Friday, July 15, 2011

QPT: Parshat Pinchas

Quick Parsha Thoughts: Parshat Pinchas

No matter how many times you read something, each time you see it in a different light. I find that every time I read the parsha something different jumps out at me. Here are a couple of my observations from reading the parsha this week:

From my little experience in the working world, it seems that there are two ways that people react to being let go or fired. The first is an approach of indignation. Understandably so, they are upset and angry about being kicked out against their will, and this emotion is so strong that they refuse to train the next person who needs the information they have. "Why should I help the company?" is their attitude. They do their best to make their departure difficult for those who still have their jobs. In extreme cases they will even try to purposefully hide useful information that only they have, that the company needs. Their fury motivates them to do their best to try to ensure that the company regrets letting them go or firing them as much as possible.

Others take a different approach. No one is happy to lose their job, but some value their job and the work that they do more than their own pride. This is always inspiring to see. Despite their personal hurt at rejection, they do their best to make sure that the important work that they do will go on after them. They are happy to train the next person who will take over their responsibilities and they make sure that things will continue to run smoothly after they leave. It's not all about them, it's about a job that needs to get done, even if they are not the one to do it.

Having seen these two approaches, the section of the parsha that jumped out at me (despite the fact that there is *so* much going on in this parsha, with Pinchas, B'not Tzlafchad, the Karban Tamid etc.) was the scene where Hashem tells Moshe to go up on the mountain to see Eretz Yisrael and prepare to die. Given the great level of Moseh Rabeinu, it is no surprise to see that Moshe of course falls into the second category. Moshe's reaction is immediately to ask Hashem to pick someone else to lead the Jewish people after him. Of course Moshe wanted to go into Eretz Yisrael so badly, and it must have been very difficult for him, but he put that aside and wanted to make sure that the Jewish people had a leader, no matter what.

What is interesting is the language that Moshe uses when he asks Hashem to pick another leader. He says: יפקד ה' אלוקי הרוחות לכל בשר איש על העדה (Bamidbar 27: 16). When I read this posuk I thought this was unusual language and wondered why Moshe addressed Hashem using this particular name here. Well Rashi clears that up with a fascinating insight as to what Moshe was looking for in a future leader of the Jewish People. By using the term "אלוקי הרוחות לכל בשר ," Moshe was referring to the fact that Hashem understands every person and knows that each individual person is unique with their own personality. There are a lot of interesting characters in the Jewish people. Moshe was asking Hashem for someone with the quality of being able to deal with all different types of people.

This really struck me because I see this today so much as a necessary quality of our leaders today. There are so many types of people, so many different interests and each person has different priorities, and a leader must be able to get along with each person.

Have a good Shabbos!


1 comment:

  1. Very nice post, I have yet to meet people with the second attitude you describe :P
    And the sad thing is that today, we have very few leaders whom are able to address different crowds and types of jews. we are too disparate between ashkenaz, sefarad, modern orthodox, yeshivish...


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