Yom Kippur 1973 or The shattering of ’the concept’ – a reference to the theory developed by Israeli intelligence in the 1970s, which assumed that Egypt would not engage in war against Israel. It was supported by the political leadership, experts, and the public. A theory that collapsed unexpectedly with the outbreak of the Yom Kippur War, resulting in over 10,000 casualties, including killed, wounded, and captured, and creating a new world order. Theories disintegrate, come to an end and are replaced by new ones at some point. It’s part of their own evolution and natural cycle. Can one be aware of this process? Can we predict their end? Maybe…
A preconception relates to a set of conventions, ideological beliefs, worldviews, and positions that guide a person at a given time. When it reaches its peak, it becomes what I call a “narrow path” – information that one extracts from universal knowledge, but then gets entangled in this information when it turns into a ‘concept’ or preconception (See Chapter 1 in “Accept Uncertainty”).
Preconceptions have an expiration date, like any product, they have a limited lifespan. And what is its expiration date? Each preconception and its lifespan. Preconceptions are constantly collapsing: for the individual, in his personal maturation process, and from the evolutionary reality of life. But when the general preconception collapses – this is a shocking event for both – the collective and the individual.
With the element of surprise that accompanies their collapse and before the general preconception finally expires, there are various warning signs – days, months, and sometimes even years in advance – reminding people that the theory needs to be revised. It’s like saying to them: “Wake up, let go, it’s no longer working!” Still, most of the time, as if in a dream, one will turn off the alarm and go back to sleep. Because such is the nature of our misconceptions they lull us into a deep, heavy slumber.
Sleep is part of life, but at appropriate times and in the right amount. It also has a different kind of wakefulness, which manifests itself in one’s dreams or nightmares. These are tools that must be known to those who wish to awaken.
A misconception is dangerous not only when you fall asleep on it, but also when a person depends on it, sanctifies it, ties himself to it tightly, fights to the death in its name, risks his life, sanctifies all means in its name and makes it the only thing certain, treats it as eternal and cannot imagine life without it.
A ‘conception’, by the way, does not really die. It joins a pantheon and is displayed as in a museum, to impress and for memory sake. Its practical use and its validity are no longer relevant, which makes room for the next in line and for innovation.
The Jew and preconceptions – A Symbol to all
The Jew, as a symbol, commits himself to an entity, which he calls God, without falling into preconceptions. This is precisely his covenant – to break the concepts, and not to sanctify them – under any circumstances. To maintain freedom of mind, to be in constant motion, to say his goodbye to existence when the time comes… to be awake. This is the ritual.
That’s why he was chosen to be used as a symbol, for good and bad, for difficulty and ease, for benefits and costs, for life and death, for balance, wholeness, as a light unto the nations.
A symbol for the spiritual tools that were given not to be held captive by preconceptions, but for the ability to break preconceptions using them. Tools that can be used by any person who chooses so.
When the Jew is attached to a preconception and does not move, a powerful force from within will compel him to wander away from it. At that moment, he experiences a profound awakening in which the individual and the collective are always intertwined – he and they – are becoming one.
When admiring the Jewish mind and trying to investigate whether there is such a thing at all and what its secret is, one must examine concepts and how they failed, because there lies the secret. The Jew, as with any other person, does not produce wonders, miracles and marvels from his mere existence, but only when his mind is free.
Preserving freedom of mind is not an easy task, but it is rewarding. It is the source of creativity, abundance, serenity and acceptance of life. It is peace.
Yom Kippur 2021. Is freedom of mind a choice? The answer is: both yes and not necessarily so.
But how can one identify, understand and ask for a free mind in the face of outdated concepts?
Every new conception begins with free and creative exploration, with free creation, with journeys into unfamiliar territories and with randomness – these are its very foundations. And then, when it reaches a comfort zone, it thickens, solidifies, and becomes rigid. In its essence, a preconception is built so that an individual does not believe it will fail, and does not allow new entries. It holds those who grasp onto it and is supported by the majority.
However, it is precisely at this point that it begins to fail. There are sharp and clear signs that the existing order as we know it is cracking a little more each day. The concept is faced with uncertainty, and for those who are not familiar with it, it may seem enticing, and sometimes, it may not even seem visible at all. It demands a fresh awareness of the deepest inner self, a re-awakening of all the senses, the pulses of emotions, an inner healing and afterward, a renewed collective awareness.
This renewal will come, perhaps by force, from a conception that will collapse into the collective and the individual will face himself and his heart, on the path to the new order. This is the awakening, the enlightenment.
This chapter is symbolically published on the eve of Yom Kippur, but it is worth reading on any occasion, as it serves to remind us of the day when a so called preconception is shattered, affecting both the individual and the collective. Hopefully, everyone can examine whether they are living in times when they are still part of a preconception, whether they are contributing to a preconception at its peak, or whether it is indeed on the verge of failing them. It is hoped that each individual can perceive preconceptions that have reached their zenith and failed, consider the price paid, and ponder when, throughout history, the Jewish people played a decisive role before the collapse of a general preconception.
The question remains: are we once again trapped within one of these preconceptions? Are we leading it or breaking the covenant in which we committed to preserve freedom of mind? Through this introspection, each individual can decide for himself / herself, especially today.