On June 3, www.ynetnews.com wrote, “The British academic boycott is only the tip of the iceberg, ministers estimated Sunday morning during the weekly cabinet meeting, addressing the calls in the United Kingdom to boycott Israeli academics and institutions and Israeli commerce.
“‘There is a long trail of anti-Semitism in Europe, which includes one-sided articles and anti-Semitic harassment, topped by the torching of the synagogue in Switzerland. This is a great challenge for the Israeli government to deal with,’ Social Affairs Minister Isaac Herzog said.
“According to Herzog, there is an active Muslim minority in Britain, as well as anti-Semitic attitudes which must be dealt with.”
According to the wisdom of Kabbalah, anti-Semitism will continue to spread and intensify until Jews fulfill their reason for being in this world: to learn how to love their neighbors as themselves, as taught by Rabbi Akiva, and then pass this teaching on to the rest of the world. This is the meaning of the verse (Isaiah 42:6,7), “I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and have taken hold of thy hand, and kept thee, and set thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the nations; To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison-house.”
What does it mean, “to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon”? Clearly, if we examine the present state of the world, it is fair to say that it is not headed toward any kind of bright future. It has virtually become a consensus among scientists and sociologists that we are living on borrowed time, both ecologically and socially. Some, like James Lovelock, state that we have already crossed the point of no return.
We may ask, “But has that got to do with us, Jews? Have we not given to the world much more than our share in the population?” Indeed, if we count the number of Jews among the Nobel Prize laureates, for example, we will see that they out number their percent in the world population a 1,000 fold! So why isn’t the world grateful?
According to the wisdom of Kabbalah, there is only one goal to life: “The revelation of His Godliness to His creatures in this world” (Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag, “The Essence of Religion and Its Purpose). Moreover, thousands of years ago, Hebrew sages wrote very clearly, “No calamity comes to the world but for Israel” (Babylonian Talmud, Yevamot 63). In other words, calamities come so that we will be a light of the nations, as is our role.
In his essay, “The Bond,” the great 20th century Kabbalist, Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag explains, “the role of Israel toward the world resembles the role of our holy fathers toward the Israeli nation. …It is also upon the Israeli nation to qualify themselves and all the people of the world… to develop so that they take upon themselves that sublime work of the love of man, which is the ladder to attain the purpose of creation, which is adhesion with Him.”
Therefore, we see that the meaning of being a light of the nations is not that we promote the world technologically, psychologically, or scientifically. Being a light of the nations means learning the path of light (the Hebrew meaning of the word “Torah”), and then sharing it with the world.
In the 1940s, Rabbi Ashlag published his authoritative commentary on The Book of Zohar. In the introduction to the book, he wrote, “And if …one of Israel enhances and regards externality [study of Torah without the Kabbalistic meaning] … Such actions would cause…the nations of the world to… overcome Israel, degrading them to the ground, and the Children of Israel… would plunge deep down.”
And Ashlag continues: “When increasing the toil in the internality of the Torah and its secrets [Kabbalah], to that extent one makes… Israel soar…, and all the nations will acknowledge and recognize Israel’s merit…, until the realization of the words ‘And the people shall take them, and bring them to their place: and the house of Israel shall posses them in the land of the Lord’ (Isaiah 14, 2). And also, ‘Thus says the Lord God, Behold, I will lift up my hand to the nations, and set up my standard to the peoples: and they shall bring thy sons in their arms, and thy daughters shall be carried on their shoulders’ (Isaiah 49, 22).
“But if it is to the contrary, that one of Israel degrades the virtue of the internality of the Torah and its secrets [Kabbalah], which deals with the conducts of our souls and their degrees… compared to the virtue of the externality of the Torah, which deals with only the practical part…, by that one causes degradation and decline of the … Children of Israel, and intensifies… the Nations of the World over them. They will humiliate and disgrace the Children of Israel, and regard Israel as superfluous, as though the world had no need for them, God forbid.
“Furthermore, by that they make … the harmful and the destructors of the world rise over their internality, which are the Righteous Nations of the World, and then they make all the ruin and the heinous slaughter our generation had witnessed, may God protect us from here on.
“Thus you see that the redemption of Israel and its rise depend upon the study of The Zohar and the internality of the Torah [Kabbalah]. And vise versa, all destruction and decline of the Children of Israel are because they had abandoned the internality of the Torah. They have degraded its merit and made it seemingly redundant, God forbid.”
For generations now we have been trying to be accepted by the nations, and for generations they have been telling us, “You are not welcome.” We’ve tried giving them everything this world can offer, but they still do not accept us. Isn’t it time we tried to give them the one thing we were meant to give them, the knowledge of how to achieve Godliness here in this world? According to Rabbi Ashlag, when we do, these words of the prophet will come true: “And the people shall take them, and bring them to their place: and the house of Israel shall posses them in the land of the Lord” (Isaiah 14, 2). And also, “And they shall bring thy sons in their arms, and thy daughters shall be carried on their shoulders” (Isaiah 49, 22). To be a worthy part in God’s world, we need to do our share.
If you're interested in further exploring the causes of anti-Semitism and the role of the Jewish people, we recommend that you take our free course, The World, the Jews and the Science of Human Survival.