With all the excitement about the holidays, you may have missed this cool story. In brief, a Russian Jewish immigrant to Israel, who worked his way up from being a night watchman to a professor at Bar Ilan University, has solved a mathematical problem that had baffled mathematicians all over the world for a century.
The Iranian regime rests on the premise of the inherent superiority of Islam, in contrast to the religions and societies of the infidels. From time to time they claim to have discovered a cure for HIV, or to have built invulnerable planes or ships, or to have solved “the nuclear problem,” but those claims are not confirmed in practice. It’s just the usual big talk from the mullahs. Now some Jewish security guard scribbles down the solution to one of the toughest problems in mathematics. If you listen carefully, you will hear teeth gnashing in Tehran.
It could hardly come at a worse time for the Iranian tyrants, whose grand strategy in the Middle East is in terrible trouble. One by one, their terrorist agents in Iraq are falling or abandoning ship. Mughniyah was killed. The remnants of al Qaeda in Iraq are either fleeing, or jumping onto express trains to Paradise. Moqtada al Sadr has admitted defeat, and the mullahs are reduced to running splinter groups of the once feared Mahdi Army. Over in Lebanon, the Iranian puppet Hezbollah has surprisingly failed to bring down the country’s elected government, and while Hamas is certainly gaining strength in its occupied Palestinian territories, Israel is fighting back effectively, albeit sporadically.
You have probably noticed that we are at a confluence of religious festivities. Easter, Purim, Mohammed’s birthday, and Norooz, the ancient Persian celebration. Easter and Purim are not much celebrated in Iran (Purim is a particularly annoying holiday for the mullahs, since it revolves around the heroic actions of a Persian Jewish queen and her uncle, who defeated a plot to kill the country’s Jews. In the course of the saga, the Jews killed seventy-five thousand Persians. NOT the sort of story the mullahs want to hear about), and the Iranian people love Norooz. My inbox is full of greetings from Iranians, and the streets of the country are full of pagan celebrations revolving around fire, an ancient Zoroastrian rite.
So as we celebrate our holidays, it’s worth giving a moment’s thought to the sense of humor of the Almighty, who no doubt felt it appropriate to tweak the Ayatollah Khamenei’s nose by inspiring a Jew to demonstrate the superiority of Western civilization at this holy moment.