Genesis and Globalization

Globalization is considered to be a distinctly modern socio-economic and cultural phenomenon. Globalization is about the exchange and transport of individuals, ideas and goods throughout the globe. In this week’s parshah we read about another aspect of globalization – spiritual globalization. The Almighty promises Jacob: “You will spread forth to the west, to the east, to the north and to the south. And all the families of the earth will be blessed through you and your descendants”.

(“ופרצת ימה וקדמה וצפונה ונגבה. ונברכו בך כל משפחות האדמה ובזרעך”)

This verse is yet another breathtaking manifestation of the veracity and eternity of Torah. The Torah came to the world many centuries before monotheism was embraced by most of humanity, and millennia before the great exile that made our people the first truly global people, stretching from China and India in the East, to Western Europe and the new world across the Atlantic. The above mentioned verse summarizes rather succinctly the incalculable contribution of our people to the cultural and scientific advancement of human kind (“all the families of the earth will be blessed through you and your descendants”). This Divine statement is a also a call to each and every generation of Jews, including our own, to do whatever we can to bring more light and healing to the world.

After the holocaust, in the early 1950’s, Rabbi Menchaem Mendel Schneerson Z”L, the 7th Lubavitcher Rebbe, chose the aforementioned mentioned verse (“And you shall spread forth to the west, to the east, to the north and to the south”) as the anthem of the Chabad movement. Why did the Rebbe choose this specific verse?

Because this was only a few years after the holocaust, and it was the perfect proactive response to the Nazis and their accomplices. The Nazis searched out every Jew in the world in hate, and so it is incumbent upon each and every one of us to search out every Jew in the world with love! Wherever God puts us in His world, it is our life’s vocation as God’s people to bring more redemptive light to the world, and fill the planet with Torah and ma’asim tovim, with spirituality and good deeds. To be a truly global people means to be loyal to our eternal heritage on the one hand, and at the same time partner with the rest of humanity in worthy causes to fix the world under God’s sovereignty.

(“לתקן עולם במלכות שדי”)

Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Sessler

Post a comment