We find again and again that Moshe Rabeinu complains to Hashem that he is an inadequate leader and that he cannot do the job himself. Each time, Hashem answers back that he can do it and offers him more help (Aharon to speak, later the 70 Zekeinim). We see this theme over and over again throughout Tanach and Torah She Baal Peh. What makes a good Jewish leader is not that he/she is infallible, it is that they have self-awareness of their strengths and shortcomings, and are not afraid to ask for help. The Torah teaches us this lesson about our leaders because this is a behavior that needs to be modeled first. It is very difficult to admit fault or ask for help. We see that in other religions leaders are presented as perfect and it is forbidden to criticize their behavior or decisions. Yet Chazal never shirk from criticizing our leaders and personalities in Tanach (albeit in a respectful way and mindful of their own place when compared to previous generations).

As our children grow and leave our “authority” (if we ever really had it in the first place), certainly leaving us more and more physically, we want them to be comfortable and confident enough to ask us for help and guidance when they need it. I find often kids learn the most not when they are proven wrong but when the adult was wrong and admits fault, takes responsibility, and models for them how to handle such situations.

Shabbat Shalom,

Have a great Shabbos,

Ari Deutscher MSW