Torah For Today! This week: Kim Jong-un

Torah For Today! This week: Kim Jong-un

Rabbi Ariel Abel looks at at the Torah's response to the controversial issue of North Korea's young dictator

Ariel Abel is rabbi of the Liverpool Old Hebrew Congregation

80 percent off Shawarma, if you're from the DPRK
80 percent off Shawarma, if you're from the DPRK


Kim Jong-un is a serious worry to his neighbours, close and distant. Should the North Korean leader be humbled or even deposed? What does the Torah say about this?

Nimrod was a Babylonian emperor whose arrogance and insistence on being worshipped as a deity got him into trouble.

He was taught a lesson when, on throwing Abraham into a fiery furnace, Abraham survived unscathed.

Pharaoh also gained historic infamy by defying God and his people suffering 10 plagues.

The prophets remember the Egyptian pharaoh as a person who was so haughty that he believed he had created himself, as well as the River Nile.

Elsewhere, King Rehoboam was too sure of himself to consult with his advisors. His father’s most loyal men left his court, leading to the split of the Israelite kingdom.

In another example, Ahasuerus’ prime minister, Haman, combined his meteoric rise to greatness in the Seleucid empire in Persia, with an evil plot to annihilate its Jewish population. Ultimately, he ended up hanged on
the gallows that he had prepared for Mordechai, the leader of the Jews.

There is also the example of Nebuchadnezzar, who threw Daniel into the lion’s den and his friends into a superheated furnace for daring to defy the king and refusing to worship idols.

Eventually Nebuchadnezzar lost his mind and then his empire a short while later to the Persians.

Thus, the impetuous pride and self-obsessed confidence of powerful leaders has led to their humiliation, destruction or both.

In the Bible, God directly asked dictators to step down from their rhetoric and admit compassion, common sense and humility into their hearts.

As atheistic North Korea forbids any kind of religion with severe penalties, not even the Bible is available to deliver a society isolated in fear and repression.

Let us pray for the peace, safety and freedom of North Korea and all oppressed citizens.

read more: