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Parashat B’ha-alot’cha (Numbers 8:1-12:16)

“And when the dew fell upon the camp in the night, the manna fell upon it.” (Numbers 11:9)

Enter “Leadership” into your computer’s search engine and you could spend the rest of your life clicking on each of the links that pop up. It’s much easier (and likely more helpful) to pay attention to three responses Moses makes in Parashat B’ha-alot’cha.

When Moses reminds the Israelites to celebrate Pesach, or Passover, on the 14th of Nisan, a small group asks what happens if they are impure on the 14th; can they bring the sacrifice at a later date? Moses doesn’t know and checks with God, who says yes (Num. 9:4-11). Moshe Rabeinu, Moses Our Teacher, who knows all the Torah, admits his ignorance — and then goes to find the answer. Moses knows leadership is about acknowledging your limits.

Later in the parasha, or portion, God instructs Moses to select 70 elders to share the leadership burden (Num. 11:16). When two elders, Eldad and Meidad, begin to prophecy independently, Joshua is upset but not Moses. Moses admonishes Joshua, “Are you upset for my sake?” (Num. 11:29). Moses is pleased to have enabled others to take on leadership roles. Moses knows leadership is about empowerment of others.

In fact, Moses views their behavior as progress toward the larger goal of becoming a, “…Kingdom of priests and holy nation” (Ex. 19:6). Moses tells Joshua, “Would that all of the Lord’s people were prophets, with God’s spirit put upon them.” (Numbers 11:29). Moses recognizes the mission is larger than he is and isn’t bothered at all by that. Moses knows leadership is about the work, not about the person.

Limits, empowerment, and the work. If you’ve got those, who needs Google?

Gut Shabbos/Shabbat Shalom

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