Here's the second lesson I gleaned from the "Obama Phenomenon":

In my previous post I explained that experience is not a prerequisite to change. But the question remains regarding a pivotal point of contention between Mr. Obama and his opponent: does experience negate change? Is it possible for a person with experience in a particular field to implement real change?

Let us look at the Torah for the answer to this question.

Rabbi Zeira, one of the great Talmudic sages, immigrated to Israel in order to study the Talmud from the Israeli masters. When he arrived in the Holy Land, he wanted to start with a clean slate. So he fasted forty days in order to forget all he had previously studied in Babylon! (Talmud, Bava Metziah 85a)

Yes, it sounds a bit extreme... But Rabbi Zeira recognized the superiority of the Israeli style of study over the Babylonian one, for the very air of the Holy Land adds wisdom to its inhabitants. Had he studied with the Israeli sages while continuing to use the same thought processes he was accustomed to using back in Babylon, he would have remained shackled to his past. To reach an entirely new horizon required a clean start, unencumbered even by the positive accomplishments of his illustrious past.

On a similar note, the Zohar speaks of an allegoric "river of fire" that every soul must pass through en route to Paradise. This fire causes the soul to "forget the appearance of this world." For the soul to truly appreciate and enjoy the spiritual otherworldly delights that await her in the world to come, it must totally disengage from all the earthly pleasures it experienced while in a physical body. For the pleasures of this world pale in comparison to the spiritual delight the soul will now experience—the delight of basking in the radiance of the Divine Presence.

In short: to effect a real change, one must disavow not only past errors, but even past accomplishment.

In a political sense this tells me that both candidates have a valid point (as is usually the case...). Yes, past experience can be an impediment to being the protagonist of change. But on the other hand, I believe that even experienced politicians can bring change—provided that they are ready to "reject" their path, and commit to an entirely new method of thought and policy.

A few weeks after leaving Egypt, our nation was on the verge of undergoing the greatest change imaginable: a clan of lowly slaves was about to become "G‑d's treasure," and "a kingdom of princes and a holy nation."

For this change to succeed, a complete break from their past was required. Their new journey could not be based on the foundations of previous conceptions and presumptions.

Our ancestors understood this when they famously declared, "Na'aseh vinishma"—We accept all of G‑d's commands, and then we will attempt to understand their meanings.

First they unconditionally accepted. They renounced all their previous experiences and philosophies, and completely surrendered themselves to this impending change. Then, with a clean slate, they were capable of starting anew—a commitment which included both doing what G‑d commanded, as well as understanding the reasons behind the commands.