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Parshat Toldot: Are Our Leaders A Reflection Of Ourselves?

As a young student in the 80s, I studied at the Lubavitch Yeshiva in New York.

I vividly remember a heated debate with a number of colleagues regarding the politics of the day.

In the midst of passionate arguments being made by all, our dean appeared and asked what the commotion was all about.

We eagerly briefed him on the current events of that day, not believing that this spiritual man could offer any relevant insight.

Then, like a true sage, he remained silent for a few moments before sharing with us a short Talmudic anecdote.

He said, “When G-d is upset with the Jewish people, he appoints unsuitable leaders for them”.

As the years have passed, I look back at the genius of the man and his ability to enlighten in such a profound way.

For in effect, he was not just offering limited value to our understanding of the subject.

He was in fact turning the subject on its head. What we refer to as a ‘paradigm shift’.

The mystics reveal an even deeper dimension, intrinsically connecting a people with its leaders. They say that our leaders are in fact a reflection of ourselves.

In other words, instead of attributing the problems of our society to others, we should recognize that its roots lie within.

As King Solomon says, “He embedded the world in those (our) hearts”. The macro is a reflection of our micro world.

Indeed the spiritual heirs to the forces of ‘chaos’ and ‘order’, Esau and Jacob, emanated from within our matriarch Rebecca who gave birth to them both.

As we read in the verse “The children struggled in her womb”.

Instead of seeing ‘ourselves’ as a reflection of the ‘world’ and blaming it, let us rather see the ‘world’ as a reflection of ‘ourselves’ and make a change within.

Dedicated By:

Hinda Drizin

“In honour of Rabbi Faivish & Mrs Dussia Vogel“


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