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The Role of Israel

The descendants of Abraham’s group of Kabbalists are the people of Israel. Before we begin to discuss the role of Israel, it is important to know that there is absolutely no question of nationalism here, as Baal HaSulam puts in his essay, “Matan Torah” (The Giving of the Torah): “Is there, God forbid, nationalism involved here? Of course, only an insane person would think that.” The people of Israel is no better than other nations, but it does possess a unique role in Nature’s plan. Humanity is like a single body, where each of the organs has its own function.

Kabbalists allegorically say that in the beginning, the correction method was offered to every nation, since “the purpose of creation lies on the shoulders of the whole human race, whether black, white, or yellow” (Baal HaSulam, “The Bond”). However, when the Torah was given, none of the nations were ready to receive it; clearly, humanity did not need it yet. For this reason, the method was given to the people of Israel to function as a “transit” for the method that would ultimately be realized by all of humanity.

The people of Israel are different from all other nations. They comprise the same group of Kabbalists that Abraham established from residents of Babylon. Their task is to preserve the correction method throughout human history until the time when everyone needs it. At that time, this group, by now called “the people of Israel,” would be able to realize its function and transfer the correction method to all the nations.

The fall of that group of Kabbalists under the ego’s domination produced within them a sophisticated and unique ego. This was effected so the Jews would speed up the evolution of the world while they were still among the nations.

The nations of the world did not possess sufficient drive for progress, and the Jews’ role was to urge them forward to greater egoistic evolution. Hence, Jews led the cultural, scientific, economic, and technological revolutions. These would accelerate the realization that egoism only brings the world to a dead end, and that we must correct it. Today, along with our awareness of our need to correct the ego, we should learn how to implement the correction method.

There are different phases in this process. First, the people of Israel must correct themselves and regain balance with Nature, which they lost some 2,000 years ago. For this to unfold, they must come to know the correction method they have been detached from, and begin to use it. Once they do that, they will serve as an altruistic example to the whole of humanity, and will fulfill their role of being “a light of the nations.”

When the correction of Israel is transferred to the rest of the world, the second phase in the plan will be realized: the correction of all of humanity. Thus, “When the Children of Israel are complemented with the complete reason, the fountains of intelligence and knowledge shall flow beyond the borders of Israel. They will water all the nations of the world, as it is written (Isaiah 11), ‘for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord.’” (Baal HaSulam, “Introduction to the Tree of Life,” item 4).


The return of the people of Israel to the land of Israel is predetermined in Nature’s plan. To understand it, we must understand the spiritual meaning of the term “the land of Israel.” And for this, we must understand the language that Kabbalists use.

When Kabbalists achieved balance with Nature, they discovered a part of reality that is beyond the range of the egoistic person’s perception. They called that part “The Upper World,” or ”The Spiritual World.” Once they discovered that every element in the Upper World hangs down to our world and begets a corporeal manifestation, they called the elements in the Upper World, “roots,” and their manifestations in the corporeal world, “branches.” Thus, the “language of roots and branches” came to be, based on the parallels between the Upper World and our world.

In the language of the branches, “land” means “desire,” and “Israel” means Yashar El (“straight to God”). Thus, “the land of Israel” designates a desire geared toward an altruistic action.

The generations that lived in the land of Israel before the ruin of the SecondTemple were in a state of spiritual attainment. At that time, there was congruence between the spiritual degree of the people of Israel and its physical presence in the land of Israel, hence, Israel merited being there. As the people lost their spiritual degree and declined under the domination of egoistic desires, the incongruence between the spiritual level of the people of Israel and their presence in the land of Israel, eventually prompted the ruin of the Temple and the exile from the land of Israel.

While in the past their spiritual decline preceded the exile of the people of Israel, to go live among other nations, today the situation is reversed. The physical return of the people to the land of Israel preceded their spiritual return, but the congruence between the spiritual root and the corporeal branch must be rebuilt. The people of Israel must climb by the same path they previously descended, but in the opposite order: the physical return first, the spiritual return second.

Hence, the people of Israel are obligated to achieve the spiritual degree of “the land of Israel,” and this is why the correction method is being revealed to them. As long as Israel is not corrected, its people will feel uncomfortable in that land. It is impossible to live in Israel without having a spiritual ideal; Nature’s forces simply do not allow one to be at rest in that land, without the spiritual congruence.

To encourage the residents of the physical land of Israel to rise to the spiritual level, called “the land of Israel,” reality appears unsafe and disquieting. All the pressures applied on Israel by other countries, as well as through internal social crises in politics, in society, and even in people’s personal lives, are there to compel us to advance toward the goal of our existence in this world.

“In a sentence: As long as we do not raise our goal above the corporeal life, we will have no corporeal revival, because the spiritual and the corporeal in us cannot live in one basket, for we are the children of the idea” (Baal HaSulam, “Exile and Redemption”).

The Book of Zohar and Kabbalists through the generations have declared the return of the people of Israel from exile as the time when the correction of the world would have to take place. Therefore, when the nation returned to Israel, the great Kabbalist, Rav Abraham Isaac HaCohen Kook, who was also the first chief rabbi of Israel, was very outspoken:

“Now the times have come for everyone to know that the salvation of Israel and the salvation of the entire world depend solely on the appearance of the wisdom of the hidden light of the internality of the secrets of the Torah (Kabbalah) in a clear language” (Letters of the Raiah, p.92). “Only when we are what we should be will humanism return to humanity, the highest virtue, whose essence will be able to the spiritual light concealed within its quality; and it will naturally soar in its entirety, and with pride it will know its happiness” Sefer Orot (Book of Lights), p. 155).

We should know that just as the people of Israel are not counted among the seventy nations of the world, but are considered a special group intended to pass the correction method to all of humanity, “the land of Israel” will not exist on Planet Earth unless it is a land where a spiritual nation resides. Therefore, the people of Israel deserve to live in that land only to the extent that they perform their duty. Otherwise, they will not be considered “the people of Israel” and the land will not be considered “the land of Israel.” Israel will then become a land that ejects and repels this people, a land that cannot stand this nation on its soil, “a land that devours its inhabitants” (Numbers, 13:32).

Baal HaSulam predicted that if no changes were made, the very existence of the Jews in the land of Israel would be at risk. In the writings of The Last Generation, he wrote that matters could deteriorate and so many would leave Israel that “bit-by-bit, they will escape the discomfort until too few remain to merit the name “State,” and they will be swallowed among the Arabs.”


If we really want to be a free nation in our land, as our national anthem states, we must implement the same formula that sustained us prior to the ruin and the exile. In place of the separation, alienation, and unfounded hatred that abound today, we must once more be as parts of a single body, and unite with the inclusive Nature.

And the means to achieve this unity atop our hefty egos is to implement the correction method. In truth, we have gathered in the land of Israel primarily due to necessity. Nature’s plan made the nations of the world pressure us, and compel us to escape from the Diaspora to find a haven in Israel. For the most part, people were made to come here as a place of refuge where they could be saved from the pressure of their enemies, or improve their corporeal lives. They did not come to Israel because of an internal drive to bond with love, create a united nation, balance with the altruistic Nature, and then lead all of humanity toward it.

In the end, our present ties will not enable us to face the nations that stand against us, whose internal bonding is much more solid than ours. Our foes are clearly aware of our weakness, as Zeev Magen, PhD, head of the History of the Middle East department at Bar Ilan University explains [22]: “The Iranians and the rest of the fundamentalists are convinced that we are a society devoid of any infrastructure of uniform principles. Moreover, they are convinced that we have already concluded that such an infrastructure cannot exist. Therefore, the fundamentalists are positive that sooner or later they will defeat us and drive us out of here, or at least end our sovereignty. Certainty always overcomes uncertainty. Hence, in their eyes, we are living on barrowed time. A newspaper article recently published in one of the Arab newspapers, ended in a quote from Haminai, who was quoting from the Quran when he said that ‘The Jews will not fight you as one man. You think that they are united, but their hearts are divided.’”

Unity among us can only be achieved when we unite around the realization of our duty to the world. We are not meant to bond in order to improve our situation at the expense of other nations or countries. The “nationalistic” idea of the nation that the wisdom of Kabbalah talks about is as far from “traditional nationalism” as the East is from the West. We must not regard ourselves as superior to others.

Quite the contrary, The “chosen people” means that this people was chosen to serve all the nations. Its duty is to help them achieve equilibrium with Nature, and to reach the degree of the greatest spiritual prosperity. We must regard ourselves as a means towards that end and nothing else; and we will only be able to perform it by achieving unity among ourselves.

Our return to Israel under threat was part of Nature’s plan, and thus gave us the opportunity to discover for ourselves our inner need to unite, and to create a nation that leads humanity to wholeness.

It is no coincidence that we are currently failing to create a united society in Israel. We are divided into sects: secular vs. religious, left vs. right, Ashkenazi vs. Sephardic, natives of Israel vs. new Olim (immigrants) and so on. All our efforts to unite have thus far been futile; the social gaps are deepening, and hatred and alienation worsen. A recent survey disclosed that even today, 57% of the Israeli public believes that the state of Israel’s existence might be in danger due to unfounded hatred [23].

In this present state, we must pause and find our roots, see where we come from, how we have become “the people of Israel,” find the principles upon which the nation was founded and their purpose. Only when we actually “live” the eternal foundations of the spiritual ideals on which the state of Israel was founded will we be able to unite and to promote the unity of all people, wherever they are [24].


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[24] Editor’s note: the practical implementation of the principles, as they are presented in Baal HaSulam writings, is explicated in Rav Laitman’s book The Last Generation.

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