Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Moshe Feiglin's Three Big Challenges

By Shmuel Sackett

Now that the elections are over and, Baruch Hashem, Moshe Feiglin has secured a spot as a Likud Member of Knesset, three major challenges face him. Trust me on this one; I have been with Moshe since day #1 and started this journey – at his side – from the stage of an "idea" to "reality". Together, we have had our ups and downs. We have had our failures and have learned from each and every one. Baruch Hashem, we have also had many successes – the greatest being the fact that the term "Jewish Leadership" is now real and clearly understood.Twelve years ago when Moshe and I started talking about leading Israel as a strong and proud Jewish State, when we said that Israel's leaders need to be focused on authentic Jewish values and concepts, when we pointed out the need to concentrate more on Jewish education and family values, people stared at us like we were aliens from Mars. However, after twelve long and hard years and thousands of written words of ideology and vision by Moshe, people across the country are listening. In this recent election, the media interviewed Moshe more than any other candidate, even though he was not the head of the party (at least not yet!). Newspapers and magazines asked Moshe to explain his vision for Israel's future and he gladly did this in all areas of Israeli life including security, the court system, housing, aliyah, international relations and even the transportation system. Baruch Hashem, the clear and optimistic future that Moshe Feiglin sees for the Jewish nation is being explained and more importantly: being understood by masses of Jews worldwide.

And now for the three challenges: All three of these will hit Moshe immediately and he needs to pass these tests and overcome these challenges with flying colors:

Challenge #1) Honesty 
Now that Moshe is an MK, many "under-the-table" opportunities will arise. People from all walks of life will cross his path in an effort to persuade him to do different things and advance various causes. In all of these cases, Moshe will need to have a spine of steel and reject the gold at the end of the rainbow. Yes, he will help as many people as possible but this must be done out of a genuine love for Am Yisrael and not out of payback or support.

My favorite story that illustrates this point is the one about the Rabbi and his three students. The Rabbi asked them the following question: "You are walking down the street and you find a purse full of gold coins. What do you do?"
The first student said; "I immediately announce my find and look for the owner."
The Rabbi answered; "You are a fool."
The second student said; "I look around, make sure nobody saw me, then keep the gold."
The Rabbi answered; "You are a rasha (wicked)."
The third student said, "I don't know what I would do, since I have never been in that situation before. I hope to be able to do the right thing and find the owner but I have never faced a challenge like this, so I really don't know."
To that, the Rabbi replied: "You are a Tzaddik (righteous)."

This story comes to mind because it is easy to say; "Of course we will reject any corrupt deal. How dare you even ask me such a question?" But in reality, we need to pray to Hashem that He strengthen Moshe's heart, mind and spine so that he has not only the desire, but also the ability to do the right thing and remain honest.

Many great men and women have failed this test and Moshe always quotes the famous words of Hillel in Pirkei Avot (Chapter 2, Mishna 4): "Do not be sure of yourself until the day of your death". Even the great Yochanan Kohen Gadol (High Priest), who served in this position for 80 years failed towards the end of his life by becoming a Sadducee and rejecting the Oral Law!
Therefore, as Moshe begins the next step in this journey as an MK, we beg that Hashem keep him honest. Our holy books teach us that "Truth" is the seal of Hashem and we need to make certain that this is the only seal Moshe uses to stamp and sign his name.

Challenge #2) Loyalty
What makes Moshe Feiglin so different from everyone around him is the fact that he is on a course. He has a game plan that hasn't changed from the day he started. In Israeli politics, this is actually an incredible accomplishment. If you don't believe me, visitMoshe's website and read what he wrote 8, 10 and even 12 years ago. The plan that is coming to fruition right now has all been written and recorded and we are proceeding exactly as planned.

Now that he has become an MK, many new challenges will be thrust in front of him. How should he vote on critical issues in the Knesset? What will those votes do to his standing in Likud? How will his fellow MK's view him? Maybe it is better to "keep quiet" on some issues in order to advance politically? Or worse: Maybe it is better to vote against certain issues – which we supported in the past – in order to advance others?

The challenge of remaining loyal to the ideology of Manhigut Yehudit will be enormously difficult in the months ahead. I remember once asking a senior minister in the Likud government why he voted for the Gaza Expulsion Plan, when I knew that personally, he was very much opposed to it! He told me that Prime Minister Sharon had more than enough votes to pass the law so his opposition would mean nothing and then he would be fired as a minister! On the other hand, if he voted for it, he would remain in Sharon's good graces, remain a minister and would be able to fight against further expulsions – which he did! This senior minister recently approved the construction of new roads in Yehuda and Shomron and just built new roads in Hebron. As a matter of fact, when he visits Hebron, he gets such a "hero's welcome", you would think the King of Israel walked into town!

The world of politics is indeed very confusing but even more challenging. Unlike other MK's, who tend to make things up as they go along, Moshe is proceeding in a certain direction on a well-focused ideological path. He is not interested in his personal career but dedicated, instead, to an idea whose time has not yet arrived. That idea is growing like a little baby who still requires a tremendous amount of energy, resources and attention. Moshe needs to remain loyal to that baby and see him mature into an independent adult.

Challenge #3: The realization that everything comes from Hashem
I remember the early days of Manhigut Yehudit. Moshe would set up a parlor meeting, travel 2 hours to get there, then speak to the 3 people who actually showed up. Articles would be sent to the newspaper only to find that "there wasn't any room in the paper for your wonderful article – maybe next time." Interviews on TV were from weird guys with even weirder cable TV shows, our email list had 300 subscribers and fundraising wasn't even covering the gas in Moshe's car.

Baruch Hashem, all that has changed. Over the years, people started listening and in the last month alone – Moshe has appeared on every Israeli news/talk television and radio program. Newspapers, magazines and websites – from all over the world - are running after Moshe to interview him. He is the featured speaker at many conferences and thousands cheer his words. He has written 2 books and sold thousands of copies. His websites – in Hebrew, English, Russian and French – are among the most popular in Israeli politics. His YouTube videos are watched by tens of thousands (without a marketing campaign) and Moshe's fundraising is covering expenses for both the educational movement as well as the political operation.

It is very easy to say; "What a star I have become!" yet the Torah warns against this. "Be careful that you do not forget Hashem. You may eat and be satisfied building fine houses. You may amass much silver and gold. But your heart may grow haughty and you may forget Hashem, saying it was my strength and personal power that brought me all this prosperity." (Devarim 8:11-17)

How careful must we be to avoid this! We must never forget how everything is from our Father in Heaven! Before elections, in an effort to sway religious voters, many Israeli politicians started using words like "Baruch Hashem" and posted pictures on their websites from the few times in life they wore a kippa. This is all phony but we must make sure to be 100% real. Moshe must publicly thank Hashem for everything and continue to do so while he rises in the political world.

Many years ago, the following incident happened. After what seemed like a hundred calls to a certain major philanthropist, we finally secured a meeting with this top financial prospect who was visiting Israel. We met him in the King David hotel and were – finally – talking about Moshe's dreams and aspirations when, all of a sudden, Moshe popped up and excused himself to doven Mincha with a minyan in the hotel. I must state that Moshe was not saying "kaddish" at the time and could have easily dovenned by himself a bit later. I have to admit that I almost fell out of my chair when Moshe walked away and I was a bit embarrassed and ashamed.

About 5 minutes later the donor looked at me and said, "Now I realize that everything I heard about this guy Feiglin is true. People kill to sit with me for a few minutes and here – in the middle of the meeting – he gets up and leaves to doven Mincha. That is a true Jewish leader and one who I will support to the best of my ability!" When Moshe returned after Mincha, the donor sat with him for a long time, listened to his every word and smiled throughout the meeting. This fellow has become one of our biggest financial supporters, all because Moshe put the service of Hashem first and foremost.

This must continue, especially now when Moshe will be on the world stage. People need to understand that while Moshe is not a Jewish-Taliban-religious-fanatic, he is one who puts our King at the top of everything he does. Just like the law which states that a Jewish king must wear a Sefer Torah at all times so he remembers who is really the King, Moshe will be challenged to remember – and acknowledge – that Hashem is the One pulling the strings.

These three challenges will not be easy. For Moshe to remain honest, loyal to the vision and constantly aware that he is doing the service of Hashem he will need strength, determination and persistent effort. He will also need prayers from Am Yisrael and I humbly request that you say Tefillot for him every day. Moshe's success will be good for our entire nation and we need to do what we can to make that become a reality. Please doven for: Moshe Zalman ben Esther that our Father and King help him succeed in Sanctifying the great Name of Hashem throughout the world. 


1 comment:

Eitan Divinsky said...

Shmuel! Great article! Good, valid pts! It was a pleasure meeting you on your trip to Chicago a few yrs ago. I'm not back in Israel and would love to re-connect! Please check out my blog...