“Israel is the heart of the whole world, just as the organs of the body could not exist in the world even for a moment without the heart, so all the nations cannot exist in the world without Israel.”
The Book of Zohar, Pinhas
The Book of Zohar explains why the Polish law is just another expression of an inherent demand that the world has towards Israel
It’s easy to get angry at the Poles for trying to pass legislation that downplays their part in the Nazi crimes of the previous century. We can label them Holocaust deniers, blame them for distorting the truth, rewriting the historical narrative, and yes, we could even classify this as a form of anti-Semitism.
But let’s face it: anti-Semitism was not born yesterday. Therefore, beyond anger and frustration, we should try to understand where it’s coming from, and what can be done to solve it at its root.
The Demand from Jews Throughout History
In the early 1920s, Henry Ford, who was a known anti-Semite, published a series of booklets titled The International Jew where he wrote that “society has a large claim against him [the Jew] that he cease his exclusiveness, that he cease exploiting the world, that he cease making Jewish groups the end and all of his gains, and that he begin to fulfill, in a sense his exclusiveness has never yet enabled him to fulfill, the ancient prophecy that through him all the nations of the earth should be blessed.”
Similarly, famous author Leo Tolstoy wrote that “the Jew is the symbol of eternity. … He is the one who for so long had guarded the prophetic message and transmitted it to all mankind. A people such as this can never disappear. The Jew is eternal. He is the embodiment of eternity.”
If you look into it, you will find numerous statements from various thinkers throughout history, that sound much like the above, some more anti-Semitic, some less and some even favorable toward the Jewish people. But what exactly is that inherent demand that they express toward the Jews? And why can it take the form of blaming us for all the evils in the world, as many anti-Semites do?
The Zohar: The Nations Cannot Exist Without Israel
The Book of Zohar is a seminal ancient Jewish text that offers an extraordinary explanation: “Israel is the heart of the whole world, just as the organs of the body could not exist in the world even for a moment without the heart, so all the nations cannot exist in the world without Israel.”
In other words, just as the role of the heart in the human body is to be the driving force for blood to circulate throughout the body, the role of Israel is to drive the force of unity and human connection that brings livelihood and abundance to all nations of the world.
In light of The Zohar, anti-Semitism should be interpreted differently. It is like an indicator, an alert mechanism that turns on when human society is nearing a state of crisis. And while not all anti-Semites can articulate it, they somehow sense that the world’s problems have everything to do with the Jewish people.
But how is all of this possible?
The Book of Zohar maps out the forces operating our world and human society. It explains that the terms “Israel” and “The Nations” are not just people divided to groups on planet Earth. Rather, they also represent desires that drive human beings from within. “Israel” represents desires for unity and connection, while “Nations” represents desires for abundance and pleasure. The thing is that the abundance and pleasure in human society depend on unity and human connection.
The introduction to The Book of Zohar describes the mechanism: “When a person from Israel enhances and dignifies their internality, which is Israel in that person, over the externality, which is the nations of the world in him… one makes the children of Israel soar upward in the internality and externality of the world as well, and the nations of the world, which are the externality, to recognize and acknowledge the value of the children of Israel.
In contrast, if an individual from Israel enhances and appreciates one’s externality, which is the nations of the world in him, more than inner Israel in him… one causes the externality of the world in general – the nations of the world – to soar ever higher and overcome Israel, degrading them to the ground, and the children of Israel, the internality in the world, to plunge deep down.”
Simply put, this means that when Israel doesn’t fulfill its function, they block the abundance from circulating to the rest of the world, generating a negative pressure that accumulates within the nations of the world, which is the root-cause of anti-Semitism.
Reversing the Trend
So how can we increase our sensitivity and turn on “the Israel function” within us?
The Zohar doesn’t just explain the situation, it also provides the remedy. The Zohar’s texts describe lofty states of connection between us that elevate the whole of humanity to wholeness and perfection. When we engage in these texts, we raise our sensitivity and activate that Israel functions within us.
According to The Zohar, the Jewish customs and traditions we are familiar with are in no way sufficient if we wish to fulfill our role in the world. It writes poignantly: “Woe unto them… that make the Torah dry, without any moisture comprehension and reason. They confine themselves to the practical part of the Torah, and do not wish to try to understand the wisdom of Kabbalah, to know and to understand the secrets of the Torah and the flavors of Mitzva. Woe unto them, for with these actions they bring about the existence of poverty, ruin, and robbery, looting, killing, and destructions in the world.”
In other words, as long as we disparage the tremendous power inherent in The Book of Zohar and in the study of the wisdom of Kabbalah, we walk blindly in the world, increasing our self-concern, causing the natural law of anti-Semitism to play out. As the introduction to The Zohar writes: “In such a generation, all the destructors among the nations of the world raise their heads and wish primarily to destroy and to kill the children of Israel.”
Unconsciously, the world feels that we carry a unique remedy within us that will enable goodness, peace, and happiness to all. It isn’t hi-tech solutions, revolutionary medicine or advanced agriculture that the world awaits from us. It is only one thing: “to be a light unto nations,” a beacon of unity, a nation that generates a force of human connection that brings the world together. That is the only way to break the vicious cycle of anti-Semitism and gain the world’s affection. And that is the only hard and fast law, legislated by nature, that we need to be worried about.