The Pain of Leadership
By Moshe Katz

June 5, 2013

Moses and his Challenges

Public Leadership

Ahh…it is not easy to be a leader.

It is not easy to be in the public eye, it is not easy when you reach a position that somehow your life becomes important to the public.

I feel sorry for celebrities, for politicians, and most of all for decent people who somehow find themselves in the public eye.

Everyone has an opinion, everyone has something to say, everyone has a right to criticize; only really – they do not.

In our Judaic laws of Loshon Hara and Motzi shem rah, one does not have the right to say whatever they want, or to publish whatever they want. If you have a grievance, you bring it to the court, not to the press.

In this weeks' Torah portion, the greatest leader of all time, Moshe/Moses faces just that; Korah and his gang – gang up on Moshe. Fortunately Moshe has God and divine powers to prove he is guilt free and innocent. Most of us do not have that.

Korah and his gang come with very very strong accusations against Moshe. "Moshe has deceived everyone, and he has certainly not brought to us the promised land flowing with milk and honey", and Korah adds – Us you will not fool, you will not "poke out our eyes", we won't be fooled again and we will not follow you!

Ahh the words of the perpetually stupid, and Moshe, what can he say?, here comes the classic answer:

"And Moshe was very upset, the matter upset him greatly and he said to God, do not accept their sacrificial offerings (do not turn towards their needs), I have not taken one donkey from them, and I have not harmed anyone." (BaMidbar 16, 15)

Yes, we have all been there, heard that, and what can we say? Nothing really, just like Moses said, "I have not harmed anyone, I have not deceived one person, I have not taken anything unjustly."  But, unlike Moses we do not have the ability to use Divine punishment. 

As a young baseball fan it always hurt me to be to see the Classic Jack Ass in the crowd shouting "You bum, my grandmother can hit better than you. (careful now, don’t' spill your beer or drop your hot dog.)

There will always be those who out of jealousy will seek to hurt those like Moshe. All we can do is stick to the path and pursue justice. 

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