In viewing the behavior of some politicians and government officials in the United States, particularly those running for president in the Republican party, as well as the government of Israel, Rashi’s commentary (11th century France) on Avram towards the very end of the Torah portion Noach this week is relevant. His comments appear relative to Genesis 11:26-28, as follows:
“When Terach had lived seventy years, he begot Avram, Nahor, and Haran. Now these are the begettings of Terah: Terah begot Avram, Nahor, and Haran; and Haran begot Lot. Haran died in the living presence of Terah his father (al p’nei Terach aviv) in the land of his kindred, in Ur of the Chaldeans.”
Here is Rashi’s commentary on the above passage: “Al p’nei Terach aviv -The words al p’nei denote “during the lifetime of his father.” And the aggadic intepretation says: The words al p’nei denote that “on account of his father did he die.” For Terach complained against Avram his son before King Nimrod because Avram had crushed his [Terach] idols; and King Nimrod cast him [Avram] into a fiery furnace, while Haran sat and said to himself, “If Avram wins I shall be on his side, and if Nimrod wins I shall be on his side.” And when Avram was saved they said to Haran, ‘On whose side are you?’ Then Haran said to them, ‘I am on Avram’s side.’ Whereupon they cast him into the fiery furnace and he was burned. And that is the significance of Ur Chaldees [lit, “The fire of the Chaldees” – B’reishit Rabba]…”
What is the lesson? To our political candidates here and in Israel, stop pandering to the most extreme elements or to the winds of popular sentiment for the sake of your holding onto or winning office. Find your true voice and speak it based on reason, the facts, heart, soul, and the interest of the common good and avoid being thrown into the furnaces of whim, stupidity and short-sighted gain!