Thursday, March 16, 2017

Truth, Trust and Honesty:How to react to problematic leadership - religious or political by Joe Orlow

Guest post by Joe Orlow

Truth. Trust. Honesty. These are the oxygen for stable communities. The Torah brings this out numerous times. For example, cheating on weights is juxtaposed with the rise of our enemies.

So when Rabbinical leaders issue rulings that are out of whack, Rabbi Eidensohn steps to the plate and rebalances things.

And personal experience demonstrates just how unpleasant a community can be when some of its would-be leaders are out of order. The rank-and-file either consciously, or in a more subtle manner, end up mimicking the traits -- whether good or bad -- of its leaders. Sneaky leader: sneaky populace.

I'm writing this post in response to n invitation from Rabbi Eidensohn. My audience is the Z'kanim who follow this blog. Z'kanim: the Torah scholars who follow this blog and care what is written here, but don't care to take the extra step of commenting publicly here. So we have been told via the grapevine. I am reminded of the Z'kanim who start out escorting Moshe and Aharon on the way to confront Pharaoh. A funny thing happened on the way to the palace. At each corner a man was lost here, a man was lost there. Till it was just Moshe and Aharon to present the message of G-d to the earthly king.

These Z'kanim wonder why Rabbi Eidensohn has veered into the realm of politics. Is it not obvious? What is true of the Torah leaders holds true of civil leaders.

A Torah community with a fraudulent leadership is like a bridge that is rusting and corroded; like a highway with signs that misdirects drivers. Would you get in a road where the traffic lights routinely malfunction? Why in the world would anyone follow in the Derech of Gadokim who are off the Derech?!

A President that acts callously to protocol, precedent, and procedure can easily upend what a quarter of a millennia of statecraft has established. The cumulative effect of millions of citizens over centuries to build a more perfect form of government through blood, sweat and tears can come tumbling down like a majestic skyscraper shot through with passenger jet arrows.

I think that would be a good outcome. From the political ashes and rhetorical rubble we will build a moral foundation for the future. To me, Mr. Trump is like Noach, his ascendancy to the White House buoyed by my vote and the votes of sixty million of my friends.

I respect those who feel the flood of populism is really washing away the good, not the bad. So, the fact that I may disagree with Rabbi Eidensohn doesn't diminish my regard for him. Just the opposite, I've gained a new admiration for his courage in running this blog.

But for those who snip and snipe from the sidelines, they gather my disdain. Why haven't they started their own blogs? Where are their bold hearted Drashas calling out the misdeeds of a lazy leadership? Oh. I know. They don't want to lose their jobs. Or affect the marriage potential of their offspring. Risk averse cowards. Pulling back as we turn the corner of a momentous moment in history.

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