Anxiety has spread among UK’s Jews over Labour’s potential victory in two weeks. For the first time in history, a prominent voice within the British Jewish community urges to refrain from voting for the party’s leader, Jeremy Corbyn, a politician with a long anti-Semitic background.
The spiritual leader of the UK’s 62 orthodox synagogues, Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, warned that in the upcoming elections the “soul of the nation is at stake,” if Labour forms the next government. Leading rabbis also recommended that European Jews “must hide themselves and not stand out in their words and actions,” in light of today’s rampant anti-Semitism.
However, regardless of the election outcome, Jews will continue being felt as an increasing problem, since anti-Semitism is a much bigger phenomenon than any candidate.
Also, keeping our heads down, which failed to help us in the past, will likewise fail to help us today. A century ago, before the Holocaust, Jews acted in a similar fashion with terrible results. We can already see that the avoidance of wearing Jewish distinctive items like the kippah or the Star of David, has not helped diminish vicious attacks on Jews in Europe or anywhere else.
Over the last few years, anti-Semitism passed a boiling point, and it is now bubbling all around the world. Therefore, anti-Semitism demands a more thorough investigation and explanation, to penetrate through to the root of the problem, and seek a solution that would both satisfy those who hold anti-Semitic sentiment, as well as securing the acceptance, safety and peace of the Jewish people.
Today As Yesterday
Hatred against Jews is soaring worldwide, but anti-Semitism in the Old Continent seems to be spreading more rapidly across the major cities, with violent incidents reported almost on a daily basis. Such animosity is fueled by anti-Semitic tropes, as according to a recent survey conducted in 18 countries by the Anti-Defamation League, one in four Europeans expressed profound anti-Semitic sentiments.
Rav Yehuda Ashlag (Baal HaSulam), the foremost Kabbalist of our era, worked with all his strength to warn the Jews of his native Poland that the danger of annihilation was approaching. He also wrote about his concern in his 1933 article, The Solution:
I have also spoken to the leaders of the generation, but at the time, my words were not accepted, though I was screaming like a banshee, warning about the destruction of the world. Alas, it made no impression. Now, however, after the atom and hydrogen bombs, I think the world will believe me that the end of the world is coming rapidly, and Israel will be the first nation to burn, as in the previous war. Thus, today it is good to awaken the world to accept the only remedy, and they will live and exist.” (Yehuda Ashlag, The Solution)
Baal HaSulam explained to Jews that it was their role to pioneer humanity’s correction. In nature, there are two forces—positive and negative, giving and receiving, love and hatred—and the Jews’ unification would awaken the positive, giving and loving force of nature into the world. By doing so, humanity would experience a newfound harmony and happiness, and the Jews would thus fulfill their role as “a light unto the nations.”
On the other hand, if the Jews do not unite, but continue to sink deeper into egoistic quicksand, i.e., self-centered thoughts and actions, they block the light, i.e., the force of unification dwelling in nature, from shining through to humanity. As more and more problems surface from growing dissatisfaction with life, and divisiveness between people, so does increasing hatred toward Jews. At first, the negative force acts in humanity’s subconscious. Afterward, it strikes openly and violently in tragedy.
Two Ways to Unity
Baal HaSulam taught that the Jewish people have two ways to advance: positively or negatively, through unity or separation. One way is a willful striving for unity a priori. The other way is through undesirable pressure to unite through hatred and violence upon them.
Unfortunately, at the time, no one listened to Baal HaSulam, and he was instead forced to leave Europe, with his son, my teacher, Rav Baruch Shalom Halevi Ashlag (Rabash), and enter the Land of Israel. After a while, his family also immigrated, and the Jewish community that remained encountered the Holocaust.
History repeats and the message remains: Jews have an essential role toward the nations of the world. However, they are remote from fulfilling their original role. Most are even unaware of the method that is available to them. But the questions increase and push to awaken the sentiments and common sense:
- Why didn’t the hatred of Jews disappear after the horrifying Holocaust?
- Why do the nations of the world have such a burning hatred toward Jews?
- Why is anti-Semitism rising globally?
The answers to these questions, together with the path to unity, rest in the method of connection: the wisdom of Kabbalah. It can help us become an example and model of unity for all people, especially for the citizens of Britain. If the Jews of Britain will start prioritizing unification above all other engagements, they will be able to awaken the attention of both Jews and non-Jews in Britain, and thus gradually anti-Semitism will become a non-issue, not only among the leadership of the Labour party, but in all walks of life.
Featured in The Times of Israel