MAHARAL OF PRAGUE ON GOVERNMENT: The Mishna (Avot 3:3) says, “Be careful of the government, because they only draw people close for their own benefit. They appear like friends when it benefits them, but they will not be there for a person at his time of need.”

The Maharal explains:

It says, “be weary of the government,” because it first says “Be involved in the working fot eh community,” and only then “be weary of the government.” This is because the government is the opposite of the community, because a leader, due to his prominence and greatness, removes himself from the community and is separated from them. This is the way of every leader: even though he wants to guide the community, as if he is part of the community, but this is not so [he is not part of the community].

This is why it says, “be weary of the government,” because the government is separated from the general populace and has no connection with them, and if you see that they are drawing a person close, and it appears that they love him, don’t say, “Behold, they are drawing him close because he is their friend, and if so, they do indeed have a connection with others.”  This is nonsense, because they are not doing this because they consider this person close to them. They are only doing it for their own benefit, and they will not even be there for that person at his time of need…certainly, then, they will not do anything for a person when he is not in his time of need…


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