Shemot: The Advisors’ Dilemma

December 31, 2020

When Pharaoh suggested to drown the newborns, what were his advisors to do? Object and face the consequences, or agree and work with the circumstances? When faced with a moral dilemma, do you make do with the situation or take a principled stand? A fascinating lesson from Bilaam, Job and Jethro.

Part 1 | Pharaoh’s Consultation

Torah Sources: The beginning of the Egyptian servitude, the Talmud’s description of Pharaoh’s consultation, and some biographical details about our protagonists, Bilaam, Job and Jethro.

Part 2 | The Ill-Fated Advice

The Rebbe’s Sicha: Bilaam and Job were punished for their part, not so much for the harm they brought on the Israelites but for seeking to please others. They lacked backbone and principle—and that was their greatest defect.

Part 3 | Jethro Takes a Stand

The Sicha, continued: Jethro made a choice that seemed useless. But a person’s inner character must always drive him to take a stand, even when it seems momentarily ineffective.



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