Ukraine vs. Russia: A modern-day David vs. Goliath story

An invading army under the control of an autocrat... A smaller country under siege, its leader refusing flee. 

Ukraine vs. Russia: A modern-day David vs. Goliath story

The attention of the world is on Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky, who leads a nation that is fighting back against Russia's Vladimir Putin.

Mo Rocca, Correspondent, asked Steve Leder, Senior Rabbi at Wilshire Boulevard Temple Los Angeles, "When it became clear that Zelensky would be staying, what did your thoughts?"

He replied, "I thought that he was a leader." He's a David and Putin is a coward.
"In their basement, we have elderly Ukrainian women who make Molotov cocktails." This isn't a David & Goliath story.

The Biblical story of David & Goliath shows that the Israelites are outmatched both by the Philistines, and the gigantic Goliath. Goliath is only able to be challenged by David, a shepherd boy armed with a sling, five smooth stones and a sling.

He fell the giant in one shot, and the Philistines fled.

Leder stated, "Everyone has faced terrifying odds at some point in our lives." Many stories are similar, where a powerful bully - a narcissist - is crushed by his own demagoguery or his own narcissism.

Zelensky is fighting increasingly difficult odds. He became well-known as a schoolteacher who unexpectedly becomes the president of Ukraine. His words as the actual president are widely shared by people far beyond his country. He said, "Even if all our churches and cathedrals are destroyed, you won't destroy our faith in God, in Ukraine."

Leder stated, "You know what, he was raised as a Jew in the Soviet Union." Leder said, "He understands what it means for an outsider to be."

"Soviet Jews had passports stamped with a specific mark, right?" Rocca asked.

"Yes, correct. You're a pariah. A black mark on you passport. He understands the bully and the importance of doing the best with what you have. This is his DNA, just like Goliath's DNA in Putin.

As Russia's relentless advance continues, Zelensky, a 44-year old husband and father, remains determined: "We have nothing else to lose than our freedom and dignity." This is our greatest treasure."

Rocca stated, "I cannot be the only one asking myself, what would you do?" Could I be that person?

Leder stated, "There is an old Yiddish saying that you should do what you have to, and you can." "If Zelensky had asked you five years ago, "Do you think that you could be the man five years from now who stands up against Vladimir Putin and his Russian Army?" He might have replied no."

Rabbi Leder points out that a challenge like this requires faith. "To be a David, one must be able to deny the full power of Goliath," he said. It requires some denial. It's a simple truth. You may not win every time with courage. But you have a better chance.



 

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