In Hamas’ terror attack on October 7, 2023, the group did not just kill innocent Israeli civilians, they also made videos of their murders showing pride in their actions.
One of my students asked me about this: How could people reach a state where they kill innocent people, including women and children, and be proud of it?
The problem is that it does not influence us, the people of Israel. It is not the first time in history that such atrocities have taken place toward the Jewish people, and again, the problem is that we fail to draw the right conclusions from these treacherous incidents.
That people resort to actions toward each other that are worse than animals’ treatment of one another is because we are egoistic beings who enjoy in the suffering of others. Only people enjoy in the suffering of others as a means of raising their own status.
If we thought that today, in the 21st century, we as a human race have developed in our knowledge to a point where we are beyond wars and conflicts, it is far from the case. Where do we see that people today are more enlightened than people of the past? What do we see that people wish for other people in the world in today’s culture and education? We see example after example of people wanting to enjoy at the expense of other people and the world.
In the mid-2010s, ISIS made similar public displays as Hamas’ October 7 attacks, taking pride in torturing and executing swathes of innocent people who they deemed as their enemies. People might pin this kind of behavior to Islamist extremists, but it is a narrow view. For instance, only 80 years ago, we saw such behavior in Germany, a country that was renowned for its high cultural impact on the world.
The murderous inclination exists in the egoistic human nature that prioritizes self-benefit over anything else, but such an inclination is especially active toward the Jewish people. Why? It is because we Jews need to serve as a positive unifying example to the world.
Kabbalist Yehuda Ashlag (Baal HaSulam) writes about this in his article, “The Arvut (Mutual Guarantee)”: “The Israeli nation had been constructed as a sort of gateway by which the sparks of purity would shine upon the whole of the human race the world over.”
If we do not become a positive unifying example to the world, then the world treats us worse than anybody else.
The ability to unite above egoistic and divisive drives is what made us the people of Israel to begin with. And as it was then so it is today: We need to fix our connections to each other so that we reach a state of “love your neighbor as yourself” and that “each shall help his friend,” i.e., that we build a close, loving and supportive connection to each other above our divisions.
After the tragic events of October 7, there has been an awakening of a supportive atmosphere among and toward the people of Israel. Among the people of Israel, it is due to the fear that a similar incident will occur tomorrow. However, when this fear fades away, the people of Israel will once again become divided.
This is why I and my organization invest a lot of effort in regularly disseminating educational content on the need for unity, with an additional emphasis on the unity of the Jewish people. If we can awaken ourselves to unite above division through education in more peaceful times, then we would see how the world’s attitude toward us would shift from negative to positive, and our unity would protect us from horrors such as those that again arose against us on October 7.
Based on “An Inside Look” with Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman and Oren Levi on October 15, 2023. Written/edited by students of Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman.