It’s a hard time for Jews all over the world, especially those in Israel. The Jewish people are being killed, raped, and burned while fighting for their actual freedom as a nation. In the Diaspora, hatred is growing, and it’s becoming worse and worse each day, reminiscent of the Pogroms we know about all too well. It looks as if it’s the end, back to a place we’ve been before: stuck between Egyptians behind us and the Red Sea in front of us. We are stuck in a place we don’t want to be: at war.
The holy Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai stated that in order to pass through dark times, the Jewish people must be consistent in their study of the Zohar. What can I share with you as a simple person in this world? Rav Yehuda Ashlag, who I consider my teacher, although I’m not one of his students, wrote that there are internal and external aspects of the Torah. The internal is the study of Kabbalah. The external is the simple study of the Torah: Mishnah, Gemara, etc. The external learning of the Torah allows us to live our day-to-day lives and is, therefore, extremely important. Internal learning enables us to transcend our day-to-day happenings and grow our spiritual lives.
The Baal haSulam (Rav Yehuda Ashlag) came into this world as a sample of Mashiach, potently understanding the teachings of the Zohar and the infamous Rabbi Isaac Luria. We have to heed his findings: to save ourselves, we have to begin learning this study of the pnimiyut (inwardness). From the young age of six, a child should be using the Zohar to enhance their analysis of the Torah.
But there is something else that can get us out of this dark time… Be proud that you are Jewish. There is an absurd amount of anti-Semitism running rampant around the globe. Religious and nonreligious Jews alike are being violently targeted, reminding the world that a deep hatred of Jews still remains, but also bringing another realization to the Jewish people: it does not matter what type of Jew you are, a Jew is a Jew, and all are a part of one nation. And I implore all of you to recognize the uniqueness of this. And Jews being unique is nothing new! We have our own attire: tzitzit, kippot, sheitels. We have our own languages: Hebrew, Ladino, Yiddish, and more! We must parade our uniqueness, especially in the face of pure, baseless hatred. It is our oneness that has helped us endure thus far.
And lastly, we have to accept upon ourselves with full force the mitzvah of “Love Your Neighbor As Thyself.” I see so many people channeling their anger into hatred against the Palestinian people and those who support them. While it is of the utmost importance to condemn terrorism, which, we must be very clear that Hamas is a terrorist group whose baseless hatred of Jews is stated in its charter and is obviously evident in its heinous actions, we cannot afford to waste our time on hate. Hamas terrorists are messengers of the Creator and play a role in His plan. Just as the Egyptians were messengers too…
We have to remember what happened to the Egyptians… they were destroyed! The Creator opened up the Yam Suf and let us through. With Hamas and anti-Semites reminding us of where we once were, with hatred chasing us and nowhere to run to, let’s open the Red Sea again through our studying of Kabbalah, our pride of being Jews, and our love of every creature of the Creator. This is how we fight and win this war.