Klaus Schwab has made a career out of organizing the super-rich. Born and educated in Germany, Schwab directs the World Economic Forum, and every year invites the most powerful men in the world to Davos, Switzerland to discuss their future. Davos is a convenient spot, where billionaires such as Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Ma and Ray Dalio can summon the presidents of America or Russia, set up meetings with 10 African heads of state or relax over a whiskey on the rocks to consider tax shelters as well as joint investments in such promising fields as artificial intelligence, robotics, nanotechnology or pharmaceuticals.
In 2020, Schwab, mentored by Henry Kissinger since 1970, co-wrote “Covid-19, The Great Reset,” the latest of a series of books in which he presents a digital world in which governments, big business and non-governmental organizations determine our fate. His colleague, Ida Auken, a parliamentarian from Denmark, had been more specific. Basic staples, Auken said, would be cheap or free. There would be a universal income. In exchange, she said, ordinary people could be expected to give up all their possessions. In a WEF video in 2016, Auken envisioned a world in which “You’ll own nothing. And you’ll be happy. What you want you’ll rent, and it’ll be delivered by drone.”
Who will own everything? Currently, about 60 people are said to own 50 percent of global wealth, and their fortunes soared during the current pandemic. Schwab hopes that the Great Reset, which he also called the fourth industrial revolution, will change the world and soon. “The fourth industrial revolution will impact our lives completely,” he said in January 2021. “This revolution will take place at breathtaking speed.”
The vision of Schwab and much of the super-rich is as old as mankind. Augustus, Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Franklin Delano Roosevelt pushed hard for a centralized system in which the masses would be controlled through denial of basic rights and economic opportunity. They all saw themselves as demigods.
But the most successful was Nimrod, who lived more than 3,700 years ago and for hundreds of years ruled the world. His rise, as told in this week’s Torah portion, came after the greatest tragedy in history — the flood that with the exception of six people destroyed mankind. He was the great grandson of Noah, for whom G-d saved the world. His grandfather was Ham, destined to serve as a slave to his two older brothers.
Nimrod pledged revenge. He conquered the territory bequeathed to his great uncle Shem, which included the Land of Israel. He then defeated the tribe of his other great uncle, Japheth. He expelled the people from their homes and brought them to his kingdom in Mesopotamia, where he built cities near Mount Ararat, where Noah’s ark could still be seen. Finally, he decided to rebel against G-d. He convinced the people that this was the only way to prevent another flood.
Nimrod’s rules were simple: there would be one nationality, one language, one culture and total servitude. His orders were that the people build a tower to the heavens and fight G-d. They would seal the skies so He could no longer bring rain. The rivers of the Euphrates and Tigris would provide all the water and irrigation necessary.
Just to make things clear, Nimrod, known as the strongest man in the world, declared himself god. Anybody who disagreed was dealt with ruthlessly. Parents and children were ordered to inform on their loved ones should they express criticism or doubt. Indeed, that was exactly what the father of Abraham did to his three-year–old son who found idolatry ridiculous. As Nimrod saw it, serving G-d was cowardly, decreed a capital offense.
G-d watched all this with mild amusement. Just a few years earlier, Noah’s ancestors had instituted a world order that mandated pillage and rape. G-d destroyed that world in the flood. But Nimrod’s revolution was different: His subjects respected each other and violence was not the norm.
Eventually, G-d shattered Nimrod’s populist rebellion. The construction of the tower was halted when people began speaking in strange tongues and could no longer understand each other. A plasterer would request bricks and his colleague would bring him mortar. Somebody else would call for a wrench and instead get a hammer in his face. Confusion reigned and cooperation ceased.
Judaism also contains a reset. It is called Yovel, or Jubilee, in which everything is restored after 50 years. People who had sold their land could now reclaim it. The ram’s horn would be blown and all slaves would be freed. There would be no room for Nimrod or his disciples. Indeed, the Talmud writes that without the freeing of the slaves there cannot be a Yovel. The sages even defined a free man: one who could live and work anywhere.
And here is where Israel and the Jewish people set the agenda of freedom for the rest of the world. The Talmud tractate of Rosh Hashana says that Yovel must be observed everywhere, but only if it is honored in the Land of Israel. If the slaves are freed in Israel, then they must be freed throughout the globe. If the slaves are not released in Israel, there is no obligation to free them abroad.
The lesson is stark: If we want freedom and equality throughout the world, we must start here in Israel. If we do not pursue such an agenda, we have no right to expect it anywhere.
In the end, Nimrod would change his name to Amrofel and lead a coalition that would again enslave other nations. His nemesis was Abraham, whom G-d gave the strength to defeat Nimrod as he fled to Damascus. Nimrod’s end came two generations later when he was killed by Esau in a day-long battle in the forest. Esau would take Nimrod’s coat that he had inherited from his father Cush. The coat stemmed from the garments of Adam and Eve and had made Nimrod invincible. The battle was on the day of Abraham’s funeral, and Esau returned a hero. Soon, he would turn his heroism into murderous rage against his younger brother Jacob.
And thus Nimrod was reborn in yet another reset.