O, Such Sad Deception

In his book entitled Satan in Goray, Isaac Bashevis Singer recounts the tragedy of a town whose hopes were abysmally dashed when they discovered that the man they deemed the messiah was, in fact, a fraud. The novel begins with gruesome descriptions of massacres, the gory details of which Singer drew almost word for word from records of the infamous 1648 pogroms by Chmelnicki, where tens of thousands of Jews were brutally murdered. It was a precursor to the evils of Hitler.

After fifteen years, the traumatized survivors begin to return to their village. A demoralized people, these Jews were only too ready to embrace a messiah. Enter Shabbetai Zvi, born in 1626, a Talmudic scholar who engaged in mysticism. He was given to messianic fantasies and was soon declared to be the messiah by his followers. He began to act the part, and messianic fervor took hold of communities that had not personally experienced bloodshed, as well as those who had experienced the lash. Jews began to repent; they were filled with incredible joy and enthusiasm, and many leaders of the Jewish community acknowledged Zvi as the Messiah. From small villages to cosmopolitan centers, leading rabbis and their adherents were caught up in the joy of finally being delivered. Then reality set in. Zvi was brought before the Sultan of Turkey and given the choice of death or apostasy; he decided to convert to Islam. 

The news rocked the Jewish world; the treason was more than they could bear. The real focus of Satan in Goray, however, is on the recovery of the remote town of Goray. It is Singer's portrayal of the aftermath of the moral destruction by this false belief in Zvi which is so stunning in the novel. The decay of the community is even worse than the physical destruction which had preceded it. The people lost their moral compass; they succumbed to all forms of evil. They allowed themselves to be mesmerized by the promise of a new age out of hope for a better world. Their downfall is pitiful to behold.

As I read this book, I am constantly reminded of what I predict will be the endgame for so many blacks who ardently believe in the promise of Barack Obama. They see in him a vindication of the bitterness of slavery and of the denial of their civil rights up until recently. They see him as a natural result of the incredible work of Martin Luther King, but this is not the case. King was a unifier; Obama is divisive. But it is not only the many black Americans who view Obama as the messiah. It is the many progressives who cannot see past his gibberish and instead deem him a gifted orator. Oprah Winfrey referred to Obama as "the One." Acknowledged anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan also sees Obama as the deliverer. In a 2008 Washington Post interview, Joel Stein stated that "the messiah would make an excellent president."

I have my own personal experience with this misguided notion of Obama's powers. During the time that he was campaigning, I expressed my deep concerns to a black friend of many years. Although she had always contacted me a few times a year in the past just to catch up, our communications suddenly became very quiet. Thinking that she had fallen ill, I tried to contact her, but still no response. Then, in September of 2009, she wrote me expressing her warm feelings towards me, but she went on to say that she was clearly upset with my vocalizing my genuine worries regarding Obama's connections to Reverend Wright and Ayers, his unsustainable tax demands, and his anti-Israel stance. I wrote an impassioned letter to her; in fact, I even asked her to refute my concerns. I never heard from her again.

So what is the point of these musings? Like the Jews of Goray, those people who voted for Obama are going to have their world turn over 180 degrees. I fear for their faith in Obama. He is not an honest broker. He misleads and uses the ancient Roman trick of "bread and circuses." Interesting is the fact that this allegedly transparent leader has not held a press conference in months. Obama's angry and contemptible behavior against allies is revealing. His mercurial nature has Americans spinning; it takes incredible energy to keep up with his poisonous prevarications.

How will these Obama-supporters lose their moorings? Daily, more factual information emerges that shows what a fraud Obama is. What will they ever be able to believe in again? Jeremy Dauber has written that Isaac Bashevis Singer saw how weak men of goodwill are easily pushed aside by brutes if they refuse to fight back. So to my friend of many years, to those Jews who thought Obama would be the messiah, I issue a call to seek the truth and not be blinded by a charismatic figure whose change is only about power and glory, and not about your well-being. Remember Goray!

Active in the 1970s writing campaign to free Russian Jewish refuseniks, Eileen continues to speak out against tyranny. She can be reached at middlemarch18@gmail.com.
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