Monday, June 21, 2010

Hukkat Sermon

We learn in this week's Torah portion that Moses is not allowed to enter the Promised Land.  The episode is recounted in Numbers 20 where he hits the rock in anger in order to produce water for the complaining Israelites.  The commentators debate what was Moses sin?  There are several suggestions.  1) He hits the rock rather than commanding the rock.  2) He did not give God the proper credit for the miracle, saying, "Shall we bring forth water..."  3) Although we understand why he lost patience with the people, his anger nonetheless got the better of him.  4) Or, he lost faith in the people he led, saying, "Listen, you rebels..."  This final suggestion offers us a lesson for leadership.  We must never lose faith in the people we lead.  We must never see a distance between a leader and the people.  When Moses called the Israelites "you rebels" he lost faith in his congregation.  The task of leadership is to lead from within, to be a part of the community, but never apart, to be ahead but never distant.  On this Shabbat when we install our new presidents and new board we should take note from this week's portion.  We learn from Moses' example to always have faith in the future and its promise.  We also learn from his mistake to never lose faith in the community.  May we always believe in our congregation and our community.

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