In this week’s Parshah we read of Korach’s mutiny against Moses’ leadership and Aaron’s high priesthood. It all ended in a grand calamity: the earth opened and Korach and his close associates disappeared within it, and Korach’s 250 followers perished in a fire.
But that was not the end of the episode.
G-d then instructed Moses to take a staff from each tribe, each inscribed with the name of the tribe’s leader; Aaron’s name was written on the Levite Tribe’s staff. The staffs were placed overnight in the Holy of Holies. G-d made Aaron’s staff blossom, indicating that he was indeed chosen by G-d.
What was G-d’s message with this incident? The message of who was the true leader had already come across loud and clear with the dramatic end to Korach’s rebellion. So what was achieved with singling out Aaron by sprouting his staff?
G-d was teaching us what true leadership is. The Jews were surrounded by nations who venerated brute strength and the power of the sword. The leaders of those nations wielded this power with an iron fist. Indeed in those societies the strongest man became the leader.
What is Jewish leadership? What made Aaron deserving of the High Priesthood?
Aaron was known as a man “who loved peace and pursued peace.” This attribute made him deserving to be a leader. The fact that he devoted his life to helping was essential for his leadership.
For many, leadership is a hard and firm stick. G-d’s message to the Jews with the blossoming of Aharon’s stick was that leadership is a moist stick which bears fruit for others to benefit.
All Jewish leaders share this quality; this bearing of fruit and giving to others. King David, who is known to the world as a great warrior who managed to beat Goliath, is praised in the talmud for his devotion and dedication for people in need. Samson, again, known to the world for his strength, is presented in the Torah as a compassionate, wise leader who helped Jews.
This Sunday, is the 3rd of Tammuz, the Rebbe’s day. The Rebbe took the Chabad Lubavitch movement after the holocaust and made it into a world wide movement with thousands of centers around the world.
To all who came to see him, and there were tens of thousands, the rebbe would hand a dollar for charity; as the Rebbe explained: when two people meet this should bring a favor to a third person.
When asked by a CNN reporter for his message to the world, the Rebbe said: Moshiach is ready to come now, we all must only do something additional in the realm of goodness and kindness.
We each have a slice of leadership within ourselves. How do we activate and express it? By doing good – producing fruit. By helping others.
Be a leader – lend a helping hand.
Dedicated in honor of Yonatan Simcha Ben Rivkah for blessing and success