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20/21 January: Shabbat Vaera

rabbipaulsmlShabbat comes in 4.26 pm: goes out 5.33 pm

“And Moses spoke before God saying: behold, the children of Israel did not listen to me; how then will Pharaoh listen to me…”

Even though Moses promised freedom — the people were not excited at first.  God has to teach Moses an essential ingredient in proper leadership.  When the public faces a difficult situation, a leader needs to present a grand vision of how the public can overcome the difficulty.  A leader must keep focused on what needs to be done, and must gain the support and willpower of the public.  But this often takes much time and energy. 

People always have excuses why things can’t change: we are too busy with our work, the establishment is too powerful, we don’t want to make things worse by calling for dramatic change, let others take the risk if they want–but don’t count on us!

When a leader hears these comments, he/she may lose heart. How can we move forward if the public is not with us? How can we bring about change if people are afraid of change, or if people are not ready to make sacrifices to alter the status quo?   The answer is to keep focused on the ideals and the dreams and the goals regardless of who will or won’t listen. This is what God taught Moses, and it is a lesson for spiritual leadership of all generations.   Stay focused! Articulate the dream! Redemption will come.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Paul Arberman

January 26, 2017