Mashiach and Jewish Leadership

Mashiach and Jewish Leadership: Part 17 – Israel as Leader of the Nations

The fourth dynamic of leadership is the preoccupation of the leader with refining the physical world, especially as represented by the various sciences and arts. Every true leader has a plan of how to return the world to good, to rectify the world in the "kingdom of G-d." This entails a total involvement in current affairs and a broad general knowledge of the secular disciplines in order to uplift them to their Divine source in Torah.

Before delving into the principles underlying this dynamic, it is important to try to better understand the general relationship between Israel and the other nations touched upon in our introduction. The culminating goal of the Mashiach–to unite all humanity to recognize and serve G-d–depends on Israel and the nations fulfilling their appointed tasks. We are taught that all peoples of the world come from seventy primary nations and seventy basic language groups. The rectification of these nations occurs through the fulfillment of the seven commandments given to the children of Noah, the "universal religion" stretching back even further in time to Adam and Eve. Just recently, the American Congress confirmed this by officially recognizing the importance of the Seven Commandments as the moral and ethical foundations on which the world stands.

Though it is beyond the scope of this series to elucidate on the nature of these commandments and their numerous sub-categories and significance, we will simply mention them with the hope that the reader will further investigate their history and relevance today.

The Seven Noahide Commandments include six prohibitions: worshipping anything other than the One G-d, blasphemy of G-d's Name, murder, stealing, forbidden sexual relations and eating meat taken from a live animal. In addition, there is one positive commandment: to establish courts to ensure a just society based on these laws. Though some of the details vary, the majority of these were later instituted in the Ten Commandments, whose moral guidance has greatly influenced all mankind. In our day, it is important for the world to not only recognize the moral authority of these seven commandments, but their source in Torah as well.

The number seven is rich in meaning and is associated with the seven lower, emotive sefirot (channels of Divine energy) of the heart. These seven sefirot correspond to the seventy archetypal nations. In contrast, Israel is associated with the three upper sefirot of the intellect. Though the head must always be connected to, and at times, draw inspiration and guidance from the emotions, its main task and responsibility is to lead.

In the Kuzari, one of the classic books of Jewish philosophy from the middle ages, Israel is described as the heart and the nations as the limbs of the body. The metaphor of the heart pumping life force to the body parallels that of the head directing the emotions. Chassidutexplains the difference in images as that between the exile and redemption. While in exile the Jewish People, due to circumstance, function more like the heart, feeling the suffering of the world and in a deep, allegorical and mystical fashion suffer for the world. Many Jewish and non-Jewish authors have employed the expression of Jews as the "conscience of the world." In a redemptive state the Jewish People will reassume their more natural role as the head, leading the world to a new age. Once the ghetto walls came down and Jews for the first time began to operate within general society, they quickly rose to the top of many professions, arts, sciences, and government in their respective host countries. This process has accelerated even more so now that the Jewish People are being concentrated once again in their homeland.

Since all souls, both Jewish and non-Jewish, are connected in their ultimate source, when one level elevates itself, all levels are drawn upward as well. The natural inclination of the Jewish People is to elevate themselves to the level of mind and leadership, which naturally uplifts the entire world.

The source of the Jewish soul is rooted in the essence of G-d as existing before Creation. Our purpose is to inspire the world with a deep, transcendent perspective of reality. This relates to our discussion above–that reality, when experienced from a higher dimension, reconciles apparent paradox and plurality, uniting all in essential oneness. When this consciousness is fully implanted in the world, the nations will be able to fulfill their appointed seven commandments in an inspired state.

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