“If it is impossible to blow the shofar of redemption, the enemies of Israel, Amalek, Hitler, etc. will come and call us to redemption, they warn us and give us no respite.”
– Rav Abraham HaCohen Kook
After periods of Israel warring with all neighboring countries in its radius, its current enemy on duty, which warns and gives it no respite, is Iran.
Last week, the time came when years of muscle flexing between the two countries erupted in a few initial jabs. Hours after claiming Israel’s forces in the Golan Heights were targeted by Iranian rockets, Israel retaliated by firing dozens of missiles at Iranian positions in Syria. The short but fierce conflict raised fears that violence in the region might be escalating and heading toward a direct confrontation between the two enemies.
The Only Way to Protect the People of Israel
I am no expert on international conflict resolution. History, however, has taught me that Israel will always be in humanity’s sights, and it will not be allowed to rest, precisely because of the unique role the people of Israel have toward the world: to connect “as one man with one heart” and provide a positive example of connection to humanity, i.e. to be “a light unto nations.” Fulfilling this role is the remedy that can protect the people of Israel from trouble. Until we achieve a certain quality and quantity of positive connection above all our differences, we can expect tensions to continue rising.
Great Jewish leaders throughout the ages circulated this message however they could. Rabbi Kalman Kalonymus wrote in Maor va Shemesh (Light and Sun): “When there are love, unity, and friendship between each other in Israel, no calamity can come upon them.” Similarly, Rabbi Shmuel Bornsztain wrote in Shem mi Shmuel (A Name Out of Samuel): “When Israel are as one man with one heart, they are as a fortified wall against the forces of evil.” Likewise, Rabbi Yehuda Leib Arieh Altar, the ADMOR of Gur, stressed in Sefat Emet (True Tongue): “Israel’s unity induces great salvations and removes all the slanderers.”
Why the World Revolves Around Israel
The people of Israel act as a central junction in the human network. If we try to connect positively above our differences, we let nature’s positive connective force flow through us into the entire human network. As a result, people start changing, albeit unconsciously. Connection would become more valued, and as a byproduct, the attitude toward the people of Israel would become more positive. On the other hand, failure to invest in enhancing human connection invites the negative force to further fuel humanity’s subconscious, enabling the flames of hatred to rise higher and higher in our direction. Therefore, in the situation at hand with Iran, it is only a matter of time before the people of Israel will be judged as those to blame for the tension.
Israel Currently Working Against its Divine Mission
In periods when such tensions escalate to all-out war, the climax of fear momentarily connects us. We stop caring about our internal disputes and all focus on protecting ourselves from the external threat. However, such temporary connection has no lasting strength. That is, the moment the external threat goes away, we continue business-as-usual, and all our internal disputes again take center stage.
Therefore, while time is still tilted in our favor, we should concern ourselves with initiating our connection through positive incentives. The world is waiting for us to carry out our fateful mission: to infuse it with positive connection. The more we can inspire relations of care, kindness and love to each other above our divisive inclinations, the more we will pave the path for a key attitude shift to sweep over humanity. It is my hope that we will use our ambitious energy to enliven our connection and spread it to the world sooner rather than later, instead of waiting for turmoil and suffering to goad us from the other end of the spectrum.