“…set someone over the congregation who will go out before them and who will come in before them, and who will lead them out and bring them in…” (Numbers 27:16-17).
A real leader must go before the people and not trail behind them. A true leader raises the people up to his level and not be pulled down to their level. (Sefer Avnei Ezel).
We find a similar idea in the Talmud, Sotah 49b, where the generation prior to the Messianic Age is described as being low and troubled. One of the things noted is that “the face of the leaders of the generation will be like the face of a dog.”
Rabbi Yisroel Salanter explained that a dog will race ahead of its master, but constantly look back to see where its master is heading. He’ll then run ahead in the direction of his master. In the generation before the Messiah, those in positions of authority and governance will lead by following opinion polls. They won’t really lead, but will constantly be seeking to go in the direction the people are taking. A true leader has to go before the people and provide appropriate guidance, even if it’s not popular.
By Rabbi Michael Skobac
Rabbi Michael Skobac had been involved with Jews for Judaism (Canada) since 1989 and currently serves as its Director of Education and Counselling. He is a leading authority on missionaries, cults and issues relating to Jewish continuity and Jewish spirituality. Rabbi Skobac's publications include Missionary Impossible; Counter-Missionary Survival Guide; The DaVinci Code: A Jewish Perspetive; and Intermarriage: Is There Ligth at teh End of the Tunnel?
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Republished by Angelique Sijbolts with permission for the Noahide Academy..