25 August 2013

Medinat Yehuda : On Jewish Leadership

Adar Aleph 5760


Although Am Israel suffers from many maladies today, those who understand the times know that the root of our problems lies in the lack of true Jewish leadership. What, you may ask, distinguishes a true Jewish leader? First and foremost, a true Jewish leader has faith that Hashem exists and has spoken in His Torah and trusts that Hashem will act on behalf of His people.

When we evaluate the last twenty-five years of Israeli political leadership, something astounding confronts us. Strong-willed, opinionated men; well-educated in the ways of the world and politics; men whose bravery on the battlefield is unquestioned; suddenly, on attaining the highest position of power in the land, they fold up like a wet noodle in the face of American, European, and Arab demands. We can’t help asking ourselves, “Why?” What could possibly cause such men to turn against everything they know and have proclaimed to the people to be true; to put not only those who have trusted them at risk, but their own progeny as well? Why is it that no matter which party is represented, the outcome remains the same?

It’s a “secret!” For years now, there have been “secret” meetings and “secret” agreements and, no doubt, “secret” agendas. How are we, the puny people, with no real voice and no real understanding of these circumstances to know what evil blackmail might be utilized to bend our political leaders to the will of Edom? No matter how bold or aggressive or sophisticated such a leader may be, without faith and trust in Hashem, he can never be expected to withstand such pressure. One may expect that he will turn himself (and whatever of his ideals might have survived the putrescence of the political game) inside out like a pretzel to accommodate and appease, hoping only to delay the inevitable.

No, what passes today for leaders does not bear the mark of true Jewish leadership. What we desperately need today is another King Chizkiyahu, who upon being threatened with destruction by the strongest earthly power of his time if he refused to comply with their demands, went immediately to seek Divine guidance and assistance with every expectation of receiving it. Anyone familiar with our holy writings knows that our history is replete with such examples, but what of our day and time? We strain our eyes in hopeless looking, waiting for a true Jewish leader to arise.

Many of our people are now aware that we have contracted a chronic, life-threatening illness, but where is the cure? Forget the cure, just tell us how we get from diagnosis to treatment! There is nothing that happens to us today that has not already befallen our ancestors in previous times. We must always look to our history for solutions to current existential problems. It says in Shemot 2.23, “…The Israelites were groaning under the bondage [in Egypt] and cried out; and their cry for help from bondage rose up to G-d. G-d heard their moaning, and G-d remembered His covenant with Avraham and Yitzchak and Ya’akov. G-d looked upon the Israelites, and G-d took notice of them.” Again, in the days of the Judges of Israel, as we read in Shoftim 3.9, “The Israelites cried out to the L-rd, and the L-rd raised a champion for the Israelites to deliver them….”

Redemption comes to us by stages. One stage is to recognize that we are in need of redemption. With Yesha communities being abandoned to our enemies and Yerushalayim itself being set out on the bartering block, there is certainly no longer any question of that! And regardless of all the talk to the contrary, make no mistake…Yerushalayim remains un-united! We, the Jewish people, remain cut off from our life-source---Har Habayit. It is time we moved to the next stage---recognizing from Whom redemption comes and crying out to Him for a true Jewish leader.

Then Hashem, “…Who responds to His people on their outcry to Him…” will surely hear us and answer us.

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