A trip to a past with a striking resemblance to today’s reality toward Jews. That is how I would describe my recent visit to Berlin and Nuremberg, where I could experience a dense atmosphere against Jews, so common these days in basically any part of the world. However, my most recent encounter with anti-Semitic feelings was actually in Bulgaria.
Our annual European Kabbalah Convention took place in Borovets, Bulgaria two weeks ago. We arrived from Israel a few days before the beginning of the event, which gathered hundreds of my students, to do some sightseeing. We rented a modern house in a rundown and sleepy village. It was an isolated house placed between a cemetery and a monastery. It was a very quiet place, with one store and one café, where elderly people spend their days. When I first approached them, I could immediately feel a hostile attitude and notice how they clammed up. Even though there was no external sign that could reveal my origin, I felt a warning light turned on inside them in relation to the fact that a group of Jews had entered their village.
The Role of the Jews in the World
It was clear to me that it wasn’t them, it was me. They had no real choice to love or reject, to embrace or hate. I felt what the wisdom of Kabbalah teaches: Humanity is like a machine that follows absolute laws of nature, and we, Jews, are responsible for operating this machine for the world’s betterment or the contrary.
That is why I felt ashamed. The attitude of the elderly Bulgarians reflected the lack of the correct action on my part, on our part, the Jews.
Why does such responsibility rest on the Jewish nation?
As it is written in the seminal book in Kabbalah, The Book of Zohar: “As the organs of the body cannot exist in the world even a minute without the heart, all the other nations cannot exist in the world without Israel.”
Similarly, in the words of the book Sefat Emet [True Language], of Yehuda Leib Arie Altar (ADMOR of Gur):
“The children of Israel became guarantors to correct the entire world … everything depends on the children of Israel. To the extent that they correct themselves, all creations follow them. As the students follow the teacher, the whole of creation follows the children of Israel.
What Is Israel’s Task in the Correction of the World?
Correction, according to our sages, means to become united, as a precondition to deliver that unity to the rest of the world. Until we implement our role, humanity’s demand for a better life with more social cohesion manifests as anti-Semitism that will never rest.
74 years ago saw the beginning of the Nuremberg trials, the prosecution of the heads of Nazi Germany leadership who were tried for planning and carrying out war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Back then, Germany was the most developed culture. It was easy to point out and condemn the guilty. Today, however, due to our living in a much more interdependent global world, if we were to place Israel’s haters in the dock, we would probably need to indict the whole of humanity. The number and range of anti-Semitic incidents is beyond comprehension, both percentage-wise and also in its expansion to faraway corners of the world.
With an instinctive will, the world feels that the springboard to a better, happier and more positively connected world is in the hands of the Jews. The Jews, however, disregard the nations of the world. We deal with selfish trifles that have nothing to do with our role to spread a spirit of unification to humanity. This angers the nations of the world. It is an animosity that is increasingly showing itself to reach abysmal hatred, and it explodes in our faces more and more.
However, I blame no one. I do not accuse any nation. I only judge one person: myself – myself and my people – the Jewish people. We have the choice. We assume the responsibility because we were given the method that can bring about a significantly positive shift in the world. The Israeli nation is a substantial part of the human puzzle, a part that has a role to unite, and then through our unity awaken the power of love and spread it to humanity, to be a “light unto the nations.”
The Israeli nation has to become aware of its duty and accurately interpret what the world wants from us. We must learn, analyze and internalize it first, and then explain it adequately to the nations of the world, so they can pressure us in a correct and peaceful way to fulfill our role, and not through crimes and threats.
Such a change of attitude toward us will happen when we help humanity unite and awaken the positive unifying power. We will then all experience a completely new and improved world filled with goodness.
Featured in The Times of Israel