6. In Conclusion
We have covered many Jewish sources about leadership. The sun and the moon found themselves incompatible, Adam could not control events, Noah succumbed, Moses interlocuted, and so the list goes on.
But let us take strength from Rabbi Joshua Ben Parahyah, an Av Bet Din, [renowned author of the famous saying in Pirkei Avot: Make yourself a Rabbi (teacher)… (Pirkei Avot 1:6)], to whom our Sages repute the following observation:
At first, that is, before I was elected to the head of the Court, I would have thrown to the lions anyone who advised me to assume such a position of leadership. Now that I occupy it, however, I would throw into boiling water anyone who would suggest that I resign!
מנחות דף קט ע"ב Talmud, Menachot 109b[a [A similar saying is attributed to elsewhere to Rabbi Yehudah Ben Tabai]
Can we now live up to Sol Roth’s definition of Freedom in terms of Jewish leadership, namely:
- Can we not only do what we want; can we also do what we should do?
Go back over the leadership qualities mentioned, such as:
Humility, understanding, being a teacher and knowledgeable, setting an example, being altruistic, commitment, individual chosenness, Kedushah, creating unity, understanding individuals, etc.
- Bring some more qualities, irrespective of the models for which they were presented.
- What qualities should be shunned (negative attributes)?
- Rate your top 10 qualities, ranking at least the top 5 in your list.
- Which models attracted you most and why?
Do we have leaders today who inspire us? Why?
Are they: charismatic personalities? professionals? philanthropists? educators?
Do they correspond to the models or qualities brought in this discussion?
Can Jewish leadership today and for the future follow a set, or a synthesis of models and qualities brought in this discussion?