Home > Uncategorized > Sholom Aleichem: War, I tell you, is a worldwide massacre

Sholom Aleichem: War, I tell you, is a worldwide massacre

Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Sholom Aleichem
If I Were a Rothschild
Soliloquy of a Kasrilovka Melamed

Translated by Miriam Katz

The struggle for a livelihood leads to envy, envy breeds hatred, and this is the source of all the troubles in the world, of all the misfortunes, may they never happen to us, all the persecutions, all the killings, all the outrages and all the wars….

Oh, the wars, the wars! War, I tell you, is a worldwide massacre. If I were Rothschild I would put an end to wars, a complete end!

You may well ask: how? With money. Namely? Let me make it clear to you. For instance, two countries have a dispute over some foolishness, over a piece of land worth no more than a pinch of snuff. “Territory,” they call it. One country affirms that the territory is hers, the other country says: “No, it’s mine!” On the first day of Creation, that is, God created this piece of land especially in honor of that country! But along comes a third country and says: “Both of you are asses. This is everybody’s territory, a public domain, that is.” Territory here, territory there – and to make a long story short, they go on “territorying” each other until they start shooting with rifles and cannons, people slaughter each other like sheep are slaughtered, and blood, blood flows like water….

Well, so you understand already what I mean? I have both made myself a deal and human beings stop slaughtering each other like cattle for no reason, for nothing. Since war has been done away with what need is there for weapons, for all those arms and troops and all the seventy things, this whole hullabaloo? None at all! When there are no longer any weapons, any armies, since an end has come to the hullabaloo – there also comes an end to hatred and envy, there are no more Turks, Englishmen, Frenchmen, no more Gypsies, no more Jews, and the entire world takes on another appearance, as it is written in our sacred Books: “There will come a day and it will come to pass” – that means, the Messiah will arrive.

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