G-d must be sending me a sign. Within the past month, I have listened to many downloaded lectures and three of them had a similar message – Kavod Malchus, which means Honor for the King. This week’s parsha also mentions Kavod Malchus. In 6:13, G-d commands Moshe and Aharon regarding the Children of Yisrael and Pharoah, King of Egypt, to bring the Children of Israel from the land of Egypt. Rashi comments that G-d commanded them regarding Pharoah that they should speak respectfully to him. There’s actually two other places where Rashi comments about treating Kings with respect. Once was in last week’s parsha, Shemos 5:3, which Moshe spoke with respect to Pharoah, and once in Bereshis 48:2, where Yaakov stands for his son, Yosef, because Yosef is a King. Honoring kings is certainly a great mitzvah. The reason is because when someone shows honor to a king, it makes them realize how much they should honor the King of Kings, G-d.
Unfortunately, in our times, there are no kings for us to honor, but that does not mean this mitzvah cannot still be performed. We can still perform Kavod Malchus by honoring the high Government officials. You might think, though, that our Government officials do not deserve any respect. Open any newspaper and the headlines read about the terrible crimes our Government officials are performing. These crimes certainly do not deserve any honor and we certainly should not desire to follow in their ways. But we still must show honor for our high officials.
Think for a moment: who is the person that G-d is telling Moshe and Aharon to honor: none other than the wicked Pharoah. Pharoah enslaved millions of Jews. Pharoah decreed that all baby boys should be drowned. He forced the labor to be so hard that mothers used their children as cement to build buildings. He slaughtered Jewish babies and bathed in their blood. This man was certainly not a nice person. Very few of our enemies, if any of them, were as wicked as Pharoah. Still, G-d told Moshe and Aharon that they need to speak with respect and honor to him because he is a king. Kings need honor.
The lesson for us is that no matter what political party we associate with, we need to have honor for the leaders of our country. It does not mean that we need to agree with everything they do (and as previously mentioned, we should be disgusted by their immoral behavior). G-d chose these people to be the leader for some reason and therefore, we have to respect them. Therefore, (as I heard on one of the lectures), I think we should avoid making any jokes or derogatory remarks about those in the Washington D.C. and our local leaders. I am guilty of mocking the officials just as much as anyone else, but after hearing these three lectures and learning these three Rashi’s, I am taking it upon myself to try my best to avoid “bashing” those that deserve Kavod Malchus. Kavod Malchus is an important mitzvah and we must treat it that way.
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