Servant Leadership Through Influence
Our Parasha this week is Beha'alotcha. In this Parasha, we learn about the leadership roles of various members of each tribe. Aharon, and the Kohanim were in charge of lighting the menorah, the Levites brought offerings and performed the service of Hashem. Moshe was the ultimate leader who served B'nai Yisrael even despite the challenges. He led them through the wilderness, prayed on their behalf, and stepped in when Hashem wanted to destroy them. As John Maxwell says "leadership is influence."
The Torah goes into detail describing each tribe and which leader led each tribe during their journey to Eretz Yisrael. Everyone had their role to play. Each one was important. Each tribe had their own leader.
B'nai Yisrael complain, yet again, about being in the wilderness. This time their complaint is about meat. They are tired of the manna, they want meat. Moshe breaks down to Hashem. He says that it's too much for him: "לֹֽא־אוּכַ֤ל אָנֹכִי֙ לְבַדִּ֔י לָשֵׂ֖את אֶת־כׇּל־הָעָ֣ם הַזֶּ֑ה כִּ֥י כָבֵ֖ד מִמֶּֽנִּי" (Bamidbar 11:14). Hashem instructs Moshe to gather 70 elders of B'nai Yisrael who have experience, and they will be leaders to assist Moshe.
We call Moshe, Moshe Rabbeinu, our teacher because we learn so much from him. He was humble, even when Aharon and Miriam speak Lashon Hara against him. We see this when Miriam gets Tzara'at. Instead of Moshe saying or thinking that she deserved it, he prayed for Hashem to heal her instead. How many of us would react like Moshe?
Moshe was a leader who had influence. We are still inspired by him today. He was able to help B'nai Yisrael to grow into the people worthy of entering Eretz Yisrael, not by power or force.
All of us are called to lead in some capacity. The sad thing is many use their influence to spread falsehood and power over others. We've seen countless examples of this with "social media influencers". As Rabbi Jonathan Sacks says "The most important forms of leadership come not with position, title or robes of office, not with prestige and power, but with the willingness to work with others to achieve what we cannot do alone; to speak, to listen, to teach, to learn, to treat other people’s views with respect even if they disagree with us, to explain patiently and cogently why we believe what we believe and why we do what we do; to encourage others, praise their best endeavours and challenge them to do better still." That is true leadership; to serve others by inspiring others to become better.
During these challenging times, we need ore leaders who will stand up and use their influence for good so that we can inspire others to become better. May we finally have peace speedily in our days!