Judaism has given only one beautiful thing to the world, and that is Hassidism. But Jews are against the Hassids. They think of them as not equal to themselves, they are fallen Jews. But I have looked into the orthodox mind of Jews and into the Hassidic mind: if I am to decide who has fallen then I will say the orthodox Jews have fallen so far that there is no further to fall. They have reached the very bottom.
Hassidism is a beautiful flowering – the only thing that has come out of Judaism which can be preserved in an authentic religion. But they are a rejected people.
Hassids have a beautiful story about Gomorrah and Sodom which neither the Old Testament nor any other orthodox source reports, so certainly it is a Hassidic creation, an invention, imagination. But I love the story and I would like you to remember it.
The story is that God decides, in Jewish anger, to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. A Hassid saint reaches God and asks him, “If in Sodom there are one hundred good people and one hundred thousand bad people, and you are going to destroy the whole city, have you considered the fact that one hundred good people will also be destroyed?”
God has second thoughts. He says, “That I have not thought about – but you will have to prove that there are one hundred good people.”
The Hassid said, “Wait. I may not be able to find one hundred people, but think: if there are only ten good people in the whole city, is it right and godly to destroy the whole city? Won’t you be supportive of those ten people who are good, even in that terrible place which you are going to destroy completely?”
God said, “I will have to think. Yes, it makes no difference whether there are one hundred or ten good people – but you will have to find ten people.”
The Hassid said, “Wait a little – just one question more. If there is only one person who is good, what do you think: isn’t one good person’s goodness far more valuable than one hundred thousand people’s badness? Badness is a negative quality; it has no value. You should not pay that much attention to it; otherwise it makes it valuable. That one good person is more weighty.”
God said, “Your logic is right. Whether there are one hundred good people, ten good people or one good person, I will stand up for the good. But you will have to prove that there is one good person.”
The Hassid said, “I am here, present. There is no need for me to go anywhere. That’s why I was reducing the number – because I may not be able to find a hundred people, I may not be able to find ten people. And how to judge? From the moment I became good I forgot the idea of judgment. To me everybody is good. I cannot see badness in someone, because badness is just a shadow; it is not a person’s true self. He may have acted badly but that does not make his being bad. One action can be bad, two actions can be bad, three actions can be bad, one hundred actions can be bad; but still, the being is as pure as ever.