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A World Gone Mad
By Rabbi Berel Wein

There is a famous Hassidic story that pretty much sums up our present situation and the world that we live in.

A great king had an extremely wise adviser whose opinion he trusted implicitly. One day the adviser appeared before the king with very bad news - the crop of grain just being harvested contained an organism that would drive people stark raving mad. The king was terribly shocked and found himself in a quandary. If the contaminated grain was removed from the market, the population would starve to death. Yet if the people ate that grain they would all become crazy.

The adviser told the king that he should allow the grain to be marketed, for better mad than dead. The king agreed to this. The adviser then told the king that there was enough of last year's normal grain in the king's pantry for the king, the adviser and their families until next year's more normal crop.

The king responded that if he and the adviser were the only sane people in an otherwise insane society, they would be deemed insane by the crazy people. Therefore he ruled that he and the adviser and their families would also have to eat from the affected grain. However, the wise adviser painted a line on his forehead and that of the king, so that when they looked at each other they would at least recognize that they were crazy.

The world around us has eaten locoweed. It is crazy beyond belief. How else can one explain that Amnesty International is after ambassador-designate Carmi Gillon while the pope exchanges hugs and kisses with Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat?

Of course, Arafat's unblemished record of 35 years of terror, murder, corruption and violence earned him a Nobel Peace Prize and international approval, while all Gillon can show for his efforts at attempting to save the lives of innocents here in Israel is a lousy ambassadorial appointment to Denmark with a threat of being arrested there.

And what do you say about the "peace rally" last Saturday night in Tel Aviv? Has it not yet dawned upon the peace camp that there has to be another side willing to make peace with us for any "peace process" to work?

I would also willingly join rallies for peace if I knew that such rallies were taking place in Gaza, Ramallah, Nablus and Jericho as well. But as long as they are taking place only in Tel Aviv, I think that such gatherings, in light of present realities, border on the ludicrous, if not the insane.

AND WHAT shall we make of the journalistic rewriting of the Camp David fiasco? What grain are these journalists eating? Somehow it isn't Arafat's fault at all that he turned down the deal to end all deals, made no counter-offer to prime minister Ehud Barak and unleashed the murderous campaign of terror and violence that, while it may be hurting Israel, is certainly destroying the Palestinian economy and social structure. Bill Clinton, Barak, Madeleine Albright, Dennis Ross, Martin Indyk and all of the others are wrong in blaming Arafat. Only the crazies are right in sympathizing with and rationalizing for him.

What are we to think about the "humanitarians" who unleash Code Red viruses and worms onto the world's computer systems in order to prove some obscure point? What sadistic pleasure they must gain from their twisted exploits. And how should we understand the behavior of the noble anti-globalization protesters who have trashed Seattle, Genoa and other world cities in their quest for social justice?

Nothing accomplishes the advancement of the cause of the poor and the downtrodden the world over as quickly and definitively as does breaking shop windows, looting goods from their legitimate owners, hurling rocks and firebombs at police, and becoming drunk and stoned. And, naturally, in this lunatic world of ours the police are to be blamed for "overreacting" and beating the firebomb-throwing crazies.

The "crazies" are going to hold a conference on racism in South Africa next month. In attendance, among others, will be the Hutus and the Tutsis of Burundi and Rwanda, the Zulus and the ANC of crime-ridden South Africa, Muammar Gaddafi of Libya and Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, all of whom are experts in killing and stealing, with a horrendous record of accomplishments in these fields. They will gather and solemnly decide whether Zionism is racism.

The Russians, whose methods of attempting to stamp out the Chechnyan uprising make the Middle East violence look like a touch-football game, will undoubtedly intone on the matter. The righteous French, who have never yet admitted their collaborationist role with the Nazis in World War II, will also have something to say on the matter, as will the Oslo-creating Scandinavians.

Pay them no heed. They are all mad. But then again so are we, for we also eat of the same grain that feeds post-modernism, secularism, no-guilt value systems, family-destroying promiscuity and selfish politics, above all else.

The least we should do is paint a line on our foreheads so that when we view each other, we will be aware what an insane world we live in.



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