake us up, and push us toward correction, so we will ask why these troubles are coming. One of these troubles is the current pandemic.
We’re paying great attention to technological development, politics, and other things, but we’re ignoring human development, and we are still unwilling to recognize each other. This is our main problem, and this is why this pandemic has come. It surrounds us on all sides; it is an integral woe, common to all of us, so if we don’t want to understand that we all belong to one humanity, such blows will make us feel this more and more each time until we are forced to establish more humane relationships, at least.
DR: In what way should humanity focus on human development?
ML: By learning that we are in a system that requires of us to become closer to each other and establish good relationships despite the negative, egoistic forces in each of us. We must learn to be considerate. It is not about being nice to one another, but about bringing ourselves to congruence with the surrounding nature, which is completely integral. Therefore, our relations must also be integral. Basically, the Torah, and all of Judaism, speak only about this: achieving the state of “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
DR: So what do you think will happen because of the pandemic?
ML: I said a year and a half ago, when the pandemic only started, that it won’t end and we will suffer blow after blow, with breaks in between, that the purpose of these blows is to wear us down so we stop frantically chasing technological developments as we have been doing for the past several decades. We need to understand, as a result of the blows, that the problem is in the connection between us, and begin to pay more attention and efforts to it.
DR: What are the main challenges facing humanity today?
ML: The blows we are suffering, and the ones we will suffer, should make us see that if we don’t understand it by ourselves, nature teaches us that we must abstain from the race for technological, industrial, and financial dominance, and instead, we should pay attention to our human development, to the education we need to give—not only to children, but to entire nations, to all of humanity.
Our current international relations are so horrible that I see it as a threat. I think that as a result of the blows, we will begin to understand that we have no choice but to start nurturing the human part of us. Nature will no longer let us go in directions that contradict unity. It will force us to unite, if not voluntarily then through a path of suffering. Because of it, the blows we’re suffering now are actually a cure. They may not be sweet, but they heal.
DR: Do you think we could end up with another world war?
ML: Perhaps. It is written in several places in the wisdom of Kabbalah that a third, and even a fourth world war are possible, and even a nuclear war. Either way, it is all in order to shake up humanity and show us that there is no alternative to internal development, to correct the evil in humankind.
DR: There is a rise in antisemitism in many places in the world. How will it end and how can we avoid it?
ML: We cannot fight against antisemitism because we ourselves are stirring it up. The people of Israel was established in ancient Babylon by Abraham the Patriarch [Our Father]. We were a collection of many nations that lived in Babylon, and Abraham assembled whomever wanted to join him and turned them into a group. He called that group Ysrael [Israel], from the Hebrew words Yashar-El [Straight to God], meaning straight to the Creator. The members of that group were drawn to reveal the Creator. Abraham took them to the Land of Canaan, today’s Israel, and this is called the “people of Israel.” In other words, [Israel] is not a nation; it is not counted among the seventy nations, it is a collection from all the nations who joined together in order to attain the upper force. Today’s Jews are the progeny of that group.
The rest of the nations, which remained in Babylon, later dispersed throughout the world. Nature’s forces operate in them and make them understand that their good future depends on the connection among everyone, which in turn depends on that group called the “people of Israel,” since if they unite and achieve correction, all the nations will benefit. But if they don’t unite and don’t achieve the correction of the world, all the nations suffer. This is the reason for antisemitism.
To this day, we see that all the nations of the world accuse us of being the cause of all that is bad in the world. This is so also according to the wisdom of Kabbalah, so we cannot tell them that they are wrong when they are right about that. Therefore, there is nothing we can do but unite among us and by this calm all the negative forces in the world, and the world will return to peace.
Everything depends on us. This is why the nations of the world accuse us of being the power of evil in the world. They are right about it; they feel it from within; it is a natural feeling within them, so we have no choice but unite among us and achieve our spiritual degree. Then we will be able to project to them the spiritual force that will allow them to unite, as well, and obtain all the good in creation.
Meanwhile, we are standing between them and the Creator like a cork that does not allow the abundance to flow from the upper force to our world. This is why everything depends on our connection.
DR: So what is the importance of Israel in the near future?
ML: Israel is critically important! Basically, Israel is that same group (the people, not the country) that should unite and exemplify to all of humanity how we should all unite. Israel is like an extract of all of humanity; therefore, if we unite, all of humanity will begin to unite after us. This is what makes Israel so important.
With each passing day, we will discover more and more the importance of [Israel’s] role. If we do not create the connection among us in order to set an example for the nations of the world, we will not be doing our duty. As a result, we will feel more and more hatred and pressure from the nations of the world.
Things will not get better, only worse. It won’t help to try to rationalize things to the nations; it won’t help because they are right, and they feel it naturally. We will not convince them. They may smile at us, but they cannot stop hating us because deep down, they feel that we really are doing harm to all of humanity.
More highlights will be published soon.
* Elaborated Bios:
David A. Rosenthal
Political scientist, analyst, researcher, journalist and columnist in various national and international media outlets.
Host of “The Footprints of Sepharad in the New World,” a radio show on Radio Sepharad about Sephardic heritage in America.
Michael Laitman is a global thinker living in Israel. Laitman has a PhD in Philosophy and Kabbalah and an MS in Medical Bio-Cybernetics. He is a prolific writer who has published over 40 books, which have been translated into dozens of languages. He is a sought-after speaker and has written for or been interviewed by The New York Times, The Jerusalem Post, Huffington Post, Corriere della Sera, Chicago Tribune, Miami Herald, Newsmax, The Globe, RAI TV, and Bloomberg TV, FOX Radio, among others. Dr. Laitman teaches live daily lessons to an audience of some two million people worldwide, simultaneously interpreted into English, Spanish, Hebrew, Italian, Russian, French, Turkish, German, Hungarian, Farsi, Ukrainian, Chinese, Japanese, and more than 20 other languages. For more info, visit www.michaellaitman.com.