Love Is the Way
Throughout human history, we can see that whatever love has built, the ego has destroyed. However, the method that can actually keep us whole was discovered a long time ago. All we need to do is study it
Ten-year-old Patrick descended the ship’s staircase and glanced to his right and left with evident misgivings. He had grown up in a small village in 19th century Ireland, and now, after a long voyage to New York harbor, he looked around him, bewildered. After the long voyage, Patrick’s most vivid impression was of people running about and yelling to one another in a variety of languages.
In this medley of languages, Patrick barely managed to recognize his own people. Then, he saw them standing in one corner, a small group of Irish immigrants led by a “veteran” from the home country. Beside them stood a group of Italian immigrants; behind them stood the Russians, and a little farther in the back stood the Polish group, the Ukrainians, and so on. It seemed as if bustling New York harbor had been turned into a giant parade ground strewn with every immigrant group imaginable.
“So this is America, the promised land,” Patrick reflected in wonderment.
In fact, Patrick was only the most recent of millions of immigrants from around the world. Jews, Asians, Africans, and Europeans, left their countries and moved to America, bringing with them all they had—hope of a better future.
They came from different nations, ethnic and religious traditions, and language groups. These differences sometimes ignited friction among them, but the need to survive forced them to make both social and economic arrangements. In time, their country became the strongest superpower in the world—The United States of America.
The Uniting Element
Some 300 years earlier, and 6,500 miles away from what would become the United States, Europe was in turmoil. The Roman Empire had until then dominated Europe. When it faltered, local tribes took over and built what we now know as the European countries: Germany, England, France, Spain and other countries. In each of those countries, the uniting elements were common origins, languages, customs and cultural norms.
But unlike the European countries and the United States, the Israeli nation was neither based on economic profitability nor on common origins. The story of the Israeli nation is intriguing because it is different from the story of any other nation.
The reason that the people of Israel were gathered into a nation was a spiritual one, beginning 5,000 years ago in ancient Babylon. In ancient times, humanity lived like one big family where everyone cared for everybody else, and ties of natural, reciprocal love and support prevailed. Indeed, for many generations, life in ancient Babylon was serene and peaceful until a fateful change occurred, taking an established way of life and cultural ethic in a completely different direction.
It was as if an egoistic gene had suddenly been injected into the DNA of the early Babylonians. This growth of egoism produced harsh consequences, from exploitation of others to hatred. The people of Babylon became increasingly self-centered, no longer caring about the needs of their neighbors.
But one man, Abraham, saw the Babylonians drifting apart and refused to accept the change. He decided to go against the current and to search instead for the force that makes the world go around.
Abraham discovered that this Upper Force, was one of complete, unconditional bestowal. He was able to attain that level, and using his knowledge, developed a method to rise above the ego and achieve this kind of love—the love of all mankind. Abraham knew that if the Babylonians kept their ties of love above their evolving egoism, they would be rewarded with eternal and true bonding with each other. Hence, he began to disseminate the method to the masses.
He gathered a group of students and taught them how to achieve love of man. In time, the group Abraham began grew into what we now call “Israel,” the nation built on the basis of love for mankind.
When the Ego Breaks Loose
All through Israel’s history, love of man has been the key to its success and prosperity. As long as we have maintained the ties of love and bonding among us, the people of Israel thrived in its fullest spiritual and physical glory. The height of our success arrived when the First Temple was built, and all of Israel’s tribes lived in mutual love.
But when the ego force erupted, Israel’s unity was interrupted and separation spread within parts of the nation. The resulting parts became self-centered and lost their bonding with the rest of the nation. In the end, the spiritual division produced physical divisions, the First Temple was ruined, and the people scattered in all directions. When some of the people recognized that division had caused exile and ruin, they tried to revive the love of man, returned to Israel and built the Second Temple. But the strengthening of the ego did not stop there. It broke out once more and manifested in even deeper hatred and separation. Thus, the Second Temple, too, was ruined.
Even among Rabbi Akiva’s group of Kabbalist students, the famous directive, “Love thy neighbor as thyself,” had reverted to hatred. This eventually caused the death of 24,000 Jews in a terrible plague. Thus, the people of Israel lost the love of man and were exiled from spirituality and from the land of Israel for 2,000 years.
The Dream Has Not Yet Come True
Today, even though the people of Israel are on Israeli land, the Kabbalists' dream of a united nation is still far from realized. Even if there is unity during crises, it is only temporary, like the necessary bonding of brothers in arms. Real unity cannot rely on crises caused by outside factors.
A Point in Our Hearts
So how do we once again become a united people, based on the love of man?
There is a special point in the heart in each of us that calls upon us to realize our existence as a nation of love. By doing so, we will pave a new future for all of mankind, one in which everyone will feel interconnected and act as one body. But the means to achieve this intrinsic love is the ancient method, developed by Abraham.
Today, the authentic wisdom of Kabbalah is emerging and becoming more relevant than ever. Disseminating Kabbalah’s message to the masses is the way to restore the love of man and ascend to the height of happiness and wholeness.