Weekly Cycle

Monday, February 21, 2011

Leaving Egypt: Shabat, Leadership and Community, and the Torah Portion of Vayakhel (TO BE CONTINUED)

What follows is an abridged version for this week's description of Netzach, Moshe's leadership qualities that unify [the other Sefirot] and leave an enduring impact. This week's Torah portion begins as follows:

1. Moses called the whole community of the children of Israel to assemble, and he said to them: "These are the things that the Lord commanded to make.

Moses called… to assemble: [He assembled them] on the day after Yom Kippur, when he came down from the mountain. This [word] is a [causative] expression [i.e., causing someone to do something], because one does not assemble people with [one’s] hands [i.e., directly], but they are assembled through one’s speech. 

Rashi teaches us that a community is brought together through the words of its leader. He does not directly assemble them [with one's hands]. That's impossible. The people have to be assembled by themselves. Moshe's words is what causes them to be assembled.

It is very interesting that this idea of assembly is contrasted with the idea of Shabat. Historically, Shabat is also what has given the Jewish people a sense of community.  It also brings Jews closer together physically, since Shabat observant do not have cars and must walk to shul. 

This idea of unity and lack of divisiveness is reflected in the continuing verse:  

3. You shall not kindle fire in any of your dwelling places on the Sabbath day."

The same is true for a leader. He is supposed to bring the people together in peace. Lehavdil, this is reflected in the words of American president Dwight Eisenhower: “Motivation is the art of getting people to do what you want them to do because they want to do it.”  

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