The more we move into the High Holy Days, the more they look like their other name: The Terrible Days. To some, it seems as though the escalating chaos in East Jerusalem is orchestrated with the diplomatic campaign of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor, for one, stated his unequivocal thoughts about the matter when he commented, “When the Palestinians set the Temple Mount ablaze, Mahmoud Abbas fuels the fire, and the Security Council fans the flames; it is a recipe for a regional explosion.”
And while all hell is breaking loose in our capital, and the southern and northern borders are heating up, we, Jews, do what we do best: squabble and play the blame game. And as if to add oil to the flame, the international boycott just stepped up a notch when Iceland’s capital declared boycott of all Israeli goods.
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Where do we go from here? I once saw a young couple in Tel-Aviv wearing T-shirts that caught my attention. The captions on both their shirts said simply, “If nothing goes right, unite!” “How clever, ” I thought. “With these few words they captured the essence of our problem and the road to its solution.”
We always say about ourselves that we unite only when we’re at war or some outside pressure forces us to stick together. It’s true, but as soon as the pressure is over we throw our unity out the window until the next threat comes along.
Actually, it’s quite understandable that we are disinclined with unity. After all, who wants to be “as one man with one heart, ” as our fathers were at the foot of Mt. Sinai? True, this is how we became a nation, but that was long ago and no longer binds us. Or does it?
In numerous posts and articles on some of the most popular outlets in the world I have explained why this tenet binds us now as it always has. But the point is not whether or not it binds us. After all, who can force anyone to unite involuntarily? Instead, the point I’m stressing is that unity in and of itself is such a powerful tool that it can outdo any foe or challenge. This unity won our Independence War, not our (nonexistent) sophisticated weapons or the (absent) vast experience at warfare our soldiers had. It is also the lack unity, otherwise known as “unfounded hatred, ” that caused us to lose the land to conquerors two thousand years ago.
To understand why unity is imperative to our success, we need to look at things from a broader angle. One of the most fascinating aspects of my work as a scientist specializing in medical bio-cybernetics was the interconnectedness of human systems. I realized that nothing in nature is isolated, and only when all the systems mutually support the organism, health prevails. As soon as an organ functions to the disadvantage of the organism, sickness erupts.
The more I looked into it, the more I realized that this rule applies to every single element in the universe. Every single element is both a system and part of a bigger system. Therefore, the illness of one subsystem immediately affects the wellness of the entire system of reality. When a critical amount of failures occur, or when critical systems become dysfunctional, the system collapses.
Studying Ontology, Philosophy, and Kabbalah, I learned that the same rule that governs human physiological systems also governs our social systems. The only difference is that since humans are part of the system itself, it is hard for us to see that this is so. Worse yet, if we acknowledge this, then we must stop being self-centered and start working to the benefit of our society, just as any other part of reality. This is a price most of us find too heavy, at this point.
But we, Jews, once paid the price and won the Grand Prize: we became a nation when we committed to loving our neighbors as ourselves and to be “as one man with one heart.” We were granted a strong homeland, and a thriving culture that provided the world with the moral and ethical foundation to everything the world believes is true to this day. Can we do it now? Not unless we reunite.
If we stay as parted as we are, we will continue to be a flawed part of the system, and the world will blame us for its woes. The nations know that the Jews have given the world the values that will make us lead a blissful life, but as is very evident, no one can live up to these values. In the ancient Hebrew society, we lived it, and so the world awaits our example. They blame us for the wars because they cannot unite, and we are not leading toward it by example.
So even if we do this for others, and not for ourselves, now is the time to unite. Now, in the beginning of the year, is the time to revolutionize our attitudes to one another and truly be a light for the nations—a shining example of unity and mutual responsibility, our nation’s ancient trademark. If we do this, we will restore the balance to the human social system, and the tormented humanity will thrive with robust vigor and vitality.
And if all this sounds a bit much, just think of this: “If nothing goes right, unite!”
May we all rise above ourselves this year and make our hearts as one.