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Two key features of outstanding Jewish leadership. D’var Torah for Beha’alotecha.

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Here are two key features of outstanding Jewish leadership…

They are presented to us in Parshat Beha’alotecha.

The Leviim, the ancient Levites, were the spiritual leaders of our people.

The Torah says ‘Ki Netunim Netunim hemmah li’. God pronounces they will be presented, they will be presented to me.

Why is the word ‘Netunim’ – ‘to be presented’, repeated?

Rashi comments ‘Netunim l’masa, Netunim la shir’ – they are to be presented because of their carrying, they are to be presented because of their singing.

What are we referring to here?

The Levites were the people who carried all the parts of the Mishkan from place to place to guarantee that wherever the Israelites were, the Mishkan would be right at the heart of their camp.

Thanks to the Levites, the people never strayed physically away from the sanctuary, as a symbol of the fact that wherever they were in life, they should always take Almighty God with them.

That is the mark of a true leader, somebody who guarantees that the community doesn’t only feel the presence of Hashem in Shul, in the sanctuary, but wherever we are. That when we are in the office, when we are on holiday, when we are on vacation, when we are engaging in leisure – our Yiddishkeit will always be an integral part of what we are.

The ultimate mark of true leadership is not what happens in Shul, but rather what happens in our lives as a result of Shul.

This brings me to the second key element of outstanding leadership, ‘Netunim la shir’, the Levites used to lead the community in song. We need to feel our Judaism, there needs to be ‘ruchaniut’ – spirituality. We cannot just go through the mechanical output of activity; it needs to touch us.

As a result, through the spiritual experiences that we have, we will be motivated to guarantee that we don’t only live a materialistic way of life, but rather that we are forever connected to our creator.

Shabbat Shalom

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