Behold, The Dreamer

"And they said one to another: 'Behold, the dreamer...' " (Genesis 37)

It is said in the Talmud that from the time that the Temple was destroyed, prophecy was given over to children and fools. The concept is staggering! Prophecy! Is there anything greater for man to achieve? Prophecy! To be in deepest communion with G-d, to sense the future, to speak of that which will be. What an astounding gift and it is given over to children and fools?

There is profound and sad wisdom in the words of the rabbis who contemplated a post-Destruction world that saw not only a Temple structure leveled but also a human level lowered and profaned. The end of the spiritual presence of the Temple and the flight of the Shechina, the Divine presence, led also to the debasement of the spiritual nature of man. His faith and belief in things that were part of the soul were replaced by an inability to believe in that which he could not see and touch.

Pragmatism and realism and logic became his yardsticks and touchstones and cynicism and doubt were his natural reactions to visions and dreams.

He mocked those who spoke of things that were of the spirit. He derided those who spoke of faith and destiny and Divine decree. He deprecated the dreamers with sneers of "fools!" He labeled the visionaries "children!" No, prophecy is not given over to children and to fools, but it is given to dreamers of dreams and to visionaries who are called those names.

One who does not believe in G-d and the greatness of the spirit tends to tear down the visionary with mockery and humiliation. He laughs at the young who dream great hopes and calls them "children." He sneers at the few who are beyond "reality" and "logic" and "practicality" and labels them "fools."

But it is these "children" and "fools" who do possess the truth, who do grasp the prophetic vision that comes clearly through to them and the Biblical and Talmudic messages of faith that the non-believers mock and the "wise" (?) believers ignore. And that which will be is perceived by the fools and the children - only by them - while the men of pragmatism sink into the graveyards of forgotten persons. Shimon Peres, leader of the Laborite logicians and losers, promoter of the program of "practicality," sneerer at seers and realist par excellence, spoke with contempt of the fools and children, as he attacked Menachem Begin.

As early as 1947, said Peres, when the Laborites accepted the Partition Plan that ripped away all but a fraction of Eretz Yisrael from the Jewish People, Begin through his rejection of the scheme showed the difference between
"vision and realism. It was the realism of Labor that brought Israel one of her greatest achievements."

And, of course, Begin's statements after his election victory were, according to Peres,
"examples of the gap between a realist and visionary. One can make heart-rending speeches in Kadum, but there are still American interests and I am sure they will not be looked after according to the Books of Jeremiah and Isaiah... One can change a government, but one cannot change the world. One can change the regime, but one cannot change the situation."

The dwarf. The grasshopper. The little man of little faith who so symbolizes the tragic past ten years.

Peres is Joseph's brothers who watch him come and who sneer:
"Behold, the dreamer cometh..." But, it was Joseph's dreams that proved to be real. Peres is the spy that Moses sent to Canaan and who came back trembling with fear. But, it was Joshua who believed, who led the Jews into Canaan and the spies who conceived of themselves as grasshoppers, vis-�-vis the giants of Canaan, who died in the desert.

One cannot change the world? One cannot change the situation? One must be "practical?" Thank G-d that the Pereses of the world did not dissuade the Herzls and Jabotinskys and Nordaus. Thank G-d that throughout the ages the visionaries named Abraham and Moses and Mattathias and Akiva overcame the practical men of little faith.

One remembers them. Rabin, in October of 1976, telling Parade Magazine:
"If the United States deserts us, then our very existence will be truly jeopardized." Man of logic and reason. Man of little faith. Gentile in Hebrew garb.

One remembers the words of General Shmuel Gonen describing Moshe Dayan at the beginning of the Yom Kippur War:
"Dayan was a broken man and predicted a destruction of the Third Temple..." Dayan, the pragmatist, the realist, the logical military man.

The dwarf. The Grasshopper. The gentile with the Hebrew eye-patch.

All of them are the doubters, the scoffers, the men of no faith and little belief. Hussein speaks with tears of "Allah taking his beloved wife" and Fahd of Saudi Arabia releases prisoners in an "expression of gratitude to G-d" for the recovery of King Khallad and Sadat speaks of Allah's aid in the Yom Kippur War, but the realists of Labor do not know G-d because He is not a practical concept.

One cannot change a world or a situation? Who says so? Does the survival of a people that wandered the earth for 2,000 years under incredible conditions of suffering, and without state, government or army add up to logic? Does the return to Zion exactly as prophesied in the visions of the prophets constitute "realism?" Do the victories in four and six days over hordes of enemies constitute victories for rationality?

It is precisely the Books of Jeremiah and Isaiah that one turns to, not because of American interest, but because of Jewish ones. It is precisely the dependence on political, military, economic and realpolitik considerations that brings tragedy on Israel for not one of these things can save a state that has nothing to convince any ally to aid her.

Only the "children and the fools" understand. They, at whom the clever logicians and realists scoff and sneer, understand.

They see, they perceive, because they believe, because they have faith, because they are Jews. The generation of Peres is the generation of the desert. They cannot enter the Promised Land of Redemption.

They have no prophecy, and it is only the children who believe who will see the glory of

By Rabbi Meir Kahane
February, 1978
Kahane Magazine
Hosted by