The Jewish people have been plagued with leadership failures since our inception. From the spies rejecting the Land of Israel in the desert to corrupt priests and kings who ruled once we entered the Holy Land, our leaders were often the cause of our greatest falls.This was certainly the case in the lead up to the destruction of the two Temples, which we commemorated on Tisha Be’av. The downfall of the First Temple began with King Menashe, who reigned from 697 BCE to 643 BCE. Menashe spread idolatry throughout the land, and even brought an idol into the Temple.He was also responsible for significant bloodshed, even murdering his own grandfather, the prophet Isaiah. Even though Menashe’s grandson, Yoshiyahu, inspired a mass repentance among the people, it wasn’t enough to undo the damage from Menashe’s reign.When Yoshiyahu’s son, Tzidkiyahu, became king in 597 BCE, he was told by the prophet Jeremiah to be subservient to the Babyolnian ruler, Nebuchadnezzar, in order to save the Temple and the Jewish community in Israel. But Tzidkiyahu instead chose rebellion against the Babylonians, arrogantly believing in his own power instead of subjugating himself to the guidance of the prophet. That rebellion led to the Babylonian siege of Jerusalem and their destroying the Temple on Tisha Be’av in 586 BCE.The Second Temple’s destruction also came in the wake of failed leadership. Following the great victory over the Greeks in the Hanukkah story, Alexander Yannai, a grandson of Shimon the Maccabee, ruled Israel ruthlessly for 27 years, ignoring the needy and murdering those who he saw as his enemies. When he died, his two sons Hyrkanus and Aristoblus fought for the throne, plunging Israel into a long civil war. Each of them sought the help of Roman rulers to secure their positions, opening the way for Rome to gain control in the Holy Land.As the Romans asserted themselves, rival factions developed among the Jews on how to best respond to this foreign ruler. The zealots wanted to engage in open warfare to oust the Roman legions from Israel. The moderates agreed with the ultimate goal of the Zealots but wanted to accomplish this without violent confrontation, and then there were Jews who were loyal to Rome. The void in Jewish leadership enabled the infighting among these groups to escalate to the point of outright murder, enabling the Roman soldiers to eventually conquer Jerusalem and destroy the Temple on Tisha Be’av in 70 CE.EVEN AFTER this crushing defeat, a Jewish rebellion led by Shimon bar Kosiba gained momentum in 126 CE and created a serious struggle for the Romans. This effort was so hopeful that the great Rabbi Akiva called Shimon, “Bar Kochva,” which means “son of star,” because the Bible describes the Messiah as being a shining star. But Bar Kochba became exceedingly arrogant with his victories, and became so suspicious of those around him that he even murdered Rabbi Elazar Hamoda’i, a leading sage and his uncle, when he heard rumors that the rabbi was turning against him. On Tisha Be’av in 133 CE, the Romans succeeded in squelching that rebellion and Shimon was killed.Arrogant leaders. Suspicious leaders. Leaders who refuse the advice of others. Lack of leadership to unite the nation. It all sounds far too familiar.Yes, God has brought us back to our homeland after 2,000 years of exile, but our failure to learn from the past endangers us both in the present and as we look toward the future. Our so-called “unity government” has proven to be filled with ministers who are suspicious of one another and unwilling to yield power to the others. They are refusing ideas being presented to them by the opposition. The nation is becoming more polarized by the day, and along the way, the people are suffering.People have lost their jobs, cannot support their families, and feel that their cries are falling on deaf ears. Remarkably, the prophet Isaiah makes it clear that not taking care of the needy is what led to Israel’s destruction. In chapter one, which we read in synagogue last Shabbat, Isaiah bemoans that Jerusalem was “once full of justice, in which righteousness would lodge,” but that now no one is taking care of the orphans and widows.The prophet makes it clear that there is one path to save the people of Israel: “Zion shall be redeemed through justice.” This is what we must strive for.The good news is that Isaiah promises that the day will come when we correct this flaw and will be blessed with leaders who take us on the proper path. “And I will restore your judges to what they once were, and your advisers to their former state. Afterward you will be called the righteous city.”May we be blessed with this kind of leadership, and the subsequent positive impact, speedily in our time.The writer served as a member of the 19th Knesset.