The curious thing about curious things (besides the fact that they are curious) is that they present an irresistible opportunity to glean insights that normal events just don’t inspire. Yes, we can learn lessons by analyzing even the most mundane events or phenomena. But there is something about curious things that tickles the imagination in a way that unleashes remarkable streams of consciousness.
A curious thing happened last month. I have an iPhone. Not because it’s cool, but because it is a tool that enables me to be better organized and perform many work-related tasks from anywhere. It’s also really cool. Anyways, it comes with a default application called Weather. You click on it and it gives you a weather forecast for whichever cities you select. So I selected my favorite cities, ones I sometimes pass through and some that I would like to. Like Jerusalem. And once in a while, just out of curiosity, when I’m viewing the local weather forecast I’ll also check out what the weather is like in these other places. (Yes, I know this is a curious thing to do. But what can I say? I’m a curious kind of guy.)
That’s when a curious thing happened. I flipped to the Jerusalem forecast, and it was blank, with an error message on it. All the other cities were working fine, but for some reason Jerusalem wasn’t working. Curious. I didn’t think much of it. Probably a glitch, or maybe all the Jerusalem weather dudes (why do they call them meteorologists?) were watching soccer that day or something. When the glitch persisted, I decided to try deleting Jerusalem from my settings and then re-selecting it. But when I searched for Jerusalem in the city options, I was suddenly given two choices: East Jerusalem, West Bank or West Jerusalem, Israel. I flipped out! What was going on?
A seemingly innocuous iPhone weather application had just been hijacked to make a political statement — not to mention create a nonexistent state called West Bank and divide the holy Jewish city of Jerusalem into two cities! I checked online, and sure enough the blogs were lighting up. Honest Reporting got on the case pretty fast, and Yahoo, the creator of the default weather application on the most popular electronic device on the planet that used its power to try and make a political statement, was forced to undo the change. (It should be noted that it was proven that the change was deliberately implemented by Yahoo, and was not the result of a glitch or a third party.)
The political ramifications of this story are obvious, and have already been widely discussed. I want to focus on the spiritual ramifications.
First of all, like all curious things, this was not a random event. The word coincidence is a misnomer. Every event is part of a complex chain of causes and effects, each of which is happening for a reason or a number of reasons. Those who witness the happenings are supposed to figure out what they mean — or at least try to. So, to put it simply, on some level — albeit a virtual one — Jerusalem was divided and then reunited within the course of a week. Jerusalem is the physical manifestation of the spiritual core of our people, the place to which we direct our prayers and our hopes for the future. And, in some ethereal way, Jerusalem was broken. For a few days. And then it was fixed. The fabric of our people’s being was torn, and then put back together. We don’t know why. Something was obviously going on. We don’t know what. That itself should give us pause.
The day that Yahoo divided Jerusalem was June 10, forty-three years to the day of the end of the Six Day War, when Israel achieved a clearly miraculous victory that resulted in the historic reunification of Jerusalem. Curious. Was Yahoo, and those behind its malevolent decision, trying to surreptitiously undo the miracle by redividing Jerusalem?
It think it also might have something to do with the Rebbe. June 10 this year was 28 Sivan on the Jewish calendar, the anniversary of day the Rebbe arrived in America in 1941 and began his mission to rejuvenate Jewish life on this continent, and around the world. The Day that Yahoo “reunited” Jerusalem was June 15, which happens to be 3 Tammuz on the Jewish calendar, the anniversary of the Rebbe’s passing in 1994, which is connected to the culmination of his life’s mission.
I’ll be honest: I’m not sure what this all means. I just find it all very… curious.