Written by: Rabbi Mordechai Raizman
Leadership at Its Best
In this week’s Torah portion Ekev, G-d tells Moshe to relay the following message to the Jewish people. “What does G-d ask of you but to fear Him?” The Talmud analyzes this statement and makes the following observation. In using the term what, it implies that the matter is quite simple. With that, the Talmud wonders is fear of G-d a small and trivial thing? To truly have an awe of G-d in one’s everyday life is the work of a lifetime. Therefore, how can it be phrased in such a manner that makes it seem like it is an easy thing to attain?
The Talmud goes on to answer that yes, for Moshe, to have an awe of G-d is a small thing. However, we are now left wondering how this answers the question asked above. G-d commanded Moshe to relay this message to the Jewish people. This wasn’t a command to Moshe alone. Yes, it may be easy for him, but it is certainly not easy for the rest of Bnei Yisroel.
There is a great lesson in leadership to be learned from this. A leader leads by example. If a leader exemplifies and demonstrates a characteristic trait to the masses and makes it look easily attainable, the masses will follow his lead. It is true, on our own, to attain the level of fear and awe of G-d may be an arduous task. However, now, that we, the Jewish people, experienced Moshe’s leadership, we realize that to relate to G-d, fear G-d and to live an inspired life of observing Torah and mitzvos is attainable.
Having a role model from which to learn is a great lesson for all of us as parents, educators, lay leaders, etc. We all need to have special individuals in our lives that enable us to strive for more than we could have imagined in our own spiritual growth. We must then, in turn, try to become role models for the next generation.