There is a clear guideline to be learnt from the leadership of Mordechai (not to compromise our principles of faith) ‘as in those days – in our time;’ we take a firm stand ‘not to kneel or bow down’. And this must stand true not only in a synagogue or a house of learning, but openly even at the gates of a king. Even in the presence of Haman, knowing full well his demand that all the servants of the king are obliged to kneel and bow to him. ‘They had informed (Haman) of the nationality of Mordechai (Book of Esther 3.2).’
Wherever Mordechai was, not only would he not serve the idol, but would deny its very existence. Even when told of the command of Haman [who had paid the huge sum of 10,000 silver shekels to annihilate the Jews], Mordechai responded: ‘since I am a Jew, I refuse to kneel or bow down.’
A Jew must say unequivocally today: ‘I belong to the People of Mordechai who has set the order of action before the eyes of the entire world’. Gentiles would never have initiated such a difficult path for a Jew to tread. The problem has arisen from (the Jewish People) themselves. G-d has in His world a Nation of wise and understanding people, beginning with “heads of your legions down to wood choppers and water drawers”. Amongst these are also those who are afraid and weak hearted arguing ceaselessly: ‘don’t argue even with a minor nation, certainly not with a world power.’ How can the retention by the People of Israel of the Land of Israel be interpreted as ‘inflammatory’? Who is creating an argument here? The Jewish People are doing no more than retaining their G-d given Land!
We see clearly that gentiles themselves would be in agreement with the Jewish People’s presence in the Land of Israel were it not that they see the Jewish People themselves conduct (as the spies did in the land) ‘we saw ourselves as grasshoppers’, and therefore ‘that is how they regarded us’. Just take a stand! Don’t kneel or bow down! See for yourselves that immediately ‘the fear of the Jews will befall them!’ However, this politician is afraid and of a weak disposition. His interpretation (of one who takes this stand) is that this man is a fool who does not understand the world of politics. This man belongs to the yeshiva or house of study, to remain amongst Jews, not amongst cultured individuals, diplomats, world leaders! In his personal affairs this man conducts himself in a religious fashion and declares ‘there is a Master to the world’. Yet, he argues, since we live in exile, we need to conduct ourselves diplomatically. The leadership shown by a diplomat must be to speak untruthfully. The very essence of diplomacy is to convey the situation not as it is; and yet he must remain wary not to be caught in a lie. No one must realize that the declarations are contrary to the truth. So that should he need to regret what he said, he can make an about-turn and say that he never ever said that; it was not he that wrote that; his intention was not this. So to become a successful diplomat one needs considerable training.
Public address Moitzo’ei Shabbos Vayakheil Pikudei 1979