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Parshat Chayei Sarah

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According to Rav Moshe, Avraham’s accomplishments were critical because they changed humanity’s landscape. But for Avraham’s revolution to truly succeed he needed a successor to continue in his path and ensure that his revolutionary ideas become commonplace. To this end Parshat Chayei Sarah describes, through its seemingly mundane story line, how Avraham ensured that his life’s work would outlive him. By focusing on the routine, the Torah enlightens us how Avraham both worried about and successfully guaranteed the perpetuity of his life’s work. In this sense Parshat Chayei Sarah is the story of the “day after” the Akeidah.

Leaders must heed this lesson. All too often great programs fail to meet their goals for lack of forethought about the day after. This is true whether the event is a kiruv Shabbaton, a business’s leadership training retreat, or the conquest of a country. History’s greatest leaders understood this. Lincoln won the Civil War with an eye on Reconstruction. The Allies won World War II with an eye on a new world order and economy. And Kennedy triumphed during the Cuban Missile Crisis with an eye towards thawing the Cold War.

Although this article was written prior to the presidential election it’s publication date is just after. By now we know who our new President will be. My prayer is that whoever won, he should have the vision and foresight to help ensure that the world will be a better place, not just in the near-future, but in the distant-future as well, when he will already be an entry in the history books. May Hashem watch over and guide him.

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.


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