Michael Laitman
Michael Laitman
Founder and president of Bnei Baruch Kabbalah Education & Research Institute

And the Children of Israel Sighed from the Elections

People walk near a Likud party election campaign banner depicting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his challenger, Yesh Atid party leader Yair Lapid, ahead of the March 23 ballot, in Tel Aviv, Israel March 14, 2021. REUTERS/Corinna Kern
People walk near a Likud party election campaign banner depicting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his challenger, Yesh Atid party leader Yair Lapid, ahead of the March 23 ballot, in Tel Aviv, Israel March 14, 2021. REUTERS/Corinna Kern

Since the first lockdown, I hardly ever go outside. In the rare occasions that I do venture outside, I see the mounting hatred in people’s eyes growing from one election campaign to the next. In today’s election system, the half whose view is not represented in the government remains bitter and vindictive. And because people cannot accept the situation, their hatred becomes more spiteful and malicious with each disappointment.

In a paper titled The Nation, the great 20th century kabbalist Baal HaSulam wrote in this regard, “The difficulty of the matter is that men cannot relinquish their ideals at all, since one can make concessions when it comes to one’s material life, to the extent that it is necessary for one’s physical existence, but it is not so with ideals. By nature, idealists will give all that they have for the triumph of their idea. And if they must relinquish their ideals even a little, it is not an honest concession. Rather, they stay alert and wait for a time when they can reclaim what [they believe] is theirs. Therefore, such compromises cannot be trusted.”

Indeed, reality proves that we keep failing on our way to the ballot booths. My real hope is that our failures remain merely ideological and not deteriorate into worse scenarios. If they remain this way, it will help us arrive more quickly at the realization that we are on a dead-end road. Since we cannot compromise and keep trying to win, we are certain to soon give up on the current election system.

The election system reflects a worldview, a perception of reality. It is an interpretation of our way of life and our thinking. The current system reflects a destructive approach that builds one side on the ruin of the other. For this reason, emerging from the current deadlock can happen only if we mutually give up on our aspiration for absolute control. Again, we need not concede our ideals, our “truth,” but only the desire to be the sole ruler.

Relinquishing our desire for autocracy will allow us to create a space between us where connection governs, to make room for collaboration and partnership. This is the ideal that forged the Jewish people—the ideal of love of others. In our remote past, we practiced this ideology, and that was our heyday in history. Even today, it is the only solution that can lift us from the gutter of hatred where we wallow.

To achieve this, we must engage in open discourse in order to find how we can come closer to each other despite, and above our differences. We needn’t understand each other’s views, and certainly not accept them. Nature has made us opposite, so there is nothing we can do to sway each other’s views.

Nevertheless, if we give connection preference over winning, we will find that our differing views create a stronger bond among the rivals than if we agreed, precisely because of the effort we made to establish it. Just as couples strengthen the bond between them as they overcome crises in their relationships, a nation solidifies itself as its members do not succumb to hatred and divorce from one another, but rise above it and forge bonds that are stronger than the hate. King Solomon coined the essence of this approach with his words, “Hate stirs strife, and love will cover all crimes” (Proverbs 10:12).

Today, we need this approach no less than we did in our nation’s infancy. It will keep us unique, maintain our individuality, and at the same time forge a bond among us that will be a role model that the entire world will seek to emulate.

About the Author
Michael Laitman is a PhD in Philosophy and Kabbalah. MSc in Medical Bio-Cybernetics. Founder and president of Bnei Baruch Kabbalah Education & Research Institute. Author of over 40 books on spiritual, social and global transformation. His new book, The Jewish Choice: Unity or Anti-Semitism, is available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Jewish-Choice-Anti-Semitism-Historical-anti-Semitism/dp/1671872207/
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