Beyond Words: Deeds Define Leadership

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by R. Eliezer Simcha Weisz

ה֥וּא אַהֲרֹ֖ן וּמֹשֶׁ֑ה אֲשֶׁ֨ר אָמַ֤ר ה֙ לָהֶ֔ם הוֹצִ֜יאוּ אֶת־בְּנֵ֧י יִשְׂרָאֵ֛ל מֵאֶ֥רֶץ מִצְרַ֖יִם עַל־צִבְאֹתָֽם׃
הֵ֗ם הַֽמְדַבְּרִים֙ אֶל־פַּרְעֹ֣ה מֶֽלֶךְ־מִצְרַ֔יִם לְהוֹצִ֥יא אֶת־בְּנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל מִמִּצְרָ֑יִם ה֥וּא מֹשֶׁ֖ה וְאַהֲרֹֽן׃
הוא משה ואהרן. הֵם בִּשְׁלִיחוּתָם וּבְצִדְקָתָם מִתְּחִלָּה וְעַד סוֹף (מגילה י”א):

“He Aaron and Moses… they are the ones who speak to Pharaoh… to bring the children of Israel out of Egypt” (Shemos  6, 26-27), Rashi comments:

הוא משה ואהרן 

THESE ARE MOSES AND AARON — they remained always the same in carrying out their mission and in their integrity from beginning to end (cf. Megillah 11a).

In the Blessing  of the Haftara after the reading of the Torah, we mention God with the description: “The One Who Speaks and Fulfils.” המדבר ומקיים This description of Hashem teaches us that speaking and fulfilling what we have spoken about is of the highest  value, and we should strive to be like Hashem in this way. Hashem speaks and fulfils,אומר ועושה  and we praise Him for this every day in the prayer of Baruch She’amar. This prayer was composed by the members of the Great Assembly based on  a note that fell from heaven, and it begins with praise of the Creator of the world, Who speaks and fulfils, talks, and fulfils.

Humans tend to talk a lot and do little, but we should not speak if we do not intend to fulfil what we have spoken.

Unfortunately, in the Jewish landscape, there are many Jewish “leaders” who speak and declare the importance of issues on the agenda of the Jewish people. They speak about the importance of prayer, giving advice on how to pray, when and how to change, but they themselves do not pray! They speak about religious education, how to improve it and change it, but they often themselves do not fulfil their words.

Such people certainly justify themselves by thinking that if the idea is good, if what is said is right, they should say it even they themselves do not do what they say or practice what they preach !.

There are those who think “What does it matter what we do?” do not understand that this is hypocrisy that leads to the inability to influence others.

On the verse: “He Aaron and Moses… they are the ones who speak to Pharaoh… to bring the children of Israel out of Egypt” (Shemos  6, 26-27), Rashi comments: “They who were commanded are the ones who fulfilled.” They started with themselves before they spoke to Pharaoh. They received the commandment and fulfilled it themselves; only then did they speak to others. The order was very clear: they who were commanded, they who fulfilled, they who spoke. Only one who “fulfils” will take on the role of “the speaker.”

“Keep the utterance of your lips and do as you have vowed” (Devarim 23, 24) The Torah teaches us the obligation to keep the speech by  action that comes after it because the main thing is not the discourse and speech, but the action that comes after it. (R’ Avot 1:17) Whoever studies  Pirkei Avot will see that the  expression “He used to say,” without repeating  the name  of the author which means that he(the author ) not only used to say, but also all his  very being used to say, he lived what he said and  his lifestyle was a  demonstration of what he preached . A leader must be sincere in his words and not only pursue public sympathy without the intention of fulfilling his promises..

Even talk about a Jewish state and great promises to strengthen the Jewish identity of the State of Israel without any practical expression of the great promises are talk without fulfilment that has no attachment to Hashem .

We l are currently  fighting a war of survival; the leaders led us to  war with the evil enemy with uncompromising declarations and  We expect our leaders to fulfill the commitments they made.

We must pray that our soldiers have not shed their blood in vein nor the hardships endured by thousands of families who were evacuated from their homes be of naught. 

Let us all strengthen ourselves in prayer to Hashem  to bring us leadership that will stand by its words emulating  the characteristic of Hashem “The One Who Speaks and Fulfils” and we will merit that: “The remnant of Israel will not make an offering and will not speak falsehood…” (Zephaniah 3:13).

As we say  in Pirkei Avot (6:1) ברוך שבחר בהם  ובמשנתם “Blessed be He who chose them and their teaching (They are at one with their teachings)”  May we be blessed with leaders whose lives exemplify their teachings whose integrity shines through every facet of their being, a testament to their teachings. who embody their values, who like Moshe and Aharon  are involved  in “carrying out their mission and in their integrity from beginning to end.

About Eliezer Simcha Weisz

Rabbi Eliezer Simcha Weisz is a member of The Chief Rabbinate Council of Israel

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