By The People, For The People

//By The People, For The People

The gemora (Brochos 55a) teaches us that we cannot appoint a leader of the community (“Parness”) against the will of the people. Therefore, the public must first be asked. This is learned from the pasuk that says “I have asked Betzalel to take a position.” (Shemos 31:1,2) The question is obvious: Betzalel did not have any real power as a leader, but rather was a public servant, appointed to work as a craftsman to create the mishkan and the vessels that were inside. How then can we learn from this passuk, a law that applies to a leader?

I heard an insight from my Rosh Yeshiva, which was based on a terminology in the Rambam. He explained the difference between a “melech” (king) and a “moshel” (ruler). He said that a king considers his citizenry as the people whom he is representing, and it is his obligation to be concerned for their well-being. This could be compared to a father: Even though he is the head of the household, he understands that the responsibility to care for his families best interests, rests squarely on his shoulders. The ruler, on the other hand, obtained his current position by force and uses the citizenry for his own purposes, or taxes them in order to enhance his own personal wealth. His only concern is that the citizenry should be healthy enough to serve him, just as someone who possesses a horse is concerned that his horse is well taken care of.

We now understand that there is a relationship between the “Parness” and the citizenry. The Gemora is telling us that we must liken the Parness to the king and not to the ruler. This idea is echoed in Shulchan Aruch, in regards to a shaliach tzibur. A person must have the approval of the people in order to serve as a shaliach tzibur. Someone who has disfavor in the eyes of the tzibur is not fitting for that position. The Chasam Sofer teaches us that being that the purpose of building the mishkan was that through the mishkan we should serve Hahsem, therefore even those who are involved in creating the kapara for klal Yisrael must be the emissary of the people. Therefore, we have the right to learn from Betzalel to the Parness, for Betzalel was not just a craftsman; he was similar to the shaliach tzibur because he set the stage for forgiveness from Hashem.

I would like to add that the Parness of the tzibur, those who dictate to the tzibur how to act in certain circumstances, not only serves a civic duty, but he also is obligated to lead his life on a higher plane. This example is true for each individual who heads a household. He should ensure that those who dwell together with him see him in a good light in order that he can represent them when he prays for the well-being of his household. May we merit to fill our obligation.

By |2018-03-25T22:05:50+03:00March 2nd, 2018|Rav's Blog|0 Comments

About the Author:

Rav Avrohom Baruch Zachariash has been the Rav of Ahavas Shalom since 2003. He currently lives in Jerusalem, but spends most Shabboses with his Kehilla in Ramat Beit Shemesh, Israel.

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