web analytics
September 19, 2014 / 24 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
Apartment 758x530 Africa-Israel at the Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York

Africa Israel Residences, part of the Africa Israel Investments Group led by international businessman Lev Leviev, will present 7 leading projects on the The Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York on Sep 14-15, 2014.



Home » Judaism » Parsha »

Leadership Lessons From The Haggadah

Hertzberg-032814

Once a week I teach a leadership class to a group of 8th grade students who have demonstrated both an aptitude and interest in the subject. In an effort to teach them that leadership lessons can be derived from anywhere I distributed a copy of the ill-fated Titanic’s Third Class menu. The heading stated that this was the Third Class menu and right under a caveat that the menu was subject to alterations. The menu was divided by day and meals, thus laying out the food options for the week. (As a point of interest it should be noted that the Titanic’s Third Class food was actually pretty decent.) Toward the bottom of the page the menu stated that fresh fish would be available as the opportunity presented itself. On the very bottom of the page it said that  kosher food was available. After reviewing the menu with my students for a few minutes I instructed them to extrapolate some leadership lessons from it. After giving me a somewhat bewildered look they got to work. I myself took part in the assignment and the following are some of the lessons we derived.

An obvious lesson is the importance of having a plan. Without a plan of action, a leader will never be able to lead his followers anywhere, no matter how important the destination or lofty the goal. But a truism with plans is that they rarely survive intact. Therefore, like the menu says, a leader must be flexible enough to alter his game plan as the need arises.  Such flexibility also manifests itself with respect to recognizing unexpected opportunities. Just as fresh fish would be served depending on availability, so, too, leaders must be on the lookout for opportunities that can be exploited. Lastly, one of the students offered a very novel insight inspired by the sentence indicating the availability of kosher food. Although it was clear that the majority of the passengers on the ship did not eat kosher, a leader is responsible for the needs of all his followers, not just the majority of them. Once a person is part of a team his individual needs and concerns become the leader’s as well.

With a similar lens we can derive many leadership lessons from the Haggadah. To begin with, the listing of the simanim at the outset of the Seder indicates the importance of having a plan. The Seder, as its name connotes, is all about order and organization. And certainly no other ceremony involves as much preparation – another key ingredient for success.

Toward the end of the Magid, Rabban Gamliel presents us with what, according to many authorities, is the bare minimum of the Pesach story that a person must retell and explain in order to fulfill the mitzvah of teaching the story of Yitziyat Mitzraim to our children. In life, to be able to distill a message to its essence, a person must know the message inside out. Only with such thorough knowledge can one know what must be kept in and what, given current circumstances, must be edited out. To know when this should be done, a person must be acutely aware of the context and necessities of the moment. Without such situational awareness a person will not know that he has to adjust his plan. And, naturally, for a person to be able to do this he has to have the ability, courage and confidence to be flexible.

One of the most central parts of the Haggadah is the section on the four sons. While the main lesson of this section is that a parent/teacher must use the most appropriate educational means and modalities for each type of child, the greatest challenge of this section is a bit more subtle. While it is difficult enough to develop a lesson that reaches and inspires a particular type of child, it is that much harder when the same lesson has to reach and inspire different types of children at the same time. In such a case a person may find himself in a zero-sum game of sorts. What works for one doesn’t work for another. Thus, the greatest challenge for the parent retelling the story of the Exodus at the Seder is to tell it in a way that enlightens all the different types of children at the table during the same meal. A leader must be cognizant of this challenge as well. Often a leader has multiple constituencies who not only have many different needs, but have mutually exclusive needs. A leader must learn how to recognize these needs, identify the problem areas and chart a course that is meaningful to everyone.

About the Author: Rabbi Dr. David Hertzberg is the principal of the Yeshivah of Flatbush Middle Division and is an adjunct assistant professor of History at Touro College.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

One Response to “Leadership Lessons From The Haggadah”

  1. FRANKI VALLE’S SHERRI IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE SONS. I EVEN SANG IT BEFORE THE WESTCHESTER COUNTY BOARD OF LEGISLATORS IN WHITE PLAINS, NY. ONE OF THE LEGISLATORS (NOW A NYS ASSEMBLYMAN) BURST OUT LAUGHING WHEN I SANG “SHERRI” IN A FALSETTO VOICE

    The 20 Greatest Hits of Frankie Valli And The Four Seasons Live by Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons is now available on Spotify!

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Sen. Ted Cruz acts senate for unanimous consent to pass the Expatriate Terrorist Act. Sept. 18, 2014.
Ds Reject Voting to Strip Citizenship From US Jihadi ISIS Volunteers
Latest Judaism Stories
Teller-Rabbi-Hanoch-NEW

“he’s my rabbi” the Black painter said with pride, pulling out a photo of the Rebbe from his wallet

Rabbi Avi Weiss, head of theYeshivat Chovevei Torah. Rabbi Asher Lopatin will be replacing him as head of the school.

The Torah notes that even when we are dispersed God will return us to Him.

Rabbi Sacks

Simply, for Rambam the number 14 (2×7) was his favored organizing principle.

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

One of the cornerstones of our Jewish life is chesed, kindness. Chesed can only be taught by example

Our understanding of what is and what is not possible creates imagined ceilings of opportunity for us.

This young, innocent child gave me a powerful, warm surge of energy and strength.

The Chafetz Chaim answered that there are two forms of teshuvah; teshuvah m’ahava and teshuvah m’yirah.

Question: I recently loaned money to a friend who has been able to repay only part of it. This was an interest-free loan. We exchanged a signed IOU, not a proper shtar with witnesses, since I have always trusted her integrity and only wanted a document that confirms what was loaned and what was repaid. Now that shemittah is approaching, what should I do? Should I forgive the loan? And if my friend is not able to repay it, may I deduct the unpaid money from my ma’aser requirement?

Name Withheld

A Role Reversal
‘Return, O Wayward Sons…’
(Chagigah 15a)

When the Kleins returned, however, they were dismayed to see that the renters did a poor job cleaning up after themselves.

In Parshas Re’eh the Torah tells us about the bechira to adhere to the commandments of Hashem and refrain from sin. In Parshas Nitzavim, the Torah tells us that we have the choice to repent after we have sinned.

As Moshe is about to die, why does God tell him about how the Israelites will ruin everything?

Jonah objected to God accepting repentance based on ulterior motives and likely for short duration.

This week’s parsha offers a new covenant; a covenant that speaks to national life unlike any other

All Jews are inherently righteous and that is why we all have a portion in the World to Come.

More Articles from Rabbi David Hertzberg
Parsha-Perspectives-logo

Eisenhower understood that motivated men will fight much harder and longer than unmotivated men.

Hertzberg-072514

When Germany invaded neutral Belgium on August 4, England declared war on Germany. Thus, by the end of the first week of August all the major powers of Europe were at war.

Although famous for his smile, Ike Eisenhower actually harbored a volcanic temper that he worked arduously to control.

Why did we merit exiting the gas chamber alive when so many others did not?

Without a plan of action, a leader will never be able to lead his followers anywhere, no matter how important the destination or lofty the goal.

Like Dempsey and Gates, leaders must always be cognizant of the costs involved in their decisions – even when the costs are less than human life

G-d, accordingly, is encouraging Moshe to not just focus on reaching the top of the spiritual mountain but remaining there as well, thus fully capitalizing on his gains.

Moshe’s name would forever remind him of the kindness that Pharaoh’s daughter did for him by taking him out of the Nile, and serve as a lodestar to him as he interacts with his people.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/leadership-lessons-from-the-haggadah/2014/03/28/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: