Tuesday, December 26, 2017

How do we select a good leader for Israel?

By HaRav Dov Begon
Rosh HaYeshiva, Machon Meir

The Talmud teaches (Berachot 25a), “Three require mercy: a good king, a good year and a good dream. A good king, as it says, ‘Like water courses is the king’s heart in the Lrd’s hand; He directs it wherever He wishes’ (Proverbs 21:1).” Just as a farmer controls water flow, irrigating whichever field he wishes, so too, a king’s heart is at G-d’s disposal to direct however He wishes. It follows that we must beseech G-d to show mercy and turn the hearts of our leaders in the right direction, and all the more so, to send His people good leaders who will lead them in the right direction.

Our sages declared that “we do not appoint a leader over the community without the community’s prior approval.” In other words, the community must select its leaders. The question is therefore asked: What makes a good leader, and what must his characteristics be? Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook explains:
“There are three virtues associated with a good leader. The first is holiness -- possession of a pristine soul and a pure heart. This trait is associated with the idealistic person who acts exclusively on behalf of the public good, without any vested interest. The second is that he must be very wise so that he can lead his community sagaciously. The third is that he must be a man of formidable appearance, with an eloquent tongue that captures the heart of the masses. In other words, he must be popular. Our priorities must be as follows: First comes purity of heart, then wisdom, and only then popularity. Yet when the order is reversed and popularity takes precedence over the essence, purity of heart, then that leadership goes awry and the nation suffers.” (Ein Aya, Berachot, page 262)

Let us all beseech G-d that we should merit to select the best leadership to lead the Jewish People in the good land, along the twisted, winding road leading up to Complete Redemption.

Longing for complete salvation,
Shabbat Shalom.

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