Several Kabbalistic sources emphasize the need for the people of Israel to unite like a family. Especially on tragic days, the truth of this message becomes apparent, and it is important to clarify that the family is not one of blood relations, but a family that transcends blood ties. It is about everyone coming to feel that the person standing beside them is part of the same family.
We all need to sense that we are parts of a single unified entity. When we achieve such unity, we not only overcome our apparent enemies outside of us, but more significantly, we rise over our internal enemy: the egoistic desires within us that constantly pull in the direction of detaching from others and using everyone and everything outside of us for the sake of personal benefit.
The idea of uniting above our egos when we are all individuals with different backgrounds, personalities and worldviews—including many that oppose and resist the others—can seem like an impossible task. However, we need to raise awareness that we can be victorious in bringing about a harmonious and peaceful life for all solely through the achievement of such unity. If we set aside our contradictions and differences, recognizing that we are one interconnected whole, then we can overcome our internal struggles, and by doing so, we will find that we have no more enemies outside of us.
A key stage in the development of the people of Israel was when we accepted upon ourselves the pact to stand “as one man with one heart” at the foot of Mount Sinai. We were faced with a life-and-death choice: “Either unite now or face dire consequences.” Today, we once again face a challenge of immense magnitude, and it is imperative for us to understand that we need to unite above all else.
We need to recognize that we play host to an egoistic inclination that constantly makes us want our own opinion to override everyone else’s. While this ego is indeed a problem, we should not try to subdue or eliminate it, because it is our very nature. On the contrary, together with recognizing its determinant force in drawing inwardly to ourselves, we need to develop a supportive and encouraging atmosphere around us where we raise the need to unite above our egoistic inclination as being of much greater importance, i.e., as a matter of life and death. If we fail to unite above our egoistic inclination and simply drift away with its divisive views and opinions, then we are bound to find ourselves again in situations where we suddenly awaken to an onslaught of enemies outside of us, similar to what we experienced in the tragic events of October 7, 2023.
Therefore, now that we are in the midst of a severe state of war, we need to deal with the situation at hand and also raise awareness of what can prevent such extreme states from materializing in the future. It all points to our need to unite above our divisions.
What steps should each of us take to achieve this unity? Simply put, we should each shift our focus away from ourselves and onto others. For instance, today there are several stories of selflessness that emerge from the frontlines, where people risk their own lives for the sake of other people. These acts demonstrate the inclination to rise above ourselves. When we hold a strong sense of the need to be there for one another in such a way, then we can unite and succeed. True success comes when we unite “as one man with one heart” above our divisive egoistic drives.