Yet Peres just was appointed President. Given, the other two candidates dropped out, but they did so because he was going to win. Is this a challenge to the Gerrer Rebbe's curse, or, as one commenter said, perhaps Peres did teshuvah, or some other type of apologetics like that?
According to my source, who for years was a close confidant of the Rebbe, The "Lev Simcha" was tremendously upset that Israel had no anti-abortion law. He treasured the lives of unborn children, and bemoaned the cessation of life. In 1981, he did his utmost to persuade Knesset members of all backgrounds to support the proposed anti-abortion law. With the addition of four Labor MK's, the Lev Simcha had mustered a majority to pass the bill. "But", the Labor MK's warned the Rebbe, "we can only vote for the bill if Shimon Peres [then opposition leader in Knesset] allows us to vote our conscience." Peres gave the Rebbe his solemn promise, and the Rebbe gave Peres a gold watch in return. "This watch is witness of your word to me," said the Rebbe.
Peres broke his word to the Lev Simcha. When the vote came up in Knesset, he reneged on freedom of conscience and called for faction discipline, in other words, you vote with the faction or lose your career. The Anti-abortion law fell by a margin of two votes.
The Lev Simcha was devistated. "A ligner?! Ba mir, err is ge'endik!" "A liar - with me he's finished...he'll never win an election again!"
Although Peres became Prime Minister by default when Rabin was killed, he hasn't won an election since. He lost national elections to Begin, Shamir, and Netanyahu, the presidential election to Katzav, and his own Labor party election to Barak and now to Amir Peretz.
The answer, to my mind, is that it is silly to believe that the Gerrer Rebbe cursed Peres, and that that was what caused him to lose these elections.
Look carefully at the story above, and it would seem that there is no curse -- just a misinterpretation by the mystical-minded to see a curse.
To excerpt from the article, this time to stress some important points:
In 1981, he did his utmost to persuade Knesset members of all backgrounds to support the proposed anti-abortion law. With the addition of four Labor MK's, the Lev Simcha had mustered a majority to pass the bill. "Thus, the Lev Simcha, the Gerrer Rebbe, was very politically active. He spoke to Knesset members, and was able to muster a majority to pass a bill. He was able to extract a promise from Peres to let them vote their confidence, but Peres in the end did not honor his promise. Thus, the Gerrer Rebbe was a significant person on the political scene.
The Lev Simcha was devistated [sic]. "A ligner?! Ba mir, err is ge'endik!" "A liar - with me he's finished...he'll never win an election again!"Assuming that the words "he'll never win an election again!" were actually said by him -- they are missing in the Yiddish, but that is likely enough to be a stylistic judgment -- this is not a curse. This is a statement by a politically savvy and involved leader of a community that, given this betrayal, he will no longer support Peres, and will try to see to it that Peres will never win an election again.
It is like the statement "You'll never work in this town again!"
Therefore, I would disagree with Rabbi Brody that there are
Three morals to the story: One, don't take a tzaddik's word lightly; two, it doesn't pay to lie, especially to a tzaddik; and three, the tzaddikim are still pulling the strings even though they're not with us in the flesh.It is more important, in my opinion, to combat superstition and the tendency to draw conclusions one would like rather than what is true from personal events and world events.
As for the gold watch, I wonder if this political gift should be considered a bribe or not, and what Peres did with the gold watch. :)
hat tip: yaak