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Friday, June 28

The Weekly Shtikle - Pinechas

After being informed of his impending death, Moshe requests of HaShem to appoint a new leader who will fill his position when he leaves this world.. He beseeches of HaShem (27:17) that B'nei Yisrael not be "like a flock of sheep with no shepherd." Although this is a simple and straightforward simile, Malbi"m explains this statement more deeply. If a herd of sheep were without a shepherd, they would still consider the goat at the head their leader and follow him wherever he goes. This, however, is an inadequate form of leadership for the goat is simply one of them whom they chose to follow. They require a leader who is above them, a higher being who knows what they don't know and sees what they don't see, to guide them.
This was the point Moshe was making. It would not have sufficed to appoint just anybody to fill Moshe's position. Being followed does not make one a leader. This was the error of Korach and his democratic approach to leadership. "All of the nation is holy," he claimed, "and who are you to assume the leadership?" But Moshe was not simply one of the group. He was on a higher level than the rest and thus, a true leader. He was well aware that even in his absence, B'nei Yisrael were in need of such a leader. Therefore, HaShem chose Yehoshua whom He Himself proclaimed to be a "man of spirit," an individual who had spent all his life in Moshe's footsteps and was now ready to fill his shoes.

Have a good Shabbos.

Eliezer Bulka

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