13 August 2014

Part 1: The War for Hearts and Minds

18 Menachem Av 5774

Long-time readers may recall that I've written on this subject several times before, but please bear with me as there appears to be a need to go through it again. Perhaps a new perspective will help to get these ideas across in a more memorable way. B'ezrat Hashem, I will break it up into parts to make it easier to read and absorb. 

Earlier in this new century, we began to hear the phrase "hearts and minds" a lot. It was used in the context of wars launched in the Middle East by Western powers. They spoke of "winning" the hearts and minds of the indigenous peoples, but to me, this, too, was a war - a the war for hearts and minds, which exists on several levels simultaneously. 

Let's look first at why it has come to this.

Here, at the end of days, nations are realizing that it is not enough to just exert brute force against their opponents. They need to use psychology and propaganda as well.

The Maharal of Prague explains this beautifully in his book The Mitzvah Candle, which I highly recommend that you own and read in its entirety. It's an exceptional book. He explains the four exiles and the rise of Yisrael at the end of days, as well as their different characteristics and the thought processes embodied by each one.

For example, in describing the "Jewish Conceptual Approach," the Maharal writes under the subheading Jewish Uniqueness...
...Jewish thought, however, differs from Modern thought in the quality and sophistication of its abstract principles which are arrived at in a very special manner. While modern civilization has derived its abstract principles through a long and painful evolutionary process, the abstract Torah principles of Jewish thought have been directly handed down to us by God, transmitted through the Prophets and Rabbis, and preserved in the Sacred Writings.
It is no mistake that Rabbi Meir Kahane's Magnum Opus is entitled The Jewish Idea. Nothing is more critical for us in these days than to know and understand how to think Jewishly!

He expounds on the idea that each empire embodied a system of thinking which follows, "in a necessary order," according to the Maharal, until it will culminate, at its peak, in the Jewish approach. In times of Mashiach, the entire world will be elevated to this level of conceptual thought which he terms "Nivdal.*"

I'll attempt to summarize his exegesis with excerpts, as follows...
Five Fundamental Approaches to Life
1) The Material-existential Approach (Material)
2) The Mental-construct Approach (Mental)
3) The Experiential-order Approach (Intermediate)
4) The Modern Abstract Universal Approach (Universal)
5) The Divine-Jewish Approach (Nivdal)

Four World Empires (Followed by the World Rule of Mashiach)
1) Babylon - Located between Greece (Yavan) in the West and Persia (Paras) in the East, Babylonia represented a balanced compromise between the mental and the physical faculties. ...Practical knowledge, wherein the mental and the physical are combined is no doubt the mark of this empire.
2) Persia (East) - characterized by its intense and constant pursuit of material wealth, pleasure and the satisfaction of bodily appetites.
3) Greece (West) - the perpetual opposite and antagonist of Persia.... It was a lean and tough empire which held soft and pampered materialism in disdain.
...This empire was strong-minded and intolerant - orderly and stern.
From these emerged a "super empire which would achieve a synthesis of the three ancient empires, despite their particular contradictory qualities.  This synthesis could only be attained by rising above each of the ancient views, becoming broadminded enough to relate to all of them and profucing a universal view which could accommodate all of them.
4) Rome - the universal empire capable of achieving this synthesis...however ...it caused it to be destructive. One who is universal is everything, and one who is everything can sometimes see no need for the existence of others. ...[It is endangered by] corruption and deterioration.
5) The abstract empire of Edom (Rome) was destined to provide the link which would lead to the final and ultimate empire, the empire of Yisrael.

Since the American Empire, successor to Rome, is clearly crumbling in these final days of exile, the Empire of Yisrael must quickly arise to take its place. So, let's look at where this transition will take us.

According to the Maharal, "the fourth empire was a universal synthesis, alone equivalent to the others. ...Because of its universality, this empire is motivated to be everything, not allowing anyone else to co-exist."

This makes it easier to understand why America is trying to export its own values and economic and political systems to the rest of the world, even where it is most unsuitable, and why there is a plan to "universalize" everything and everyone through what is popularly called the New World Order. This is simply "Rome's" way of fighting its own demise, which will, of necessity, come regardless.
Yisrael: ultimate sovereignty and pure abstractness 
...these empires compared to Yisrael, are like a beast compared to a human being. Just as the strength of a beast lies in its body, and if a man did not have the intellectual capacity to overcome the beast, through trapping and hunting, he could not contend with it, so too it is with Yisrael and the empires. If Yisrael did not possess a divine and Nivdal quality, it too would not be able to contend with the empires, due to their great physical might. However, all physical things must possess limits and boundaries, and the physical might of the empires is no exception; it too is limited and bound.
The Nivdal intellect, on the other hand, is completely unlimited and unrestricted, for it is not bound or confined. Similarly, Yisrael's divine and Kodesh quality has no end and will never cease. The physical is initially capable of overpowering the intellect and nullifying it, as is evident. However, the physical is intrinsically bound and limited; it eventually ceases, nothing remaining to oppose or stand in the way of the Nivdal intellect.
...Since the four world empires depend on physical might, which is not Nivdal, they were able to overpower Yisrael at the beginning of civilization. However, in the end, once civilization ages, physical power will weaken and finally disappear completely, while the Kodesh and Nivdal power possessed by Yisrael will remain intact. There will be no obstacle whatsoever, to prevent Yisrael from realizing its potential, and from achieving that which it has the capacity to achieve.
Now, we can begin to understand, four hundred years after these words were written, why the final war is for the hearts and minds of mankind.

(Part 2)
* Nivdal - to be different, to be separated