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Friday, January 22, 2010


Modern technology has made the world much smaller. IPhones, Facebook, Twitter, instant messengers and other devises enable people to connect with one another around the globe right away. Recently, using Skype, I taught a class from my home in the Boston area, and was able to discuss issues with my students in Barcelona, Spain with great ease. During the last demonstrations in Tehran, the capital of Iran, I followed the developments through Twitter. It was much faster than getting the breaking news from CNN. I guess this is one of the reasons why we no longer write formal letters to each other. It is much easier to send an email. It is instantaneous and pretty efficient

Not only is the world getting smaller but we are now more than ever before linked to one another. In a recent interview with Newsweek, former President Clinton said, “This [is] the most interdependent age in human history” (Dec. 28, 2009). Globalism and international trade relations obligate each nation to rely on other countries. Gone is the day when one State can dominate the world. Even super powers are dependent on others for basic commodities.

Though there is nothing new in this observation, I wonder if this trend makes the study of Kabbalah more appealing to many people in our time. It is known that Kabbalah is going mainstream; many Kabbalah centers are now opening up in many cities, including for youngsters; and not only for Jews but for Gentiles as well. (For example, Madonna, Britney Spears, Demi Moore, Mick Jagger and others).

It is known that Jewish mysticism’s central idea is that all human beings, and, in fact, the entire universe, material and spiritual, is interlinked. “Everything is organically, seamlessly joined to everything else,” writes Rabbi Larry Kushner, a Kabbalah devotee. I am not so sure about our impact on the realm of the spirit, but I am convinced that what I do, whether good or bad, can impact on another human being. This realization places a higher responsibility on each of us. The lesson is: “that which is hateful to you, do not do to others.” But this is not a new lesson. It was already proclaimed by the first century Jewish sage, Hillel the Elder (See Talmud, Shab. 31a; Mt. 7: 12). It is still good in our days.
Rifat Sonsino

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