Leadership skills

Parsha and its fulfillment - Parashat Teruma - Rabbi Eliezer Shenvald - 5769

The establishment of the Mishkan was one of the first national "projects" in the history of the Jewish people. It included a combination of spiritual aspects, technical aspects of building and construction, and managerial and organizational leadership aspects. There were unique arts of craftsmen and the participation of all the people of Israel in their respective fields. The person chosen to lead the work was Bezalel.

The Gemara learns from Bezalel's selection, how to choose a leader for Am Israel:

אמר רבי יצחק אין מעמידין פרנס על הצבור: אלא אם כן נמלכים בצבור שנאמר ראו קרא ה׳ בשם בצלאל אמר לו הקדוש ברוך הוא למשה משה הגון עליך בצלאל אמר לו רבונו של עולם אם לפניך הגון לפני לא כל שכן אמר לו אף על פי כן לך אמור להם הלך ואמר להם לישראל הגון עליכם בצלאל אמרו לו אם לפני הקדוש ברוך הוא ולפניך הוא הגון לפנינו לא כל שכן.

With regard to Bezalel’s appointment, Rabbi Yitzḥak said: One may only appoint a leader over a community if he consults with the community and they agree to the appointment, as it is stated: “And Moses said unto the children of Israel: See, the Lord has called by name Bezalel, son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah” (Shmot 35:30). The Lord said to Moses: Moses, is Bezalel a suitable appointment in your eyes? Moses said to Him: Master of the universe, if he is a suitable appointment in Your eyes, then all the more so in my eyes. The Holy One, Blessed be He, said to him: Nevertheless, go and tell Israel and ask their opinion. Moses went and said to Israel: Is Bezalel suitable in your eyes? They said to him: If he is suitable in the eyes of the Holy One, Blessed be He, and in your eyes, all the more so he is suitable in our eyes (Brachot 55a).

The Gemara describes a type of 'election' or 'referendum' as to Bezalel's suitability for his role, but what does this mean, to question the opinion of Moshe and the people, after Bezalel was considered worthy of leadership by Hashem? Is this just so that they will be involved in the process? (Orach Mitzvah Choshen Mishpat Siman b). Or is this to teach us about the examination of different leadership skills? And why did Bezalel's choice become a model for future leaders?

Rav Kook z"l explains that there are three types of leadership skills that are required for a leader:

First, his personality and his inner morality. Second, his wisdom and ability in setting goals, and planning the optimal method of obtaining them. Third, charisma and the ability to move the public.

"The leader, even though most of his advantage must be his inner virtues, and he aspires to them, the holiness of his heart and the sanctity of his deeds, which stem from the sanctity of the soul and its inner qualities, is revealed only to G-d alone as He knows everyone's heart. Although the virtues and talents of all". ציבוריות א.ש))

He should not be lacking, so that he will be able to lead the public in the ways and means that are accepted upon them, the public. With the utmost precision for the inner benefits of the leader, must also have the qualifications that the public can relate to so that they will have a connection with him.

Although the virtues include three, the one, the inner sanctity of the soul, is revealed only before the One who examines the kidneys and heart.

The second is the great wisdom which the generation's leader should have, in order to manage wisely the people of its flock. And this will also be revealed to the man, but only to chosen individuals, the very wise, who will be able to determine the value of the nation, while no one else notices.

And the third, is the perfection, like a tall and educated man, with clear language who is kind and gracious to people"(עין אי"ה על ברכות חלק ב', עמ' 262, אות כ"ח).

For each of the three qualities, one must consult with the one who is exposed to them and can testify on it. On the inner personality, only G-d can testify. On leadership, professionalism, only a leader with the ability to distinguish like Moshe Rabeinu, and on the charisma, just the people. That's why the process involves consultation with everyone.

It is fitting for the leader to have all three of them: "Surely, when will there be a complete and decent leadership? When each of the virtues will appear to be worth its value, and the main thing will be the Divine perfection, the righteousness of the leader and his true kindness. The second is the extra virtue of wisdom. And the third, the quality of the masses, then the low virtue would be a subjugate to the virtue that rose from it, and the leadership will succeed leading the public in the ways of good and life.

Although, when the arrangements change and the external virtues deriving from the public become the principal, followed by the high level of wisdom, and then followed by the virtues of true kindness and the sanctity of justice at the end, then the leadership gets distorted from its path".

The hierarchy of the examination of characteristics should be in this order of priorities. A leader whose leadership begins with his charisma and his appearance, and these are his main forces of power, and the two additional skills are secondary, may bring him to collapse at the time of the test. When the main building of leadership begins, the preferred order of priorities should be with the spiritual and moral personality of the leader, and from it derive the two additional characteristics: wisdom, the setting up of goals and ways to achieve them, and charisma.

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