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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

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 June 15, 2007 / 28 Sivan 5767

Leadership, interrupted

By Rabbi David Gutterman


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | In his latest book, Blink, Malcolm Gladwell has a chapter titled, "The Warren Harding Mistake". Harding is considered by most presidential scholars to have been the worst of United States president. In fact, one pundit proclaimed that the best thing about the Harding administration was that it lasted for less than two and a half years. When the 1920 Republican convention couldn't pick a candidate, someone rather glibly said, "How about Warren Harding. He's tall, has a ruddy complexion and looks presidential." Indeed, most presidents in the modern era have been tall.


In this week's Torah reading, we meet a man who looks like a leader. He is a charismatic figure. He is magnificently wealthy, a man of stature and bearing who knows how to community organize. He is also a spell binding speaker. How else could he have seduced the 250 members of Israel's elite leadership? His name is Korach, and he is not one of our venerated leaders.


So what's his crime? He stands up and says, "I want to be the leader of the Jewish people." But I have to ask: Is aspiring to leadership an indictable offense? Is wanting to take responsibility for others a venal sin? Let's put this in fuller perspective. Korach does not deny G-d or the Sinai experience. In fact, one of his claims is: "Moses, why are you taking the leadership to yourself? All of us are holy — we all stood at Sinai. We all heard G-d's majestic voice."


So why not make him, at the very least, the head of a committee? Aren't we interested in cultivating leaders and leadership? What's really going on here?


Permit me to suggest an approach. If we focus on a word which prevalently appears in the text then we might garner a rich insight. In fact, this word appears no less than 19 times in our story. The word is, edah and it is roughly translated as, congregation.


When Pirkei Avos — Ethics of the Fathers — gives an example par excellence of inauthentic leadership it gives the example of: Korach and his edah, that is, Korach and his congregation.


Hebrew is such a rich language. There are several words which denote and connote this marvelous notion of community. And you know many of them. For example, ahm, kehila, tzibur, or minyan. But what is the unique, singular notion encapsulated in the word, edah?


Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik in his, Kol Dodi Dofek, (translated in English under the title, Listen, My Beloved Knocks) writes that,


"Destiny is the foundation of a Congregation. A Congregation is a collection of individuals with a single past, a common future, shared aspirations, identical yearnings for a world that is totally good and pleasant…The people of the Congregation are *witnesses to the events that have passed and to the miraculous future that has not yet arrived. The Congregation encompasses not only those who are alive today but everyone who has lived and who will live from the dawn of humanity until the end of days."


[*Please note that the Hebrew words, edah (congregation) and ed (witness) share the same root letters]


Professor Jonathan Sacks in, A Letter in the Scroll, elegantly continues this thought:


"Individuals can be bound together as a group not just because of where they came from but where they are going to…They participate in a collective life with a distinctive set of rules, values and virtues. They are linked, not by history but by destiny — by the journey that lies ahead and the tasks they have undertaken to fulfill. Such a group is not a community of fate but a community of faith. The Bible calls this an edah."


Yes, Korach was charismatic and cogent. But he had a different mission statement for the Jewish people. Why does the Torah emphasize the word, edah — again and again? I would submit to you that it is because Korach did not embrace this definition. Korach embraced leadership — not for the sake of building community, not for the sake of the congregation, but for the sake of personal aggrandizement and personal power.


Yes it's true. Korach acknowledged that we stood at Sinai — but for him, Sinai was a historic moment — it was part of his past — it wasn't an informing vision for his future. To be a leader of the Jewish people means that the voice of Sinai must be heard every day.


There used to be a Yiddish expression that suggested, "shvertz tsu zein a Yid" — that it's difficult to be a Jew. Today, in our modern world, this expression has been rendered obsolete. The truth is that it is not difficult to be a Jew — but it is still difficult to be a Jewish leader. "All who are involved faithfully in the needs of the community — May the Holy One, Blessed is He, pay their reward…and send blessing and success to their handiwork, along with Israel, their brethren. Amen."

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Rabbi and Scholar-In -Residence: Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia and Executive Director of VAAD: Board of Rabbis of Greater Philadelphia. Comment by clicking here.


© 2007, Rabbi David Gutterman