During the Hitler period a leading American reform rabbi, Ferdinand Isserman, depicted “the remarkable parallelism of the ten plagues which afflicted ancient Egypt with those which already afflict modern Germany”.
This was the way Isserman applied the Ten Plagues to Nazi Germany:
1. Blood – the Nazis stained the pages of history with the blood of innocent human beings.
2. Frogs – Germans had become a chorus of frogs taking their cue from the master frog.
3. Lice – like irritating lice, spies and secret police were everywhere.
4. Flies – like flies, Nazism was infecting the minds of the youth.
5. Murrain (cattle disease) – German commerce and industry was morally bankrupt.
6. Boils – the body of the German people was infected with fear and cowardice.
7. Hail – intellectual honesty and cultural independence were being crushed.
8. Locusts – German energy was diverted from constructive purposes to a mighty war machine.
9. Darkness – Germany was putting out the lights of European culture.
10. Death of the First born – Nazism carried within itself the beginnings of its own destruction.
The world has seen great constructive developments since 1945 but there is no lack of problems and plagues.
We can all use the Isserman method to identify today’s problems and trouble spots. But we need to go further and enlist our energies in the mindsets, ethical commitments and projects that will help to eradicate the plagues and build a new global community.