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VaEra: Showing Respect

The Midrash tells us that when Moshe & Aharon came to Pharaoh they were commanded to treat him with respect (see Rashi). Even though he is not a Jewish king and a wicked one too, still they were told to treat him with respect.

The Gemarah in Masechet Shabbat describes that due to the complexity of running a kingdom or country, it would be impossible to sit down and write out all that had to be done and taken care of, even for the course of only one day! The Gemarah when saying this, even about non Jewish kingdoms, uses terminologies of praise comparable to the praises we use for Hashem. The obvious question is: How could this be?

The truth us when Hashem has given a nation the power to rule over Am Yisrael, they are not really ruling. As the verse describes: “ואף גם זאת בהיותם בארץ אויביהם לא מאסתים ולא געלתים” – even when they are in the land of their enemies I have not forsaken or despised them. Thus when a governing nation makes a decree against the Jews, it is only at the behest of Hashem. Therefore the same words we would use to praise God are applicable here too.

As hard as it might sound, when we show respect to conquering nations, essentially we are showing respect to Hashem. The Gemarah tell us to run to show our respects to a king and make the bracha “ברוך שנתן מכבודו לבשר ודם” – blessed is he whom gave from his honour to flesh and blood. And by doing so “אם יזכה יבחין” – if one merits he will gain perception. What does it mean: If he merits? To see an evil king?! Rather it means that if he merits understanding that this king is no more then a mirage of what the true king is, and an example that Hashem is showing him how to respect and honour a king. Then when the time comes for Mashiach, he will appreciate the contrast and what a true king really is, and show the appropriately proper respect and honour.