He runs through the forest, escaping a pack of predators, stumbling, getting up, continuing, accumulating scratches and bruises. He looks back to check how close those after him are, and suddenly halts as soon as he flips his head forward.
There they are, encircling him. With no escape on the horizon, he instinctively looks to the sky…
The Jewish people have run across the face of the planet fleeing groups upon groups that wanted them gone, from Nimrod and the Babylonians in ancient Mesopotamia, to Pharaoh and his soldiers in ancient Egypt, to the Greeks, the Romans, the Spaniards and the Germans.
Today, as we look back on history, we observe ebbs and flows of antisemitism that, like a haunting specter, has erupted globally since Hamas’ attacks on Israeli civilians and soldiers on October 7, 2023. We once again find ourselves amid converging circumstances that urge us to think hard about what we are doing here and where we are headed.
Today’s crisis is like a global version of what we experienced nearly 4,000 years ago in ancient Babylon. Human culture, rooted in self-serving material pursuits, clashed with the vision of Abraham, the patriarch of the people of Israel. He called on us to rise above and embrace a desire to love, bestow upon and positively connect to each other, overcoming our innate self-centeredness.
Our tumultuous journey across continents, spanning thousands of years, served to prepare us for this monumental occasion. Yet, the transition from self-serving intentions to altruistic ones that lead us to positively connect is no easy feat. Surrounded by animosity today, we face the challenge of trying to bring about the best possible future amid crisis, and through much prayer and inner effort, seek unity beyond our self-aimed desires.
This pursuit of unity marks a pivotal moment in our collective history. By lifting our eyes up to see the need to unite with each other, we can rise above the predators surrounding us. The current wave of hatred against us can then serve as a catalyst for our escape from this horde, precisely by uniting and praying for our unity to strengthen above the powers that awaken to tear us apart.
When we unite in such a way, our surroundings will transform. We will no longer see a landscape fraught with enemies. Instead, we will see people around us who wish to learn and apply the art of unity above division. If we treat this kind of unity as our shared pursuit, we can then find the remedy to our common affliction and pave the way for a harmonious and peaceful future.