Knives and Bricks: Our Holy War

A mitzvah is a command. But it’s more than that.

Mitzvot are devices that according to Rabbi Yitzchak Luria, the renowned Kabbalist, help repair and heal the world.

They produce good vibes between members of our universal family. They affirm our loyalty and commitment to G-d. They make Him “happy”. They make us happy.They have the potential to reorganize this universe into a tranquil, congruent place.

The world contains within it neutral spiritual forces. This neutrality can become positive or negative, depending on whether we transform it through elevation or degradation. The Mitzvot elevate these otherwise neutral forces.

Mitzvot often involve objects. A brick, for example is neither good nor bad. Now take a brick and use it to build. Let’s build a school. This school will teach compassion, respect, and unity. It will open up minds and hearts. Here you have elevated. You have helped to actualize G-d’s dreams for the world. Here, neutrality has been transformed into multiple channels for enhancing the cosmos.

The cosmos are up in arms.  A religious holy war is raging. Unfortunately this “religious” revolution does not feel spiritual to anyone but its perpetrators. Based on a disturbing interpretation of the Koran, that many Muslims do not adhere to, this holy war has a central aim; to achieve Muslim dominion over the entire globe.

Instead of exalting spiritual neutrality, the Jihad corrupts it. This is done in the name of religion, in the name of God.

This is how the followers of Jihad show their love to the Almighty.

Mitzvot, good deeds. This is how we show ours.

This is the Jewish version of a holy war.

Take the brick. What are the terrorists using it for? Yes, they too build schools. But these “educational” institutions are not bastions for erudition or growth. These schools foment hatred and violence. They teach a rabid anti-Semitism and an anti- anything Western curriculum. Their schoolbooks are filled with vile. Their classrooms filled with would-be suicide bombers.

Take a knife. Neutral. We can use a knife to cut vegetables in preparation for the Sabbath. We can use a knife to ritually slaughter an animal in a way as to not to cause it undue pain. We can use a knife to cut the birthday cake we made in honor of our parents. Elevation. They use a knife to butcher innocents. They use a knife to kill those who practice a different faith. They use a knife to render fear in the gut of a nation. Corruption.

Our enemies take neutrality and transform it to evil. They take the banal and convert it into tools of terror. They believe that murder in this world will elevate them in the next. This ideology of incitement and brutality is blemishing the world and alienating them from the One True G-d.

Let us take our bricks and knives and make upright that which is neutral. Let us practice the art of elevation. Let these actions illuminate the world, and through the harmony, healing, and peace that they bring, defeat the venomous elements in our midst.

Let this be our holy war.

About the Author
Karen Wolfers Rapaport is a psychotherapist specializing in Narrative Therapy. She holds a BA from UCLA and an MA in Counseling Psychology from Boston College. She received her training from Tufts University. In addition to her therapeutic work and free lance writing for, and others, Karen works for the largest English publishing house in Israel where she leads and facilitates discussion groups with Israelis from every spectrum of society, aiming to create unity and respect.
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