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 NASO:

View Complete List

Out Of Control
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5773

To Acquire Eternal Reward through Happiness
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5770

Who's On First?
Shlomo Katz - 5764

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Parshas Naso and Chag Shavuos
Rabbi Chaim Flom - 5767

Holy Heart
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5764

Lines of Lineage
Shlomo Katz - 5759

> Complexity
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5767

Seeing the Big Picture
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5774

Possessive Nouns
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5760

ArtScroll

Channels of a Different Type
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5758

From the Depths of the Heart
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5762

A Promise of Good Will Not Be Retracted
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5758

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Ups and Downs
Shlomo Katz - 5761

Limiting the Wine
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5761

My Torah
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5765

Guaranteed Investments
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5771



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