As Yom Kippur approached, and because it was a crazy year, I remembered Rebbe Nachman's legend of madness: "A tale of horse and plump."
What a horse is, we all know. The plump is the pump that once stood above a well, and whose pipe opening must resemble a modern-day faucet. Armed with this knowledge, here is my abstract (the source appears on the wonderful website "Zosha - Discovering the Hasidic Story"):
An elf sells a fine horse at a bargain price to a simple man who does not believe in demons and their ability to fool the human soul. The man realizes that this is his chance to "make a hit", and begins to walk around the market and offer the horse for sale. Everyone he meets agrees to pay more than the previous one, so he does not sell the horse and continues to walk around. In the end, the price rises to such an extent that only the king can afford it.
The man leaves the market and leads his horse to the palace. The king is enthusiastic about the magnificent horse and offers an astronomical sum, but the man thinks to himself: "If the king offers me such a sum, my horse must be worth twice as much as that," and leaves the palace without making the deal.
On the way, the man stops at the well to water the horse, and then the unbelievable happens: the horse jumps headfirst into the plump - and disappears into it.
From that moment, the man sits down in front of the well and peers into the muzzle of the pump. Every now and then he thinks he sees the horse's head trying to get out of it, and then he shouts: "Here he is, here he is!" "Here's who?" the passersby ask. "My horse—he jumped into the plump!"
Of course, everyone considers him crazy.
The kind of madness that Rebbe Nachman points to in this legend is megalomania, or the thought that reality will work out exactly – but exactly – the way we want.
In 2022/23 we were caught between two types of such megalomaniacs, and last week we realized that both of them also see us – the mainstream of the Israeli people – as rude cults, whose rudeness prevents a great horse from leaping out of the plump and bringing relief to all our sufferings.
Who are these megalomaniacs? Here are two examples: MK Israel Eichler sits in front of the plump and waits for the Messiah to leap out of there. Those who are delaying the coming of the Messiah, according to him, are the Zionists – "gods of power," as he puts it – that is, the majority of the people of Israel, who want to live in a Jewish state that, after 2,000 years of exile, also confronts its enemies with tanks, and not just prayers and commandments.
In 2022/23 we were caught between two types of such megalomaniacs, and last week we realized that both of them also see us – the mainstream of the Israeli people – as rude cults, whose rudeness prevents a great horse from leaping out of the plump and bringing relief to all our sufferings
On the other side, Prof. Shikma Bressler is also sitting in front of the plump, waiting for her redemption to leap from him – that is, a full-fledged left-wing government. Those who oppose it – that is, most of the people of Israel, who remember the bloody days of Oslo and are not willing to return to them – remember that she apologized for them, but the megalomaniac line of thought behind them did not move a millimeter.
And among them - us. Most of the people. The center-right or the Zionist center-left. We are the passersby in the legend.
We know that whoever sits in front of the plump and shouts "Here, here, ototo..." He is a megalomaniac. But somehow, even though it is clear to us that there is no horse, this year we gave Rebbe Bressler and Eichler the reins of our only state.
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