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Numbers 16:15 – How to Be a Good Leader

30 Sivan 5783 – 19 June 2023

וַיִּ֤חַר לְמֹשֶׁה֙ מְאֹ֔ד וַיֹּ֙אמֶר֙ אֶל־ה’ אַל־תֵּ֖פֶן אֶל־מִנְחָתָ֑ם לֹ֠א חֲמ֨וֹר אֶחָ֤ד מֵהֶם֙ נָשָׂ֔אתִי וְלֹ֥א הֲרֵעֹ֖תִי אֶת־אַחַ֥ד מֵהֶֽם׃

Moses was much aggrieved and he said to Hashem, “Pay no regard to their oblation. I have not taken the donkey of any one of them, nor have I wronged any one of them.”

Moses makes it clear that he did not do 2 things.

  1. He did not use 1 of their donkeys to carry something for him.

Something political leaders often don’t have much trouble with. To give themselves exceptional positions and feel they have the right to make use of other people’s belongings.

It shows Moses’ humble attitude as a leader. We can take an example from this. A leader is one who does not take from others but gives to others. Takes a step back instead of being cocky. This is in contrast to Datan and Aviram, who despite their high position wanted more than was their due and wanted to elevate themselves

  1. He did not do anything that could have hurt them.

This applies not only to Datan and Aviram but to the whole people. Moses was thoughtful in his words. And when he had to deliver justice, he knew by prophetic insight who was the guilty party and who was not. His judgements were always right.

In short their hatred and rebellion against Moses stemmed from their own bad character.

We can learn from this that a good leader is humble as Moses.

A good leader is humble like Moses. Does not take or borrow anything that belongs to another.

A good leader, since he will not have the prophetic ability of Moses, is careful in his judgement. If his judgement is wrong, the other party will hold a grudge against you, with all its consequences.

A good leader, is one who goes in the footsteps of Moses.

By Angelique Sijbolts


Ibn Ezra on Numbers 16:15:2
Or HaChaim on Numbers 16:15:5
Or HaChaim on Numbers 16:15:6
Rabbeinu Bahya, Bamidbar 16:15:3

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