Torah Tidbits

Leadership in Light of Torah
Shabbat Parashat Korach
Shabbat Mevarekhim HaChodesh featured-rabbi
June 21, 2014 – 23 Sivan 5774

Leadership in Light of Torah

This week’s Torah portion invites us to examine our ideas in relation to leadership.

Korach and his crew challenged Moses and Aaron’s leadership, demanding that Moses and Aaron step down.  On the one hand, they argued that the entire community of Israel is a holy community and therefore Moses and Aaron should have no special standing in the community.  On the other, they demanded leadership for themselves, in place of Moses and Aaron.  Where is the logic in that?  And, they totally discounted Miriam’s leadership!

The Torah teaches us that leaders are truly one of us.  They are not above us.  Even the Israelite King was expected to write a Torah scroll and to carry it with him every day of his life as a reminder that he is subject to the teachings of Torah as much as anyone else.

Yet, sometimes leaders are chosen from among us.  Moses, and Aaron, and Miriam were chosen to lead.  The Torah tells us that Moses was the most humble of people.  Aaron was a peacemaker.  Miriam was a prophetess.  Leaders emerge, or are chosen, so that they may help us to work together to achieve our shared goals and values.

Leadership styles will certainly vary.  But, in light of this week’s Torah portion, we might ask ourselves whether today’s leaders, and potential leaders, are like Korach – seeking to hold positions of power for their own sakes; or whether they are like Moses, Aaron, and Miriam – using their God given talents of leadership as a means of helping us all work together more effectively to make our world a better place, because that is the secret of great leadership, in light of Torah.

This Shabbat we will recite the prayer for the new Jewish month of Tammuz.  Rosh Chodesh Tammuz will be a week from this Shabbat and on the following Sunday.  May it be a month of effective leadership and of progress toward peace.

Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Gilah Dror