Qualities of a Leader

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R. Menachem Genack delivered today the following benediction at New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine’s inauguration ceremony. I assume that it will soon be up on the OU website:

Glorified and sanctified be God’s great name throughout the world which He has created according to His will.

He sustains the living with kindness, and revives the dead with great mercy; He supports all who fall and heals the sick; He sets the captives free and keeps faith with those who sleep in the dust.Read more

Happy is the man who does not forget Him, who gains courage in Him. Those who seek Him shall never stumble, those who trust in Him shall never be disgraced, for He remembers and searches everyman’s deeds.

He crowns the kings, and dominion is His.

O Lord, protect and inspire this good, gifted and gracious man, Governor Jon S. Corzine. Endow him with courage, fortitude, wisdom, and crown him with humility and compassion.

In last week’s Torah portion, the conclusion of Genesis, Jacob remarkably, gives Kingship to Judah and not Joseph. While Joseph is perfect in every respect and suited for leadership by talent and experience, it is Judah, the ancestor of King David, upon whom the mantle of leadership falls. What we look for in a leader is not perfection, but the ability to admit a mistake, as does Judah, as does David. We look for a leader who is not isolated but engaged. We seek not perfection, but rather flexibility, humility and the ability to change course based on new realities in an ever-changing world drama.

May Governor Corzine, whose roots are in Illinois, Lincoln country, be enveloped with the spirit of Abraham Lincoln, who was resolute and flexible and supremely ambitious, but profoundly humble.

Governor Corzine, always be true to the high standards you have set for yourself and for us. “I desire to conduct the affairs of this administration,” Lincoln said, “that if in the end, when I lay down the reins of power, I have lost every friend on earth, I shall at least have one friend left, and that friend shall be down inside of me.”

May God bless Governor Corzine, and his new Administration, the people of New Jersey and this great enterprise for good – the United States of America.

About Gil Student

Rabbi Gil Student is the Editor of TorahMusings.com, a leading website on Orthodox Jewish scholarly subjects, and the Book Editor of the Orthodox Union’s Jewish Action magazine. He writes a popular column on issues of Jewish law and thought featured in newspapers and magazines, including The Jewish Link, The Jewish Echo and The Vues. In the past, he has served as the President of the small Jewish publisher Yashar Books and as the Managing Editor of OU Press. Rabbi Student has served two terms on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America and currently serves as the Director of the Halacha Commission of the Rabbinical Alliance of America. He serves on the Editorial Boards of Jewish Action magazine, the Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society and the Achieve Journal of Behavioral Health, Religion & Community, as well as the Board of OU Press. He has published five English books, the most recent titled Search Engine volume 2: Finding Meaning in Jewish Texts -- Jewish Leadership, and served as the American editor for Morasha Kehillat Yaakov: Essays in Honour of Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks.

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