About Us Who We Are Rabbis Rabbi Helen's Thought for the Week What makes a good leader is a perennial question, should such a person be appealing to their followers, or attracting new ones, or maybe setting out the rules for a supportive and inclusive civil society? In Jewish tradition, the model of good leadership goes right back to Moses in the Torah. He had extraordinary pressures to deal with , the Israelites were argumentative and disputatious, constantly doubting Moses and Aaron and their leadership and hankering after a return to Egypt. Even slavery looked good through the rose-tinted glasses of nostalgia. Eventually Moses lost his cool with them, when they had complained one time too many, and hit the rock at Merivah, instead of speaking to it as commanded. Merivah means contention and because Moses didn’t sanctify the Eternal One in the sight of the community, his punishment was that he couldn’t enter the land of Israel. One of the attractive qualities of Moses as a role model of a leader was that he was all-too- human. So he pleaded with the Eternal One just to be allowed into Israel after all the trials and tribulations in the desert. But leaders are held to a higher standard than others, and he wasn’t permitted to go forward. He had to pass over the mantle of leadership to Joshua and encourage and strengthen him. Good leadership includes knowing when to let go, and the Torah gives Moses no other option.