The Power of Inclusion
MyLife Essay Contest 2016
All of us have a basic desire to be “included.” This desire, given to us by our Creator, has been embedded in our psyches, but it is all too elusive and its process vaporizes before our very eyes.
We see educational systems and classrooms struggling with cohesiveness among diverse populations, minimal employment for people with disabilities, and polished minds in disuse in residences for the elderly. Western and European nations are re-creating their policies to deal with workplace dissatisfaction. High-tech businesses are grappling with various experimental inclusive projects to promote creativity and productiveness, even by reconstructing their buildings to remove “psychological barriers to interacting.”  Psychologists provide temporary “fixes” that provide limited relief to ever increasing needy populations who are embittered and angry due to their feelings of alienation from their country, society, family, and self.
When a troubled individual with discipline problems seeks psychological advice he may be told to join a club or pursue community activities. This may be good advice but it may not be addressing the underlying problem of alienation from his community or even from himself. His inability to align his common goals with his variety of opposing feelings may have originated from parental upbringing of unbridled, non-purposeful kindness. Therefore, the feelings may have produced destructive qualities and irresponsibility.
Congregational leaders in every religious circle are confronting multilayered community problems. They struggle with various cultures, age and health related needs, and various economic standards. The “burnout” syndrome becomes the result of an energetic and creative organizer who is frustrated with the lack of cohesiveness and workable strategies within their group. They have observed collapsed methodologies resulting in stagnation and apathy.
These broad issues stem from the lack of acknowledgement and recognition of a unified inclusive force. The following article will show that, by understanding the practical application of a Chassidic principle it will ultimately promote lasting attachment bringing solidarity to the person, enlivened community teamwork, and cohesiveness to nations. For a deep understanding of the Chassidic principle כח הפועל בּנפעל “The Cause-of-All (the Creator) is inextricably within the Effect (Creation)” we need to take note of the inner workings of this Unifying Force. We are postulating the usage of a specific method based upon Chassidic principles which can foster inclusiveness.
Let’s inspect various dynamics of inclusive behavior within the world. Animal life is predominately based upon animal survival and preservation of their species. On a human level, the individual has free choice to do good deeds according to that individual’s experience. This may lead him to be kind to one group and not another, depending upon his own preferences. His good deeds are motivated by ego centric desires which can lead to total exclusion of groups of people or those individuals who are different and unfamiliar to him.
Judaism, as explained by Chassidus, shows how directives from G-d (mitzvot) leads to inclusion. There is a commandment in the Torah to help an enemy’s fallen donkey. The Torah uses the words “Help, you shall surely help.” This means that Jews are instructed to help 100 or more times to upright an enemy’s donkey. A goodhearted individual would not be so favorably inclined to assist, let alone help that number of times. Since Jews have this Torah commandment they override their natural mindset and connect to a more expanded perception of “Good.” Jews use a method of going out of their comfort zone in a certain way which acknowledges the All-Inclusive One. There is also a commandment to leave leftover sheaves from a harvest field so that any poor person, regardless of social status, religion, or political affiliation, may bundle and take home. With the active involvement of a Higher Authority more “usual” boundaries are expanded and assure inclusiveness with all peoples. These Torah based inclusive examples are enumerated by the Chassidic principle of “כח הפועל בּנפעל (“The Cause-of-All (the Creator) is inextricably within the Effect (Creation)). This concept exemplifies what one might recognize as the greatest Inclusion Statement. [This concept will continue to be referred as the “Inclusive Statement” in this article.] The Alter Rebbe, in the Tanya writes that Creation was created by our Creator, not just as a one-time action, but He creates continually, every moment. The Alter Rebbe gives the example of the Splitting of the Red Sea where the water remained in an upright position due to the continuous force of the wind on the water. In order to counteract the downward flow there needed to be an equal and continuous opposite force to remain up as a wall. If the retaining force would cease, the water would automatically return to its natural flow downward. How much more so does the creation of “something” (physicality) from “nothing” (spirituality) require the continuous animating spiritual force to be contained within the physical!
The Mittler Rebbe, as explained by Rav Hillel Paritch, adds that, not only is the existence of the physical totally dependent upon the spiritual, but so is every detail and characteristic. This is because the Creator is One and His essence is the quintessential substance of Creation. This implies that the ten creative qualities (All-Inclusiveness, Wisdom, Understanding, Kindness, Discipline, Compassion, Perseverance, Humility, Connection, and Nobility) are found within the Creation as well. Just like there is an inclusive quality inherent in the Creator, so to, there is an inherent inclusive quality in His creations.
It says in the Zohar that the Creator brought the universe into being in order that we should get to know the Creator. We can understand that as the Creator has kindness (one of the 10 creative qualities), we have kindness, but the kindness does not automatically align itself with the Creator since we have free choice. We have to actively embrace the will of the Creator so that our kindness, for example, aligns itself with His kindness. By aligning our inclusive intentions with the inclusive intentions of the Creator, we become unified with Him in a revealed way.
One of the many ways of explaining Infinite Wisdom is that “the particular comes from the general.” The “particular,” as a microcosm, is within the “general,” the macrocosm. The qualities of the “general” (the Creator) are expressed in the “particular” (mankind). Looking at the orbits of an electron around the protons and the neutron, one recognizes similarities with the orbits of planets around our massive sun.
Let’s see how these creative qualities can be understood and applied to the issues of inclusion. The three attributes that we are examining are Kindness, Discipline, and Compassion.
In looking at two opposite forces (Kindness and Discipline) we can see how they can cause trauma until a third force neutralizes them. For example, when kindness is used in an unrestrained manner, it can result in acts that are opposite of kindness. For instance, a pleasure seeking, speeding driver. A forceful discipline is necessary to counteract the negative and dangerous effects of this unbridled action. The driver is pulled over and restrained by the policeman, the disciplinarian. This results in a compassionate behavior (the issuing of a traffic ticket) which is good for all involved and, in this example, public safety. This compassionate behavior of the policeman allows for harmony on the road, allowing all the drivers to use the road together. So we see that compassion is inclusive. This also demonstrates what is stated by Rabbi Sholom DovBer Schneersohn of Lubavitch that “True unity is achieved when the parts are not in opposition but aid one another.” With this unity we have inclusion.
Even though a compassionate balance has been achieved in this example, a possibility of selfishness still remains. The person who may be acting out of his own intention (the driver seeking his own pleasure) may also be causing undo stress to others resulting in a “separation of hearts.” A more spiritual act would be a selfless deed from the driver involving his voluntary use of discipline, motivated by obeying the rules of the road. With this change in his mindset, he would be internalizing the temperament of the traffic official and thus himself taking responsibility. This driver is now included with those on the highway. Without this type of internalization, a Higher Authority is necessary to keep the road safe.
“The Alter Rebbe quoted the Maggid quoting the Baal Shem Tov: “Love your fellow like yourself” is an interpretation and exposition of “Love the L-rd your G-d.” By loving our fellow and including them, we are expressing our love of the Creator who includes us as well. We are loving what the All-Inclusive One loves.
Previously we noted that the “particular” can be understood as mankind and the “general” as being similar to the All-Inclusive-One. We can apply these concepts to issues involving inclusion. The “particular” instinctively “knows” he is included in the “general” just like a simple Jew having faith in the Higher One even without intellectual understanding. A second example is the question “Who does any person ask help from when feeling threatened with mortal danger other than their Creator?” Thirdly, people with disability are more sensitive in knowing the dynamics of inclusion. We need to understand that these and others contain unrevealed treasures within themselves as they are more apt to comprehend the significance of being included. Intuitively they may understand the Inclusive Statement (“The Cause-of-All (the Creator) is inextricably within the Effect (Creation)” because of their reliance, for example, upon people to help open a door for their wheel chair. Or perhaps people who feel outcasted who rely upon the general Jewish community for a Purim celebratory meal. Since these diverse people instinctively know the underlying truth of the Inclusion Statement and because the general population only rarely responds according to it, anger and shame can fester within them. Their inner being knows the truth of the Inclusion Statement and cries out for it, producing a whirlwind of internal emotions. The process of inclusion could be halted here unless the general public helps to complete the process of inclusion.
A simple Chassidic meditative process can be adapted to create a durable and lasting inclusive environment. This method is based upon the Mittler Rebbe as explained by Rabbi Hillel Paritch. Its involves five steps: 1) Acknowledgement, 2) Understanding, 3) Picturing, 4) Gazing, and 5) Intending. Acknowledgement is centered around the issue at hand and encompasses the recognition of the Creator (“general”) and the individual (“particular”). Without acknowledging both elements in the Inclusion Statement the process is not truly activated and temporary “fixes” occur. Making sure that all the particulars are defined clearly is part of step 2. When we visualize details (step 3) we form a picture to gaze intensely (step 4). The last step (step 5) involves taking the focused issue and the emotions, directing it towards a specific purpose.
In the application of these five steps we can (step 1) acknowledge the wisdom of the “particular” that lies within the Inclusive Statement (the “general”). In acknowledging, the prime mover is the All-Inclusive One. People with disability, with their innate abilities, need to be cherished and recognized as individuals and part of general society. Utilizing our mind and striving to understand (step 2) means active involvement and learning in an open, unbiased manner about people with disability. In recent years we have gained knowledge that people with autism have exceptional G-d given abilities. People who have cerebral palsy (CP) have wondrous gifts of memory and writing abilities. And lastly, the elderly have experiences and stories of wisdom. Now we have a picture (step 3) of these exceptional groups who have unique and distinguished qualities. To absorb and to allow this to soak into our psyche (step 4) results in an intention (step 5) to be carried out by acting upon it. New innovations result such as the employment of a person with CP to be hired as a journalist or an elder to give advice to students.
By being knowledgeable and adept in the Chassidic Inclusion method one partners with the Higher Power in establishing more durable inclusion. By including the Higher Power, we are expanding our perception of inclusiveness and acting upon, not our own ego, but a loving Father’s attribute of inclusiveness. Active daily inclusion principles bring healing and peace to relationships, communities, and nations.
 James B. Stewart, Workplace Inclusion: Looking for a Lesson in Google’s Perks (New York Times: 2013).
 The Alter Rebbe, Tanya, Shaar HaYichud v’Emunah Toronto, Ont. Canada: 1984) p. 154.
 Rav Hillel Paritch, נר מצוה ותורה אור [שער האמונה ושער היחוד (New York: 1995) page 320, column 1.
 Shneur Zalman of Liadi, Tehilat Hashem (New York: 2013) page 25.
 Rabbi Sholom DovBer Schneersohn of Lubavitch, Heihaltzu Chapter 7.
Mindel, Kuntres Ahavas Yisrael Section XIII, page 10.
 Rabbi Hillel Paritch נר מצוה ותורה אור שער האמונה ושער היחוד (in English: The Candle is the Mitzvah and the Light is the Torah).
About the Author
Rabbi Yonasan Beitz was born in 1955 in the city of Johannesburg, South Africa. Because of complications at birth, he was left with neurological deficit and dramatic hearing loss. The challenge of being different and having to work harder than most students has given Rabbi Beitz the platform to understand and help children and adults struggling with similar situations in veering away from self-pity and developing a healthy sense of self-worth. Rabbi Beitz has a BA in religious education, a MA in Special education, and rabbinical ordination from Chabad Rabbinical Beit Din. He currently lives in Beitar Ilit with his wife Sara Leah and continues to study in kolel, teach part time, be involved in community life and assist his community in understanding that every Jew, as ever letter in the Sefer Torah, counts.