Parashat Pinchas • Numbers 25:10-30:1

The RNC, the DNC, and Parashat Pinchas

The Democratic National Convention, following on the heels of the Republican National Convention, dovetails perfectly with this week’s Torah portion. All three are concerned with picking a worth successor to leadership. In Parashat Pinchas (Numbers 25:10-30:1), God reminds Moses that although he has been preparing the people Israel to enter the Promised Land, he will not be joining them. Instead of complaining, instead of asking for a reprieve, Moses’ thoughts turn not to himself but to the people. As Rabbi Reuven Hammer writes in his 2009 book Entering Torah, “indeed the true measure of a leader is his concern for his people.”

In his words, “Moses may not have been a perfect leader. Had he been perfect, perhaps he would have entered the land. No human being is perfect; we leave perfection to God. But he was a leader who placed the needs of his people and the good of his people above his own personal concerns. He thought of them before he thought of himself and even at the moment of his greatest personal tragedy, he looked for the way in which Israel could be led to the Promised Land, though he himself would never get there. Moses set an example and a standard for leadership that should inspire all of us and direct all our leaders to follow in his ways.” May those seeking the highest office in our land find the same selflessness demonstrated by Moshe Rabbeinu, Moses our Teacher.

Rabbi Aaron C. Meyer

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