While the world is busy dealing with a health crisis, anti-Semitic acts have momentarily vanished from our consciousness. In fact, they are waiting in the wings to burst forth at any moment. A reminder of this intractable hatred against Jews erupted recently at an annual folk festival in Aalst, Belgium where disturbing anti-Semitic themes and costumes depicted Jews as vermin, just as during the Nazi era.
Why don’t the enemies of the Jewish people ever rest? What do they want from us?
The status of the Aalst festival as part of the “Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity” was revoked last year by UNESCO when their festivities featured huge ugly figures in traditional Jewish clothes, surrounded by bags of money and rats, insinuating that Jews are exploitative and greedy. In spite of the condemnation of the international community and Jewish groups, the protests were ignored again this year, and the familiar anti-Semitic motif resurfaced. Costumed figures of Hasidic Jews with oversized noses and insect legs attached to their torsos were prominently displayed during the event.
Nothing seems to calm down our haters. Since our contributions to science, culture and the economy are clearly ineffective at tackling this recurrent hatred, we need to search for a remedy elsewhere.
According to wisdom of Kabbalah, anti-Semitism is a law of nature. Even if the nations of the world are unaware of it, deep down in their hearts, anti-Semites feel strongly that Jews somehow hold the key to their good future which they fail to share with the rest of the world. This inner resentment toward Jews transforms into outright anti-Semitism.
Being blamed for every adversity is truly a bane, but it could also be a boon if we play our cards right. Being the focal point of the world also puts us in the most advantageous position for affecting positive change. We currently model social fragmentation. Imagine what would happen if we became the premier role model of social cohesion and unity.
We Jews are a people coalesced under the core principle of the Torah, “love thy neighbor as thyself.” Only our return to that state of love, a state lost due to our deep internal division, can alleviate the hatred toward us from the world.
Why is it mandatory that Jews unite first?
Jewish unity is the precondition for becoming an example for the rest of humanity to follow. As is written in the seminal ancient book in Kabbalah, The Book of Zohar: “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.”
Whenever the Jewish people were at risk of ruin, it was our unity that saved us. We now have the opportunity to use the ongoing hatred toward us as a reminder that our connection is powerful enough to get us out of the worst situations.