We are we beginning the second Book of the Torah, Sh’mot (or Exodus). The beginning chapters of the Book depict an arrogant, stubborn ruler of Egypt, who ignores the calamities that God inflicts on Egypt because of his own ego.
Pharaoh was blinded to reality, because he had his own vision of the world. At first, he was surrounded by yes-men, but the yes-men, unlike Pharaoh, eventually accepted reality.
After the tenth calamity, Pharaoh temporarily conceded, but the sight of the disappearing Israelites made him change his mind. Pharaoh took a last, desperate measure to bend reality to his vision, but it didn’t work: his army was swallowed by the sea in pursuit of the Israelites.
We all have blind spots. But when we have a blind spot that endangers our family, our institutions, or our country, we need to take a step back and objectively assess our situation.
In the Biblical account, Pharaoh was directly responsible for killing Egypt’s first-born males. Whatever Pharaoh did, whatever building projects he funded, whatever schools he established, whatever social advancements he instituted, the tenth plague eclipsed them all. He was a bad leader.