Israel Forever

For the week ending 28 December 2002 / 23 Tevet 5763

Who Shall Lead the People?

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

With the national elections in Israel only a few weeks away voters are being asked to cast their ballots for the political party which they feel will do the best job of leading the people. The candidates for seats in the Knesset, Israels parliament, spare no words in trying to convince the voting public that they are the ones best suited for leadership and that their competitors are not.

What a far cry from the election of the first leader of the Jewish People. In this weeks Torah portion we read about the election of Moshe without primaries, campaigns and ballot boxes. It is not the undemocratic manner in which Moshe was chosen that sets his election apart from the current one. Moshe, after all, was Divinely appointed. It is the manner in which this, the most humble man on earth despite his extraordinary stature, responded to his appointment which separates the big men from the little boys in the political arena.

Moshes reaction to being offered perhaps the most important leadership role in world history is that he is not worthy of the appointment. He raises the handicap he has in properly communicating to the Egyptian despot the Divine command to let His people go. He even suggests that his older brother, Aaron, would be a more suitable candidate.

This leader, who gained the title of "Rebbeinu", our teacher, also taught us an important lesson in leadership. Not the aggressive campaigning of the office seeker is the hallmark of true leadership. Despite his hesitations and protestations, Moshe accepted the awesome responsibility of confronting a very stubborn king and leading out of bondage a very difficult people because this was the will of Heaven. His leadership was selfless and therefore enduring. If we could see only a fragment of his character in todays candidates for leadership we would feel a great deal more secure about Israel forever.

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