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Ethical Leadership!

Friday, 24 July, 2020 - 12:23 pm

Each week I have the great privilege to study with many locals, one-on-one. Bonding over G-d’s wisdom, deeply insightful and practical, is always stimulating and we tend to have lots of fun. Learning with brother Baruch, AKA Seth, each week, has taught me so much. We’ve completed two Talmudic tractates, Rosh Hashana and Avoda Zara, and we are inching closer to the end of Sanhedrin which is a pretty long adventure. In our last study session, we discussed the responsibility of being a Jewish High Court member and the trepidation, fear of heaven, in which that role must be carried out.

In this week’s Torah portion, Devarim, the first in the book of Deuteronomy, we read about leadership. Moses recounts his request of Jewry, “Provide for yourselves distinguished men, who are wise, understanding, and well known to your tribes, and I shall appoint them as your heads”. Rashi explains that the Hebrew words for “appoint”, “Va’Asimem”, also comes from the root Hebrew word “Asham” which means atone: This teaches us that Israel’s transgressions are hung over the heads of their judges, since the judges should have prevented them from sinning, and directed them along the right path. Leadership is about inspiring an ethical, moral, and spiritually balanced society. The Torah demands that we find leaders whose character is impeccable; whose leadership conduct role models all the values that G-d would expect of a healthy citizenry.

When those entrusted to lead, especially those in religious/spiritual leadership, fail in their ethical and moral behavior, it’s a big letdown. Yes, humans all make mistakes and G-d is amazingly forgiving, but leaders must recognize the magnitude of their sins and the demoralization it brings with. Moses lost his ability to enter the land of Israel because he made one mistake with the rock, Miriam was plagued with Tzaarat due to a one-time mistake of gossip and King David lost out on building the Temple he dreamed of because of his war time actions. While, sadly, too many have given up on politicians exhibiting true leadership, we mustn’t ever give up on our spiritual leaders acting 100% ethically. If not them, who?

In the words of MLK “The time is always right to do what is right”!

May G-d guard our brethren in Israel and the world over from harm and send us Mashiach speedily. May G-d protect the armed forces of Israel and the United States wherever they may be. Shabbat Shalom! Chazak!!! L'Chaim!!!

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