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A Hurrah in Brooklyn for the Downfall of Stalin

Gershon Hepner is a poet who has written over 25,000 poems on subjects ranging from music to literature, politics to Torah. He grew up in England and moved to Los Angeles in 1976. Using his varied interests and experiences, he has authored dozens of papers in medical and academic journals, and authored "Legal Friction: Law, Narrative, and Identity Politics in Biblical Israel." He can be reached at gershonhepner@gmail.com.

November 16, 2022
Manuel Augusto Moreno/Getty Images
“Hurrah!” in a pre-messianic matter
tells Jews to stand up and keep fighting.
Even though I’m not a Superman,
I’m of this mantra a tremendous fan,
fulfilling it with words I’m writing,
less mad than a March-mellowed hatter,
I hope, although of course some may
believe that I am even madder,
tolling fun out of a barrel
a wonderman like Lewis Carroll,
puffing myself like an adder,

born in the merry month of May.

Menahem Mendel told hasidim
on Purim, before Stalin died,
to shout “Hurrah!” None could forbid him,
in the pre-messianic tide,
in which it to the Rebbe seemed
that he himself was the messiah,
a hero who by Jews who dreamed

his dreams would not be called a liar.

“Hurrah!” in Hebrew means “He’s wicked!”
and what the Rebbe prophesied
explains the tyrant’s “Hoo ra!” ticket,
by a hidden God supplied,
like that which Haman got on Purim,
predicting hopefully one given
to Putin, by a Jew who’ll cure him,
by Zelensky unforgiven,
like Nuremberg defendants who
failed in a fatal Purimfest,
as I hope Putin, too will do,

condemned in no peace, probably, to rest.

Max A. Kohanzad, in a thesis submitted to the University of Manchester for the degree of PhD in the Faculty of Humanities, 2006, writes in ‘The Messianic Doctrine of the Lubavitcher Rebbe – Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson’ in an article republished by academia.com:

The Rebbe avoided ever mentioning the word ‘Russia’, but rather referred to ‘that country’, and it was widely believed within the movement that he even caused the death of Stalin, with the combined power of his words and those of the community at a Hasidic gathering, on the Shabbat of Purim 1953, when they all chanted ‘Hoo Ra! Hoo Ra! Hoo Ra!’. This sounded like the common expression of joy and elation, but could be interpreted as Hebrew for ‘He is Evil! He is Evil! He is Evil!’. At this very same moment, thousands of miles away, on the 6th of March 1953 Stalin died. Thus the Rebbe was able to demonstrate the prophetic gift of being able to kill with the power of his words, even at a distance….

In 1985, prior to its actual downfall, the Rebbe asked one of his emissaries to talk to Michael Gorbachev about his plans for political reform. This emissary, so the story goes, was unable to meet Gorbachev until 1988, after he had begun the programme of Glasnost and Perestroika. Gorbachev was reportedly shocked by what the emissary had to say, because until 1987 he ‘hadn’t planned any political reforms at all’.

Later on in that same year, The Rebbe called upon the Israeli government to prepare for an unprecedented wave of immigrants from Russia, warning them of the need to construct more housing and to establish business centers. He also initiated the construction of a new neighbourhood in Jerusalem with world facilities ‘for the new immigrants’. At the time, no one understood his directives but of course, his predictions materialised.

What appears now like commonsense advice was at the time actually ignored by the Israeli government, because they thought that it was unlikely that Russia would release any of its Refuseniks, let alone millions of Russian Jews. It seemed unlikely that some old rabbi in Brooklyn would have better intelligence about Russia’s political situation and intentions than the Israeli government…..

The downfall of Russian Communism was hailed as a victory for the Lubavitch movement, which over seventy long years had withstood, continued persecution and religious oppression at the hands of the Communists. This was seen as a personal triumph for the Rebbe and his predecessor over Russia, for religion over atheism, for spirit over matter, for will over force. It also fitted in very well with the Rebbe’s messianic persona.

Gershon Hepner is a poet who has written over 25,000 poems on subjects ranging from music to literature, politics to Torah. He grew up in England and moved to Los Angeles in 1976. Using his varied interests and experiences, he has authored dozens of papers in medical and academic journals, and authored “Legal Friction: Law, Narrative, and Identity Politics in Biblical Israel.” He can be reached at gershonhepner@gmail.com.

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