Topsy-Turvy World?
By Rabbi Naftali Estulin
Lately, weíve been witness to bizarre goings-on in the world. On the one hand, anti-Semitism in Europe has been growing. On the other hand, public opinion in the United States is pro-Israel, sometimes even more so than public opinion in Eretz Yisroel!


The story is told of Rí Zushe of Anipoli, that a Jew once came to him and told him that one of the soldiers stationed in the area stole all his money. He had complained to the commanding officer, who had lined up his soldiers so the man could identify the thief. But he hadnít managed to identify the soldier he had seen for only a few seconds.

Rí Zushe told him to go back to the commanding officer and to ask him to have his soldiers line up once again.

"And how will I know who the thief is?" wondered the man.

"The soldier who spits in your direction and curses you, is the thief," said Rí Zushe.

The man did as Rí Zushe had advised, and requested another line-up. The commanding officer was taken aback at first, by the Jewís impudence, but after a moment he said he would line his men up once again. The catch was, if the man did not identify the soldier, he would be killed.

The Jew agreed to the terms, and the officer called his men. As Rí Zushe had anticipated, one of the soldiers cursed the Jew as he walked by and even spit at him. "This is the thief," said the Jew, and pointed at the soldier.

"Confess to the robbery!" thundered the officer, and the soldier admitted his guilt and revealed where he had hidden the stash.

After the money had been restored to the Jew, the officer asked him how he had succeeded in identifying the soldier. The man told him about Rí Zusheís advice, and the officer, who was greatly impressed by Rí Zusheís astuteness, asked to meet with him.

The man went back to Rí Zushe and thanked him for his good advice. He conveyed the officerís request to meet with him. Rí Zushe told him to go back to the officer and tell him that if he wanted to meet with Rí Zushe, he should come to Rí Zusheís home.

Hearing this, the officer was furious, and he sent the Jew to tell Rí Zushe that if he did not come to the army base, his soldiers would bring him, and he would pay a heavy price for his refusal to come.

Rí Zushe remained unmoved by these threats and told the Jew, "Go to the officer and tell him that instead of thinking about me, he should think about himself, because his life is in danger."

The end of the story is that the officer found a letter in his pocket that he had planned on sending to the king, which meant that the letter he had actually sent the king was a letter he had intended on sending the enemy. He realized that the king would discover he had betrayed him, and he preferred taking his own life than facing humiliation.


I heard this story as a kid, and I reminded myself of it recently. I figured, if a Jew is supposed to learn a lesson in avodas Hashem from everything he sees and hears, all the more so from sippurei chassidim.

There are two obvious lessons in the story: 1) Instead of constantly thinking about how to correct someone, think about how to correct yourself, and 2) If all you think about is correcting the other person, it will turn out that youíre in cahoots with the enemy.

We are soldiers on the frontlines. The Rebbe sent each one of us to the front, and instructed us to fight the war of the House of Dovid. Each of us must enlist additional soldiers, and must serve as officers who convey the orders of the general to his men.

Sometimes, we weaken in our duties. Some of us feel the need to educate the next fellow. Instead of writing an interesting chiddush in the toras haíGeula, or working on inyanei Moshiach and Geula, we write articles "against." Sometimes we donít take notice, but the worst sorts of garbage are published and afterwards, we discover how our enemies use these articles.

On the other hand, when we speak only of the positive and are enthusiastically occupied with inyanei Geula and Moshiach, even our opponents accept us.

My brother-in-law, Rí Leibel Groner, told me that he met a misnaged who came to 770, who, after seeing how the bachurim enthusiastically danced "Yechi," said that seeing the chayus of the chassidim, made him sure the Rebbe is alive.


Lately, weíve been witness to bizarre goings-on in the world. On the one hand, anti-Semitism in Europe is growing. On the other hand, public opinion in the United States is pro-Israel, sometimes more so than public opinion in Eretz Yisroel.

Recently, with an overwhelming majority, the Congress and Senate passed a resolution supporting the policies of the Israeli government. In a speech given by a senator, he took out a Tanach and began quoting písukim which prove that Eretz Yisroel belongs to the Jews. What the Knesset members donít do, this American gentile did.

At the same time, though, anti-Semitism in Europe is on the rise. Every day we hear about more blatant anti-Semitic acts and how the European governments are silent. They only break their silence when Israel dares to consider the possibility of defending itself.

The world is topsy-turvy!

As always, the Rebbe foresaw this situation too, and even said this was a process which would unfold before Moshiachís coming. A time will come, said the Rebbe, when utter good will be revealed in the world, along with utter evil. Itís a sorting out process which must happen before Moshiach comes. A time will come when the world will be black and white; those who belong to the forces of evil will show their ugly faces, and those genuinely committed to goodness will also be apparent to all.

At the end of Hilchos Melachim, the Rambam writes, "all these things regarding Yeshua the Nazarene and regarding the Ishmaelite who followed him, are only intended to pave the way for Melech HaMoshiach and to fix the entire world, to serve Hashem together." The Rambam goes on to say that the Moslems and Christians believe in a Messiah, but they donít know who the real Moshiach is. When the real Moshiach comes, it will be easy for them to accept him, as they will be familiar with the concept, and so, "they will immediately return and know that their fathers bequeathed to them lies, and that their prophets and their fathers misled them."

One would think that when Moshiach is revealed to all, the nations of the world will recognize that their entire lives were one big mistake, not just their belief in the Messiah. So why does the Rambam connect their recognition of the lies with the revelation of Moshiach?

Perhaps we can say that the reason is a simple one: The advent of Moshiach is the impetus for uncovering the truth and revealing deception to all. The world is currently undergoing a preparation for the process that will reach its completion with Moshiachcoming. We see all this happening before our very eyes. It started with the Vaticanís announcement that it recognizes the Jewish belief about the Geula and Moshiach, and it is continuing with the disgrace of one priest after another, accused of reprehensible crimes.


In the days preceding Shavuos 5749, the chassidim were surprised when the Rebbe said the maamer beginning with "Anochi Hashem Elokecha." At the time, the Rebbe was hardly ever saying maamarim, and this maamer was definitely an exception to the rule.

In this maamer, the Rebbe quoted the famous question: one would think the first commandment would have been, "I am Hashem your G-d who created the heavens and the earth," which is a far greater miracle than "who took you out of the land of Egypt."

In an incredible explanation, the Rebbe shows how perfectly fitting it would have been to begin Mattan Torah with the line, "I am Hashem your G-d who created heavens and earth," both because of the greater miracle of creating something from nothing, and because the creation of the world is an ongoing act of renewal, like the Torah, which is renewed each day. The Rebbe strengthens the question, and proves how, rationally, this is the better choice. So why does the first commandment begin differently?

Says the Rebbe: Despite the tremendous importance of Creation, itís worth nothing if the Jewish people, G-dís only son, is in exile.

And we, too, say that all the explanations about the benefits derived from suffering through Galus and the tests we are going through in the last years, are all well and good, but the bottom line is: Enough! We want to get out of here and return to our Fatherís table.


A time will come, said the Rebbe, when utter good will be revealed in the world, along with utter evil.



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