Imagine for a moment the following scene:
God is holding Heavenly Court.
Suddenly, the Devil appears at the entrance to the hall.
“Hey Satan,” said God. “Good to see you! Come on over here for a minute, and give us a report of what you’ve been up to down there!”
The Devil stands before God and His Heavenly Court.
“I have been doing what you asked me to do, God,” said the Devil. “I have been monitoring humanity, particularly the nation of Israel.”
“Fine,” said God. “I’ve been watching them too. I’m thinking about bringing the Redemption to Israel as I promised I would. Furthermore, I’m planning to redeem the whole world in its wake.”
“What makes you think that Israel deserves Redemption?” sneered the Devil.
“I promised their ancestors Abraham, Isaac and Jacob that I would someday redeem their descendants.”
“Listen, God,” said the Devil. “Allow me to propose a more efficient way of doing things.”
“What do you have in mind?” said God.
“Give me a crack at redeeming the world MY way. Let me have the proper tools and I’ll make sure that evil will triumph over good. You won’t have to do anything!”
“Satan, I’m going to let you try. If you succeed, fine. If not, then I will redeem the world in the way that I promised I would, with no complaints from you.”
The Devil licked his lips in anticipation. “Of course I will have to handle Your People Israel in my own manner …”
“The ball is in your court. What do you need?”
“I’ll require a chosen nation of my own that will do my bidding. I want an army with the most advanced military weaponry. And most importantly, I want a single leader – a Messiah, if you will – for redeeming MY chosen nation. I don’t care what kind of person he is, just as long as he will inspire his nation to do what is necessary.”
“You got it. I’m giving you a chance. If you can do it, more power to you.”
The Devil grinned from ear to ear. “Thank you, God. I promise you – I will prevail!”
The Devil, his tail wagging in anticipation, slipped away from the Heavenly Court.
Once he was gone, God turned to the ministering angels and said: “Well, well. Looks like the Devil has forgotten who is really in charge here. He thinks he can bring redemption through evil? Let’s see how far he gets!”
So, out of the mists of obscurity, a crummy Austrian artist suddenly found himself at the head of a small political party in post-World War I Germany. He began to rebuild the party around his own ideology, which proposed the annihilation of the Jews, that nation who had so long played a role in German history and had even ruled after the Great War.
These ideas resonated among common Germans. Soon, the painter was designated the Fuehrer – the absolute national leader.
Egged on by his fiery oration, the German nation began to understand its true destiny. All that was needed was to annihilate the Jews, and Germany could take its rightful place as ruler of the world!
The leader made it clear from the beginning: the nation’s purpose was to ensure that all Jews would be eliminated, first from the areas directly under German rule and later from the entire world. Not a single Jew would be left alive to hinder the ascension of the German nation!
“I drove a tank, held a general’s rank -
While the blitzkrieg raged, and the bodies stank.”
– The Rolling Stones, “Sympathy for the Devil”
(on You-Tube – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J9AexiRyPc0)
In order to find more efficient ways of ‘processing’ the Jews, the nation moved from mobile SS killing units to a vast, high-tech network of death camps. Scientists and planners worked feverishly until each camp was murdering and incinerating tens of thousands of Jews every day!
After some years, however, the tide began to turn. The German war machine was faltering. The painter-dictator issued new orders: badly-needed supplies destined for the front were diverted directly to the death camps.
“Kill, kill, kill!” exhorted the supreme leader. “We must kill the Jews while we can, even if it costs us our lives! This is the supreme sacrifice, and the final solution to the world’s problems!”
Finally, as the Allied forces approached, the leader and his remaining loyal servants convened in a bombed-out bunker.
The leader looked around. It was time to address the nation. His words were piped out of the bunker to radio transmitters broadcasting all over the motherland.
“My people, listen to me. Yes, we are losing. But you must not give up hope! You must neither falter, nor swerve from your resolve. My brothers and sisters – rededicate yourselves to killing the Jewish nation, that race of illegitimates who have so long tried to run the world. Their very existence is blight on our nation, the pure German nation. Do not give up this precious, holy calling!”
And moments later, he was dead, stretched out on the floor of the bunker.
Back at the Heavenly Court, God was busy arranging marriages, as was His custom. The Devil, his tail coiled between his legs, slithered up to God’s presence.
“There you are. I was waiting for you to show up,” said God.
“Ohhh. I tried, God. I tried so hard …” The Devil’s voice trailed off in silence.
“Come on, Satan, admit it. You are defeated. Your way is not to be. I hope you know what this means, of course.”
“No”, he said meekly.
“Satan, you’ve had your chance. I gave you everything you asked for. I don’t want to hear a single peep from you. Do you know what is going to happen now, Satan?”
For the first time since the Creation of the World, the Devil was speechless.
“It’s MY turn now. Get ready for the real Redemption, Satan. You know – the one that Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebeccah, and Jacob, Rachel and Leah have been entreating me for since the beginning of time.
From now on, it’s going to happen – MY WAY.”
I’d like to thank Rabbi Shimon Kessin and the Biblical Book of Iyov (Job) for the idea behind this essay.