And Joseph said to them on the third day, ‘Do this and live, I fear G-d.’ (From this week’s Torah portion, Mikeitz, Genesis 42:18)
“For I said, there is no fear of G-d in this place, and they will kill me.” (Abraham in Genesis 20:11) Joseph understood the same thing understood by his great-grandfather, Abraham. Joseph’s brothers have nothing to worry about. They can leave Simon with the stern Egyptian ruler and be sure that no harm will befall him, for he has a G-d: “I fear G-d.”
True fear of G-d is the foundation upon which everything rests. There are people who fear G-d, but are unaware of it. There are people who declare that they have fear of G-d, but in truth, it is non-existent. Only G-d knows what is in our hearts. But ultimately, without fear of G-d, everything collapses. There are no borders to separate between good and bad. There is no permissible and forbidden, no moral coordinates with which to navigate the challenges of life. Reality sinks into confusion, into chaos and disarray – into death.
The greater the potential, the greater the sensitivity. A state of the art fighter jet is much more sensitive and can be ruined much more easily than a simple rifle. Regular countries can survive for long periods of time even if their leadership lacks fear of G-d. But the State of Israel is different. Without fear of G-d, the amount of time it takes for it to lose the legitimacy for its very existence – is very short.
The Nation senses this and is seeking G-d. With His help, we will soon have leaders who reflect the will of the Nation.