IN A REMARKABLE PASSAGE in Midrashic literature, we are told that as a result of years of servitude and oppression, the life of the Israelites in Egypt became disorganized in three significant ways. When Moses went forth to study the life of his people in Egypt, the sages say, "He saw the burdens of the great placed upon the small, and those of the small upon the great; the burdens of a man placed upon a woman and those of a woman upon a man; the burdens of the old placed upon the young, and those of the young upon the old" (Exod. Rab. 1:27).

The first abnormality that: Moses observed had to do with the political life of the people. Little men assumed the mantle of leadership and relegated the great to a subservient position in the community. The selfish and ruthless Dathans and Abirams were table to take control of the affairs of their people, because those who were qualified were reluctant to assume public responsibility or to challenge the authority of the unworthy and corrupt leaders of their day. It involved too much time and effort, and they shunned public life

A similar situation exists today in our land and in the world. One sees a number of little men in positions of influence and power because good men are either too timid to challenge them or too reluctant to enter the field of public service or the arena of politics. At a time when there is so much to be done, one sees so little achieved. In the Parliaments and halls of Congress of the world and at the United Nations, a great deal of precious time is wasted on filibustering and fruitless talk because little men have usurped the seats of the great, and talented people are sitting idly by and doing little or nothing for the common good.

The second aberration that Moses detected had to do with the status of the family. He noticed that there was confusion in the roles of the father and the mother in the home. When a man does that which is nornlally expected of a woman, and a woman behaves like a man there is usually trouble ahead. In a sane and healthy society, it is generally the man who is head of the family and the woman is the homemaker, sharing authority with her helpmate. When the roles are exchanged the happiness and stability of the family are seriously threatened. When the father's words are not heeded, when he is referred to as "the old man," or worse still "the check writer" or "the meal ticket," and where the mother spends little or no time at all in caring for her children and performing the duties in the home, but rather in meaningless and even harmful social diversions, the home is disorganized. It is usually the next generation that has to pay the price for this abnormal situation in terms of emotional upsets, maladjustments, and delinquent behavior. If confusion and disorganization are to be avoided, it is imperative that there be a masculine father and a feminine mother in the home, fulfilling the tasks and functions assigned to them by a benevolent Providence. This is not merely good theology but established and proven psychological principle as well.

The third problem that Moses had to cope with in Egypt was rebellion of the young against the old. In a society where elders are respected for their wisdom and experience, and where their guidance and advice are sought, life is stable and harmonious. The term "elder statesman" is universally used with respect. Put when the young refuse to heed the advice of the elders, reject their exhortations and teachings, and look at the aged with derision and contempt, where sons rebel against their fathers and daughters against their mothers, the nation is in for a difficult period of turmoil, upheaval and strife.

Thus all three social dislocations and problems are traced directly to the home. The rabbis felt, and rightfully so, that the homes of a nation determine the morality, stability, and happiness of a people. An appeal to parents to take their responsibilities seriously, is inherent in their statement. Let us, therefore, follow their advice and assume our burdens in accordance with our mental, emotional and physical capacities to bear them. Let those who are qualified to contribute to the community and to public welfare, not sit idly on the sidelines and thus permit the unqualified to assume the leading roles to the detriment of the best interests of society. Let the young look for guidance to the wisdom and experience of the old, and let parents take care of their children, and not confuse their respective roles. The nation will be the beneficiary of these changes for the good. It will grow strong on all fronts, and will serve as an example of stability and harmony to mankind. This is what Moses did in his day for his generation. tion. We should do no less for ours.

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