Pinchas, Numbers 25:10-30:1
Moses: The Leader
‘Moshe Rabeinu’ – Moses our teacher/leader/rabbi. We all remember the story of Moses and the little kid that he carried to the river to drink. That was the moment we confirmed that Moses was the right guy to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt. The question now is – what makes him a great leader? This weeks parsha can be viewed as a manual that details the actions of a true leader.
The first thing that stands out in our parsha is the exchange between G-d and Moses when Moses receives the news that he will not be able to enter the land of Israel. Moses immediately responds with concern and makes sure that G-d will place someone before the children of Israel to lead them, “not be like sheep that have no shepherd.” Moses was not concerned about his status or any personal issue he may have with the news he received. His main concern is the welfare of the children of Israel. This selfless concern is what makes a great leader.
Another quality that Moses displays in his leadership that separates him from everyone else is humility. We all can learn from the humility of Moses – not just our leaders. Moses is approached by the five daughters of Tzlafchad, challenging his ruling on how the future land of Israel will be divided. Moses admits to the error in his ruling and grants the five sisters their wish to own the land mean for their dead father. The humility displayed by Moses in admitting his error and correcting it speaks volumes to his credibility as a leader. A leader that is only concerned about being right all the time will lose credibility with his followers. A leader must be humble and have the concern of his people come first – making sure that all is right – not always having to be right.
George Burns said “How come all the people who know how to run the country are cutting hair and driving cabs?” We learn form this parsha that the leader of the children of Israel does not just need to possess the wisdom to lead them – Pinchas showed great leadership skills! What G-d needed from the new leader of the children of Israel was that the core value of the leader needs to be complete and selfless care for the children of Israel. Joshua, and no one else, had such a core value to guide them in the leadership of the nation.