Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Parshas Pinchas

Great Leaders

By Rabbi Shlomo Jarcaig

In his first public address to his followers after he was appointed as a leader in the community of Vilna some 120 years ago, Rabbi Yaakov HaDarshan took note of a peculiarity in the verses in which Moshe requests of G-d to appoint a new leader. As Moshe neared the end of his life, he expressed to G-d his concern that he be replaced with a competent leader. "May G-d, Lord of the spirits of all flesh, appoint a man over the assembly, who shall go out before them and come in before them, who shall take them out and bring them in; and let the assembly of G-d not be like sheep that for them there is no shepherd." (Bamidbar/Numbers 27:16-17) Following the maxim that the Torah is always concise and precise in its use of words - never is there a superfluous, purposeless expression - Rabbi Yaakov noted the most succinct way for Moshe to conclude his request would be to ask that the assembly not be like sheep "bli roeh", without shepherd; why did the Torah add seemingly unnecessary words and ask that they not be like sheep "asher ein lahem roeh", that for them there is no shepherd? The word "lahem" - for them - is a necessary characteristic of a leader. Moshe knew that there would certainly be another leader. His concern was that it be a leader who would not be concerned with his own honor and reputation. They would certainly have a new shepherd, but Moshe wanted to make sure that he would be "lahem", for them.

Indeed, the Midrash (Shemos Rabbah 2:2) tells us that before G-d chose to appoint King David as the leader of His nation, He tested him to see if he was compassionate with the sheep of which he was then in charge. In order to earn the responsibility of being the King of Israel, he had to demonstrate that he was prepared to sacrifice his own energies for those under his charge.

Going about our daily business most of us do consider ourselves to be amongst "the leaders", but, in reality, we are all leaders in particular circumstances in our lives. As responsible superiors we are the mentor for our children and coworkers; in many circumstances we become a role model for peers and acquaintances. The Torah's paradigm for leadership is an essential lesson for all: the successful leader is one who focuses on the needs and wants of the constituency.

Have a Good Shabbos!


Text Copyright © 2004 by Rabbi Shlomo Jarcaig and Torah.org.

Kol HaKollel is a publication of The Milwaukee Kollel Center for Jewish Studies 5007 West Keefe Avenue Milwaukee, Wisconsin 414-447-7999


 


ARTICLES ON MIKETZ AND CHANUKAH:

View Complete List

The Good Times are Rolling
Rabbi Label Lam - 5763

Basic Concepts and Laws
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5761

Chanaukah Lights
Shlomo Katz - 5765

> Our Power is Found
Rabbi Label Lam - 5764

The Fall of Communism
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5758

Sadly Released from Prison
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5758

ArtScroll

Living Lessons
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5766

Chanukah Vs. Purim
Shlomo Katz - 5760

History Reenacted
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5767

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

The Triumph of Quality Over Quantity
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5756

A Change of Heart
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5767

Darkness and Light
Shlomo Katz - 5773

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Dreams etc.
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5760

Salvation: Express Lane
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5768

To Fergin or Forget
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5774

Chanukah and the Torah Scholar
Shlomo Katz - 5762



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information