Address by Rabbi Raymond Apple at the NSW Jewish community ANZAC Day service, May 1999
Long ago, said Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, in a land beyond the seas, a terrible prophecy was revealed to the king: “The crops of the next harvest will be cursed, and whoever eats of them will go mad!”
At once the king gathered his advisers and sought counsel as to how best to meet the approaching calamity. The alternatives were clear: if they ate the food they would go mad; if they refused to eat they would die of starvation. Madness or death - what should the choice be?
At last, in despair, the king decided: “Since there will be no food other than that which is cursed, we have no choice but to eat and remain alive. But we still have enough provisions to save one man. I shall put them in the house of one of you, so that he may escape the common fate. This will be his duty: when we have all lost our senses, he will ride through the kingdom, and in the squares of the cities, in the fields and in front of the cottages he will cry out, ‘My brothers, my brothers, remember that you are mad!'”
This is our duty on days like Anzac Day: when we see nation lifting up sword against nation, human beings treating others abominably, evil ideas and attitudes taking hold anywhere, we have to warn them, “Brothers, sisters, remember that you are mad!”
And we have to look at our own country and say to each other, “Remember that you are still sane. Be ever vigilant to ensure you remain so!”