Israel Forever

For the week ending 7 July 2007 / 21 Tammuz 5767

Who is a True Leader?

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll
The crisis which exists today in Israel in regard to who is suited for leadership calls to mind the formula for true leadership spelled out in this week's Torah portion.

In his appeal to G-d to appoint a man who will succeed him as the leader of the Jewish nation, Moshe thus introduces his delineation of the qualifications of such a leader:

"May the G-d, the G-d of the spirits of all flesh, appoint a man to lead the community." (Bamidbar 27:16)

In his commentary, Rashi points out that the title for the Divine used by Moshe in his appeal was actually a description of the type of leadership needed.

"Sovereign of the Universe," he said, "it is clearly known to you the mindset of each and every person and that they differ from one another. Please appoint a leader who can tolerate everyone according to his own understanding."

Leading a people with such diverse outlooks has always been a challenge. In the badly fragmented society of the modern Jewish state it is perhaps even a greater challenge. But only such leadership, free from personal interest and totally dedicated to the needs of every single member of the community, can guarantee Israel forever.

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