Online Torah

Beit Hamidrash

The danger of government corruption

By: Rav Yuval Cherlow

we learn from Moshe Rabbeinu what a leader should be like. A leader should be intersted in power and control

Govermental corruption comes in 2 ways. The first way is by using the resources you got for your own good, by stealing and taking money that belongs to the public for you, using the position you are in to do favors for your relatives. Taking bribery or bribing others – this kind of governmental official should not be heading an office. A question that must be asked is, is there even any kind of forgiveness and correction for this kind of behavior. How do we settle the difference between our demand for a clean office and our belief in reform and forgiveness – however this is not what our Parasha is trying to settle.

The second way to being a corrupt official is not by taking money. It's by not doing your job. It's by not helping the weak people in your country, it's by doing anything just so you will stay on top and not what's really good for your people. This kind of government does not deserve its place. The criticism on this kind of government is not on its policy that seems wrong by many, but it's on the government structure that doesn't care about the people but only about staying in the government.  The Israeli prophets criticized this kind of government for many years. A government official has to see himself as a servant for the people and not as a someone the people need to serve.

We are not prophets and that is why we don't know what god sees as a good government. However the current governments in Israel, did go over a few boundaries, and that has nothing to do with their policy. We can conclude this from what the officials said that the structure of the current government is not for the benefit of Israel but for the benefit of political schemes. Furthermore in the last week we were very close to a real corruption in hiring unimportant mayor deputies just to give some people high jobs. All this would have wasted a lot of money of the public's money.

In our Parasha Moshe teaches us what  a true leader that wants good for his people should do. Moshe that did not want to be the leader in the first place, shows why he has no personal gain in this leadership. Even in Parshat Korach he says how he believes he's not better than anyone else for the job. That's how a leader should act. That's the kind of leader we need – A leader that does not act in one of the both ways we described in the beginning, but a leader that sees the leadership as a burden that he's got to do.

When we discuss the Jewish identity of Eretz Yisrael and Midenat Yisrael, it's impossible for us to change when religious people are the ones trying to do corrupt acts. Instead of learning from Moshe about how it should really look like. The importance of a clean government is immense because the people want to believe in their government and wants it's government to do the right thing. What Moshe teaches us is the importance of a clean government so we can keep going and not lose trust in our government and fall apart.