Friday, February 13, 2004

Critical Mass

It is claimed by Chassidim that every soul is linked to a soul center. Some kind of powerful higher soul that smaller souls can hang on to and it will guide them closer to the core being. The Rebbes are supposed to be these higher souls. There are a few major Rebbes around and most often they have their own group Chassidim (followers) who believe that he is their chosen one. Many Chassidim have total faith in their Rebbe and they are the lucky ones. For them life is an uncomplicated business. True they all have their own little problems but a quick word with the Rebbe and they know all will be well. These lucky devils sleep soundly at night.

You could compare the world of Chassidim to that of bees. You have these groups of Cs who congregate round their Rebbe, or the queen C. Each of these groups or hives developed independently to have their own culture and identity, more similar to nationalities than to football supporter groups. The rivalry between these groups is what keeps the masses involved and thus committed and steadfast. More malicious tongues than mine have hinted that maybe the rivalries are actually created or at least nurtured by the queens themselves to keep the drones buzzing, but I would not go so far online.

The royal occasions where the queen addresses the hive are called a Tish. It is when the Rebbe partakes of a meal alone in front of the adoring masses. There the Rebbe sits at his table and masses stand packed around watching him eat and singing the party songs lustily in unison.

Anybody who has ever been part of a crowd at a great football match, a really good rock concert or even (unfortunately) at some royal events will recognize the feeling of becoming one with the crowd. That moment when your regular inhibitions disappear and you suddenly find yourself able to cheer or to shout without wondering if those next to you think you are mad. It is a form of mass hysteria which, though usually benign, is probably the same thing that allows groups to commit the most awful atrocities which the individuals alone would never dream of committing.

This feeling can be addictive. Indeed I still look back nostalgically to times when I could slip into the crowd at a Tish and become one with it. Unfortunately I have a notion that in the great dispatching room on high someone (or some thing) must have got some packages mixed up. Because at a certain age I discovered that my plug did not fit this particular socket. I suspect that somewhere over in the far end of London some poor goyische bloke is in therapy, for his curious longing for men in beards.

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