17 Cheshvan 5782 / Saturday, October 23, 2021 | Torah Reading: Vayeira
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Celebration of Leadership    

Celebration of Leadership

What do the upcoming elections in Israel have to do with Purim? With so many political parties, many bewildered people ask which the best party to vote for is…


Do you live in Israel? Have you decided who to vote for?


My wife and I once made a late-night visit to the Grand Rabbi Mordechai Leiffer shlit'a, the Pittsburgher Rebbe of Ashdod, may Hashem bless him. His waiting room was full of people, few of whom were wearing hats and black coats. There were separate rooms for men and women. My wife told me that on the ladies side, there were two women wearing designer jeans and super-spike heels - an entire cross-section of people from all backgrounds waiting to speak to the Rebbe. I turned to the golf-capped taxi driver who set next to me and asked him why and how frequently he comes to the Rebbe. He told me that he doesn't visit the Rebbe at regular intervals, only when he has a major decision to make. He added that the Rebbe often tells him illogical things, but he always heeds the Rebbe's advice because it has a track record of success.


People wouldn't be flocking to the Pittsburgher Rebbe shlit'a and other wise and righteous spiritual leaders like him if their advice weren't like money in the bank.


Interestingly and by no happenstance, Purim occurs this year during the time of the election campaign in Israel. Although Israelis clamor to elect the leader and party whom they feel best represents their interests, we all know that no political party or politician has the answers to the seemingly insurmountable existential challenges that Israel faces, which only become more acute from day to day.


The secret of Jewish national success since the dawn of our history has been when there is total cohesiveness between our spiritual leadership and our political leadership.


In ancient Persia, the Jews also faced an existential threat. Haman succeeded in convincing King Achashverosh to sign the decree that sanctioned the annihilation of the Jewish People, Heaven forbid. Thanks to the brinkmanship of Esther and Mordechai – together with behind-the-scenes Divine intervention – the tables were completely turned and the Jewish People prevailed over their enemies. Complete Jewish national teshuva and to the exemplary leadership of the righteous Mordechai invoked the miracles that led up to Purim and the extraordinary salvation of our people.


If we take a few steps back in history, Mordechai the Tzaddik is not the only one who deserves the credit. Were it not for King David, there would never have been a Mordechai. Here's how:


When King David was exiled from Jerusalem following a coup against him, Shimi ben Gera both threw rocks at him and cursed him terribly. Avishai, one of King David's loyal lieutenants, said, “Your Majesty, move aside and let me dispose of that despicable dog Shimi...” King David refused to let Avishai kill Shimi, telling him to leave Shimi alone, for Hashem told him to curse.[1]


An onlooker would have been amazed. Shimi deserved 39 lashes for cursing the King[2], and the death penalty for throwing rocks at the King[3]. The law sanctioned executing Shimi ben Gera on the spot. Yet, David far-sighted Daat Torah – his Torah-based judgment – put the dry law aside momentarily, giving Shimi a stay of execution...


King David's act of patience and emuna was the seed of salvation for the Jewish People. How? Shimi at the time was still single. After the episode with King David, he married. King David in his spirit of holiness saw that a special soul would descend from Shimi. For the good of the Jewish People, he swallowed the insult and humiliation although he had every legal right to react.


The Megilla of Esther tells us Mordechai's lineage[4]: “Mordechai, the son of Yair, the son of Shimi, the son of Kish, a man of Yemin[5].” Mordechai was a descendant of Shimi ben Gera; if King David would have killed Shimi, Mordechai would never have been born.


Haman's downfall and the salvation of the Jewish People are the direct result of King David's ruach hakodesh, his holy spirit and his farsighted vision some five-hundred years prior.


Where do our spiritual leaders get their far-reaching spiritual vision from? "And I have filled him with a G-dly spirit, with wisdom, insight, and with knowledge."[6] The Torah tells us that it comes from Hashem, Who graces the worthy with much higher-than-normal powers of judgment and spiritual sight.


So with the above in mind, who do we vote for in the coming election? Without speaking about any specific political party, each of us should cast our vote for the group that most faithfully acts according to Daat Torah, the far-reaching wisdom and sight of our spiritual leaders. Happy Purim!




* * *

[1]  See Samuel II

[2]  Rambam, Hilchot Sanhedrin 26:1

[3]  Ibid, Hilchot Melachim 3:8

[4]  Esther 2:5

[5]  Yemin is another term for the Tribe of Benjamin

[6]  Exodus 31:3


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  Why People Should Vote for Kulano Haverim Na NAch
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