Shmot – Haftarah – Who Can Teach a Lesson to Pompous Leaders

Who Can Teach a Lesson to Pompous Leaders

The Haftara for Ashkenazim on Perashat Shemot has the prophet Yishayahu rebuking the upper strata of society for unjust and sick activities.


Woe to the haughty crown of the drunkards of Ephraim and to the fading flower of his glorious beauty, which is on the head of the rich of those overcome by wine!
(Yishayahu 28 – 1)
But these (the Kingdom of Judah) also reel with wine, and stagger with strong drink. The priest and the prophet reel  through strong drink; they are confused with wine; they stagger with strong drink; they reel in vision; they remove justice from judgment.
(28 – 7)


The prophet records their response.


To whom will one teach knowledge, and to whom will one explain the message? Those who are weaned from the milk, and drawn, and drawn from the breasts?



They are telling the prophet that his message is not for adult leaders of society. They felt that his message was good for school children. This is similar to what a pompous person once told me with reference to my drash on Og.  “Rabbi, your speaking to inteleeejent people, you can’t say stuff like that!”


In pesukim 11 through 13 the prophet tells these snobs who were waddling in their own vomit from drunkenness that there punishment will be measure for measure. The enemy will make fun of them in the same way that they made fun of him.

Several prophets make fun of the very same people at around the same time.

The minister asks (to grease his palms) and the judge is with payment.
(Micha 7 -3)
Who burden the poor so much that their heads are covered with dust, and they have twisted the ways of the straight, and a man and his father go the young lady (a harlot) in order to desecrate my holy name. (Amos 2-7 – See also Oppress the Poor)

Women also held powerful positions and Amos takes them to task also for oppressing the poor.

Hear this you cows of Bashan living on the mountain of Shomron who exploit the poor, who crush the needy….

There are many more quotes which I have not cited. Therefor, we must conclude that these upper strata of society lived off of the poor. The lower class were enslaved for no reason. The judges were members of this class. Their concept of justice was to protect the rights of the rich and powerful. Anyone, often including the prophets, who questioned their status was enslaved or murdered by the “justice system”. Yishayahu even calls them “Officers of Sedom“. (1-10)

Our society is not as bad as the prophets lead us to believe was the lifestyle in the kingdom of Ephraim.

However, we have our share of sickness which seems to be embedded or even instituted into the legal system.

Top executives and politicians are often friends. They can assist each other. Such relations are natural as both hang out in upper strata of society. They can also be destructive. Lobbies are usually based such relationship.

Most lobbies are on behalf of wealthy or politicians themselves. For instance I understand that the mayors’ lobby is one of the most powerful. They are successful at institutionalizing an infrastructure which has no monitor of their misdeeds. They lobby against such monitoring bodies which are clearly needed and have been proposed many times. With exorbitant municipal taxes they cover for  their friends’ inefficiencies whom they have hired as contractors for the public good. For example, school roofs seem to collapse more often than any private buildings.

The situation can be very absurd. The people who started at the bottom and became powerful as representatives of under classes themselves oppress those beneath them. For the sake of the working classes new workers who are not related to or friendly with a “patron” are denied permanent status. The phone company fires anyone in this position the week before the worker acquires this status.

Those in charge of health funds work in cohesion with politicians. They save money by postponing or denying treatments to the those ill with cancer or other deadly diseases. The Middle class and the poor are always the ones to suffer from this policy.

Those who are rich and hang around in the upper strata of society have no trouble paying for expensive medical care. When they need an appointment with a good doctor they are not simply thrown to the resident on duty. However, operations paid for by health funds are always done by whoever is on duty. The patient’s preference is always ignored. I have even said that I hope that my daughters become great doctors specializing in complicated fields at top hospitals. That way when I get old and sick they will organize good treatment for me.

Government funding is often designed to assist research and development of  new technology, medical equipment and new technology. These funds are always pumped into the pockets of their executive pals who often pay for electioneering.

Many governments have been involved in kidnapping the children of the under classes and giving them up for adoption with those more acceptable to the government. In Israel this was perpetrated primarily against Yemenite immigrants. The policy seems to have been more of snobbery than of official kidnapping.

During the fifties it seems that families living in far off towns with no public transportation had their children removed. How did this happen. When a child fell ill an ambulance was called. The child was taken off to some unknown hospital without any ID. If they ever managed to find where the child was taken the parents were told that the child had died . It would take at least a couple of weeks to get to the hospital. This is “too long” a time to simply leave a child in a hospital. The nurse would give the child over to the social workers who had the children adopted for hard currency which filled the Government coffers with foreign currency. Since the hospital did not know which children were given to the social worker and which had actually died they always said that the child died. After all the parents were “too stupid and primitive” to have anything explained.

Here is an unbelievable one! Recently, It was proposed that judges will be penalized for taking longer than a couple of years to rule on a case. That is after all of the testimony has been presented. The penalty was proposed that such judges would forfeit their Sabbatical year. The head of the high court caved into  the pressure of all of the judges to this delay of justice. It is still fine for a judge to aviod making a decision for as long as he pleases.

At a later stage we will discuss major problems with the justice system.