Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.
One of the many lessons the Purim story teaches us is how fast and far the powerful can fall. It is a fate even more fitting when they fall over a stumbling block placed in front of them by their own hand. Haman hanged from the very gallows he had prepared for Mordechai.
That’s one of the many thoughts that have crossed my mind since the Eliot Spitzer scandal broke. Spitzer is not the first public figure to fall from grace, but the hypocrisy of his actions is stunning, almost poignant. Behold, one of the most arrogant politicians of our time, who fashioned himself the righteous zealot rooting out corruption in high places, resigns in a mudbath of moral disgrace.
Arrogance, I believe, is what makes an otherwise intelligent man think he can get away with appalling transgressions. Bill Clinton possessed the same hubris. And so, millennia ago, did Haman. Just like his ancestor, Amalek.
To start up with the Jews, God’s people, takes nerve. Chutzpah. Wasn’t that Amalek’s great sin? Ambushing a weary B’nei Yisrael after having witnessed with their own eyes the parting of the Red Sea and the drowning of the entire Egyptian army? God vanquished Amalek in that battle, but did not allow the nation to be finished off completely. Rather, He pledged its eventual destruction, in effect branding Amalek the eternal enemy of the Jewish people. As Moshe declared, “Hashem maintains a war against Amalek from generation to generation.”
By making war against the Jews that one time – an act of incredible arrogance – Amalek dug its own grave in the sands of history.
Fast forward to ancient Persia. The remarkable success story of the Jewish people must have been grudgingly recognized by the surrounding non-Jews. As Haman’s own “aishet chayil,” Zeresh, warned her husband (albeit too late): “If Mordechai, before whom you have begun to fall, is of Jewish descent, you will not prevail against him, but will undoubtedly fall before him.”
But Haman, too, was done in by his own arrogance. He was vain and power-hungry, and therefore his grasp on reality had begun to slacken. When Esther invited him to her private banquet, two nights in a row, he should have been suspect. Instead he was elated. Not only did he appear with bells on for what was to be his own denouement, he literally fell upon Esther on her couch, thereby incriminating himself on a wholly different charge.
Esther, on the other hand, wielded great influence without a hint of arrogance. Like Moshe, she was an unwilling savior, hand-picked by God to take on a role she neither sought nor desired. And yet she rose to the task with grace and judgment worthy of a seasoned leader.
Megillat Esther is full of drama, but my favorite scene has always been the exchange, via messenger, between Mordechai and Esther at the end of Chapter 4, when he relates the impending annihilation of the Jews and implores her to intercede with the king. At first, Esther refuses. She is afraid; she feels powerless, constrained by the rules of the royal court that bar one from appearing unbidden before the king. But Mordechai fires her up with his response, concluding: “And who knows if it was for just such a time as this that you attained a royal position!”
Esther is swayed; she accepts the mission. But it with humility and self-sacrifice: “Then [after all the Jews of Shushan and I and my maids have fasted for three days and nights], I will go before the King even though it is forbidden, and if I shall perish, I shall perish.” How inspiring! How many leaders – especially those who did not even want the job – would show such courage?
What does any of this have to do with Eliot Spitzer? Lots of powerful people are arrogant – it’s not necessarily at odds with effective leadership. To take just one example, I was a fan of Rudy Giuliani (I say was because he really is a has-been now). He accomplished great things for New York City, yet he had an ego big enough to fill Yankee Stadium. The more arrogant one is, however, the greater the risk that the power he holds will start to play tricks on his mind. He will begin to feel invincible, untouchable, incapable of losing his mantle. And then – when he inevitably falls prey to his own greed, lust, or foolishness – the fall will be that much steeper.
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Why has his death been treated by some as an invitation for an emotional “autopsy”?
SWOT analysis: Assessing resources, internal Strengths&Weaknesses; external Opportunities&Threats.
Strategy? For the longest time Obama couldn’t be bothered to have one against a sworn enemy.
We started The Jewish Press. Arnie was an integral part of the paper.
Fear alone is substantial; without fusing it to beauty, fear doesn’t reach its highest potential.
Fortunate are we to have Rosh Hashanah for repentance, a shofar to awaken heavenly mercy.
Arab leaders who want the US to stop Islamic State are afraid of being dubbed traitors and US agents
National Lawyers Guild:Sworn enemy of Israel & the legal arm of Palestinian terrorism since the ’70s
A little less than 10 percent of eligible Democratic voters came out on primary day, which translates into Mr. Cuomo having received the support of 6.2 percent of registered Democrats.
The reality, though, is that the Israeli “war crimes” scenario will likely be played out among highly partisan UN agencies, NGOs, and perhaps even the International Criminal Court.
Peace or the lack of it between Israel and the Palestinians matters not one whit when it comes to the long-term agenda of ISIS and other Islamists, nor does it affect any of the long-running inter-Arab conflicts and wars.
Rather than serving as a deterrent against terrorist attacks, Israel’s military strength and capabilities are instead looked at as an unfair advantage in the asymmetrical war in which it finds itself.
The Lion’s Gate takes us from the dawn of the state in 1948, through intervening battles, to the lead-up to June 1967, and finally through the harrowing six days of fighting.
Geller, a mother of five who made aliyah from Monsey last year, offers a glimpse – with lots of photos – into her busy family life.
If the eyes are the window to the soul, then children’s eyes are the window to the Almighty Himself.
It is ten o’clock in the morning. I am at a local park with my daughter. A number of children are climbing and sliding, imbibing the fresh air. In their orbit are a smaller number of women, some milling around on foot, others sitting on the benches conversing and minding strollers. Trailing my own child, I play a silent game: Who is a Mommy? Which, if any, of these women (who range from lovingly attentive to disturbingly disengaged) are the children’s mothers, and which are babysitters?
We asked several experienced mechanchim for their insights on how to shepherd children from their first “Modeh Ani” to the understanding that Hashem alone holds the key to every aspect of their existence. Here are the key principles they shared.
When the disproportion of terrorist acts committed by Muslims – and the resulting hordes cheering the carnage on the Arab street – lead clear-minded observers to conclude that jihadism is the dominant strain in the Islamic world, we are accused of painting with an unfairly broad brush, discounting the silent (and invisible) majority of Muslims who oppose violence and crave peace.
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