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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review May 21, 2004 /1 Sivan, 5764

Not ‘man of the people’, but ‘man for the people’

By Rabbi Berel Wein

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Of leadership and responsibility


http://www.jewishworldreview.com | In counting the Jewish people, which is the focus of this week's Torah (Bible) portion, Scripture details the names of the heads of the tribes of Israel who were to administer the count together with Moses.


The importance of knowing their names is a matter of puzzlement to many of the commentators to the Bible. After all, the Torah which is so sparing of words in so many cases and in its instructions of observance of ritual and mitzvas, religious duties, spends a great deal of its space to inform us of the names of these heads of the tribes of Israel.


What is especially surprising regarding this matter is that none of these leaders apparently played a further role in Jewish history. They were all part of that generation of Jews who died in the desert and never entered the Land of Israel. So why do they merit to be mentioned in the Torah in such detail?


I feel that the Torah teaches us an important lesson in this instance, as to Jewish leadership and its responsibilities.


Leaders are to be held personally responsible for failures in leadership. If the Torah had not told us the names of the leaders of the tribes of Israel, those who failed to rally their constituents to belief and courage and thus doomed them to die in the desert, then we would assess the blame for this sad result on historical or social causes, anonymous villains or perhaps just bad luck.

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But, as the Torah names the leaders of the tribes, it makes them personally (and eternally) responsible for their failure. This is a harsh and unforgiving lesson, but it is one of truth and clear vision.


The mantle of official leadership in Jewish life is a very heavy one. The responsibilities are great and the danger of serious error abounds. Leaders must be aware of this when they assume positions of influence in Jewish life. Their names are recorded and they will be judged for good or for better based upon the results, even those unintended, of their decisions and behavior.


Judaism preaches and teaches that history is shaped by the actions of humans. The Marxist doctrine of history, shaped and governed by irresistible and omnipotent social and economic forces unaffected by the decisions and behavior of individual people, is the antithesis of Jewish tradition.


People make history and shape events, and again for good or for better. One cannot escape personal responsibility by placing the blame for what goes wrong on outside forces, fate or chance.


Judaism is the faith of personal responsibility. This is true not only in leadership roles but in everyone's personal life as well. All of our names are recorded next to our decisions and actions. Personal responsibility is the watchword of Jewish faith and life.

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JWR contributor Rabbi Berel Wein is one of Jewry's foremost historians and founder of the Destiny Foundation. He has authored over 650 tapes, books and videos which you can purchase at RabbiWein.com. Comment by clicking here.

© 2004, Rabbi Berel Wein