Let My People Know

"A true leader"


The Torah tells of Moses' inner struggle when God appointed him to lead the Jewish people out of Egypt, a struggle experienced by every tzaddik who is appointed to a position of leadership. 

When a man such as Moses becomes a leader of Israel, he sacrifices his very self, not just his time and energy but his very soul. 

From the moment he undertakes to involve himself with others' problems, with their physical and spiritual ills, he waives the possibility of his soul attaining its own spiritual objectives, and this is the ultimate self-sacrifice. 

Moses resisted the task of serving as the leader of Israel, saying to God, "I am not a man of words …. Send whom you will.”

Moses enjoyed a state of perfect attachment with God, but he knew that if he accepted the appointment, he would have to deal with Pharaoh, with "the complainants” and "the spies,” and with every sort of physical and spiritual leper. 

Yet Moses accepted the mission, obliterating the ambition of his Godly soul–for God's sake alone. 

As he himself expressed it (when Israel committed the sin of the golden calf): ''And now, if You forgive their sin; but if You will not, then blot me out of the book that You have written." 

The same applies to every tzaddik who serves as the leader of his generation. 

A true leader is one who is capable of the ultimate self-sacrifice: the sacrifice of his very "I"; of his" nefesh, ruach, and neshamah"; of his soul's yearning to cleave to God. 

–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz
From Opening the Tanya by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz