Friday, February 11, 2011

Thoughts on Egypt

There is a famous Rav Kook quote in the beginning of Orot "When there is a great war in the world the force of the Messiah is awakened". The connection between war and the Messiah is to do with social change which historically was brought about by war. Egypt so far has not descended into absolute chaos, but it is experiencing a social revolution.  I have little doubt that for the average Egyptian the air is carrying the distinctive smell of the messiah. A few weeks ago I wrote about Rav Kook's writings about the souls from the world of chaos:

"The great intellectuals want an order of goodness and beauty, Material and great, that has no correspondence to reality, and so they ruin that which is built by the standard of the world. The great know how to rebuild the destroyed world, but the bad, that the call of idealism of the highest order touched them only a fleeting touch, they just destroy and ruin, and their (souls) are rooted in the sphere of chaos at its lowest level.The souls of chaos are higher the the souls of Tikkun (fixing). They are so great, that they demand much of reality, what their (keilim) casings can not hold. They search for a great light, and all that is limited, measured and available, they can't bear."
(my own translation to Zironim page 122)

At the time of writing, it is still unclear what the Egyptian people are rallying after. Are they able to build a new world, or are they doomed to tear the old one down, and leave only chaos behind?  

Listening to Mubarak's speech yesterday, I was reminded of Sulla - the very first great Roman dictator. Sulla was without doubt one of the most bloodthirsty dictators – he had the habit of posting lists of those he wanted killed at the forum in Rome. Yet history has judged him favorably, no doubt for his unique example in history of having stepped down after achieving absolute power. Can Mubarak secure a favorable image in history, by having the strength of will to step away?  

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