Torah Fax
Friday, January 12, 2007 - 22 Tevet, 5767

Torah Reading  Shemot  (Exodus 1:1 -6:1)
Candle Lighting Time 4:31 PM
Shabbat ends 5:36 PM

Goal Oriented 

When Moses was asked by G‑d at the burning bush to serve as the liberator of the Jewish people, he demurred. Moses in his humility "argued" with G‑d that he should not be the one to assume this responsibility. Among Moses' arguments against his being the leader, he told G‑d that he was not worthy to be their leader; that he would not know what to say to them; that they would not listen to him and that he stuttered and would not be a good communicator. G‑d refuted all Moses' arguments and promised him success in his mission. But, even after all of this, Moses came up with a new argument: "Shlach Na BeYad Tishlach, Please my Master, send the one that you will send." Rashi, the principal Bible commentator, explains that Moses meant to say to G‑d, why send me; send my much more articulate brother Aaron to be Your official spokesman.
Alternatively, Rashi explains that Moses' argument was, why send him; send the one that you will eventually send, i.e., Moshiach, the final leader and redeemer of the Jewish people. Moses argued, "why send me, who is not destined to take them into the Promised Land and be their redeemer in the future."
In other words, Moses argued that there was no point in having him do a half-baked job of liberating them from Egypt, when, in the end, someone else will have to complete the task. Why not send someone who can do everything from a to z?
Moses' argument raises an obvious question. True, Moses had a prophetic premonition that he was not destined to be their final leader, but what is wrong with him doing the first crucial half of the liberating process? Why was he against sharing the redemption process with Moshiach? Certainly, Moses, the most humble person that ever lived, could not have been offended by the fact that he would not complete the job.
There are two intertwined ways of answering this question. The first is to focus on Moses' character. Among his other qualities, Moses personified the attribute of truth. Our Sages tell us that the refrain "Moses is true and his teachings are true," was uttered by his greatest critics in the aftermath of the Korach rebellion.
What is the definition of truth? Truth is much more than stating the facts honestly, accurately and unembellished. According to the Talmudic definition of truth, it involves consistency. The Hebrew word for truth, emet, contains the first, middle and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet, suggesting that in order for something to be emet it must be consistent from the beginning through the middle to the end.
Moses, the paragon of truth, could not countenance the idea that his actions would be a "temporary fix." It was contrary to his nature. Therefore, Moses asked G‑d to let a more consistent leader begin the process that will end in permanent success.
There is yet another approach to Moses' hesitancy. Moses, by making this argument that there was no point in him beginning the process if he would not be able to complete it, actually represented the qualities of a true leader. 
The difference between a leader and a follower is that the latter cares about the success of the task at hand without regard to all of the other steps and ramifications of that task.
The story is told of a delegation of some of the greatest rabbis in Russia who traveled to Petersburg to help change a harsh decree against the Jewish community but failed. When one the members of the delegation, the famed Rabbi Chaim Solveitchik of Brisk, later visited Rabbi Sholom Dovber Schneerson (the fifth Rebbe of Chabad) in his hotel room, he found him crying. "Why are you crying," he asked, "we did everything in our power to change the decree?" To this the Rabbi Sholom Dovber replied: "But the goal wasn't met."
Both rabbis worked tirelessly for the needs of the Jewish community; yet only one of them could not be consoled, even with the knowledge that they had given theri all. How do we explain their different reactions to failure?
The answer lies in the difference between the way a dedicated person looks at his mission and the way the leader views it. The former sees the task at hand, and does everything humanly possible to succeed. The hallmark of a true leader, however, is one who cannot rest and find comfort until he brings the process to fruition. His focus is not on his power or capabilities, but on the goal. His devotion and love to his people is so intense and emet that he cannot imagine the goal not being fulfilled. This is the embodiment of emet, not just truth, but a devotion to enduring, eternal success. And if it happens that he does not succeed, it evokes the most profound feelings of sadness.
Living on the threshold of the Messianic Age, we are all presently charged with the role of leadership. Our task now is not to achieve some preliminary positive result, no matter how important and commendable, but to bring about the end of the exile. This we can accomplish even by one Mitzvah that "pushes us over the top," and we cannot rest until we succeed to bring about the final Redemption. 

Moshiach Matters

According to one opinion in the Talmud (Yevamot 62a), the reason for the mitzva of procreation is to hasten the coming of Moshiach: "The son of David will not come until all the souls in heaven have been born." Every time another child is born to the Jewish people, the coming of Moshiach is thereby hastened. Thus, every Jewish wedding is considered, in a sense, the beginning of the Redemption, for the couple will soon have children, and will thus hasten the coming of Moshiach. (The Journal of Halacha Vol. 4 by Rabbi H. Schachter)
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