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Seeing Greatness in Others

Friday, 5 February, 2021 - 1:39 pm

One of the marks of a qualified leader, is the ability to identify potential, and bring out leadership qualities in others. Moses personifies this, as is evidenced in this week’s Torah portion. Yitro advises Moses to do the following, “you shall choose from among the entire nation men of substance… and you shall appoint over them [Israel] leaders over thousands, leaders over hundreds, leaders over fifties, and leaders over tens.”

So here you have a bunch of individuals, who, yesterday, were just “regular Joes,” indicated by the phrase “from among the entire nation,” and today they are elevated to leadership status. How does this happen?

The Rebbe points out that there are two conditions that enable this to occur. The first is, that the person at the top (Moses) has to be able to see positive potential in others of which the individuals themselves are not aware. The literal translation of the Hebrew – V’ata Techeze is not “you shall choose” but “you shall see.” This has the connotation of “you shall identify” the potential qualities within these individuals to be leaders. In fact Moses “seeing” these qualities in them, actually brings out that potential, which have been dormant until now.

The second condition is that the individuals that are elevated to leadership status must remember that to succeed they need to function as an extension of Moses. This is indicated in the verse, “they shall judge the people at all times, and it shall be that any major matter they shall bring to you, and they themselves shall judge every minor matter, thereby making it easier for you, and they shall bear [the burden] with you.” By recognizing that they bear the burden “with you” this enables them to succeed in a Moses-like fashion.

The late Chief Rabbi of Great Britain, Lord Jonathan Sacks often said about the Rebbe, “great men inspire others to follow them, but the greatest inspire others to lead.” The Rebbe took a generation full of regular “Joes and Janes” and empowered them to leadership roles in communities all around the world. When you look at someone through Moses’s glasses, you see their greatness. The success of the Shluchim is tied to their cognizance that they bear the burden of leadership together with the Rebbe.

The annual Kinus Hashluchos – conference of Chabad Women Emissaries – takes place this weekend, albeit virtually, as called for by our times. Thousands of Shluchos take the opportunity to connect with each other as they rededicate themselves to “bearing the burden” of world Jewish leadership with the Rebbe. May Hashem bless their meeting with success to the great benefit of the Jewish people and the entire world.

Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Mendel Rivkin

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