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Friday, December 6, 2013

We Need a Leader With Guts, Like The Biblical Judah!

This week's Parshat Shavua, Torah Portion is riveting. Vayigash, And He Approached, Genesis 44,18-47,27.  The great world power of that time was Egypt, and Jacob's clan, like many others were in great fear of the Egyptian leaders.  They were dependent on them for food, since there was famine in the entire area. Only Egypt had managed to predict and prepare for the famine.  Shopping in Egypt was a life-saving necessity.

Last week in  Miketz, Genesis 41,1-44,17, we read of how Jacob's family had somehow gotten into trouble witht he Egyptians. Somebody had again snuck their money back into their supply bags and even worse had placed a valuable cup in Binyamin's bag. Binyamin, Benjamin, was the youngest of Jacob's twelve sons and the only surviving one (to his knowledge) of his favorite wife Rachel.   He hadn't wanted to allow him to travel with the others to Egypt, but when their food ran out while the famine continued he hadn't a choice.

Judah had pledged to take care of his youngest brother, and it's in this week's Torah Portion that we see the true character of Judah.  While the other brothers, older and younger, sat in fear-filled silence, terrified of further angering the top appointed official in Egypt, Judah stepped up and approached him:
יח  וַיִּגַּשׁ אֵלָיו יְהוּדָה, וַיֹּאמֶר בִּי אֲדֹנִי, יְדַבֶּר-נָא עַבְדְּךָ דָבָר בְּאָזְנֵי אֲדֹנִי, וְאַל-יִחַר אַפְּךָ בְּעַבְדֶּךָ:  כִּי כָמוֹךָ, כְּפַרְעֹה.18 Then Judah came near unto him, and said: 'Oh my lord, let thy servant, I pray thee, speak a word in my lord's ears, and let not thine anger burn against thy servant; for thou art even as Pharaoh.
Read this one especially carefully:
לד  כִּי-אֵיךְ אֶעֱלֶה אֶל-אָבִי, וְהַנַּעַר אֵינֶנּוּ אִתִּי:  פֶּן אֶרְאֶה בָרָע, אֲשֶׁר יִמְצָא אֶת-אָבִי.
34 For how shall I go up to my father, if the lad be not with me? lest I look upon the evil that shall come on my father.'
I keep reading and hearing that we must beware of angering United States, and unfortunately Israeli policy is based on that fear rather than what is best for us the State of Israel. In Genesis 35:34, read G-d and not "father."  Judah had a very strong sense of justice, right and wrong.  We see that in the story of his daughter-in-law Tamar, Vayeshev, Genesis 37,1-40,23 when he admitted that he was wrong, totally at fault. Genesis 38:26
כו  וַיַּכֵּר יְהוּדָה, וַיֹּאמֶר צָדְקָה מִמֶּנִּי, כִּי-עַל-כֵּן לֹא-נְתַתִּיהָ, לְשֵׁלָה בְנִי; וְלֹא-יָסַף עוֹד, לְדַעְתָּהּ.
26 And Judah acknowledged them, and said: 'She is more righteous than I; forasmuch as I gave her not to Shelah my son.' And he knew her again no more.
The best and most necessary characteristics of leadership are the ability to admit one has made a mistake and to promote one's needs without fear.  Judah and his descendant King David had those abilities.

Jim Young/Reuters
We don't see that from the Israeli Government, not from the elected officials nor the cabinet.  Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu tries to walk a fine line in not angering the United States President and protecting Israel. Unfortunately, those two policies are an oxymoron when combined.  United States President Barack Hussein Obama's policies endanger the State of Israel.  So by kowtowing to Obama, Netanyahu is endangering Israel.

Netanyahu is not showing true Judah-style leadership.  This is bad news for the State of Israel.

4 comments:

10rainbow said...

batya, i can understand how you feel. i too dont understand why some of the j people dont realise that Hashem has brought them out of slavery, the physical slavery of egypt. they are free people. and have been from that time. they are not beholden to any of the 70 nations. in my today's torah lesson, this quote was placed.
Rav Soloveitchik pointed out, both Saul and David, Israel’s first two kings, sinned. Both were reprimanded by a prophet. Both said chatati, “I have sinned.” But their fates were radically different. Saul lost his throne, David did not. The reason, said the Rav, was that David confessed immediately. Saul prevaricated and made excuses before admitting his sin.

NormanF said...

Batya,

He can do nothing as G-d hardens the hearts of Israel's enemies! And the Hellenist imposters who run Israel are like chaff in the wind.

One day, the monarchy - the Davidic line will be restored and will rule Israel forever! All of this was ordained from of old.

Anonymous said...

Bibi is being compared by many to Shaul Hamelech, who proved to be a weak king, thus losing his throne. There are a number of reasons why he lost his throne, and the above in 10 Rainbow's comment is just one of them. After Shaul, we know David comes and so we pray that it will be soon that the scion of Dovid will come and redeem us - Moshiach Ben David T'dkeinu, in a blink of an eye!

Batya Medad said...

rainbow, the slavery to Pharaoh wasn't only physical; it was spiritual, too. I've written about that many times. The verse "we were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt" means that. Pharaoh = spiritual and Egypt=physical.
And the "chatati" of Saul and David weren't at all the same. Saul continued to sin.

Norman, I've been told that G-d doesn't harden Jewish hearts in the way he hardened Pharaoh's.

a, I've written it many time that Bibi is a "Saul."
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