> Weekly Torah Portion > Beginner > A Life Lesson

A Leader Must Always Lead

Pinchas (Numbers 25:10-30:1 )

by Adam Lieberman

Why Moses was one of the greatest Jewish leaders.

In this week's Torah portion, God showed Moses the Land of Israel and told him that he wouldn't be allowed to bring the Jewish people into the Land. Moses immediately said:

"May ... God ... appoint a man over the assembly, who shall go out before them ... and let the assembly ... not be like sheep that have no shepherd." (Numbers 27:16-17)



When Moses was told by God that he wouldn't be able to lead the Jewish people into the land of Israel, his knee-jerk response was not focused on his own fate, but rather to make sure that the Jews would still have someone in his absence who would continue to lead them. This is why Moses was one of the greatest leaders ever.

The ability to focus on other people's needs when the "going gets tough" and not on your own wants and desires is the true definition of leadership. Being a leader is not about the recognition or accolades you might receive, but rather it's the constant focus on the specific needs that are most important to those who are following you. Therefore, if for one reason or another you're no longer able to lead them, you will automatically put their fears and concerns as your primary focus.

The world is littered with countless numbers of cases where, once someone was asked to stop doing something, he ceased to care about the people whom his work was effecting. It makes you wonder if he really ever truly cared about them in the first place. The true colors of a leader are on full display when he leaves his leadership position and to see if he ever gives even a passing thought to all those who believed in him, his vision, and his dream.

The powerful message Moses taught us all is to fight the urge to initially take a demotion or firing personally. There will certainly be time to think about the impact of how this decision affects you. But right now your concern must be about those who trusted you.

Make no mistake; it certainly takes a lot of class to have your focus be on others when your ego, self-esteem, and your self-worth are seemingly all on the line. But it's precisely this knee-jerk response which separates a good leader from a great one.

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