Israel Forever

For the week ending 28 June 2008 / 25 Sivan 5768

The Danger of Demagoguery

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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One of the greatest dangers to civilization in general, and to the Jewish People in particular, is the delusion that populism will solve all the problems of mankind. While history has shown many advantages which democratic government has over tyrannical, autocratic rule, there has always existed the danger of skillful demagogues capable of manipulating the so-called "will of the people" in order to gain power.

This week's Torah portion provides us with a striking example of such demagoguery. Korach succeeded in fomenting a rebellion against the leadership of Moshe by cleverly accusing him of placing personal interests above those of the nation.

For the Jewish people Torah leadership is the indispensable element of their existence. There is no place in the world for a demagogue who attempts to undermine that authority. This is why the Heavenly punishment for Korach and his cohorts was sinking into the earth and vanishing from human sight.

It is to be hoped that this will be a lesson for all those who refuse to accept the authority of our Torah leaders whose guidance alone can secure Israel forever.

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