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The Systems of the Jewish Year

"Where Did All The Leaders Go?" - Comments

1 Joshua on 2009 08 20

Dear Rabbi - What a brilliant and compelling conclusion to this article. Keep on writing as you certainly have my interests and so many others as well. Shabbat Shalom and it be very soon indeed with the arrival of Moshiach and the Rebuilt Beit HaMikdash

2 Dumisani on 2011 09 02

Rabbi, is that what Yirmeyahu meant when he said:
Jeremiah 5:31
31 The prophets prophesy lies,
the cohanim obey the prophets,
and my people love it that way.
But what will you do at the end of it all?

3 Elliot Pasik on 2011 09 02

This may be the first time I’ve read that Jewish people aren’t complaining enough.  The typical lament is, we complain too much.  So - I disagree with the conclusion.  Demands for great leadership are everywhere.  In response, we get meraglim leadership.

The concluding paragraph also, oddly, limits leadership to three sectors of klal Yisroel: rabbis, prophets, Moshiach.  Other people don’t count.  Can we be a little practical here?  We live in a time when actual hishtadlus takes precedence over davening for prophets and Moshiach.  As for rabbis, over-and-over again, they’ve had their chance, and fumbled.  Authentic leadership needs to come, and is coming now, from within the ranks of klal Yisroel, and historically, that’s mostly been the case for all social movements, leadership coming from the bottom up, but this author doesn’t pay heed to us.  We’re just not complaining enough, that’s our problem.

4 yehoshua on 2011 09 02

A Jewish leader is someone who exists exclusively for klal Yisrael and not for himself.  Theodore Herzl was a true leader because he invested every ounce of energy in pursuit of establishing a Jewish homeland. Herzl died at the age of 44 from sheer exhaustion, giving complete mesirut nefesh to his cause.  Religious observance is only marginally associated with true Jewish leadership.  Herzl was not an observant Jew.  Yet he was embraced by all Jews, secular and observant alike.  Wherever he traveled, throngs of Jews greeted his train.  In our time, Shlomo Carlebach was another such leader.  Wherever he went, he was accompanied by crowds of Jews.  Today, in nearly every Beit Knesset in the world, his nigunim are sung.  The quality Jewish leaders possess is
chen, which might best be translated as charisma.  It is a gift from HaShem and part of the priestly blessing “Veyechuneka,”
the Kohen asking that HaShem give us chen, charisma, leadership.

5 Elliot Pasik on 2011 09 02

Yehoshua, I was thinking of mentioning Theodore Herzl in my comment, and you did for us.  Not a rabbi, not a prophet, not Moshiach, he was a Jewish man, an ish yehudi, with a conscience, and almost infinite strength.

An American example is Nathan Strauss, founder of Macy’s, who donated much money to early Israel, was a Zionist leader, who brought pasteurized milk to America and elsewhere, built hospitals, and more.  When he died, in 1923, 10,000 people from all walks of life attended his funeral service in NY.  There were obituaries from President Hoover, NY Governor Roosevelt, many other American political, social, and philanthropic leaders, and Chief Rabbi Avrohom Kook.  Rechov Strauss and Netanya are named after him, as are several sites in New York.  He was a Reform Jew, not a rabbi, not a prophet, not Moshiach.

6 yehoshua on 2011 09 02

Shalom Elliot and thanks for that very illuminating story.  True Jewish leaders come from nowhere.  I love the story of Shmuel visiting Yishai (Jesse) in Beit Lechem because he had a nevuah that one of Yishai’s sons was to be the next king.  So Yishai brings outs his 7 oldest sons.  Each one is a giant Torah scholar and an imposing physical specimen.  Shmuel is very impressed but asks Yishai, “But do you have any other sons?” and Yishai answers, well, there is my youngest son but he’s a little guy who just takes the sheep out to pasture and plays his harp while they graze. “Bring him to me,” Shmuel commands.  Of course that little nobody son turns out to be David, vanquisher of Goliath and of Israel’s many other enemies.

7 Elliot Pasik on 2011 09 02

Shalom, Yehoshua, and thank you for that story.

8 Elliot Pasik on 2011 09 02

Rabbi Haber, your essay is so flawed, it should be re-written.

9 YAACOV HABER on 2011 09 02

Thank you for your guidance.

10 Chaim Yehuda Schwartz on 2011 09 03

While I am not completely sure that our demands will be met, there is no question that we lack a unified , strong leadership which can look beyond the rather smaller interests of the group from which that leader arises, and deal with the major issues facing K’lal Yisrael.We see much too much self interest instead of the gadlus we need.This , it seems to me, is not a complaint, but a realization of current reality, and I send a Yasher Koach to Rabbi Haber for helping us face it.

11 Dov Krulwich on 2011 09 04

With all due respect to Rabbi Haber’s acceptance of guidance, I think that the comments above are an example of “if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.”

The article ended using the word “demand” but the whole article was about the Jewish people getting the leaders that we deserve. That’s the context for the final paragraph. And what we deserve is certainly comprised of what we earn through our hishtadlus. In fact, with the understanding that Hashem relates to us similarly to how a parent relates to children, it’s easy to say that constant complaining is a way to earn nothing, while hishtadlus is a key factor in how to earn better.

To commenters above, go back and read and re-read the article, you’ll see it says more than you’re complaining about.

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