When a debate turns into hate, we are sealing our fate

No emperor on earth has ever defeated us, but when we forgot that all Jews are responsible for one another, we sometimes defeated ourselves. Now, another such defeat is within sight.

Jerusalem  (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
To celebrate the removal of the metal detectors from the entrances to Temple Mount, Rami Hamdallah, prime minister of the Palestinian Authority, said, “Our nation showed that through steadfastness, national unity and peaceful struggle, Jerusalem will remain our eternal capital city, and the crown of the identity uniting us.”
As the PA , Jordan, Turkey and even Malaysia are bolstering the Arab front against us, Israeli politicians are bickering among themselves trying to pin the blame for the Temple Mount crisis on each other.
Why are we so hateful toward each other? What makes us loathe each other so profoundly that many of us prefer to ally with our enemies rather than so much as talk to another Jew advocating a different view? Just recently, former chief rabbi of the UK Lord Jonathan Sacks said in a video he posted, “We are ferocious arguers, and that’s part of our strength.
But, when it allows us to split apart, then it becomes terribly dangerous. Because no emperor on earth has ever been able to defeat us, but we have on occasion been able to defeat ourselves. ...Remember the ultimate basis of Jewish peoplehood.
All Jews are responsible for one another.”
However, this basis did not come easy to us. The originators of our nation came from different tribes all over Babylon and the Near East. The only thing that held them together was their belief that Abraham’s tenet of mercy and love of others was the right way to live, and so they followed him. But it took many more generations and many more disputes until we finally established our nationhood, when, at the foot of Mount Sinai, we committed to rise above the disunity that was our share in Egypt and unite “as one man with one heart.”
By repeatedly overcoming their hatred, the Israelites developed a unique method of bonding that, to this day, exists nowhere else. This is why Rabbi Akiva said, “Love your neighbor as yourself is the great rule of the Torah.”
Because the Jews originated from different tribes, they had nothing in common unless they submitted themselves to the idea that unity transcends all other values and considerations.
In the absence thereof, the Jews return to being people from strange and often hostile tribes, unless an outside force compels them to unite. In that spirit, the book Likutey Etzot (Assorted Counsels) states, “The essence of peace is to... make peace [above] two opposites.”
The unique ability of the Jews to unite above alienation made them ideal messengers of a method to unite the whole of humanity. This is why they were commanded to share it – to be “a light unto nations” by setting an example of unity above conflicts.
Indeed, as long as we maintain our unity, we thrive. When we abandon it, the world regards us as malignant and the rage we call “antisemitism” resurfaces.
This is why the book Maor VaShemesh states, “The prime defense against calamity is love and unity.”
As division strikes every faction of the Jewish People, we are growing farther and farther away from being “a light unto nations.” Instead of unity, we radiate divisiveness and mutual loathing. In such a state, it will not be very long before the world finds some pretext to revoke the UN resolution that initiated the establishment of the State of Israel. The fact that the Jews in Israel and throughout the world will be defenseless and persecuted once again will be of no consequence to anyone.
The famous Tikkun No. 30 from the Zohar states that when Jews are separated, they “bring about the existence of poverty, ruin and robbery, looting, killing, and destructions in the world.” When Prof. of Koranic studies Imad Hamato stated, “Even when fish fight in the sea, the Jews are behind it,” he inadvertently reflected the very words of the Zohar.
Our separation unites the Arab world against us and pushes the rest of the nations to support them. If we had unity, we would not need innovative ways to justify Israel’s existence. The world would feel our contribution to it without the need to verbalize it. “The success of our nation depends only on our brotherly love, on connecting to one another as members of a single family,” wrote Shmuel David Luzzatto.
Jonathan Sacks’ video, which I mentioned earlier, describes the Jewish People as a family: “We may not agree on anything, but we remain one extended family. And the thing about that is if you disagree with a friend, tomorrow he may no longer be your friend. But if you disagree with your family, tomorrow they are still your family.”
If we could be as Sacks described toward each other, we would be “a light unto nations.” Because we are not, we are bringing on ourselves the same atrocities that our disunity has brought upon us throughout the ages.
But we can stop this downward spiral. Shem MiShmuel says, “When Israel are ‘as one man with one heart,’ they are as a fortified wall against the forces of evil.” It is our choice whether to be a role-model nation that shows how to raise unity over disunity, or face the condemnation of the nations once more for causing all that is wrong with the world.
The author has a PhD in philosophy and Kabbalah and an MSc in medical bio-cybernetics.
He was the prime disciple of Kabbalist Rabbi Baruch Shalom Ashlag. He has written over 40 books, which have been translated into dozens of languages.