web analytics
January 29, 2015 / 9 Shevat, 5775
 
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


Home » Judaism » Parsha »

Parshat Korach

Hertzberg-062014

We recently commemorated the 70th anniversary of D-Day, the invasion of Normandy, France on June 6, 1944. Although most of the ceremonies rightly focused on the brave soldiers who landed on the beaches and captured the land inch by bloody inch, there are many leadership lessons to be learned from all levels of military command. One of the most illustrative is General Eisenhower’s decision to launch the invasion despite questionable weather conditions. In fact, his decision is considered one of the most important and courageous decisions in military history.

Although famous for his smile, Ike Eisenhower actually harbored a volcanic temper that he worked arduously to control. Likewise, despite his outward perpetual optimism, he was, in fact, quite anxious and stressed in the days before June 6. He was drinking more than fifteen cups of coffee and smoking more than four packs of cigarettes a day. He was sleeping very little – according to some reports no more than two hours at a time.

With the weather conditions deteriorating, he spent June 4 either alone in his trailer or “Outside pacing aimlessly, hands deep in his pockets, smoking cigarette after cigarette as he scanned the skies seeking some sign, any indication, that the weather might change for the better” (World War II Magazine: D-Day 70th Anniversary Issue, p.26). During one of the walks Eisenhower took that day he bumped into NBC reporter Red Mueller and asked him to walk with him. The two men walked in silence the entire time. Mueller described Eisenhower as, “Bowed down with worry…as though each of the four stars on either shoulder weighed a ton” (Ibid, p.28).

What’s more is that very few people perceived the depths of his anxiety. Eisenhower had worked hard on himself to always exude confidence and optimism. Whatever doubts he had, he kept to himself. After the war he explained to his wife Mamie that, “If I let anybody, any of my commanders, think that maybe things weren’t going to work out, that I was afraid, they’d be afraid too. I didn’t dare. I had to have the confidence. I had to make them believe that everything was going to work” (Ibid, p.30).

Leaders must heed Eisenhower’s lesson and be careful to demonstrate confidence in public. This does not mean denying the dangers and risks involved in a particular decision. Rather, it means inspiring one’s followers in the soundness of one’s approach and in the belief that things are likely to turn out positively.

This makes it hard to understand Moshe’s action at the beginning of this week’s parsha. Upon hearing Korach’s challenge to his leadership, Moshe responds by falling to the ground (16:4). At first blush this seems to be a public display of despair. While Moshe had privately expressed doubts about his ability to lead the people, he had never displayed it publicly. In fact, Rashi’s explanation of his actions seems to support this idea. Rashi argues that since this was the fourth attack on Hashem by Bnei Yisrael Moshe felt that it would be futile to beseech G-d on their behalf. The question therefore remains: Why did Moshe ostensibly break this cardinal leadership rule?

The Rashbam suggests that Moshe fell to the ground in prayer and supplication. Accordingly, Moshe’s subsequent prayers would have made it obvious to Bnei Yisrael that he was not acting out of despair but rather with a focused and concentrated effort. The Ibn Ezra makes a similar point by suggesting that Moshe fell to the ground as part of a prophetic experience and not out of desperation.

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.

No Responses to “Parshat Korach”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
IDF soldiers evacuating wounded near northern border town of Ghajar.
Northern Golan Heights Declared Closed Military Zone
Latest Judaism Stories
Tissot_The_Waters_Are_Divided

Leading by example must be visible, regarding where, when and how-like Nachshon entering the Red Sea

Torah-Hakehillah-121914

Rabbi Yaakov Nagen, a Ram at Yeshivat Otniel, notes that the verse is suggesting that retelling the story of the Exodus is so important that Hashem is performing ever-greater miracles specifically so that parents can tell their stories to future generations.

Parshat Bo

Before performing the 10th plague God makes a fundamental argument about the ultimate nature of justice.

Daf-Yomi-logo

Life Before The Printed Word
‘A Revi’is Of Blood’
(Yevamos 114a-b)

How is it possible that the clothing was more valuable to them than gold or silver?

Question: If Abraham was commanded to circumcise his descendants on the eighth day, why do Arabs – who claim to descend from Abraham through Yishmael – wait until their children are 13 to circumcise them? I am aware that this is a matter of little consequence to our people. Nevertheless, this inconsistency is one that piques my curiosity.

M. Goldman
(Via E-mail)

“It means that the disqualification of relatives as witnesses is a procedural issue, not a question of honesty,” explained Rabbi Dayan.

Property ownership is an extremely important and fundamental right and principle according to the Torah.

The tenderest description of the husband/wife relationship is “re’im v’ahuvim/loving, kind friends”

And if a person can take steps to perform the mitzvah, he should do so (even if he won’t be held accountable for not performing it due to circumstances beyond his control).

Suddenly, she turns to me and says, “B’emet, I need to thank you, you made me excited to come back to Israel.”

Pesach is called “zikaron,” a Biblical term used describing an object eliciting a certain memory

Recouping $ and assets from Germans and Swiss for their Holocaust actions is rooted in the Exodus

Pharaoh perverted symbols of life (the Nile and midwives) into agents of death.

I think that we have to follow the approach of the Tannaim and Amoraim. They followed the latest scientific developments of their time.

More Articles from Rabbi David Hertzberg
Hertzberg-011615-Gen-Haig

Three years of war and the loss of one-tenth of Britain’s men is not too great a price to pay.

Parsha-Perspective-Logo-NEW

This ability to remain calm under pressure and continue to see the situation clearly is a hallmark of Yehuda’s leadership.

Leaders must always pay attention to the importance of timing.

Realizing that his death was immanent and he had only a few more moments, Moshe focuses on doing the most important thing: he runs to Bnei Yisrael and blesses them.

Perhaps the most important leadership lesson Elkana taught us is to never underestimate the difference a single person can make.

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

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.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/parshat-korach/2014/06/20/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: