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September 2, 2015 / 18 Elul, 5775
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Parshat Nitzavim

Colin Powell

Colin Powell

Rav Chaim Shmuelevitz in Sichos Mussar (54) quotes this verse as proof of the importance of unity. When Bnei Yisrael are united they become indestructible. Such unity, when all sections of society stand together in unison and harmony is regrettably rare. But it was present on the day of the covenant, thus ensuring our survival. If even a single member of society had been missing—no matter his place, job or position—unity would have been lacking.

The Seforno makes an interesting observation regarding this assembly. The logistics and organizational requirements needed to be in place to enable such a large number of people to assemble and pass through the covenant in an orderly manner reflected the people’s consent and commitment to the covenant. Otherwise they would not have assembled so efficiently. It was this consent that attests to the covenant’s validity and power.

These explanations all point to Moshe’s outstanding leadership. The people’s passion did not develop in a vacuum. It was Moshe who inspired them to believe in G-d. It was Moshe who inspired them to know they all had an equal stake in the covenant. It was Moshe who inspired them to understand that they all played a critical role in the realization of Bnei Yisrael’s destiny. All of Bnei Yisrael, from the simplest worker to the greatest leader, excitedly assembled on that day because Moshe had infused within them the belief that they were all part of a great enterprise.

A leader must never fail to inspire in his followers the belief that they all play a key role in the organization. While some people might have more glamorous jobs and be in the spotlight more than others, every job is critical. Members of organizations must view their roles similarly. As the famous theater adage declares: “There are no small parts, just small actors.”

Rabbi Dr. David Hertzberg is the principal of the Yeshivah of Flatbush Middle Division. Comments can be emailed to him at mdrabbi@aol.com.

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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