Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Leaders Don't Fail Me Now

The last mishnah in Massechet Taanit lists five events that occurred on the 17th of Tammuz and five that occurred on Tisha B'Av. It states that the חטא עגל took place on the 17th of Tammuz, and the חטא מרגלים took place on Tisha B'Av.

Normally I would have thought that the חטא עגל was a more serious failure of B'nei Israel than the חטא מרגלים. Even a rabid Chassidic Zionist like myself would admit that Avodah Zarah is a greater aveirah than refusing to make aliyah. What exactly were Chazal thinking when they declared that the חטא מרגלים could be compared the destruction of the Beit HaMikdash?

Maybe it was the role of the leaders in both of these events that was the major factor. In the חטא עגל Aharon HaKohen failed spectacularly as the leader of the Jewish people and was unable to prevent them from committing Avodah Zarah. However, Aharon may not have been the best charismatic leader to stand before an unruly mob and stop them from committing a heinous aveirah. And thus eventually, he was pardoned for his failed attempt as a leader of the Jewish people.

The חטא מרגלים is a different story. Each of the twelve tribes sent one of their best leaders to scout out Eretz Israel. Ten of them came back and blatantly lied to B'nei Israel about what they found. These leaders directly went against HaShem's wish and caused the untimely destruction of an entire generation of B'nei Israel. I cannot imagine a greater crisis of leadership - all ten leaders failed their constituency when they needed them the most. This mass failure of leadership is why the חטא מרגלים was compared to the destruction of the Beit HaMikdash and was considered to be a greater aveirah than the חטא עגל.

Not only do I hope that this is our last Tisha B'Av and that the Mashiach will come ASAP. I also hope that we can learn from the mistake of the חטא מרגלים and we will be blessed with excellent leaders.

Tzom Kal.

1 comment:

  1. i love your blog! i did not know that if i clicked on the post it would lead me here....i have a lot to catch up on!!! and i look forward to more....tzom kal to you and elisheva .