JOI Session | Sep. 11, 2009

Relationship, Leadership, and Action in Exodus

Following an interactive reflection of the first week, the fellows met with Rabbi Jonah Pesner to discuss two excerpts from the Tanach (Old Testament). Isaiah 58, read every year during the High Holy Days, highlights Isaiah bursting into the congregation beseeching the repenting Israelites to “fast” from oppressing their laborers and other oppressive actions- not just from food for one day. The congregates ignored him. He was not effective as one voice, void of relationships and collective action. We then studied the first chapter of Exodus through a lens of leadership, relationships, and action. In the absence of relationships, the Pharaoh became scared of the Israelites, the other, and looked to weaken them by ordering the Hebrew midwives to kill the male babies. Answering to a higher power, the women resisted and Pharaoh backed down. Perhaps the two midwives mentioned were connected to other resisting midwives and Pharaoh understood it was beyond his power to punish this collective act of defiance.

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