A law of physics first exposed by Sir Isaac Newton states that for every action there is an equal, opposite reaction. It was Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, the German philosopher, who first applied that law to the social arena. Karl Marx, his disciple, capitalized on the idea, but it was Mikhail Bakunin, the father or Anarchism, who refined it to its maximum, declaring that in order to obtain a desire result, one must support the opposite idea, so as to deepen the contradictions which would, ultimately, bring down the edifice of the wrong and allow for the right to emerge.
In short, the idea is a twist on Aesop’s principle of “if you can’t beat them, join them”. Bakunin would have expressed it like this: “if you want to beat them, support them in order to make them fall”. If you think the idea sounds insane, I agree. But is an idea, nevertheless.
Fifty three years ago, on the eve of Purim, the Lubavitcher Rebbe gathered the Chabad Chassidim at the Lubavitch headquarters, the famous 770 Shull, for a traditional Chassidic farbrengen. After reciting a ma’amar, classical Chassidic discourse, the Rebbe told a joke in the spirit of the holyday. It was an anecdote about a chassid who was sent by his rebbe to a certain place with a strange mission: to register as a local resident, and to vote in the local elections. The Rebbe has had not told the chassid whom to vote for, or what was the relevance of such action. But the chassid listened and went there.
When the elections came, the chassid still didn’t know whom to vote for. On his way to the voting booth, he saw a candidate being held on one of his supporter’s shoulders, as a crown cheered him: “HURRAH! HURRAH!” The chassid followed the crowd for a few blocks and suddenly understood: “hu-ra”. By Divine Providence, the message was clear to him! “hu-ra”, in Hebrew, “הוא-רע”, means “he is evil!” THAT was the message. The chassid voted for the opposite candidate.
I’m not that good with telling jokes, especially when I have to explain why they’re funny, but the Rebbe had no problem telling it to the Chassidim, they all laughed. Then the Rebbe asked the crowd to repeat, cheerfully; “Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah!” several times over. The crowd grew louder and louder. Then the Rebbe asked for silence, and gave over a second ma’amar – something quite unusual, since those discourses traditionally given only one per farbrengen, and only on special occasions.
It was later learned that in the very moment the Rebbe had the crowd repeat the hurrahs in the Shull in New York, back in Moscow, Stalin, who had secret plans to deport over a million Jews from Western Russia to Siberia, simply died.
In his day, Stalin looked like a hero to the world: he defeated Hitler on the Russian front, brought education and electricity to the smallest and most remote town in the far provinces of the USSR, and – his propaganda machine had everyone believe – created a just society of equality and resources for all.
Today the world is, once again, deep in the darkness of terrible misgivings. The Jewish nation is, like in Stalin’s last day, existentially threatened, while the world believes the opposite. The horrors of the silent Holocaust are hidden from the world. But the Jewish people are threatened with extinction.
The same Lubavitcher Rebbe that help save the Jews of Russia back in 1953 warned us since 1967, and thereafter, about the terrible dangers that threatened the Jews of Eretz Israel, and of the rest of the world, if the lands miraculously liberated in the Six-Day-War were to be ceded to the so-called “Palestinian” Arabs for them to create there a State. The Rebbe spoke of the danger to the lives of at least three million Jews if such a plan was even spoken of.
Yet, as it sadly happened in the day of Yeshayahu HaNavi (the prophet Isaiah), those in power did not listened, and set the scenario for a catastrophe. “Wherefore, when I came, was there no man? When I called, was there none to answer?” (50:2). Ignoring the warnings of Yeshayahu cost the Jewish people the destruction of the First Temple, and the Exile of Babel. Ignoring the Rebbe’s warnings may very well, rachamanah litzlan, cost us a new Holocaust.
Yet every government of Israel has chosen to ignore the Rebbe’s warnings, coming up with erroneous calculations which are leading us to the worst self-inflicted wound of our history. Begin gave up the Sinai Peninsula against the Rebbe’s explicit directives, and got Israel stuck in the Lebanon quagmire instead of leading the quick campaign the Rebbe explained was necessary. Shamir though himself very smart when, instead of the PLO, he found a newly-founded alternative for “Palestinian” Arab rule with whom to negotiate: Hamas. Back then it seemed the sensible thing to do, choosing to ignore the Rebbe’s warning, that is.
Then the Oslo debacle came up. The misnomer of “peace process” that ensued came accompanied by the choir of Chabad Chassidim that echoed the Rebbe’s warnings about the dangers of negotiating with that which must not be negotiated. But the governments of Israel and the media chose to ignore the warnings, and instead cast a shadow of disinformation, having the public believe that things were heading for the better, that peace was right around the corner, that the land could be safely shared by “both peoples”, and that diplomacy and democracy held the key to our final redemption.
Karl Marx was wrong, amongst other things, when he said that religion is the opium of the masses. The opium of the masses is the media. People read newspapers, listed to the radio, watch TV, or read/watch/listen to the newscasts on the Internet. They feel they have the world at their fingers, that they know it all, and become reduced to cheerleading whatever is sold to them as “good and progressive.”
So, intoxicated by the media, and misguided by the delusion of arrogant governments, masses of people believe that the recent election of Ehud Olmert – in power by a record-low percentage of a record-low voting turnout – is a good thing. Olmert has announced the end of the “dream of a Biblical Israel”. He has a list of Jewish towns to be destroyed, which in the very first stage would render some eighty thousand Jews homeless. He has expressly renounced to “all ideologies”, including the basic principals of Zionism. He is now planning a perverse reverse of and old slogan. He plans to give the Arabs “dunam after dunam”, till much of Judea and Samaria fall in the hands of Hamas.
I will sound like a Bakuninite, except to those who remember the story told somewhere in my rambling: Hurrah, Olmert, Hurrah!
May the Almighty save us from the present calamity.