Friday, March 18, 2016

Spiritual Leadership and Political Leadership

By HaRav Dov Begon
Rosh HaYeshiva, Machon Meir

From the dawn of the history of the Jewish People in their land, already in the days of the First Temple, the national leadership was composed of both spiritual and political leadership. Sometimes, the political leader was also a spiritual person, like Joshua ben Nun or King David. At other times, the leadership was divided up between political leadership and spiritual leadership, as in the days of King Saul and the Prophet Samuel, or King Hezekiah and the Prophet Isaiah.

Right now, Israel is undergoing crystallization and rebirth after two thousand years of exile, and the national leadership is likewise changing from the religious-spiritual leadership which led the nation in the exile, when we had no state or army.

We have switched to political leadership, whose main preoccupations are the
existential, military and economic aspects of the State of Israel. In years past, and most particularly in recent times, we bear witness to the renewed strengthening of the religious, spiritual leadership, with tens of thousands of Jews heeding the rabbis more and more. Also, some of the politicians understand that the way to the hearts of the masses must pass via the rabbis.

Indeed, a change has taken place in Israeli society. Vast numbers are returning to tradition, returning to the synagogue, returning to the Sabbath and to the weekly portion, returning to the sources, returning to themselves, and as a result of all this, they are returning to G-d. Also the political leadership, which desires to be elected and which takes public opinion polls in order to sense in which direction the wind is blowing, understands very well that they have to take into account the view of the spiritual leadership. The day is not far off
when our nation will return to the natural, normal, state of affairs that existed in Biblical times, when the political leadership will occupy itself not just with existential, military and economic issues, but will take responsibility as well for the spiritual state of the nation.

Noble leaders will rise up and will bestow upon us some of their pristine spirit. They will exalt and strengthen the spirit of the people and our eternal request will be fulfilled: “Return us to You, O L-rd, and we will return. Renew our days as of old” (Lamentations 5:21).

Looking forward to complete redemption,
Shabbat Shalom.

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