Shabbat Candle Lighting Times for
Friday, January 15th
Light Candles at 16:09
Shabbat, January 16th,
Shabbat Ends 17:33
Torah Portion: Bo
Donald, Hillary, You & Me…
Maybe it’s our modern surround-sound news cycle. Maybe I’m just getting older. For whatever reason, the election season is ringing hollow. Many people seem to be craving an ‘outsider’; I think it’s because we’re looking for genuine leadership, not just for people who aspire to the leadership mantle.
Whether it’s difficult-to-trust bureaucrats, or power-hungry opportunists, something about our leadership culture isn’t floating our boats.
So let’s take a Kabbalistic look at leadership. Exploring the world at its spiritual core, Jewish spirituality shines light on the energy of authority and command – ‘Royalty’ in Kabbalistic language – as experienced within each of us, within society and within the Divine. The skill of leadership, we’re told, “has nothing of her own”. Leadership is likened to the moon, which only reflects the rays it receives from the sun. It has “nothing of her own” light.
At first blush, the runs counter to our thought of leadership. Leaders are the sun. They take up a lot of space. We, the people, would seem to be the moon.
In fact, leadership means making real space for others’ feelings and opinions. It means giving authentic, whole-hearted attention to people’s capabilities, needs and feedback. We’re told that “there is no King without a nation”. The leader ascends in response to people’s needs, not in search on people to lead.
While a leader doesn’t follow the crowd, leadership means genuinely hearing the people. And if the leader sees the need to take an alternate path, the leader speaks their language to explain the decision. We can call this the ‘outside-in’ dimension to leadership, where the leadership is in response to external stimuli.
The same dynamic applies within the leader’s psyche. Called to lead, the genuine leader searches inside to find the tools to help people, or a situation. One’s leadership muscle isn’t about holding a position of authority, or having license to direct others. Leadership is a skill that allows the leader to funnel internal talents to help others.
The true leader understands that G-d gives us talents and strengths for a purpose. We’re born to make the world a better place, to help others. It’s about empathy, not ego. The authentic leader has “nothing of her own.”
Whether we’re influencing our family, friends or the body politic, we’re all born to be leaders.
It’s a humbling responsibility. But it’s the way to lead a purposeful life.
Rabbi Yanky Klein
This email is In Loving memory of my dear father
R’ Yerachmiel Binyamin Halevi ben R, Menachem Klein OBM