Quotes: The Essence of Judaism = Unity
“Which you do not want for yourself, do not do it to others. This is the essence of Judaism, all the rest is just explanation.”
Philosophers and Scholars
What unified the Jews for thousands of years, and still does today, is above all the ideal of social justice together with the ideal of mutual aid and tolerance between all people on the face of the planet.
“Love your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus, 19:18) is the utmost commandment of Judaism. With these three words the eternal, human law of Judaism has been formed, and the entire corpus of ethics literature could not say more. The state of Israel will be worthy of its name only if its social, economic, political, and judicial structure will be based upon these three eternal words.
David Ben Gurion, “The Revolution of the Spirit,” A Vision and a Way, vol. 1
No people has ever insisted more firmly than the Jews that history has a purpose and humanity a destiny. At a very early stage in their collective existence they believed they had detected a divine scheme for the human race, of which their own society was to be a pilot.
Prof. Paul Johnson, “A History of the Jews”
The Jews were a lucky community because they had that corporate spirit, the spirit of their race and faith. [Churchill] would not … ask them to use that spirit in any narrow or clannish sense, to shut themselves off from others … far from their mood and intention, far from the counsels that were given them by those most entitled to advise. That personal and special power which they possessed would enable them to bring vitality into their institutions, which nothing else would ever give. [Churchill believed without disrespect that] A Jew cannot be a good Englishman unless he is a good Jew.
Sir Martin Gilbert, “Churchill and the Jews”
It is not neutrality that we need, but rather cohesion, a cohesion of mutual responsibility and mutual influence. We are not required to blur the boundaries among the factions, circles, and parties, but rather share a recognition of the common reality and to share the test of mutual responsibility.
Martin Buber, “Education and a Scrutiny of the world,” Nation and World, Jerusalem, 1961
The most fundamental kind of love, which underlies all types of love, is brotherly love. By this I mean the sense of responsibility, care, respect, knowledge of any other human being, the wish to further his life. This is the kind of love the Bible speaks about when it says: Love your neighbour as yourself. Brotherly love is love for all human beings; it is characterized by its very lack of exclusiveness. If I have developed the capacity for love, then I cannot help loving my brothers. In brotherly love there is the experience of union with the whole of mankind, of human solidarity. Brotherly love is based on the experience that we’re all one.
Erich Fromm, “The Art of Loving”
Religious Thinkers and Rabbis
“Love thy friend as thy self” (Leviticus, Ch 19) is a Major Principle in the Torah.
Rabbi Akiva, “Yerushalmi, Nedarim, 30/2”
The building of the world, which is presently shattered, due to the fierce storms of the blood filled sward, is demanding the restoration of the Jewish [Israeli] nation. The building of the nation and the revealing of its spirit is one and the same, and is all connected with the building of the world, which has crumbled, and is eagerly awaiting the power of unity. All this is found in the soul of the assembly of the people of Israel [The Jewish People].
Rav Kook, Orot (Illuminations)
The people of Israel [The Jewish People] hold the secret of unification of the world.
Rav Kook, Orot HaKodesh
“The people of Israel [The Jewish People] are not a nation in the normal sense of the term, but rather the essence of the human ideal. They exist as a ‘society’ on all its meaning and are called a ‘nation’ by way of description because all societies of man are called by such a name.”
Rav Kook, “Iggrot Ha’Rayah Part II: Responsa 409”
The essence of creation and choice, and the correction of the corruption of the world, all this depends on the Jewish people [people of Israel].
Rabbi Yitzhak Isaac Hever, “Conversation With Yitzhak,” Part 2, “Likutim A”
The purpose of the Jewish people [the people of Israel] is to unite the world into one family.
From the Articles of Rav Kook, Whisper to me the Secret of the HaVaYah
The Jewish nation [nation of Israel] had been constructed as a sort of gateway by which the sparks of purity would shine upon the whole of the human race the world over.
And these sparks multiply daily, like one who gives to the treasurer, until they are filled sufficiently, that is, until they develop to such an extent that they can understand the pleasantness and tranquility that are found in the kernel of love of others. For then they will know how to shift the balance to the right, and will place themselves under His burden, and the scale of sin will be eradicated from the world.
Baal HaSulam, The Arvut (Mutual Guarantee), item 24
Israel became responsible for one another, for the correction of the world [—]… since everything depends on the people of Israel. As they correct themselves, all the other created beings will be drawn after them.
Rabbi Yehudah Aryeh Leib Alter, “Sfat Emet,” “Exodus,” “Parashat Yitro”
It is upon the Jewish [Israeli] nation to qualify itself and all the people of the world.. to develop until they take upon themselves that sublime work of the love of others, which is the ladder to the purpose of Creation.
Baal HaSulam | The Arvut (Mutual Guarantee)
The Jewish people [Israeli nation] should be a role model to the nations of the world.
Baal HaSulam, The Writings of the Last Generation, Part One