You remember this joke: “A Frenchmen, a Swede and a Norwegian were sentenced to death and the day before the execution they were granted their last wishes.The Frenchman asked for a three course meal followed by a cigar. The Swede asked for a dinner and also wanted to make a speech. The Norwegian’s last wish was to be executed before the Swede began his speech.”
So, having been pre-warned, you can skip all the longwinded tortuous verbiage and go straight to the SVD piece about Folk party leader Jan Björklund. But you must admit that it takes a brave man to say such a thing in church, in a mosque or in a synagogue – although not too long ago (about a decade or so) a good New York friend of mine did raise both of his hands and announce to the synagogue’s faithful “ I am the Messiah ! ” Of course – and no doubt about it – if I had raised both my hands and said that, I would have been thrown out by my ears. Maybe, my friend was only feeling like a reincarnation of Sabbatai Zevi ?
I came across the word synagogue recently, when reading a little bit more about Jesus; on page 33 of Jesus: One Hundred Years Before Christ by Alvar Ellegård I finally got a hang of the origin of Louis Farrakhan’s expression “synagogue of Satan” , deemed to be an atrociously anti-Semitic expression by the holy members of synagogues.
First of all, that according to Philo, in the Jewish Diaspora in Egypt, “sunagoge” refers to ”places where the Jews of Egypt gathered to discuss their “ancestral philosophy” – with an emphasis on the community rather than the building – and on page 35 this sentence occurs: “Revelation repeatedly criticizes people who , the author says, “call themselves Jews, but are of the synagogue of Satan”
Before we rush to condemn, there is some support for this view of legitimate criticism, of course, when it is not hateful : in his commentary on the Torah Portion Acharei (for the Sabbath of 12th April) Rabbi Zalman Sorotzkin has this to say: on page 228 of his Insights in the Torah – Vayikra :
“In recent times there has been an increase in the number of self-styled pious individuals who present themselves as loving the Jewish people (May Hashem protect His people from “friends“ like these). Whenever someone stands up to protest against laxities of the present generation, these “pious ones” vociferously try to stop him, telling him that he must not raise accusations against Israel. They think that they are following in the footsteps of the great Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev. Rabbi Levi Yitzchak, zatzal, may his merit defend us, was indeed a divinely inspired genius, one of the righteous who are the foundation of the world. He would plead on behalf of the Jewish people, using his prayers as defence arguments before the Divine Court. Based on his example, these so called “pious ones” jumped to the conclusion that arguing in defence of Jewish people is always praiseworthy. By overdoing their defence, they virtually eliminate the mitzvah of reprimand (tochechah; see below 19:17)”
He goes on for several more paragraphs about this…
But coming back to my man Jan Björklund, the pious ones among us should not take offence or misconstrue what he said or what he meant : he did not say verbatim “I do not want to sing with the angels” – the heavenly angels (not the Social Democrats or the synagogue of Satan (smile)) and on the surface of things, this happy Easter season it’s doubtful that he himself would say such a thing. However, it’s the title of the Svenska Dagbladet write-up about the Liberal Folk Party leader that Jan Björlund
which can be decoded to mean that he does not want to be in the pedestrian chorus line in the congregation of populists/ the holier-than-thou who don’t want to take the school reform medicine that he has prescribed. Mr Björklund is right in sticking to his guns about his carefully hatched school policy- at best and at the worst only more can be added – but not subtracted from his school reform policies, and again I think that ex-Major Björklund is right – miracles take a little longer: We’ve got to exercise some patience – Rome wasn’t built in a day, right? It takes time for a tree to grow, so, it’s not a quick fix that’s the best solution, his reform package will take time, but in time we will reap the good results – if we persevere we may soon be at the top of the PISA league…
Mr. Björklund, vice prime minister and 2nd-in-command of the Alliance, would like Sweden to join NATO .It’s a good electioneering tactic and with the panic and scare scenario because of what’s happening in and around Ukraine, the time is right for Mr. Björklund to make such a spiel provided of course that his Alliance partner Mr Bildt who like the Rev Dr. Martin Luther King – may have gone to the mountain and seen, that he (Bildt) doesn’t go over the top of Kebnekaise
with his emotional anti-Russia propaganda pitch, since over-exaggeration of any perceived threat to Moder Svea might backfire. Otherwise of Sweden’s Natoists (at most 27% of the latest opinion poll) or even a slightly greater number than that will probably vote for the pro-NATO parties just because of that stance.
(There’s a good analysis of how the Ukraine crisis could impact the Swedish elections, by Göran Eriksson in the print edition of today’s (Sunday’s) Svenska Dagbladet, entitled “Ukraina kan bli valets X-faktor” – “Ukraine can be the election’s X-factor.” He goes through the various forces at play over the Defence Budget and concludes his analysis with these words : “Should Ukraine be an X factor then on the government’s side the hope is that the voters who are concerned about Sweden’s defence will cast a glance beyond the boundaries of block politics . And come back home. When they see the Left Party and the Greens”
It’s a very good analysis that ought to be read in its entirety. Unfortunately it’s not yet available in the on line edition.
Predictably, Holy Russia is taking it easy over this Easter Holiday. But things will get back to normal on Tuesday.
Easter is a great event in the Russian Orthodox Church – I know this because I celebrated it here in Stockholm in 1985 at the Russian Orthodox Church at Birger Jarlsgatan where the Swedish priest Father Matthias officiated. This was in the good old days of the Soviet Union – yes I have been to Moscow and back – before the period when there was some kind of schism between state and church appointees and heated holy controversies about the patriarchs in Moscow. After the great oratorio liturgy and much emotion (the Russians are very emotional people) we went upstairs to partake of some white wine. What I remember most about that day is the biggest/ hugest human being that I have ever seen – a guy from Georgia (I’m sure that he must wear a size 90 collar) and there he was, drinking – and crying – like a baby – it was then that I realised that it had never been said of the physical Jesus that he looked either like David or Goliath.
Do you know that in Orthodox Sunni Islam it is preferable that a very. very tall person does not lead the congregational prayers?
Some very worrying news. Are the the pogroms about to begin? Is this propaganda or is it fact, considering that some of the Nazis, fascists and anti-Semites are domiciled in Kiev, as “the interim government”
The Russians are pissed, and not just with too much Easter Vodka. According to the BBC, this is what is happening in the Ukraine right now:
Ukraine unrest: Russian outrage at fatal Sloviansk shooting