Torah Tidbits


Leadership and Diversity
Shabbat Parashat Te’tsaveh
February 8, 2014 – 8 Adar 1 5774

Leadership and Diversity

This week’s Torah portion can teach us a lot about leadership.

Although the Priestly duties associated originally with the Sanctuary in the desert and later with the Temples in Jerusalem no longer exist in practice, the description of the clothing of the High Priest as described in our weekly Torah portion is very instructive.

A prominent feature of the High Priest’s garments was the ephod – a long vest, thought to have functioned as a reminder that we should beware of succumbing to the dangers of idolatry. The ephod incorporated all five colors – gold, blue, purple and crimson yarns, along with fine linen –  that helped to create the magnificent ambience of the Sanctuary.   Attached to the ephod, was the choshen – a pouch displaying 12 gemstones.   Each of the gemstones bore the name of one of the 12 tribes of Israel.

United on one ephod,  sharing one destiny, and represented by their unique gemstones, the tribes all knew that each one of the tribes had a place in the Holy Sanctuary.  The High Priest, representing the entire people of Israel, kept all the tribes close to his heart, even as he recognized the value of their diversity.  And, the Torah’s description of the High Priest’s garments speaks powerfully to the significance of leadership in diversity.

Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Gilah Dror