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The Difference Between Power and Influence

Why did Moses respond so graciously to the “competition” of Eldad and Meidad, and so aggressively to the “competition” posed by Korach?

1 hr 3 min

Class Summary:

Joshua came to tell Moses that Eldad and Medad were prophesying in the camp, away from Moses and the seventy elders. Joshua regarded this as a dangerous threat to Moses’ leadership and said, “Moses, my lord, stop them!” Moses’ reply is one of the most majestic in the whole of Torah: “Are you jealous for my sake? Would it be that all of G-d’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put his spirit upon them!”

Yet, when Korach challenged Moses’ authority saying, “The whole community is holy, and the Lord is with them, why then do you exalt yourself over the community of G-d?” Moses uses his power to eliminate the opposition. What a contrast in responses!

 What was the difference between Eldad and Medad on the one hand, and Korach and his coconspirators on the other? What is the difference between Moses saying, “Would it be that all the G-d’s people were prophets,” and Korach’s claim that “The whole community is indeed holy”? Why was the first, but not the second, a legitimate sentiment?

There is a distinction here which goes to the very core of the two narratives. And it has to do with the fundamental difference between two modes of leadership: power and influence. Here we are being taught the difference between power and influence: Men of power can die; men of influence never die.

This class is based on an essay by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks and other sources.

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  • MK

    Mendel Kaplan -11 years ago

    Outstanding!
    This is truly an outstanding insight with the highest of relevance in today's day and age when American (and Canadian) Jews vote with "Jewish values" (some valid like social justice, some ridiculous and egregiously offensive like a right to abortion etc.) rather than what is good for Israel…



    My only question: is this "vort" based on "harriray kodesh" or is it a "YYJacobism?" Not that the latter is necessarily inappropriate, but if it comes from another source I was very much appreciate being able to see it inside.



    A timely answer would be helpful in order for me to have the opportunity to be "mavie geula l'olam" by saying something "b;shem omro" tomorrow. Obviously, I need the answer before Shabbos to do that…



    Either way, sincerest thanks for sharing this excellent article!

    Reply to this comment.Flag this comment.

    • M

      Michael -11 years ago

      Outstanding!
      Rabbi Kaplan, your question is very odd. This beautiful article is just an expansion of the Midrash, quoted in footnote 2.

      Any sensible mind would understand the Midrash this way. Just because the words 'Rhine' and 'Starbucks' dont appear in the Midrash doesnt make them any personal 'ism'.

      I really wish people would study ancient texts with a lot more skill and thought. Our world, attitudes and behaviour would look very different if we had the proper and basic understanding of our most foremost texts.

      In other words, it's called 'sechel hapashut!' And sechel hapashut is one of the most authoritative sources for everything in life and Judaism.

      Reply to this comment.Flag this comment.

  • KT

    Kayo, Tokyo -13 years ago

    Amen
    Amen

    Reply to this comment.Flag this comment.

  • Z

    zeev -13 years ago

    move
    Would would happen if YY Jacobson moved to Eretz Yisroel ?
    Would this help the Jewish People ?
    Would the Jews in the diaspora fall apart because you don't live in crown heights anymore ?
    You could always make visits from your home in Eretz Yisroel to other lands & give lectures, etc.(or use Email, internet)
    Something to think about.
    Zeev Berg
    Tiberias

    Reply to this comment.Flag this comment.

  • J

    joe -13 years ago

    gaza vs. haiti
    Thought you might find this interesting:

    "The UN claims there is a siege when it has given $200 million to Gaza following a military operation that left 1,300 dead and wounded among a population of less than 1.5 million, and yet has only given $10 million to Haiti after the natural disaster there claimed the lives of an estimated 230,000. Of course, that is without noting that Haitians have not been attacking an innocent nearby civilian population for nine years."

    http://www.huffingtonpost.c...

    Reply to this comment.Flag this comment.

  • J

    Joe -13 years ago

    Gaza Vs. Haiti
    Thought you might find this interesting:

    "The UN claims there is a siege when it has given $200 million to Gaza following a military operation that left 1,300 dead and wounded among a population of less than 1.5 million, and yet has only given $10 million to Haiti after the natural disaster there claimed the lives of an estimated 230,000. Of course, that is without noting that Haitians have not been attacking an innocent nearby civilian population for nine years."

    http://www.huffingtonpost.c...

    Reply to this comment.Flag this comment.

Class Behaaloscha/Korach

Rabbi YY Jacobson

  • May 24, 2010
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  • 11 Sivan 5770
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  • 5220 views
Dedicated by David and Eda Schottenstein in the loving memory of Alta Shula Swerdlov And in merit of Yetta Alta Shula, "Aliya," Schottenstein

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