One of the 34 political parties that will be running in the January 22 election is Kulanu Haverim, Nanach, which combines the name “We’re All Friends” with the first two letters of the name of Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav, “Na nach.”
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That has become a catchphrase identifying a subset of members of the Bratslav Hasidic sect popularly known as “Nanachim.” The term comes from their fixation on the rabbi’s supposed signature on a letter -- known as hapetek hakadosh, “the sacred note” -- which spelled out his name letter by letter in the formula made familiar through graffiti, bumper stickers and the large white peaked kippot worn by adherents (and those who think it’s cool): Na nach nachma nachman meuman.
Rabbi Nachman had been dead for 112 years by the time the Bratslav Hasid Yisrael Ber Odesser promulgated the note he claimed Rabbi Nachman had come down from heaven to leave for him, in 1922.
The Nanachim are perhaps best known throughout Israel for their presence in intersections, where they periodically blare religious trance music and dance in the streets, sidelocks swinging around their Nanach kippot, and at Rabbi Nachman’s grave in the Ukrainian city of Uman, where many Bratslavers make a pilgrimage at Rosh Hashanah time.
Now, it appears, they want to bring their revelry to the halls of the Knesset, though it seems highly unlikely they will win the minimum 2 percent of the votes needed to secure a single seat.
At least they aren’t aiming for the full complement of 120 seats, according to a post about the political party (“the party that celebrates Hashem,” it says, using a Jewish euphemism for God) on the English website Nanach.net. Tying the election into Hanukkah, the post tells us all about the power of one.
“One pitcher of oil, was enough to keep the Menorah lit for eight days!” it says. "One petek conquers the world.” And, at the top of the list: “One seat in Knesset is enough.”
With the vast majority of the ultra-Orthodox votes already going to either the Ashkenazi party United Torah Judaism or the Sephardi party Shas, the Nanachim might be better off realizing that winning 1 percent of the votes, while not enough to pass the election threshold, would already be an achievement worth dancing to.